Best of the Small Screen, Comedies No. 2


Over the next 12 weeks I'll be taking a look at some of my favorite TV series, broken down into three groups (Limited Run Series, Comedies, and Dramas). In my post on March 1 I laid out the ground rules for these categories and this exploration, the biggest of which is no series that are currently airing. To read the whole thing, check out the post "Best of the Small Screen" from March 1.

Today I continue with a comedy that always makes me laugh.

30 Rock (2006-2013)
Number of Seasons/Episodes: 7/138
Network: NBC
Starring: Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, and Jack McBrayer
Creator: Tina Fey
Favorite Season/Episodes: 1.07 "Tracy Does Conan," 1.10 "The Rural Juror," 2.04 "Rosemary's Baby," 3.22 "Kidney Now," 4.07 "Dealbreakers"
About: It was easy to decide "30 Rock" would be on this list, but harder to decide just where it would land. It's an interesting show that was always one of my favorites when it was on the air. I looked forward to the episodes each week and was always in my top 10 for the year. But unlike many other shows on this list, it's harder for me to point to one specific episode that sold me. In fact, I remember being skeptical about the show when it debuted. Back in the fall of 2006, NBC offered two new shows set behind the scenes at a late-night comedy show. The first was Aaron Sorkin's drama "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." I am a huge Sorkin fan, and I assumed that show would be a massive hit. The second was "30 Rock," which looked goofy and a little strange. I didn't think it would make it. I was completely wrong. Instead, "Studio 60" limped through a single season, and "30 Rock" joined the pantheon of signature comedies for NBC. That's due in large part to the genius of Tina Fey, who created, wrote, produced and starred in the show, and Alec Baldwin, who was pitch-perfect in this role. There was a good supporting cast, too, and many funny recurring bits, but those two are the reason the show soared to the heights it did. Some of the episodes I listed highlight the bits and wacky joy of the show. "Tracy Does Conan" introduced Dr. Leo Spaceman, a hilarious recurring character, while "The Rural Juror" introduced the running bit on the fake movie within the show. "Rosemary's Baby" featured Carrie Fisher, and a ton of "Star Wars" jokes, while "Kidney Now" included a hilarious telethon and "Dealbreakers" featured Liz Lemon (Fey) getting her own, ill-conceived, talk show. But, really, this isn't a show about specific episodes, it's about the joy of the journey with these characters. And it's well worth exploring.

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