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September 18, 2014

30 Rock: Pilot (series premiere)

by Anna Johns, posted Oct 12th 2006 7:48AM
tracy morgan; 30 rock
(S01E01) Hel-lo! I think we have a hit! Out of all the new shows on television this fall, I'd say 30 Rock is the best new comedy. There's no mugging for the camera and no canned laughter or sitcom audience. The comedy is quick and witty... and Tina Fey's self deprecating character makes a terrific central figure in the show. (NBC Message board reviews are mixed)

Before I go any further, I'd like to call for an all-out moratorium on comparing 30 Rock to Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It should be obvious that they are not the same show. Yes, there's a similar premise of people coming in to stir up production of a show, but that's where the similarities end.

There is a handful of great characters here, all with immense comedic potential. Obviously, the best character on the show is Alec Baldwin's character. He's so clueless yet confident. The man really understands comedy and he has terrific chemistry with Fey. Even the writers and the NBC page had some great moments in the show. Plus, the crazy stuff that comes out of Tracy Morgan's mouth is confoundingly funny (i.e. "I'm from the government and I'm here to inspect the chicken nuggets.") Morgan is going to have some great lines, but they're going to be the kind that have to sink in for a second before you have to pause your TiVo and laugh your ass off.

I had the privilege of seeing the original pilot for 30 Rock and I think making the change from Rachel Dratch to Jane Krakowski was a very smart move. I know it sucks for Dratch, but Jane humanizes the 'Jenna' character while Rachel just makes it a character instead of a person. According to an interview with Tina Fey in TV Guide, Dratch will be on the show virtually every week as a different character so at least she remains employed.

This show had some great one-liners that weren't at all set up as one-liners. They were just woven in with the dialogue. Very smooth:

"Are there other black nerds or is it just you and Urkel?" - writer with 'Ninja' hat on

"Do you have apple juice?" - Tracy Jordan
"No" - waiter
"Then I'll take a vodka and tonic." - Tracy Jordan

"It's not HBO. It's TV." - Fey

"I cast that cat myself." - Baldwin

Maybe this will be the break-out hit of the fall that, so far, has been elusive. What did you think?

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rudebadger

Well, I'm giving up on "30 Rock". It didn't get better from the premiere and that wasn't that good either.

This show is supposed to be a comedy?

"Jericho" is funnier.

October 19 2006 at 7:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

No review for the second ep? It was MUCH better than the pilot.

Alec Baldwin's character is a riot.

October 19 2006 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sophie

I'm still not sure what I think of this show. I'm gonna have to give it another few weeks I think. I love Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin! Alec Baldwin hasn't been this funny since he was the voice of Leonardo Leonardo in the Clerks Cartoon series.
Tracey Morgan seems like he'll be good too. It was just a bit hard to get into it fully when they are still introducing everyone.

Also, for those that are interested I made a quiz for this episode.
http://www.tvtriviaquiz.com/30rock.htm

October 16 2006 at 1:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonny Rice

Wow. I thought 30 Rock had a number of genuinely funny moments, and I'm floored by how many people just ended up hating it. (For the record, I'm a political moderate who only catches Family Guy on Adult Swim, prefers the UK Office over the US version, and is still visibly depressed over the cancellation of Arrested Development.)

I found Baldwin pitch perfect, Morgan hella funny (do all you Tracy-haters not remember Brian Fellow's Safari Planet?), and Fey likeable from the start. Maybe it's just because I despise line cutters, too, but give the girl a break. I guess this show is just a great example of how subjective humor really is.

Sadly, I only lasted five or six minutes into 20 Good Years. I really, really, really wanted to like the show, but it was too painful to watch a pair of great comedic actors have absolutely nothing to work with. Anybody know what Peter Casey and David Lee are doing these days?

October 12 2006 at 10:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
simon p

I dunno, the show didn't really impress to be honest. there were moments that made me smile, moments that made me laugh. But at the end of the show i didn't really look forward to watching more or another episode. Tracy Morgan's character (cleverly named Tracy Jordan.. which i actually don't have a problem with but will make fun of anyway ;) kinda seems like what we've seen from him. It's as if not only did they not bother to rename him, but decided just to reuse old stuff. which isn't bad persay, but it just goes with the rest of the show being kinda subpar. I'll give it probably 5 episodes since i do think this show can really pick up, and i hope it does.

the funniest part of 30 rock was when Tina Fey commented on an interview [with i think time] about the difference between 30 rock and studio 60.
"Q: SAT Question - Studio 60 on the sunset strip is to thirty rock as...
Tina Fey - Shindler's list is to Hogan's Heroes."

October 12 2006 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
FlagPatrick

I didn't watch it last night. But I saw the first episode courtesy of NBC.com. It was okay, but not hilarious. The key players for me were Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin their delivery and overall characters helped propel the show into a funny zone. What kept it out of the funny zone, was Krakowski, Tina, and that other black guy and the page. Judah Friedlander and Scott Adsit should be regulars because they were hilarious. I think Rachel's funnier character version might have been better than Jane's. Jane's came off as too straight and too loopy. Tina's lines just were forced and slight off putting. I didn't get that whole hot dog thing in the beginning, not that funny. By the way the guy who started his own line is one of the writers on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. He's pretty funny and absurd on that show. As far as an NBC show goes, it's all right for now. But cut the freaking GE plugging crap. I like how Studio 60 created a fictional network so they can slip in the subtle barbs. Most of the barbs on this show are drawn out. Hopefully the show picks up pace from this episode. While it's not the Office, I can see this show sticking around for awhile. And yeah... Baldwin will probably pick up and Emmy or something. He doesn't show up on a TV for nothing!

October 12 2006 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

God, it sucked. Tina Fey quit SNL for this? She can write well, but boy, you don't see it here. Alec Baldwin is the only one who shouldn't be ashamed of himself in this show.

October 12 2006 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scott

yep, I'm an idiot... thanks, Brent!

and Lizbeth,
"Why were they at a topless go-go joint but all the women were fully dressed?"
It's TV, not HBO
"Why was Tina Fey so drunk she was dancing on the bar one minute, yet driving the next?"
because drinking impairs your judgement. she probably thought she was okay to drive :)
"Is it ever funny to slam a cat against a wall?"
yes.


October 12 2006 at 4:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lizbeth

Yeah, that really wasn't that funny. And it all seemed a bit forced, like a drawn out SNL skit that doesn't end when it should.

BTW: Why were they at a topless go-go joint but all the women were fully dressed? Why was Tina Fey so drunk she was dancing on the bar one minute, yet driving the next? Is it ever funny to slam a cat against a wall?

October 12 2006 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brent McKee

#35: They're being a lot more overt about the fictional "Girlie Show" actually being on NBC (rather than NBS for "Studio 60"). The headquarters an main New York studios for NBC is at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (or is it Center) so the facility is known as "30 Rock".

October 12 2006 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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