Just to say, the post-recession Season Four of 30 Rock begins on Comedy Central tonight, and I’ve seen the first two episodes, which are on fire. No spoilers but the very opening lines of Ep 1 will blow your mind. Unless, of course, you don’t like 30 Rock. (I threw a reference into my intro before hosting the Q&A at Bafta with Keifer Sutherland on Friday which was met with silence: “Keifer Sutherland is Jack Bauer in the same way that James Gandolfini is Tony Soprano, John Hamm is Don Draper and Jack McBrayer is Kenneth Parcell” … tumbleweeds across the auditorium.)
As a writer of comedy scripts, I am in constant awe of the structure and style of the best US sitcoms, but 30 Rock pushes me that close to giving up: it’s not just the quality of the lines (sneak preview: “I’m in the middle of a raging period … of economic turmoil”; “I’ll give you a New York minute – that’s seven seconds”), it’s the way they set spinning five individual stories in every episode, so that Jack, Liz, Tracy, Jenna and Kenneth all get something to do, and all five stories will be satisfactorily tied up at the end. In 23 minutes?! It’s criminal.
Anyway, if you’re not up to speed and like what you see, I envy you the retro-trawl through the box sets. (By the way, typically of me, I didn’t much like the first episode of 30 Rock when it was aired. Just like I didn’t get Curb on first viewing, or House, where, again, the enthusiasm of friends eventually broke me. In short, my negative first impressions are not to be trusted. I might stop trusting them.)