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I do not like sitcoms and comedies in general. In cinema, there is a very thin thread of comedic masterpieces from “To be or not to be”, through “Tootsie” to maybe “Juno”. In tv, I keep hating the general flow of below-average sitcoms and comedies, catering to ironing housewives and crotch-scratching housemen in the breaks between football matches (or the other way around, for gender equality reasons)… They are not, I believe, written to be a serious work of art, sloppily produced and inconsistent in quality. I did have my fun with parts of the “Drew Carrey Show”,   even more with “The Thick of It”, but here endeth the story of my comedic affections. I laugh the most when the humour is hidden in the drama of real life – where situations or characters are just ridiculous, not so much comedic. “The Sopranos” are fantastic comedy, and so are all the Coen Brothers’ movies (except the “comedies”…).

Now “30 Rock”… amazing… great writing, great casting, perfect setting, stunning run of cameos (Al Gore, Whoopy Goldberg, and the whole bunch of GE executives who are in for the laugh). In particular it is the perception that Tina Fey is throwing all her life in there, and she does not do that lightly. I did not know anything by her before reading her “Bossypants” book (which reminded me in many ways of Craig Ferguson’s brilliant “American on Purpose”) but when reading that I fell in love with her serious approach to her humour right away. She conveys the feeling that she would be best person in the world to hang out with, and that is also what makes the show so thoroughly likeable. After finishing reading the book, I had to get the show right away, and watched it almost in one go, all seasons…

As she mentions in her book, the show centers around the incredible talent of one person, and that is Alec Baldwin. I have no idea how, based on his previous roles, one could see his ability to play Jack Donaghue the way a sculptor sees a little twisted eight-footed dragon with a funny hat coughing up yellow balloons hidden in a block of marble, but Ms Fey did just that, and he is one of the greatest and most  subtle comedic characters I can remember having seen.

I am kind of glad that there is not much more out there of comparable quality, because it seems there is an addictive quality to seriously fabulous comedy…

One Comment

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