With the Season 1 DVD just lying around unwatched, I thought that since I recently finished watching all seasons of Scrubs that I’d chuck on 30 Rock. What I discovered is that 30 Rock is actually quite similar to Scrubs in a number of ways. They both utilise a single-camera setup, they are both primarily set in the central character’s workplace and both have a wide range of memorable characters. Even the writing and humour of the two shows I found to be quite similar. While I think Scrubs is a more creative show, it would be unfair for me to compare the two when I’ve only seen one season of 30 Rock.
30 Rock is an American TV show starring and created by Tina Fey. It’s a sitcom that satirises television, and draws inspiration from Fey’s experience writing for Saturday Night Live. 30 Rock is set in a television studio where Fey’s character Liz Lemon works with her employees to produce a weekly live sketch comedy show while also dealing with her personal life. While Liz Lemon is undeniably the central character, 30 Rock features an ensemble cast, with 7 cast members in Season One.
The series begins when Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) becomes the new network executive and it’s his job to reboot Liz Lemon’s series The Girly Show. He convinces Lemon to hire actor Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), who has previously demonstrated wild behaviour in the past. Donaghy makes major changes to the show, such as its name and focusing it on Tracy, which takes the attention off attention-craving Girlie Show star Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). Other main characters are Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit), the wise producer with a troubled marriage; Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer), the hilariously naive NBC page; and the rude and disgusting writer Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander). All the characters, including the supporting cast, are great and it’s fun to watch them develop during the season. Alec Baldwin’s character almost makes the show and it’s worth watching 30 Rock just to see what Jack Donaghy gets up to. Frank is the most underdeveloped character on the show, and he seems more like a peripheral character at times rather than a main cast member.
I really enjoyed the season; nearly all of the episodes are really funny and memorable. The more 30 Rock you watch, the better it gets. There were plenty of hilarious situations and character moments. Even the pilot episode provides a lot of laughs. I can only recall one subpar episode, which had rather poor writing and an ending that went a little bit too far. The final episode also doesn’t end the story arcs on a very satisfying note. Despite this, I really want to keep watching. If only I can get my hands on the second DVD.
And speaking of the DVD, there are absolutely no special features. There’s no commentary, not even subtitles. You get what you get – 21 episodes on three discs.
It’s never a dull moment with 30 Rock, with the writing being both sharp and witty. The cast members are outstanding, and you’ll love them more and more as well as the show itself the more you watch. I think everyone should give this show a chance, especially if you’re a fan of Scrubs.
I give 30 Rock Season One a score of 4/5. The DVD features (or lack thereof) did not impact the score.
Note: I wrote this review at least 3 months ago. I saved it for a special moment, such as now as my studies are getting a little too hectic for me to find time to write these. Just so you know, I am currently up to Season 4, Kenneth is currently my favourite character and the show just gets better and better. It just started its final season, so now is the perfect time to watch it!