30 Rock, the American comedy series created by the consistently hilarious Tina Fey, is back for a sixth season, and it is a treat. It is the perfect example of why more genuinely original and idiosyncratic American comedies of this ilk should be brought to UK television screens, sparing us the ropey Two and a Half Men and such like.
Fast-paced, detailed and wide-ranging jesting fills the punchy 20-minute airtime to the brim, so much so that you almost want to re-watch it immediately to catch any merriment you may have missed due to laughing too hard.
Every aspect is closely observed for maximum comic effect â a dating site fleetingly referred to is called âDesperationships.comâ?, a disastrous Frasier spin-off called âHey Rozâ? is mentioned in passing, and we are given a brief hint at TV star Jennaâs murky history of electrocuting horses.
With excellent acting by stalwart characters – Tina Fey as spasmodic Liz Lemon, a head writer at NBC, and Alec Baldwin as volatile network executive Jack Donaghy â and a bizarre cameo from John McEnroe, the first episode of this new series follows the stationâs new hit talent contest, Americaâs Kidz Got Singing.
A madcap parody of a reality singing competition ensues, in which the judges, led by âblonde bitchâ? Jenna (Jane Krakowski), say things like âgo jump back up your motherâ? to children singing nursery rhymes in front of a live studio audience.
Jack begins to get antsy about the programmeâs message, claiming that Jay Z was set to do a âduet with one of the spinning chairs from The Voice, but the chair pulled out.â?
Simultaneously, wildcard Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), the star of Lizâs sketch comedy series, investigates why his usually irritable boss, who has the propensity to become riled by things such as the most destructive hurricanes having womenâs names, is behaving so differently, discovering her picking up some pills outside a station â âthe skeezy one with trainsâ? – and assuming she is a crack-whore.
Meanwhile, Kenneth the runner (Jack McBrayer) becomes excited about the imminent onset of The Rapture, completing a list of objectives before he is to die. This includes scraping a banana sticker off the ceiling, âJewishnessâ?, cheering up Liz Lemon and other âdream choresâ?.
This whizz through the charactersâ comic world closes with the rather touching scene of Kenneth seeing the ocean for the first time, and the astonishing explanation behind Lizâs cheeriness.