I’m a fan of the 30 Rock TV show.
I feel the show, which ran from 2006 to 2013, was for the most part ingenious. The humor was at times both razor sharp and extremely silly, off the wall and charming.
If you haven’t seen the show, and you’re into half-hour comedy shows, I can’t recommend you check it out highly enough.
But whatever you do, skip the one hour “return” of 30 Rock that aired last week Thursday, July 16th, and which is available to be streamed.
While ostensibly a “reunion” show, it was really an extended commercial for NBC’s Peacock service, another of the voluminous online services in which you can find old shows paired with some new ones (I imagine those you can see if you pay).
Thus the 30 Rock reunion featured plenty -too many!- commercials for the Peacock service, though at least we were treated by appearances by people who will be in some of those new shows (yeah, they were mostly shilling for their series).
While seeing some of the faces proved a surprise (If you’re going to waste your time seeing this turkey, I might as well not SPOIL some of the faces that show up), the reality is that they were all there, it became depressingly clear, to shill and make a buck.
So commercial/promotional heavy was the show that several NBC networks decided they wouldn’t air it. While we did get to see it here, my daughter, who lives in Texas and is a fan of the original show, found it wasn’t airing on her local NBC affiliate.
Curiously enough, we watched it with her via FaceTime (why the hell not?), which, because of Covid-19, is the way this episode, like the Parks and Recreation reunion episode which aired a few weeks back, were also made.
When all was said and done, my daughter, like us, was quite disappointed.
That’s not to say the whole thing was an unmitigated fiasco.
There were a few very funny bits sprinkled about here and there throughout the one hour runtime. But, as the cast were filming from their homes and I suppose they didn’t want to bum out everyone because of the whole Coronavirus situation (let ’em be bummed out by the extreme commercials, amiright?!), the reunion episode’s conceit was that the various characters had moved away after finishing their show-within-a-show so Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon had to reach out to everyone as there was interest in reviving their old show. So Liz gets to talk to them all via some kind of Zoom-like service.
Thing is, you’d literally have one or two minutes of the cast you came to see talking to each other before they would transition into the damn Peacock commercials. While sometimes it worked, when you’re talking about going on and on and on for one hour doing this you can’t help but feel like you’re being slammed over the head with the pitch versus enjoying a “reunion” episode of a beloved series.
Yes, the commercials became that freaking irritating.
Even Tina Fey seemed to know things were dangerously close to being too much and tried to make a -quite literal- “wink wink” joke in the end out of the too many commercials we’d sat through (plus, there was one mildly amusing joke where Kenny literally loses his soul when also pitching some Peacock nonsense).
Sadly, it was a little too little, a little too late.
Perhaps one day next year, when hopefully we return to a more normal world and Covid-19 is in the past, the cast of 30 Rock will come back once more to make a more appropriate reunion episode instead of a one hour commercial with a few jokes sprinkled within it.
Please guys: Don’t leave us with this sour taste in our mouths as the very last 30 Rock episode ever.