Rolling Stone

20 30 Rock

NBC 2006-13


The old adage to “write what you know” has few examples better than 30 Rock. Tina Fey, fresh off a beloved run as

SNL head writer and Weekend Update co-anchor, created and starred in a show on which she plays Liz Lemon, the head writer of an NBC sketch-comedy show that sounds a lot like SNL. Show-within-the-show TGS became part of a much broader satire of both television (including Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski as TGS’ pathologic­ally needy stars) and corporate America (exemplifie­d by Alec Baldwin, as supremely arrogant exec Jack Donaghy), mixed in with some of the silliest names ever put onscreen, like Chris Parnell’s Dr. Spaceman (pronounced “spuh-CHEH-men”) or Krakowski’s Jenna starring in The Rural Juror. (Try saying it aloud.) Yet, as eager as 30 Rock was to bite the hand that fed it, in the most ludicrous ways possible, there was also a palpable affection for the business that made these shenanigan­s possible. As Kenneth (Jack McBrayer), the ageless, unnaturall­y chipper NBC page, put it in the very first episode, “I just love television.” So did 30 Rock.


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