30 Rock Review


  • TV reviews, friends. LOTS and lots of TV show reviews are coming your way!
    • Since this is My ‘Movie’ Thoughts, I’ve been limiting my number of TV show reviews over the past few months, but this is one that I wanted to talk about.
    • And yeah, I’m struggling to watch as much Parks and Recreation as I can before that finale (it looks like I might get to the middle of Season 3?), but a review for that will hit in the next month or so.
    • And a Better Call Caul Review, more on that this weekend!
  • But let’s spend some time talking about this unique show!


  • 30 Rock is created, starring, and mostly written by Tina Fey and it’s about a sketch variety show created by her character.
    • You see how self-aware that is? Yeah it won’t be the last time the show does that.
  • And basically it’s about Fey’s character, Liz Lemon, navigating through the challenges of getting this show to the performance each week.

Cast and Characters

  • And ultimately what drives this show (for the first couple seasons anyway) is the characters.
  • I already talked a little bit about Liz Lemon played by Tina Fey, and some people could find her a little bit unlikable, but she really isn’t.
    • If you’ve seen Community, she’s kinda like the busier and less politically-obsessed Britta.
    • If you haven’t seen Community, check out my review.
    • But ultimately, she’s the one that everything is centered around and she’s like the babysitter who is constantly being driven out of her mind
  • And she plays REALLY well off of Jack Donaghy, enter Alec Baldwin.
    • And Alec Baldwin is HILARIOUS in this show. I know he was nominated for a few Emmy’s, and I’d be surprised if he didn’t win a couple.
    • Jack Donaghy is like, the no-nonsense personality who takes Liz under his wing and starts teaching her the ropes of business and life in general.
    • The Jack/Liz relationship (not romantic relationship…) is ultimately what helps you get through the first season of the show (the least-funny in my eyes).
  • And then you have Tracy Jordan, played by Tracy Morgan. See the self-aware humor?
    • As you go through the first and second (and even some of the third) seasons of 30 Rock, the show has this more realistic vibe to it, like Modern Family or The Office.
    • So the Tracy Jordan very-cartoony character doesn’t really work, and it feels like he’s trying too hard to be the comic relief (in this fairly funny comedy, he’s trying to be the comic relief).
    • And that was my problem with the show for the first two or three seasons: Tracy felt out of place, and–alright I just thought of the comparison.
      • He’s kinda like that little kid in the neighborhood who keeps poking you until you let him play baseball with you and the other teenagers.
    • But then, when you all go into watch Nickelodeon and embrace your inner kids, he feels right in place, which is kind of what happens to the show!
      • Around Season 4 the show got more cartoony in the best possible way, and Tracy felt more like a functional part of the show.
    • And then you have Jenna who’s the best friend of Liz and the lead actress on TGS.
      • She’s so wacky the entire show and is really effective throughout the first few seasons.
        • Which is good cuz we need a parallel to Tracy’s annoyance.
      • But then in the next few seasons, she’s kinda pushed aside and just feels like a part of the other ensemble characters.
        • Which is unfortunate, but I think they realized she needed to be minimized before they used her up too much.
          • In a reverse-Tracy fashion, she could’ve become more annoying later in the show.
        • But I like that she is paired with Tracy for the last two seasons or so, and their characters’ insanities really play well with each other.
      • Then we got Kenneth, who was my favorite character throughout the show.
        • Kenneth is supposed to get more and more Jesus-like every season, and he absolutely does.
        • He’s a page (assistant, kinda) for NBC, and he’s basically the nicest, most respectable human being ever, despite his job being crap.
          • And I love how they finish off his story, both at the very end, and in the last few episodes.
        • And then you have Pete, who is the producer of the show and is meant to be the sane one to work with Liz. And I think he was really good as a main character: in Season One.
          • After Season One, there are some storylines with Pete that just feel like they were ideas cut from previous episodes.
          • Some of them are entertaining, but Pete really should’ve just become a supporting character after the first season.
          • The actor is a funny dude, the character was funny, but logically his storylines just didn’t feel as relevant at a point.
        • And speaking of supporting characters, let’s talk about Frank who’s another writer on the show.
          • He feels like he should’ve been a supporting character from the start, despite a couple funny storylines.
          • And that’s all there is to say about him!
        • But guys, the few character issues are SO evened out with the guest stars.
          • Friends was so notable because it had these great movie stars that would show up. 30 Rock had great TV guest stars, great movie guest stars, and even a few really cool Internet personality guest stars!
          • There’s one in particular that stands out to me above everyone else, but I don’t to spoil it since it’s kinda built up through the story.
            • But if you have seen the entire show, or don’t care about spoilers, you can tweet at me (@johnmhayeck, follow me too!) and I’ll tell you what it was.
          • The recurrence level of these guest stars was awesome too.
            • By which I mean they got some really credible movie stars for, like, 8-18 episodes at a time!
            • And I’m like, I had no idea ________ was in this show, and almost a main character in that season!
          • Despite a few hiccups, I really did like almost all of the characters in this show, they really drove it through every episode, and even if I didn’t like that episode’s story, the character interactions kept it really good.


  • The writing in this show is really smart.
  • Like I said, the first season is pretty first-season typical boringness, but if you watch every-other-episode or just the ones that seem important, you’ll get into Season 2 which proves itself to be a great improvement.
  • And that’s part of why I stuck with this show: every season was better than the last.
    • Like Season 1 was okay.
    • But Season 2 was a lot smarter.
    • Season 3 took the pros of Season 2 and added even more wit.
    • Season 4 took that wit and added more awesome characters, really awesome storylines and a lot more zaniness.
    • Then Season 5 and 6 didn’t exactly hit the high of Season 4, but by that point they took the good of the show and just ran with it.
    • Season 7, which was the show’s last, did have some of the best episodes of the show as well.
      • But there were two or three that just felt like placeholders between the awesome episodes.
    • But overall, this show had smart writing.
      • And you’ve heard me talk about smart humor before and how much I appreciate it.
      • And ultimately, this show was absurdly smart for most of its run.
        • Just not Season One…
      • The main problem of the show other than some slight annoyances in characters is something ABSURDLY common nowadays and I like to call it Network TV Syndrome.
        • Network TV Syndrome is when networks like NBC (which is currently the prime example) air 22-24 episodes of their shows a year, because they don’t have enough quality programming to keep people fresh and entertained all year.
        • So 30 Rock, each season had about 22 episodes.
          • Community, the past two seasons, has had only 13 episodes, which can actually be seen as a good thing.
          • For shows like Community, or shows on HBO or Netflix, they have a finite amount of episodes per season, so the writers will only use the best 13 storylines.
        • But in 30 Rock, some of the episodes don’t feel as necessary, so they could have definitely condensed some things down.
        • This is also one of the many reasons I only watch current shows on Netflix, AMC, or HBO.


  • No spoilers, don’t worry!
  • The ending of 30 Rock is masterful.
  • Some finales to shows are kinda questionable, like How I Met Your Mother. Some are a bit overdue, predictable, and fan service-ish, like Friends. Both of these I love, but their finales aren’t perfect.
  • 30 Rock, in my mind’s eye, has the best finale to any comedy I’ve seen.
    • And it might be my 2nd favorite ever right after Breaking Bad.
  • Every storyline ends the way it should, nothing feels gimmicky, the show recognizes what will realistically happen to these characters, and everything feels absolutely realistic in the finale.
    • And the last 30 seconds of the show. Possibly the best of the series, but that’s debatable.

In Conclusion

  • In Conclusion, 30 Rock was a little hard to get through for the first season, maybe season and a half, but REALLY hit its stride going forward.
  • The writing was smart, the characters were smart, the relationships between all the characters were great. Tracy was a bit annoying for the first couple seasons, but he eventually becomes a really awesome character.
  • The ending was really great, but I wish they had condensed each season down to 13-16 episodes.
    • But hey, that’s Network TV Syndrome for ya.
  • In the end, 30 Rock doesn’t have a ton of rewatchability to it, but that’s the rating I’m gonna give it.



So guys, those are my thoughts on 30 Rock. If you haven’t seen this show, it’s currently streaming on Netflix and worth a watch. If your have seen it, let me know your thoughts and your favorite characters down below! And as always, thanks for reading guys.


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