Friday, April 03, 2015

30 Rock

I am not-so-slowly but surely enjoying my way through 30 Rock, the best work-place comedy since The Office. Tina Fey is the primary star of this long-running show; she came up with the concept and it's got her mental paw-prints all over it (30 Rock is tonally very similar to The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, another horse that emerged from the Fey stable). The central character, played by Fey, is Liz Lemon, a lead writer of a fictional comedy series who is nerdy and socially inept, and who is constantly struggling to keep things together. Soon after her boss Jack Donaghy meets her, he sums her up as a 'New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says 'healthy body image' on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for...a week'. Donaghy is the 'Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming for General Electric', and is nailed by Alec Baldwin. Unlike some company bosses in comedies who are cruelly funny (think The Office or The I.T Crowd), Donaghy not only plays the corporate game but he believes in the game so much it's a kind of worship. However, Donaghy is also good hearted enough that you want to see him succeed. The most surprising character is Jenna Maroney, the singer-actress played by Jane Krakowski. At first, I didn't think much of the character but her lines are great and and the comedic acting of Krakowski is top-notch.

Wikipedia describes the comedy as absurdist, defined as ' form of humour predicated on deliberate violations of causal reasoning, producing events and behaviours that are obviously illogical. Constructions of surreal humour tend to involve bizarre juxtapositions, non-sequiturs, irrational or absurd situations and expressions of nonsense. The humour arises from a subversion of audience's expectations, so that amusement is founded on unpredictability, separate from a logical analysis of the situation.' 

Absurdism, artfully balanced so that it isn't outright surreal, lands in or near my sweet spot and ties in quite nicely with with my philosophical outlook on life. Talking of philosophy, I figured 30 Rock has been around long enough that somebody, somewhere must have posted some philosophical ramblings on the series. Well, 'Lo and behold!', a quick Google search later and I discover that an entire book written on the subject (and somebody has posted the entire thing to the net). I also discovered this wonderful site, which is the epitome of commitment ... bordering on scarily obsessive. Here are some choice gifs.


Lindsay said...

I looooove 30 Rock! <3 One of my favorite series ever. Not that I've seen that many.

Riz said...

It's quickly becoming one of mine as well. I'm putting it up there with the likes of Seinfeld, which I grew up on.