Day 19: 30 Rock, season 3 (2008)

So, today I will be discussing 30 Rock, season 3. I would rather talk about disc 1 of Dexter, season 4, but I told my husband I would watch the episodes with him. This is really a test of my willpower as we watched two of the three episodes on the first disc. Why do I have to make promises that are so difficult to keep?

So far, I am liking this season of Dexter. John Lithgow is phenomenal. He is super creepy and kind of has me freaked out—and we have only seen two episodes! I am excited to see where this will take me. Speaking of serial killers, in 30 Rock, Jenna and Tracy think Kenneth is a serial killer who has several bodies hidden in his bedroom. Of course this is all one crazy mix- up (or is it? Dun, dun, DUN), and hilarity ensues.


For those totally unfamiliar with 30 Rock (where hilarity ensues) and are subsequently lost by my previous paragraphs, I would like to pose a question: have you been living on the moon the past four years? I won’t even waste my time by recapping this sitcom that follows the cast (and bureaucrats) that work on a live comedy show (similar to SNL). Seriously, if you haven’t even heard of this show, you are definitely in need of some pop culture therapy. Usually this would mean that you simultaneously watch a show (probably a sitcom) on television and another (crime drama) on your laptop via Netflix or hulu, a browser with TMZ pulled up, while flipping through US Magazine (even the “who wore it best” section!), all while watching cats talk or puppies do silly things on youtube. If you survive this with your sanity, consider the therapy successful.


As we had previously watched seasons 1 and 2, I decided to start in on the third season a few weeks back. Trust me when I say you certainly do not have to have to watch the first two seasons to understand the third. This is why I love sitcoms—I am not totally lost if I miss an episode. They also abide by a format some people call “predictable.” I like to say, “reliable.” Is it mind-blowing that Kenneth and Tracy find themselves in crazy situations each episode (and hilarity ensues)? Well, not to us (though it always seems to amaze them). However, it is kind of comforting. I depend on the sitcom to follow a format– and it delivers.


However, sitcoms aren’t always entirely predictable. There is an interesting episode in this season where Liz attends her high school reunion. For half the episode, she complains that she doesn’t want to go– she was a nerd and her classmates treated her poorly. When she finally caves and attends the function, she realizes her former peers were less than thrilled to see her there. They remembered Liz as a mean person and a verbal bully. As can be expected, hilarity ensues as Liz attempts to earn the affection of people she doesn’t know anymore, while Jack pretends to be a mysterious classmate. Did I mention hilarity ensues? Because it does.


This episode in particular struck me as interesting. There are a bunch of movies and television shows that deal with the issue of not fitting in during high school. For (a freaking awesome) example, in Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion, two women lie to their classmates to aggrandize their lives as they attend their reunion. They, too, were traumatized by their high school experience and wanted to seem more important than they were as a way to redeem themselves and just look plain cool. I could list several other examples, and because I could, this made me think, “why is this theme so popular?”


My initial reaction would be to say that, personally, I relate because I was a geek in high school. But I think this genre reaches out to a larger base than just dorks, geeks, and nerds. Perhaps even the cool kids felt awkward in high school as well (as this episode of 30 Rock was trying to get at). Or even the temporal distance of school plus the feelings nostalgia make these shows resonate with the audiences. High school reunions fill us with both dread and excitement (maybe hilarity ensues?). How will we be viewed by people we haven’t seen in years? It seems as if it was a way to measure our own lives when we compare to the lives of those we spent four years with during our formative adolescent years.


Oy– too deep for a Netflix review blog. Did I mention there are a bunch of prat falls and people running into walls on 30 Rock (I guess there are a lot of banana peels and roller skates around Rockefeller Plaza)? Potty humor is also prevalent, so don’t worry. I like 30 Rock, and season 3 did not let me down. The cast is hilarious and the writing is witty. Watch it. Hilarity ensues.


Netflix Score: A-

Netflix Watch Instantly Queue: 195 (I succumbed to temptation and added another title!)

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