The Stylus

Netflix Review: 30 Rock

By Dan Zambito senior Writer

Published: Monday, March 5, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Add 30 Rock to your Netflix queue because it remains to be one of the consistently funniest shows on television.

30 Rock is created by, written by and stars Tina Fey. Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer for a weekly sketch comedy show.  Lemon's struggles come from dealing with her spoiled castmates and her power-hungry boss. The show is loosely based on Fey's experiences as the head writer for Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Lemon's charm comes from fitting in with men more than women. She doesn't concern herself with fashion or her appearance. Lemon's recurring jokes usually involve her obsession with food. The way Fey injects her razor sharp wit into the role of Lemon comments on the ludicrious situations her co-stars put her in.

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) is Lemon's suave, controlling and manipulative boss. Donaghy is a ruthless network executive who develops a friendship and strong bond with Lemon. Donaghy plays a constant game of mental chess and tries to stay several moves ahead of his competitors at all times.

Baldwin's performance is the heart of the show. He delivers one of the more memorable characters in recent television history. Baldwin won two Emmy Awards and three Golden Globe Awards for his portrayal of Donaghy.

Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) is a movie star brought into Lemon's show to boost the ratings. Jordan, based on Morgan in real life, gives Lemon most of her headaches at work. Jordan always delivers random idiotic statements, similar to Ralph Wiggum on The Simpsons.

"I love this cornbread so much that I want to take it behind a middle school and get it pregnant,"  said Jordan upon eating his dinner. In another episode, he argues with a pigeon. "Stop eating people's old french fries, pigeon! Have some self-respect," he said.

30 Rock contains an ensemble cast, but Fey is smart enough to feature the stronger characters more prominently in the show. Lemon and Donaghy rightfully get most of the screentime. Some of the characters, such as Frank (Judah Friedlander) work better with brief appearances and never wear out their welcome.

The comedy of 30 Rock comes mostly from the series of one-liners the show produces. Once in a while a joke falls flat, but more often than not the clever writing and delivery of the jokes produce laughs.

Fey's writing and acting for 30 Rock has won numerous Emmys. Fey established herself as a great writer on SNL, but the real surprise is how comfortable she is acting. Fey was almost never involved in acting as any characters or sketches on SNL.  

While other comedies such as The Office and Two and a Half Men continue without its lead stars, 30 Rock retains the full cast through its current sixth season. The first five seasons are available to stream through Netflix. See what all the hype is about and you too will be saying, "Good God, Lemon!"

4.5 Stars

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