Thursday, November 08, 2007

All TV: '30 Rock' goes irreverently green

Today's column previews tonight's brilliant "Green Is Universal"-lampooning episode of "30 Rock":
In the last episode of "30 Rock," NBC executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) scoffed at heroine Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) and her desire to push the envelope with her show's content.

"'Push the envelope'? You know who uses that phrase?" Jack asked. "People who don't have the guts or the brains to work inside the system: letter writers! radicals! Howard Dean!"

Because Jack is a pompous (and somewhat insane) network executive, he could easily be the villain of "30 Rock," but there's always a kernel of truth in what the man has to say. Later in the episode, for instance, he warns Liz, "Never go with a hippie to a second location." Wiser words may never have been spoken.

Watching a screener of tonight's "30 Rock" contribution to NBC's "Green Is Universal" week of eco-friendly programming (8:30 p.m., Ch. 4) - complete with self-parodying Al Gore cameo - it was hard not to find the truth in Jack's comment about working inside the system. If there's a writer in the business with the guts and brains to do that and make the system work for her, it's Tina Fey.
There's also a brief review of tomorrow night's "Man Vs. Wild" season premiere. To read the full thing, click here.


Unknown said...

I never watch 30 Rock, but I'm glad someone is calling into question the validity of NBC's Green Week.

I've watched two episodes of The Biggest Loser, one from non-green weeks, and one from green week, and it just made me so angry. 'cause in green week they were like...comically conscious, and in non-green week they were peddling "steam bags" (AKA one-use non-biodegradeable bags to steam your vegetables in the microwave, then throw out afterwards so you don't have to do dishes)

I'm sorry guys, but you can't have it both ways. There's just too much money to be made in catering to convenience for me to ever take the efforts of NBC to pay lip service to an environmentally conscious message as anything but what it is.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm watching a Green Is Universal promo right now with the cast of "Chuck" where they lecture us on recycling while standing in front of a wall of flatscreen TVs, all of them turned on. It's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

That Chuck promo does sound inadvertently hilarious, but in fairness their largest contribution to Green Week (aside from a campus demonstration going on in the background) was having Tang play up environmentalism as a good scam to entrap customers' sympathies. Not as funny as what Fey and company have come up with, I'm sure, but I took it as a GE dig all the same.

More after tonight's episode, I'm sure.

Adam said...

There's not much to say about an episode before I've seen it, but Jen and I have been saying "bust up my chiffarobe" all week long.

Tom said...

Regarding last week's episode...

What, if anything, does the portrayal of a hopelessly washed up, comically has-been TV writer say about solidarity between writers? The whole thrust of the episode was "I love you old guys, couldn't be here without you, but when push comes to shove I know who's signing my checks." Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it seemed like a portentous episode, given what came down at the end of the week. (BTW, I'm not suggesting Tina Fey herself holds these views, but she was lampooning what must be a prevalent attitude.)

Very funny but very depressing. Sigh.

Rickey said...

Alan, how long until 30 Rock has to switch to reruns?

Also, in my opinion, here's what the networks need to do in order to keep their ratings from plummeting: air all the brilliant shows that they canceled prematurely. Shows like Wonderfalls, Freaks & Geeks, Arrested Development, Firefly, etc. could easily be brought back. That way at least viewers get to watch previously unseen (and terrific) shows until the strike is resolved.

Anonymous said...

I don't watch much NBC. Has there been anything more ludicrous than the NBC pre-Sunday night football show without studio lights? If NBC were really serious, they'd turn out the lights on that show permanantly (and the cameras, just to be clear.) Hell, keeping Costas and Olbermann away from microphones would reduce CO2 emissions enough to offset Madonna's entourage for a year.