30 Rock: Sketchy Comedy
When NYT Mag choose to recently cover 30 Rock, it highlighted the show's incendiary structure, comparing it to pomo literature like Gravity's Rainbow (whoa!). The corollary position comes from this week's New Yorker, which sees the same fragmentation but doesn't appreciate it: "30 Rock doesn't have the neat structure of most sitcoms; its roots are in sketch comedy and in improv, with their set pieces and their eagerness to keep you entertained every second without worrying too much about the story." I'm not sure where I land on that continuum, but I have noticed a different sort of distraction: despite being splendidly written, the perplexing thing about 30 Rock is that you could actually watch it as a series of compromises to exist as a show. The product placements (Verizon), the guest-stars (Oprah), commercials as content (AmEx) -- all of these pieces end up taking up a massive amount of the show's public mindshare, perhaps to its detriment. Update: Maureen Dowd profiles Tina Fey in Vanity Fair, where she finally reveals where that scar came from. Plus video.