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30 Rock: Season 3 - Review

30 Rock: Season 3

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentaries; Deleted Scenes; Behind the Scenes with the Muppets; 1-900-OKFACE; Kidney Now! Table Read; The Making of Kidney Now!; Photo Gallery; Alec Baldwin SNL monologue; Tracy Jordan’s Rant; Award Acceptance Speeches.

THE third season of 30 Rock can proudly lay claim to having secured the most Emmy nominations for a comedy in TV history: an astonishing 22 (that’s one per episode). It’s fully deserved.

This is now a show of must-see status, which continues to grow more and more confident of its own ability to make you laugh.

What’s more, it confirms that Alec Baldwin IS a comedy genius, Tina Fey IS one of the most talented writer-actresses working in the US, and Tracy Morgan is fast becoming the coolest black comedian since Eddie Murphy or Richard Prior in their prime!

For those who still don’t know (and shame on you!), 30 Rock is a parody sit-com (of American staple Saturday Night Live) that revolves around the fictional comedy variety show called The Girlie Show (TGS) with Tracy Jordan.

It follows the fortunes of the show’s main writer, Liz Lemon (Fey), her boss Jack Donaghy (Baldwin) and the various TGS cast members under her command, including famous comedian Tracy Jordan (Morgan) and self-obsessed diva Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski).

More so than ever before, the main storylines migrate from the sketch show itself to the characters’ personal lives (or mainly Liz’s and Jack’s), thereby allowing Liz a hilarious failed relationship with recurring Mad Men guest star Jon Hamm, and Jack an equally ill-fated liaison with Salma Hayek’s Elisa.

But while certainly more coherent in terms of plot follow-ons than the first season especially, the obscure and often surreal humour remained intact, with almost every episode featuring a memorable moment or top guest cameo along the way.

Highlights include an appearance by The Muppets (or rather muppet incarnations of the show’s central characters, which has to rate as pure genius), a clever play on the Mamma Mia storyline that brings forth Alan Alda, a guest spot from Steve Martin, and an episode entitled Jackie Jormp-Jomp, in which Liz gets to experience a life away from TGS.

The final episode, meanwhile, features multiple musical guests – including Norah Jones, Steve Earle, Clay Aiken, Beastie Boys, Mary J. Blige, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Cyndi Lauper, Adam Levine, Sara Bareilles and Rachael Yamagata – performing an organ donation drive spoof appropriately titled Kidney Now.

We could go on heaping praise… but better you sit back and savour it for yourself. 30 Rock is brilliant fun… endlessly inventive, hugely entertaining and intelligent to boot, it’s by far and away one of the best comedies the US has ever delivered to our screens!

Certificate: 12
Episodes: 22
UK DVD Release: April 5, 2010