TV Show Info:
Writers: Tina Fey (creator) and Various Others
Cast: Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Alec Baldwin
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: Universal Studios
Original Air Dates: October 11, 2006-Ongoing
Season Air Dates: October 4, 2007-May 8, 2008
DVD Box Set Release Date: October 7, 2008
Online Availability: Amazon for $26.99
Episodes: All 15 episodes from Season Two
Tina Fey is a comedic genius. I can’t imagine what this show would be like if she wasn’t on it. Originally, Tina didn’t plan to be Liz Lemon, but NBC insisted. I can see why. She’s perfect for the part. They say, write what you know. Tina does just that when she writes every episode of 30 Rock. Some people may not know that she was inspired to write this based on her experiences as the first, female head writer of Saturday Night Live, a gig she only gave up because her schedule on SNL and her 30 Rock schedule overlap.
Let’s forget about what Tina Fey has done for SNL in the past month, with her Sarah Palin skits. Honestly, as a writer there, Fey made us see there was hope for a show that’d been on since before I was born. In the early years through the early 90s, SNL was all about laughs. Around the end of the 90s and into the 2000s, the show sort of fell apart. People were constantly saying, “oh this will be the end of SNL” and we believed it because it went through a period where it flat out sucked.
Tina was with the show during some of the dark years, but as head writer, she started bringing the stories back to the people. Those who’d given up on SNL started watching again and it’d be undeniably wrong to say Tina Fey had nothing to do with this. Tina has proven she can do just about anything she puts her mind to, so it isn’t farfetched to think she was a major force behind the show’s rejuvenation. Even today, she isn’t regularly working for SNL, but her Sarah Palin skits have seen the highest number of viewers for the show in years!
Tina Fey really has done it all. She was a Second City Troupe performer and writer at their famed Chicago location. She has written successfully in a variety of mediums, television (30 Rock, SNL), screenplays (Mean Girls) and she has worked as a performer/actress in movies, on television and in sketch comedy. She’s also a wife, mother, and overall likable person.
So, why is Tina Fey’s life so important to 30 Rock? Because Tina Fey is Liz Lemon. It’s easy to see how similar this show could be (with exaggerations of course) to Tina’s actual life as a television writer. She has Liz’s gig down pat, because it’s her own gig and has been for over ten years. Tina Fey is 30 Rock. Without her, there would be no show. She writes, stars and is a major reason the show received 17 Emmy nods (more than any comedy series ever) last year, seven of which the show won, including Lead Actress in a Comedy for Tina Fey. This show is on the top of its game, with people calling 30 Rock the best comedy on television and we all have Tina Fey to thank.
The 30 Rock: Season Two Plot
This two-DVD set comes in your standard DVD case. It has one of those slipcovers over it that make the DVD cases look nice. The unfortunate part of the second season of 30 Rock is the fact that there are too few episodes. 30 Rock, like many other shows, was affected by the writer’s strike. This lowered the number of episodes from the standard 22 (as presented in season 1) to 15.
Here is a list of all of the episodes included in this set. Before I list the episodes, I should mention the cast of characters besides Fey, portrayed by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Scott Adsit, and Judah Friedlander, do exceptionally well in their roles. This is an ensemble cast, and though Fey is leading the way with her major contribution to 30 Rock, I simply cannot give her all the credit on her own.
“Seinfeldvision” – Liz (Fey) is excited to see Jack (Baldwin). Well, that is until he begins talking about her ex, Floyd, with whom she recently ended a long-distance relationship. Jerry Seinfeld is mad at Jack, when he learns Jack is planning to use Seinfeld clips in every show on NBC. Jack refers to this as ‘Seinfeldvision’ and is certain it will improve all of the shows. Tracy (Morgan) and his wife separate, so Kenneth (McBrayer) becomes his “office” wife. In the meantime, Jenna (Krakowski) returns to the studio much heavier than before. She has her role in ‘Mystic Pizza: The Musical!’ to thank for her bloated up body.
“Jack Gets In The Game” – Jack’s boss is retiring and Jack wants his job. Jenna is actually becoming famous due to her extra weight. Kenneth sets out on a mission to get Tracy back with his wife Angie and Liz and Jack hassle Liz for not being her usual “put together” self.
“The Collection” – Jack doesn’t want GE to find out anything on him, so he hires a private investigator and leads him on a wild goose chase. Angie is back with Tracy, but to keep him in line, she’s following him around everywhere. Liz is glad that Angie is keeping an eye on Tracy, but when she lies for him, she makes Angie mad. Jenna is upset when she starts losing weight.
“Rosemary’s Baby” – Rosemary Howard, Liz’s idol, is invited to be a guest writer for TGS with Tracy Jordan. Liz is distraught when Jack wants her to fire Rosemary because her ideas don’t fit with the show. Jack takes Tracy to a therapist and Jenna destroys Kenneth’s page jacket, which puts him at risk of losing his job.
“Greenzo” – Kenneth has a house party every year. Unfortunately, only Liz has shown up previously. Tracy tells tall tales to get more people to the party and Jack has to deal with an environmentally-friendly mascot NBC has hired, who becomes power-hungry.
“Somebody To Love” – Jack has an affair with a congresswoman on the opposite side of the political spectrum from him. Liz thinks her neighbor is a terrorist and lets Homeland Security know, with disastrous results.
“Cougars” – Tracy has to coach a little league team for community service. Jack becomes interested in the team and everything gets out of control. Jamie, the new coffee boy at work, asks Liz out. The only problem is he thinks she’s younger than she is, and Liz isn’t about to tell him the truth.
“Secrets And Lies” – C.C. wants to go public about her relationship with Jack, who doesn’t want that. Liz must deal with jealousy between Tracy and Jenna who hate having to share the show. Frank (Judah Friedlander) makes fun of Toofer, because he went to Harvard.
“Ludachristmas” – It’s time for the TGS with Tracy Jordan annual Christmas Party. Tracy’s upset because his alcohol monitoring bracelet means he cannot have some holiday fun. The Lemons visit Liz and Jack’s mom comes to see him. Jack becomes attached to Liz’s parents because they are loving where his mom is not.
“Episode 210″ – Jack and C.C. try to maintain a long distance love. Liz gets financial advice from Jack. She decides to take it and invest in real estate, but must go before a co-op for the apartment she wants. When Tracy buys a cappuccino machine for the show staff, and stations it at Kenneth’s desk, Kenneth is soon addicted to caffeine.
“Milf Island” – Jack goes on a witch hunt when one of his TGS staff members anonymously calls him a “class A moron”, remarks that are featured in the The New York Post. These comments come as his reality series, MILF Island, airs its final episode. Jonathan has the job of interrogating the staff, intent on finding the person who made the comment, for Jack.
“Subway Hero” – Dennis jumps onto the subway tracks, in front of an oncoming car, to save someone who fell on the tracks. This makes him an instant celebrity in the city. Jack wants Tracy to become a celebrity backer and face for the Republicans. Kenneth meets the TV legend Bucky Bright, but his expectations are shattered and he is disappointed when Bucky isn’t as good as Kenneth dreamed he’d be.
“Succession” – Jack is promoted by Don (as his successor), much to Devon’s chagrin. Jack gives his current job to Liz. When Don’s health takes a turn for the worst, Jack’s promotion begins to fall apart. Tracy is convinced his son didn’t invite him to father’s day at his school because he’s ashamed of Tracy’s career on TGS.
“Sandwich Day” – Floyd and Liz must deal with their past when he spends the night at her place after his plane gets canceled. Jack questions whether this is the right company for him when he’s demoted to the 12th floor. The staff celebrate Sandwich Day, an annual tradition with a delivery of sandwiches from a secret sandwich place in Brooklyn.
“Cooter” – Jack gets a new job. He’s working for Homeland Security, but it isn’t all its cracked up to be. He and another employee, Cooter, devise a plan to get fired, and Jack needs C.C.’s help in the matter. Liz might just be pregnant and Kenneth takes on the head page, Donny, when they are both applying for a NBC page gig with the Beijing Olympics. In the meantime, Tracy is contently working on a new invention.
30 Rock is filmed in High Definition. Universal gives this DVD set a visual quality that is identical to the one seen when the show airs on television. 30 Rock is displayed as 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This gives the show that “new show” polish and you can expect to be dazzled by the lack of visual errors. I would expect nothing less from a new show. The colors were vibrant with skintones appearing natural and the color levels were balanced with everything looking clear and sharp. No major visual errors to report, at all.
There are two soundtracks found on the episodes of 30 Rock in this set. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is much preferred. I used this on all 15 episodes then listened to the Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. The 5.1 track not only comes with Closed Captioning, it is also more dynamic with more depth and the dialogue sounds good with the musical score without either overpowering the other. The 2.0 isn’t bad, but the 5.1 blows it out of the water. Subtitles come in both English and Spanish.
There are some bonuses included on the 30 Rock DVD. First, there are commentaries on multiple episodes throughout the first disc. The episodes with commentaries include:
“Jack Gets in the Game” – commentary by Will Arnett
“The Collection” – commentary by Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer
“Somebody to Love” – commentary by Fred Armisen
“Cougars” – commentary by Judah Friedlander
“Episode 210″ – commentary by Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond
I really liked these commentaries. All of these commentators are interesting, engaging and the two featuring more than one commentator has good back and forth dialogue between the two, especially Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond.
There are the majority of the bonuses on Disc Two. You probably already guessed there are more audio commentaries on various episodes. You’re right because there are commentaries on these episodes:
“MILF Island” – commentary by Scott Adsit
“Subway Hero” – commentary by Tim Conway and Jack McBrayer
“Succession” – commentary by Robert Carlock and John Riggi
“Sandwich Day” – commentary by Tina Fey
“Cooter” – commentary by Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer
These are equally as good as the commentaries on Disc One.
There are some additional bonuses including the nearly hour long featurette, “30 Rock Live at the UCB Theater”. This shows the cast during their run through for the episode “Secret and Lies”. This was taped at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. There are a series of deleted scenes (six in total), and a half hour table read for the final episode of the second season, “Cooter”. This has a scrolling marquee for the dialogue of the screenplay for this episode.
Fans of SNL will be thrilled to see behind the scenes footage of Tina Fey’s recent hosting gig. There is also another featurette called “The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Presents: An Evening with 30 Rock“.
All in all, quite a nice set of bonuses have been included.
I had only watched the first season of 30 Rock sparingly when the first season was on. It isn’t that I didn’t like this show. It just conflicted with other shows I don’t ever miss on other networks. After watching 30 Rock: Season Two I can definitely say that this is one show I’ll be DVRing from now on. If you’re new to this show, you need to start from Season 1. This show is worth it! 30 Rock: Season 2 comes highly recommended.