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30 Rock

30 Rock is a comedy about "TGS with Tracy Jordan" a sketch show (based on Saturday Night Live) run out of 30 Rockefeller Centre in New York. Head writer Liz Lemon has to deal with temperamental stars Tracy Jordan and Jenna Maroney while also appeasing her boss Jack Donaghy. NBC 2006-???


Episode 13 - iQué Sorpresa!

25 March 2012

Synopsis: Jack is surprised when Hank Hooper, the boss of Kabletown, is not a traditional executive. Hank insists on hearing the employee's ideas and Jack has to suffer through their foolishness. That is until he uses Kenneth's idea and Hank loves it. Meanwhile Liz has to help Avery keep her pregnancy secret at work.

The Good: The decision to make Hank Hooper a lovable cuddly executive to infuriate Jack was a good one. Time and again he effortlessly raised Jack's hackles through sheer cheerfulness. That led to Jack using Kenneth's idea despite thinking that consulting the employees was a stupid idea. Although the show usually avoids real sentiment there was potential for it in the Jack-Kenneth dynamic. Kenneth's refusal to seek compensation for his idea showed the genuine sweetness his character is capable of if the writers didn't spend their lives bashing backwards Christian communities to basically make the same joke over and over. Similarly it is Jack's morality which saves the day, an important quality in keeping him as a likeable central character. By doing the right thing by Kenneth he wins Hank's approval and hopefully more fun interactions (see Comic Highlight).

I also liked Liz' attempts to keep Avery's pregnancy a secret. It was a simple idea and it kept the Tracy-Jenna nonsense from becoming too annoying. I did smile at Tracy misunderstanding the sentence "I wasn't really pregnant I was just pretending to help Jack." To which he naturally responds "Why would you pretend to help Jack? Help him for real, it takes the same amount of time."

The Bad: The humour on the show is so plastic. I can't think of a better word to mean manufactured, not flowing from anything real or based in reality. Frank says he has an "arm-pit thing" and a "thigh-thing." Why should I find that grossly amusing when it has no affect on the plot. Frank might as well not be a character. Why not have a random extra just walk on and say that? Liz says she has had her period for the last sixty one days. No she hasn't. That has no basis in reality. If that were vaguely true she would have seen a doctor. Everyone is disgusted to see Liz posing with her belly out as if she is pregnant. Again why is that disgusting? She's in perfectly good shape. It makes no sense. Carmen pushes Liz to do the photo shoot using "the law of verbal traps." Yeah we get it, people in sit coms goad one another to uncover secrets and in reality Liz could just say "No thanks." But do we need a line like the "law of verbal traps"? Shows like Community play with sit com clichés with skill and affection, yet this just seemed lazy.

Comic Highlight: Jack worries about whether he can fit in with the new love-and-hugs mentality at Kabletown. It's not very Jack, as he points out: "Don Geiss gave me this watch for firing a man on his deathbed."

The Bottom Line: The plots in 30 Rock can actually be pretty fun but the jokes remain off-putting.



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