I felt the need to elevate this comment on Haverstam’s most recent dispatch to a post — as I have yet to write anything dealing with such pertinent matters as “Heroes Season Three,” I’ll make due with a posting that is tangentially about the sublime “30 Rock.”

The sketch is pretty funny, along the lines of the other fake commercials that the show has featured in the last 10+ years (e.g. Three-legged Jeans, Gatorade Cookie-Dough Sport, KCF coleslaw shredder, and of course, Schmitt’s Gay). What’s notable is that these bits have often been much funnier than the “live” material on the show… while similar ‘commercials’ in the 70s (Super Bass-O-Matic, Creely’s Soup, Adopt John Belushi for Christmas) weren’t pre-recorded.

So too, there’s been a fair gnashing of teeth about how few of the modern SNL repertory players have gone on to have careers after leaving the show (case in point, Jimmy Fallon). However, the success of Will Ferrell in branching out beyond his SNL persona (occasionally), and Tina Fey’s ascendancy as the doyenne of comedy serve to bolster Haverstam’s point, I believe.

  1. Alec Baldwin. His comedic sense and timing is great. His ownership of his character is even better.
  2. Tina Fey’s ever-improving acting. You can almost watch her get better from one episode to the next.
  3. Tina Fey’s cleavage. I am of the opinion that Tina Fey’s cleavage needs to be given its own character credit on this show. It appears more frequently than half the cast members, and seems so carefully arranged and presented that I would not be surprised to also see a credit for: Assistant to Ms. Fey’s Cleavage.
  4. Appeals across many demographics. For instance, I can watch this show with my beautiful girlfriend, who has way better cleavage than Tina Fey! The same cannot be said for Grey’s Papaya Anatomy (her) or re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation (…also…uhh…her.)
  5. Tracy Morgan. Not as talented an actor as Alec Baldwin, but displays a similar ownership of his character. Credit the creators and writers of the show for this bright spot as well. It has a lot to do with how expertly they handle Tracy Jordan’s different displays of ‘crazy behavior.’ If they can get away with just saying ‘he’s crazy,’ they do it and move on. If the plot calls for something more, for whatever reason, they address the reason and move on. Tight, smart writing – and as I said, Morgan pulls his job off expertly as well. He is clearly having a lot of fun with the role. This is probably something I completely missed, because I don’t watch television too often – but is he playing a version of himself?
  6. Kenneth the Page. Another character whose oddities and quirks are treated with alternating looseness and precision. Another good acting job. In fact…
  7. Very good supporting cast. From Morgan Fairchild look-a-like Jane Krakowsi (no relation to John Krasinski) to Jack McBrayer’s Kenneth the Page, to the guy whose only real job is to look dirty and wear funny hats, the supporting cast of 30 Rock does a very good job of making sure that those moments falling in between major plot points actually support what’s going on in the show – instead of degenerating into typical network filler-fare. Filla-fare. Falafel. I’m hungry. Don’t even like falafels.
  8. Utilizes its humor equitably and towards positive effects. This may be a minor point – but I enjoy the way in which the show seems to dole out its good-natured knocks equally among any and all ‘victims.’ One episode will end up with Big Bad Republican Jack Donaghy teaching Little Mousy Cleavage Pushin’ Liz Lemon about how to be assertive, strong, and…rich. At the end of the next, Lemon will be scurrying to save Donaghy from some trapping of Red State life. Last week’s episode was particularly indicative of this tendency. Maybe we can all get along after all. (Not really. Ibiteyoureyes.)
  9. Not afraid to get weird. Now, I’m not talking about Liz Lemon’s geek-girl characteristics. Geekdom is slowly but surely (ge)eking its way into the mainstream taste. A different subject for a different time. I’m talking more about the occasional ridiculous plot point (cookie jars?) and the occasional one-liner (often delivered by Baldwin) that after the first few episodes started to (thankfully) take the place of your average, run-of-the-mill, cheap…sitcom jokes.
  10. I am too hungry to finish this list. Discuss among yourselves. Ibitesomefood.