All the 30 Rock #longreads

I loved 30 Rock, so I’m sorry to see it go. I had forgotten NBC launched both 30 Rock and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip at the same time, which definitely couldn’t have helped either show. This fact was brought up in almost all the articles below. I really enjoyed reading through these articles.

Wesley Morris on identity politics:

TV became overwhelmingly white, again. Mostly black shows, like 227 and Amen, were largely stressless havens, free of racial and social upheaval. That comfort continued to swell in the 1990s with shows like Living Single, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Family Matters. (Fox had the blue-collar black family on Roc, but it might have been too real; it lasted only three seasons.) Most of these shows took the wrong lessons from The Cosby Show and its black-college spin-off, A Different World, the two most important shows about black life in the history of television. The former took lavish pride in blackness and the black middle class. The latter offered an absorbing survey of the many ways to be black. But each show could also be watched, respectively, as a universal half-hour about a large, loving family and as a resonant dramedy about the ups and downs of higher education. Not seeing blackness in either show meant the writing was generous enough to permit you to see past it. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t there. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Family Matters were more insipid shows that nonetheless managed to further normalize a black middle class, while characters like Carlton Banks and Steve Urkel followed the cool nerdiness of A Different World’s Dwayne Wayne and further expanded the parameters of who else a black male could be.

But the problems of race and racism were shuttled off to cop procedurals and courtroom dramas or were being fought on nascent daytime talk shows and reality stunts like the alarming first two seasons of The Real World. 30 Rock turned a sharp corner on the depiction of those conversations. It’s useful to remember that the show debuted in the fall of 2006, right before the cancellation of Aaron Sorkin’s terrible Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, whose setting was a sketch comedy show that was too proud of all the positions it took to be funny. That show resulted in nearly two dozen episodes of awkward self-misunderstanding. It was like watching a horse try to ride a man.

The Alec Baldwin moments in this Rolling Stone look back are great, but also:

For Fey, the biggest triumph of 30 Rock is its very survival: the unlikely persistence of a show sufficiently unhinged to use blackface on three occasions; to have Jane Krakowski’s monstrously narcissistic Jenna Maroney consummate her self-adoration by marrying her own male impersonator; to have Elizabeth Banks’ Avery Jessup kidnapped by Kim Jong-Il as an unfortunate consequence of NBC’s “Hot Blondes in Weird Places” initiative. “I feel like we made a lot of good episodes of the kind of show that usually gets canceled,” says Fey. “The kind where there’s 20 episodes and ‘only me and my hipster friends know about it.’ That part’s still true. But we made 140 of them!”

What’s really crazy about 30 Rock is its sheer verbal velocity – punch lines go by so fast that even smart people may need to rewind (an industrious blogger calculated that a 2010 episode averaged 9.57 jokes per minute). “It requires you to pay attention in a way that you don’t always want to at the end of a long day,” says Fey, “and I get that. I’m a professional comedy worker, and there would be days when I’m like, ‘I love Arrested Development, but I don’t want to watch it right now.’?

The NY Times on Tina Fey:

“30 Rock” was modeled on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in many important ways, except for its heroine. Liz was not a goody-goody perfectionist like Mary Richards, or, by her own admission, Ms. Fey herself. Disciplined, ambitious type-A’s can be comical, as Ms. Moore, and later Candice Bergen, the star of “Murphy Brown,” proved. But Ms. Fey, who was the first female head writer of “Saturday Night Live,” chose as her alter ego a dumpy sad sack who just happened to be the head writer of a late-night sketch comedy show.

She created deliciously absurd characters like the silkily self-possessed network executive Jack Donaghy, played brilliantly by Alec Baldwin, and the insane comedian Tracy Jordan, played by Tracy Morgan, by grafting familiar show-business phenotypes onto those actors’ inner nuttiness. Ms. Fey borrows shamelessly from real life, except when it comes to her own success. It may be that she plays against type because she is uncomfortable with the deadly earnest role of trailblazer. But she is one.

Alan Sepinwall calls 30 Rock “one of the best comedies ever on television, about television.”

Where “Studio 60” struggled in part because it kept failing to convince us that its own fake “SNL” was a dazzling work of satire, “30 Rock” very quickly abandoned any pretense that “TGS” was supposed to be good — or interest in “TGS,” period — and (to paraphrase one of Liz Lemon’s favorite works of literature) in so doing, became a more powerful satire than we could have possibly imagined. It was a show about television, but by ceasing to be about a specific television show, it gained license to be about everything.

“30 Rock” could be wince-inducingly precise in its take on racism and white liberal guilt (in one episode, Liz mistakenly assumes Tracy is illiterate; in another, she struggles to break up with a boorish guy because he’s black). Through Jack Donaghy, the show ruthlessly lampooned the excesses of corporate America and our nation’s deeply dysfunctional political system. And through Liz, time and time again, “30 Rock” smartly — and always in a humorous context, so it never felt like a lecture — analyzed the struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated profession, and world. (Even last week, the show was still finding new jokes on the subject: Jack starts listing trailblazing women through history like Amelia Earhart, Joan of Arc and Diane Fossey, then stops to observe, “Boy, women who try to do things sure get killed a lot.”

How 30 Rock lasted 7 seasons from Deadline.

Carlock was referring to the DVR audience not watching the show live and NBC including the data in the overall sample. “If you look at us solely in terms of traditional measurement, no way do we stay on for seven years without something else going on,” he believes. “That overnight number clearly isn’t almighty. If it were, it makes no sense that a show that’s as expensive as we were would stick around as long as we did. We had to be making people some money.” Indeed, some years it seemed 30 Rock and The Office were the only things keeping the lights on at NBCUniversal, given the creative and viewership quagmire in which the network found itself. “We were either the wrecking ball or the repair crew,” Carlock surmises. It’s also noteworthy that the series grew to become a reflection of NBC’s woes in more ways than one, with its spoofing of the real-life NBC merger with Comcast in the fictitious acquisition on 30 Rock of NBC from GE by Kabletown. So not only did the show survive; it did so while chowing down on the network hand that fed it.

The AV Club also notes the Mary Tyler Moore similarity:

So is it the best final season of an American sitcom ever? Not entirely, but the fact that it’s even in the conversation—and after seeing tonight’s excellent finale, I’d easily put it somewhere in the top 10—is a mark of how far Fey and her writing staff have brought the show from its darkest days, back in season four, when it occasionally seemed like the series had lost the plot entirely. What’s been so great about this final season of 30 Rock is that the show has now lasted long enough to pull off something that hasn’t been done in TV in a long time, mostly because TV comedy has been in such dire straits this last decade: It’s deliberately constructing the “end” of a sitcom story, a final season that closes a bunch of storylines fans didn’t even realize they were invested in, pulling back in loose ends from the whole run of the show. And when looking back at the history of that particular TV phenomenon, it’s useful to go all the way back to a show 30 Rock has often been in conversation with: The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

A love letter from Gawker.

The central concern of 30 Rock is this: People don’t understand each other. That’s the basic structure of jokes—person one says something, and person two hears something different—but it’s also a philosophical problem. Two people, both speaking English, supplemented by body language, converse, yet their actual meanings remain inaccessible to one another. Over the course of the show, Liz Lemon gradually realizes that almost no one around her comprehends her. There is an irreducible distance between her and everyone else. (Writers may sense this problem more acutely than other people do.)

Vulture collects all the 30 Rock listicles. All of them.

All the 30 Rock #longreads

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Seasons 1-5

Below are links to everything Tracy Jordan said in each season of 30 Rock up through Season 5 in honor of 30 Rock’s last episode. I have a little less time than I used to, so I haven’t done Season 6 and Season 7, and now that the show’s over they’ll probably never get done (if I’m being honest). These are just transcripts of Tracy Jordan’s dialogue without context, which some people find boring. I find them magical. You can also find Everything Don Draper Said and a few characters from Lost, too.

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 1
Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 2
Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 3
Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 4
Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 5

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Seasons 1-5

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 5

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Here for your reading pleasure and nitpicky criticism is Everything Tracy Jordan Said in Season 5 of 30 Rock. As always, this is actually EVERYTHING he said, and is not intended to be a best of. This was a pretty analog exercise 2 years ago when I did it the first time, and it feels more so now. Theoretically, this should be a 20 minute supercut of all his lines for the season. There is, however, something interesting about seeing all of the lines in one place. You can also check out: Other seasons of Tracy Jordan, Everything Hurley Said, Everything Sawyer Said, Everything Locke Said, and Everything Don Draper Said.

Episode 1
-Yo. I’m calling to say that I’m giving you 110% this year. I’m relaxed. I’m focused. And I’m gonna be churning out the good stuff like you’ve never seen.
-Oh. I misdialed. I thought I was calling my nutritionist. Goodbye.
-Hey, KKKK. First day back is gonna be a busy one. First, I need you to go to the drycleaners for me and find out how Martinizing works. I’ve always been curious. Then, I need you to be back by noon to make the bathroom smell like sandalwood before I wreck it. You got that K-Pack of Gum.
-Of course. I knew that.
-Kenneth, I knew you’d come back. Let me smell your head.
-I’m sorry, but my heart is playing tricks on my eyes, just like my kidneys did to my lungs that time.
-I keep hallucinating Kenneth. Am I going crazy again? Should I get my rainbow wig out of storage?
-Like the World Cup. I’ll try. No. This place is too full of memories. I’ve got to clear my head!
-No! You do not exist. I am in control of this.
-You’re not real. If I threw you in front of a car, it would drive right through you.
-Of course it would. It would know everything I knew because it sprung from my imagination.
-Oh, no. I missed it! Do it again.
-I love you, Kenwood. Why don’t you come back home to TGS. Pick the peas out of my fried rice. And the rice. I just want carrots.
-Don’t you miss rubbing my foot back into the shape of a foot?
-I guess this is goodbye. Obviously, I’m gonna need the tote bag.
-Sure is, wanna go kiss in the prop cage?

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Episode 2
-I’m werewolfing myself.
-You know when a dude knows he’s gonna turn into a werewolf and locks himself in a jail? Well, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve missed the birth of both of my sons…for very legitimate reasons.
-So I promised Angie I will not miss the birth of our daughter.
-And my mood ring! And I don’t know how I feel about that.
-And good for you, Liz Lemon. There’s something about you lately. Make me want to put my feet in your mouth.
-I can’t leave my dressing room until Angie goes in to labor, but the president is saying we have to go outside.
-If I was a real werewolf, I’d wear baggy clothes so my nice clothes wouldn’t get all torn up. Same rules for if I were the Hulk. I don’t get why people like brunch. What’s the benefit of combining breakdancing and lunch?
-You’re not Griz! Ahh!
-I just gotta get to the hospital on Right There. Taxi! Sir, I don’t have any money, but I need to get to Mount Sinai Hospital.
-Wow, it’s like I always say, ‘White cab drivers are weird.’.
-Explain the rules.
-So to be there for the birth of my daughter I have to answer trivia questions despite having gone to middle school in an Exxon station?
-Bring it.
-Come on, I don’t know that.
-OK, I remember going to the Statue of Liberty Centennial cuz that year someone had spread a rumor that she was going to slip out of her toga and I wanted to see some green boobies. And that year the Mets had just won the World Series cuz that night I was randomly attacked by a Mets fan that I had thrown a pile doo at. That was 1986. And centennial is a hundred years because centipeding means having sex with a hundred women. I got it. 1886.
-She is an orca, Benjamin. FYI, they’re very difficult to keep in a home aquarium.
-I’m coming, Angie!
-The Lazy Susan was invented by Thomas Jefferson. I know because I’m a descendent of Thomas Jefferson and Lazy Susan herself. The capital of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. I know that because if I go back there, I’ll be executed. There are twelve tons in the chromatic scale. [Singing] I know that because I’m a musical genius.
-Tracy Jordan. Hero. Husband. Diabetic slash alcoholic. Yes!
-Am I pulling it right?
-OK.
-It’s still not opening.
-I’m trying to pull, you keep saying push.
-What you want me to do? You’re yelling at me.
-I’m freaking out!
-Because I love you, baby, and I’ll always be by your side no matter what Discovery Channel game show stands in my way. I wouldn’t have missed whatever just happened here for anything. I don’t know what I’d do without you. And I mean it.
-Why is that baby covered with goop?
-You ready for this, Jacky D?
-Explain.
-Jacky D, you want to make God laugh? Make a plan, or read him a Dave Barry book. You worried about being old, Jack? You could live forever, but you still can’t predict what happens in life. Wait a minute, there’s no baby in here.
-Oh, she’s in the crib. Good.
-I hate to say I told you so, so, ‘Welcome to Miami’.
Continue reading “Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 5”

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 5

Tracy Morgan on Tina Fey or Sarah Palin

My favorite part about this video is that before Tracy said Sarah Palin was good masturbation material, he was very clearly going to say, “Both of them at the same time.” Everything Tracy Jordan Said indeed.

In TNT’s apology, they interestingly criticized Tracy, but not the hosts who set him up.

Via The Daily What

Tracy Morgan on Tina Fey or Sarah Palin

List of Possible EGOT Winners

folkinz made a list of folks he thinks have a real shot at earning EGOT status. I’m not sure anyone belongs on this list if they have only won one of the four (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). Obviously Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin are the favorites having won 3 of the 4 needed, but also because it’s not impossible to imagine them winning Oscars (you know, in the way that it’s impossible to imagine Gwyneth Platrow winning a Grammy)

# cher (E, G, O)
# jamie foxx (G, O)
# catherine zeta-jones (O,T)
# jennifer hudson (G, O)
# lily tomlin (E, G, T)
# gwyneth paltrow (O)
# kevin spacey (O)
# nicole kidman (O)
# renee zellweger (O)
# scarlett johansson (T)
# anne hathaway (E)
# joaquin phoenix (G)
# reese witherspoon (O)
# hugh jackman (E, T)
# justin timberlake (E, G) oscar may be a stretch i know.
# meryl streep (E, O)
# bette midler (E, G, T)

Incidentally, there have been 12 EGOT winners (or 10 if you’re a stickler).

List of Possible EGOT Winners

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 4

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Last year, Tracy Jordan I put together a transcript of Everything Tracy Jordan Said in Season 3 of 30 Rock. You guys liked it and I subsequently put together Everything Hurley Said, Everything Sawyer Said, Everything Locke Said, Everything Don Draper Said, and a the first two seasons of Everything Tracy Jordan Said. Here is Season 4. This season, Tracy Jordan had a few great lines, specifically in Episodes 18 and 21. As always, these are ALL of Tracy Jordan’s lines from Season 4. If you’re looking for a best of list or this isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other internet out there for you. It’s going to take a second to get through, so be careful if you have stuff to do today.

Episode 1
-I can’t eat this, I’m a foodie.
-Well, before I made it in the stand up, I was a bucket drummer in the subway.
-Oh, yeah? Then how come I got sued for sexual harassment at it?
-You know how on St. Bart’s people be eating their lobster like this? Nyoooom, nyoooom, nyoooom, nyoooom.
-Don’t look at me in the eyes.
-Have I lost touch with my roots? I better talk to Rabbi Schmuli about this.
-I blame you and Dotcom. You have built a protective shell around me like a hermit crab or a mermaid booby. And now I’ve touch with the common man. Ehhhh. Who’s that?
-Oh, hey, guy. Come on in. So Rolly, where you from?
-Right on, my brother. My dear friend Moby opened up a tea house in Park Slope. Does he know you?
-Hey, Rolly, you ever lose your remote control?
-And then your wife start getting all mad because the roof won’t close and the bed that’s in the shape of your face is getting rained on? Hahaha. I like you, Rolly. Can I feel the rough skin on your hands?
-What do you mean that was weird? You sheltered me too much! I’m going out on the street and I don’t want nobody to follow me. Nobody. Uhmm. Which one is the elevator I’m not afraid of? RIGHT.
-Kenneth, how do I get out of this building?!
-Hello?
-Hello, is anyone there? I’m in a sort of tunnel and I see a man with a blue uniform. I think he’s a friend. Oh, never mind, there’s a door. Oh, it’s sunny!
-Hello, fellow human being. Would you like to ask me what time it is?
-Are you a large child or a small adult?
-You look regular, could I get your name? Is it Pedro? Is it Creckford? Is it Swimming?
-Are you a pre-op transcentaur?
-Excuse me, do you have change for a $10,000 bill?
-I would like some chicken nuggets, a beer, and some of my wife’s rice, to stay.
-Excuse me, sir, do you want to hold hands with a black millionaire?
-Does anyone want to be my friend?
-I’m normal!
-It’s going super great, Dotcom. Meet my new friends, Nobody. And his wife Susan Walters Hyphen Nobody. I’m so far from my roots, I don’t think I’ll ever get back.
-What’s that sound? Bucket drummers!
-These. These are my people. Bucket drummers, if you’re striking, so am I. Two-four-six-eight-ten-twelve-fourteen-sixteen-eighteen.
-New what? If it’s a blonde woman, I’m a kill myself!
Continue reading “Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 4”

Everything Tracy Jordan Said Season 4