30 Rock - Season 6

Starring: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, John Lutz, Keith Powell, Kevin Brown, Grizz Chapman, Maulik Pancholy, Katrina Bowden, Sherri Shepherd

Writer: Tina Fey
Rating: *****

Air Date: Comedy Central, 2012

30 Rock season 6 has finally premiered over in America and the premiere episode 'Dance Like Nobody's Watching was fantastic, Liz Lemon is uncharacteristically upbeat, whilst Jack questions the family values in Jenna's new show 'America's Kidz Got Singing'.  It's been far too long since 30 Rock was last in my life (thanks Tina Fey and your pregnancy), but now that it's back I couldn't be more thrilled.

Liz Lemon (Fey)  is the head writer on the late night NBC show TGS. She is constantly battling with fast food, annoying co writers (Adsit, Friedlander, Lutz & Powell) and constant diva demands from the stars Jenna Maroney and Tracy Jordan (Krakowski & Morgan). Despite the attempted help from studio page Kenneth (McBrayer) nothing seems to go right, and with an intrusive, bossy and arrogant boss like Jack Donaghy (Baldwin) in the way, nothing ever seems to go right.

I'm not gonna lie, it took me a long time to get into 30 Rock, I pretty much ignored it largely throughout its first four seasons despite the critical praise, for reasons that now escape me.  It's something that I tend to do (Modern Family, Community, The Vampire Diaries), and with most of these TV shows, I ended up watching every season back to back in about four days. This makes the wait between series even harder, but each season is better than the previous, so it's always worth it in the end.

To say I like 30 Rock is an understatement, I love it; for me personally it is much better than most of the three camera sitcoms out there. The writing is quick and snappy, but still retains a subtlety, and effortless charm, its mellow New York score adding to the feel of every scene. What is truly fantastic is that after 6 seasons it has never lost it's quirky style, this is mainly down to creator and star Tina Fey keeping on top of the writing and staying true to the fans.  It's very good at keeping on top of current affairs both in the news but also with what the stars of the series have been doing, for instance Tracy Morgan's homophobic rant will be featured in this coming season. It's the meta qualities the series has, and the current news being included that keeps it up to date and the comedy relevant. Even the death of Kim Jong-Il is featured, which pretty much sums it up.

30 Rock is one of my favourite series next to Community, both smart comedies but 30 Rock has the success behind it to justify this sixth season, whereas Community is struggling to even get the second half of season 3 aired (BOO).  The series is still sticking to it's usual format, quirky comments, bizarre images and flyby insults is what keeps the show so enjoyable for me and I'm glad that that is still going strong.  I really hope that 30 Rock is around for years to come, but sometimes I wonder where else a show can go that parodies television as much as they do, without becoming similar to the shows they mock.

That’s why it thrilled me to see that while its humour remains as sharp as ever, 30 Rock is willing to acknowledge its ageing formula, and even uses that to grow organically. Liz Lemon is cherry and for once really happy, and much of the premiere episode involves Tracy and Jack’s desperately trying to figure out what could make the sour, and usually frumpy TGS writer so uncharacteristically cheery.  In the process, the show manages to force both Tracy and Jack to confront their own characters, whether it's Tracy’s hopeless dependence on being controlled by a mother figure, or Jack’s clinging to his business man lifestyle while growing softer as a parent.

In that way, most of the stars come to embrace some change to the manner in which they’re used to behaving, which adds more than a bit of grace to 30 Rock's apparent age. Then of course there’s Jenna, God love her, desperately trying to cling to whatever child, dream-smashing manner of fame reality TV will bring her.  Some crazy will always be crazy, and I’ll never complain so long as it makes me laugh.

There’s even a vague manner of sweetness to Dance Like Nobody’s Watching, as 30 Rock itself gracefully accepts the soundtrack-driven montage storytelling it so often parodies, and we see a new man in Liz’s life potentially providing the true source of her happiness.  A bit of change seems to be coming for 30 Rock, and leave it to the shows sharp, self-awareness to accept that fact with dignity and good humour. It looks like its going to be a good year for 30 Rock, and I can't wait to laugh my way through it.

30 Rock - Promo


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