Know Your Show: Tina Fey's 30 Rock #AtoZChallenge

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
This post is part of my #AtoZChallenge for April 2016 where my theme is TV Sitcoms.
For the letter T, I choose the ridiculously talented Tina Fey & her amazing show 30 ROCK.


The show revolves around the hilarious antics of the cast and crew behind the fictional TV comedy show "TGS with Tracy Jordan', filmed inside 30 Rockefeller Plaza ('30 Rock')

10 reasons you will love it:

1) The show actually started off based on Fey's experiences on Saturday Night Live where she was the head writer. But it soon grew beyond that once it shrugged off the 'let's imbibe a moral lesson in here' beat of the first season and became an amazingly funny commentary on everything from politics to sex and racism, all from the point of view of the delightfully awkward 'head writer of a comedy show' Liz Lemon. 30 Rock was not even afraid to make fun of their parent company, often mocking NBC itself in various episodes, calling it the worst channel on TV!

2) Jokes per minute: The show was famous for its rapid-fire humour thanks to some brilliant writing on the job. In 2010, a blogger decided to check it out and found that on an average, an episode of 30 Rock contained 10 (9.57 to be exact) jokes per minute!

3) Tina Fey as Liz Lemon is comic gold. As the original mind behind this show, this phenomenal goldmine of talent has delivered a show that will be widely quoted and referenced decades later. Playing a nuttier version of herself as Liz Lemon, she is smart, silly, lazy, hilarious and creative, juggling an insanely wild set of office egos while trying to make the show go on.

4) While writing the script for the show, Tina Fey envisioned Alec Baldwin for the lead character. She did not expect the Hollywood star to do it however so DIDN'T even ask him while seeking auditions for the role. It was when they met during a skit for SNL that he found out about it. Thank God he agreed because it gave us one of the most awesome characters in Jack Donaghy!
He's so good he can make you laugh without even changing an expression. A suave boss who considers himself the ultimate problem solver/ Gods gift to mankind, he finds himself exasperated yet challenged by Liz Lemon's wide range of office and personal issues, often sticking his head in where it isn't needed.

5) Tracy Morgan as an actor on SNL can be handful. So on 30 Rock, giving him the role of a high profile star who 'wants what he wants when he wants it'  no matter how ridiculous it is, is perfect. With the wild-eyed Jane Krakowski as his foil as co-actress Jenna Maroney who demands to share the limelight with Tracy, the two drive Liz Lemon insane with their demands and tales.  

Kenneth as the hillbilly raised page/intern is the angelic goody two shoes who cannot be corrupted (Believe me! The head, Jack Donaghy, tried just because he wanted Kenneth to be as immoral as himself!) Judah Friedlander and Scott Adsit complete the cast as fellow co-writers of the comedy show who ensure Liz never has a peaceful day of work. 
Oh yes, and lest I forget, there is the horribly incompetent Dr Spaceman. Heaven help you if he is your doctor.

6) Very few shows get better as they reach their end. 30 Rock is that rare show. Embracing the outlandishness of each of the characters was a stroke of genius, making for brilliant laugh out loud moments. The show was nothing if not bold. Unafraid to mock Obama and Bush in the same sentence, they took on everyone with a mock seriousness that was as audacious as it was awesome. 

7)  You know you have a good show when everybody wanted to have a role in it. Guest stars who allowed themselves to be ridiculed included:

  • Vice President Al Gore was there parodying himself.
  • Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, as Liz's mother's first love.
  • Matt Damon as Liz's lover, a pilot named Carol.
  • Actress Elizbeth Banks as Jack's lover, who gets kidnapped by the North Korean president, no less.
  • Oprah Winfrey as herself was stuck next to a drunk Liz Lemon on a flight. 
  • Will Arnett as Jack's hilariously bad rival in business.
  • David "Ross Gellar" Schwimmer as a mascot for global warming awareness who dresses like a superhero and starts to imagine he really is one.
  • Jennifer Aniston followed Ross over, playing a friend of Liz who just wants to party and cause trouble in LizLand.
  • Steve Martin as an agoraphobic billionaire who hates sex and just wants to stay away from everyone sounds like a nightmare. To Liz, he sounds like heaven as he matches everything she wants in a man!
  • Jon Hamm maybe known for Mad Men but he was hilarious as Liz's lover, a doctor with bad timing and luck.
  • Alan Alda as Jack's dad finally meets his son... to ask him for a kidney! 
  • Salma Hayek, Micheal Keaton, Bryan Cranston, Julianne Moore... the list goes on and on and on. Seriously.
8) Seven seasons. 138 episodes. Minimal continuity issues. In fact, I would recommend a second viewing. There are so many inside jokes and lines flying by that you would have missed them the first time around.

9) The show was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for every year it was on television. Every single year! It won thrice consecutively from 2007-9. In 2009, it was nominated for 22 Emmys, the most ever in a single year for a comedy show. Overall, it ended up with 103 Emmy Nominations and 16 Emmys.

10) Personal opinion: I miss this show so badly. It is so rewatchable and you just can't stop laughing at the rapid fire hilarious antics of this crew. Jack Donaghy & Liz Lemon were the best non-romantic couple on television ever, if you ask me.

If aliens were to judge us based solely upon this show:

They would know not to mess with Jack Donaghy because HE'S JACK DONAGHY, DAMMIT!
They would also know never to seek Liz Lemon's help for anything!


  • So many phrases and jokes from 30 Rock are now actual catchphrases - 'I want to go to there', 'Nerdrage', 'Blergh'.
  • When the show ended, Alec Baldwin bought all the suits he wore during the show. He loved how they looked on him.

To see all the shows  I have talked about till date, please CLICK HERE.

Coined phrases - blurgh. I want to go to there.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Replies
    1. It's the best way to destress after a long day

  2. Awesome pic. This show was defiantly a game changer. Good choice.

    1. So many have never even heard of this show, I found out. How sad is that?

  3. I should watch this one..

  4. I used to love this show! And I loved the way Alec Baldwin used to speak, in that, how do I put it, Batmannish voice. He really bought all the suits? Haha!

    1. Haha.. Once he embraced that silliness to the maximum, he was truly brilliant!

    2. Haha.. Once he embraced that silliness to the maximum, he was truly brilliant!

  5. 10 jokes per minute... and so may awards... wow! Adding it in my TBW list!

    1. The jokes fly by so thick and fast, you will surely miss them unless you have a keen ear.
      That's the plus point of not having a live audience and a laughter track... You don't need to wait for them to finish laughing

  6. I didn't watch the show regularly but whenever I did found it to be so funny. Definitely would be a good one to stream some day.

    Weekends in Maine

  7. I love Tina Fey... Mostly watched her on Ellen and other talk shows.. ok adding this to my list too. Gosh after a to z I will become a TV addict... thanks to you :P

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

    1. This is Tina Fey at her best... you will love her even more

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