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"30 Rock" Pilot (2006)

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

"I am a Jedi!"

10/10
Author: Max_cinefilo89 from Italy
21 September 2008

In 1992, Larry David came up with one of the most brilliant conceits in TV history: the fourth season of Seinfeld would have a 22-episode story arc (a major departure from the show's usual plotting technique, or lack thereof) in which NBC asked Jerry Seinfeld to write a sitcom for them. That self-lampooning premise spawned the series' finest year, justly rewarded with the Best Comedy Series Emmy. Fourteen years later, Tina Fey, former head writer of Saturday Night Live, created a similar show, with the same results: 30 Rock.

The autobiographical aspects of the series emerge in the first few minutes of the pilot, when we're introduced to Liz Lemon (Fey), head writer of NBC's hit sketch program The Girlie Show. Thanks to a solid partnership with her producer Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit) and best friend Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), who's also the star of TGS, and with valuable help coming from her writing team (porn-obsessed Frank, Harvard graduate Toofer and others), no one's ever had any reason to complain. Now, however, there's a new network executive, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), who insists Liz should hire up-and-coming movie star Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) to boost the program's ratings, despite objections about the comedian's alleged insanity (he once ran half-naked in the middle of a highway screaming: "I am a Jedi!").

This opening episode is a very traditional pilot, in the sense that it introduces the various main characters, the environment where they work and the overall madness that surrounds them. Thanks to Fey's extraordinary writing, that madness doesn't need another couple of shows to emerge, and so these first 22 minutes of the series are already a pitch-perfect sample of classic 30 Rock moments: remarkably witty dialogue exchanges (Pete: "Oh, we own K-Mart now?" ; Jack: "No. So why are you dressed like we do?"), great physical gags (Liz getting drunk and dancing with strippers) and adorably larger-than-life individuals (Tracy: "I'm not on crack! I'm straight-up mentally ill!").

Most of the roles were reportedly written specifically for the actors playing them, a fact that shows throughout the episode: every cast-member has a deep understanding of his or her part from the moment he or she starts speaking or moving. From the goofy Krakowski, previously seen doing similar things on Ally McBeal, to the dim Judah Friedlander through the downright psychotic Morgan, everyone has a spot-on comic timing reminiscent of the likes of Seinfeld, Friends or Frasier at their very best (although, given the lack of canned laughter, the best comparison would probably be the superb Arrested Development). Still, the supporting wouldn't be able to cover any missing chemistry between the leads. No need to worry in that department: Baldwin has the time of his life doing his first regular comedy, and any time he interacts with Fey (the 2006-2007 TV season's comedic revelation alongside Ugly Betty's America Ferrera) there's a spark that reminds of Mulder and Scully from The X-Files – minus the will they/won't they tension, of course.

In short: as a comedy about the making of a comedy, 30 Rock has no rivals. Along with The Office and Arrested Development, the essential mainstream sitcom of the 2000s.

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Pilot (#1.1)

7/10
Author: ComedyFan2010 from Canada
16 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The beginning of a great sitcom!

In this pilot we are introduced to the main characters of the show. The network gets a new exec Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) who tells Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) to get Tracy Morgan (Tracy Jordan) for the show. Tracy seems to be a ticking time bomb who in his past ran in his underwear on the highway yelling that he is a Jedi.

Pilots are usually not the best of the show since they are mainly done to introduce you to the concept, and this is a case here as well. There isn't much of a story, but we can see that the show will have a great future since the characters seem to be very interesting, original and there is a lot of humor

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The beginning of 30 Rock

6/10
Author: Mike1388 from Indonesia
4 September 2010

The pilot was very weak compare to the other episode in season 1. It was misplaced, in constructed and poor writing/directing. The cast save the pilot. I almost off my TV and regret buying the first season of this show, but Thank God the rest of the episodes were hilarious and totally different from the pilot.

The cast: Tracy Jordan who plays Tracy Morgan was very annoying in the pilot, if you compare with the rest of the episodes which he is bearable and have a heart (or maybe we are just getting used at him?). Tina Fey plays Liz Lemon perfectly, but even her character has the 'dim' part, surprisingly only Alec Baldwin's character stays true and unchanged through out the season since the pilot. And I need to mention the amazing Jane Krakowski, she is entertaining to watch at. The other supporting cast were good, but nothing great.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A Decent Start!

8/10
Author: g-bodyl from United States
11 August 2013

I hear that 30 Rock is a pretty funny show with a solid cast. I knew that it had always been consistently nominated for awards, so I decided to check this show out. This first episode is not bad. I found it to be amusing and somewhat funny. I could have used more laughs, but some of the jokes are quite good.

We meet Liz for the first time working as an NBC producer for the show, "The Girlie Show." She meets her new boss Jack and he wants her to try to get a famous, if not somewhat crazy actor, Tracy to be on their show in order to draw in the 18-34 male demographic.

This show has a very talented cast. Tiny Fey is usually quite funny, even though she wasn't here. Alec Baldwin is the man and I loved his performance. Some people may find Tracy Morgan annoying, but he had some wicked one-liners in this pilot.

Overall, this is a decent beginning to the episode. I'm hearing the future episodes get better so I'm excited for the show. I rate this episode 8/10.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Amusing, but not the best of 30 Rock

7/10
Author: gizmomogwai from Canada
12 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Pilot episode of 30 Rock is amusing, but it's not brilliant, not the best of 30 Rock, and not very re-watchable. The Pilot starts off cheesy by portraying the TV writer Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) as a good-hearted rich girl, buying lots of hot dogs and giving them away to everyone except a snob. The Pilot gets a little better when we meet the character Kenneth, and he embarrasses Liz in front of a tour group. Eventually we meet Alec Baldwin's character Jack, who retools Liz's show by adding an eccentric actor named Tracy. Tracy is introduced as crazy, but this isn't the best of Tracy.

The funniest part may be the end when a sketch about cats goes wrong. Mostly though, the Pilot is efficient at introducing the characters and basic storyline and doesn't do much else.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

30 Rock: Pilot is an uneven but still amusing showcase of Tina Fey's talents

6/10
Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, La.
13 October 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is the head writer of The Girlie Show, a late-night comedy show. It stars her good friend Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski). Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) is the new network exec in charge of production who suggests putting in movie star Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) in TGS to appeal to 18-34-year-old males. Liz gets Tracy to agree to come aboard. That's the basic plot of the pilot episode of 30 Rock amid some jokes about mergers (I like the one about NBC-Universal-GE-KMart), black nerds (a black writer gets compared to Urkel by a fellow white male writer), and urination (Jenna can't open one eye wide because her little sister once peed in it). Fey's fellow SNL/Second City castmate Rachel Dratch appears as a cat wrangler and will appear in different roles each week. Fey is a wonderful comedy writer though the pilot is a pretty uneven showcase for her talents. The entire cast is wonderful, however, so I shall look forward to see how it improves next week.

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