30 Rock Review: Rolling With Laughter
30 ROCK: Monday 26th April, Comedy Central, 10pm ALERT ME
Squirreled away on Comedy Central, 30 Rock‘s growth has been slow and steady in the UK, but this fresh new series coupled with the release of Tina Fey’s Date Night should gain the comedy a much larger trans-atlantic fanbase.
The show, which follows the trials of sketch writer Liz Lemon and her slick boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), has won a raft of awards and after a shaky start now pulls mammoth audiences in the US.
Creator and lead, Fey continues to prove herself as a comedic force in TV and film, first as head writer for Saturday Night Live and most recently alongside Steve Carell on the big screen.
It is her SNL experience which provides the setting for 30 Rock – based behind the scenes of a fictional live sketch comedy show called TGS. It’s got the quickfire style of Scrubs but without the over-emotional indie soundtracked downtime – here the laughs come thick and fast with little time for reflection.
The line-up of slightly stereotyped but nonetheless solid characters include fame hungry airhead Jenna (Jane Krakowski), paranoid telly star Tracy (Tracy Morgan) and cheerful network intern Kenneth (Jack McBrayer).
In the third episode of season four, Liz and Jack are off to the Kenneth’s backwater hometown of Stone Mountain in a bid to find a ‘real American’ their audiences will connect with. There they spot the act of ventriloquist Rick Wayne and his dummy Pumpkin who has a meaner streak then they could have imagined.
Meanwhile back in New York Tracy fears for his life, believing he could be the third celebrity to die that week because famous people’s deaths seem to come in threes. Jenna is worried she will be upstaged by a new cast member and launches a charm offensive on the show writers.
Episode four has a plot centred on audition day at the network. Liz has tried to rig it in her favourite actors’ favour but extra candidates skew his chances. Jack has bedbugs leaving him feeling dehumanised and more in touch with the common man.
It’s easy to pick up so if you haven’t yet given it a try, get rolling with 30 Rock.