Make no mistake – 30 Rock is a stupid show. But it is fun. And for a stupid show, the writing it pretty go. I don’t see it lasting, however.
30 Rock is the other NBC series premiering this season that takes a behind the scenes look at a live weekly sketch comedy show undergoing a change of creative direction. But there is no confusing it with Studio 60.
30 Rock features a cast of Saturday Night Live alums.
Studio 60 features a cast of Emmy winning West Wing Alums.
30 Rock is a sitcom without a studio audience.
Studio 60 is a drama with comedic elements.
30 Rock tells jokes and sets up silly situations.
Studio 60 tells sweeping stories of how characters interact and struggle to put together a quality product.
On 30 Rock, network management forces new talent on the show.
On Studio 60, network management fights itself over new talent on the show.
The show within the show in 30 Rock is being changed to focus more on a young make demographic and becoming more outrageous.
The show within the show on Studio 60 is being changed to be smarter, more satirical, and to be a higher quality program.
30 Rock is 30 minutes long.
Studio 60 is 60 minutes long.
They are two entirely different shows using a similar vehicle to tell their stories. But while Studio 60 is Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, 30 Rock is Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve got Love in my Tummy.
That’s not to say 30 Rock is all bad. There’s a place for bubble gum pop.
30 Rock has low dramatic expectations. And it’s funny. There are some funny jokes, and the writing is good. Alec Baldwin does a great job as the pompous network executive. Tina Fey in the role of the straight man is a little stiff, but once she starts playing the character instead of the role of Tina Fey who should loosen up. Tracy Morgan is playing every wacky black character he played during his time on Saturday Night Live. And the writers’ room has an eclectic mix of sitcom personalities.
But it can’t last. I doubt there’s room on NBC for SNL and two shows about SNL. And 30 Rock is simply not all that original. They jokes, while good, are likely to fall into formula quickly. Without a compelling story to separate it from the pack of other TV shows, 30 Rock is unlikely to return next year.