30 Rock: Couch Potato Heaven

I’m a couch potato and proud of it! But I’m a discerning couch potato; I have my standards. Only the finest written television makes the cut in my household.30 Rock

Which is why I’m so deeply in love with the show 30 ROCK. This show has inspired lunacy, week after week after week. I am guaranteed to laugh loud and hard several times in each episode. 30 ROCK is a true workplace ensemble piece, with fully realized characters: Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), the head writer for a comedy sketch show and perhaps the sanest person in the room; Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), former GE microwave maven and now network exec; Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), a roiling mass of actress insecurity; and Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer), the most devoted page NBC could ever hope to have.

In the grand tradition of comedy classics like THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and WKRP IN CINCINNATI, the writers of 30 ROCK give their characters outrageous situations to get themselves in and out of. In one of the funniest episodes so far this season, “The Collection” (written by Tina Fey and Matt Hubbard), Jack is being vetted for a promotion, so hires a PI to find dirt on him before NBC can. There are all sorts of priceless mini-moments in the show: as Liz is beginning to tell Jack about a breakthrough she had with her therapist, he says, “Ring, ring” and picks up an imaginary phone. Speaking into his hand/receiver, he says hello, then looks at Liz and says, “I’m sorry, I have to take this.” Or Jenna, grown obese from acting in a run of “Mystic Pizza, the Musical” over the summer, and now chosen to be the spokemodel for Enorme (“Make him chase the chunk”).

But the prize dialogue arrives in a scene between Jack and the PI, played with hard-boiled aplomb by Steve Buscemi:

Len the PI: Oh, Jack. One last thing. You don’t have a massive collection of cookie jars, do you?
Jack: How did you find out about that? (Flashback to Jack winning Collector of the Year)
Len: This is bad. CEOs don’t have thousands of cookie jars; weird little guys in bow ties do. You hear what I’m getting at?
Jack: What? You’re saying it’s a gay thing?
Len: You wish it was a gay thing. This is worse. You gotta get rid of them.
Jack: No. I’m not doing that. I’ve already made enough sacrifices for this company. They’re not going to get this.
Len (showing photo): This is Rudolph Guiliani in 1987 with his collection of antique wooden dolls.
Jack: That’s a fake. Guiliani doesn’t collect dolls.
Len: Yeah, you’re right! He doesn’t! Because he incinerated them. In 1989, the year he ran for mayor.
Jack: He looks so happy.

That kind of scene is why this show makes me so darned happy I could cry. Watch for yourself. And pray the writers’ strike ends amicably and soon.

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2 Responses to “30 Rock: Couch Potato Heaven”

  1. Betty Olson Says:

    I just saw this episode last night, undoubtedly as a re-run and I loved it as well………….not to mention that Steve Buscemi is one of my all time favorites!

  2. Walton Odell Says:

    A roommate urged me to check out this website, nice post, fascinating read… keep up the cool work!

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