Friday, August 08, 2008

30 Rock

Back in 2006 at the start of the fall television season I (and many others I'm sure) became aware that NBC was launching two shows that were all based on the premise of being a behind the scenes look at an Saturday Night Live style sketch comedy show. One was "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" it was an hour long. It was created by Aaron Sorkin of "West Wing" fame. It starred Bradley Whitford and Matthew Perry and all the critics were effusive with their early praise and expectations were very high.

The other show was "30 Rock" it had Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. It was a half hour and as far as I could tell it wasn't getting much in the way of buzz or early enthusiasm. Of course the weird thing was that NBC would be launching what appeared to be two very similar shows in the same season. I'm remember a lot of tv critics remarking on the fact, and the sub-text seemed to be that only one of them could survive. I'm not sure that's entirely true. It's possible I suppose that both could have survived, but given the failure rate of new shows, the chances of both surviving wasn't even that good, and when they had a similar premise? The conventional wisdom was that if either show was going to survive it was going to be Studio 60. Well...

As it turns out after watching the two shows, they weren't that much alike. To be frank "30 Rock" was funny and "Studio 60" was not. Which is not to say that "Studio 60" was not well written, and that it didn't have some good drama, but Sorkin was trying to have it be as dramatic as the West Wing while making it as funny as SNL. It turns out that that's pretty difficult, since even SNL has had difficulty doing that, and they could care less about behind the scenes drama. So "30 Rock" is still going strong, and "Studio 60" is barely remembered.

I really enjoy "30 Rock". And while it does have some of the unnecessary crassness that dominates prime time these days, IMHO most of the humor comes from off-beat weird humor. Here's a great clip from an episode I was watching last night on hulu.com (all of season 2 is available for free):

The Collection

Also another great clip with a D&D reference

Everytime I meet a new person I figure out how I'm going to fight them

2 Comments:

Blogger aozora said...

Television is evil. That is all.

6:16 AM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Actually, just watching the D&D ref. clip, I found all the Cleveland jokes funny, being from Pittsburgh.

8:08 AM  

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