Tuesday, January 20, 2009

30 Rock

Adam Bernstein, Don Scardino, Gail Mancuso, 2006 (9.3*)
Emmy, GG for Best Comedy

I’m hesitant to watch any commercial tv, so I hadn’t seen 30 Rock until checking it out on dvd, and it’s brilliant. Tina Fey as show head Liz Lemon, has never been this funny on SNL, in fact, producer Lorne Michaels (SNL creator) has never done anything this funny, so I assume all the credit goes to Fey. Her multitude of awards for this so far (four Emmys alone for her, 9 overall, plus Golden Globes) are all well earned, for acting, writing, best comedy awards as creator/producer.

Emmy-winner Alec Baldwin has always been funny, now he’s in the perfect role as GE executive Jack Donaghy sent to oversee Fey’s show, starring Jane Krakowski (Ally McBeal, the bra inventing receptionist), called “The Girlie Show”. Tracy Morgan has also never been this funny, brought in to make the show more hip (in another era, 'tokenism') – his character and dialogue both suit his style perfectly.

It’s even more fun that they satire their own industry, including both NBC and GE – nothing is sacred here, even product placement. When Donaghy wants Fey to promote GE industrial turbines in the show, Fey says “I’ll not prostitute my show to include product plugs”, we immediately see about five for Snapple (a show’s sponsor), including a guy getting off the elevator dressed as a bottle of Snapple. You’ll find yourself laughing out loud, rare for network tv since they act like we're all about 11 years old. Eventually even GE's CEO does a cameo appearance..

Even the guests are great:
Isabella Rosselini has a meaty part as Baldwin’s psycho ex-wife (in a divorce proceeding, he demanded “also all the love letters of your parents”, and of course, her parents were Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rosselini) – he also gets to make disparaging comments about her ("she always wanted to make love standing up"), and of course Baldwin’s ex is Kim Basinger.
Paul Rubens had a hilarious guest spot as the last of the male Hapsburgs in one crazy story.
Tim Conway won an Emmy as a season two guest.
Funniest ‘guest’ to me though is SNL alum Rachel Dratch’s pantheon of characters, who all seem to have bad hair and teeth. The dvd’s are generous, with eight episodes per disc.

Kudos all around on this series, it looks more like cable than a major network.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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