Thursday, October 12, 2006

30 Rock vs. Studio 60... how do they stack up?

Well, I am sure many other bloggers are discussing this topic right now, but you all had to know this was coming from me as well.

As someone who knows the SNL half of the equation quite well(I did a speech on it in the 8th grade for one thing) having seen so many hours of the show even through the less than stellar years, so I do feel somewhat qualified to judge both shows on how they manage to play to my expectations.

I've been very pleased with the development of Studio 60, and I have been vocal in professing that, though it has come to my attention that perhaps I enjoy it more because I don't know the Aaron Sorkin backstories. That being said, I have to say that I am looking forward to where this series is going, as I laughed heartily with the last episode. While there are storylines that you can see coming that are pretty standard dramatic fare, it does seem to be developing well for this Sorkin novice at least.

30 Rock on the other hand is supposed to be the comedic interpretation of the same kind of backstage action. I know that Tina Fey had originally wanted to remain behind the scenes from the conception of this show, but really, Liz Lemon is SO in keeping with her persona, it would be hard to see anyone else play that role. Tracy Morgan is surprisingly funny in the role of a quite clearly (and self-professed) mentally ill person in keeping with Martin Lawrence, Dave Chappelle and even Eddie Murphy, and at first, I thought that he perhaps couldn't pull it off, but manages to be believable as that character. And Alec Baldwin proves once again that he can pull of the SNL-type character comedy as he plays a corporate loon with a perfectly straight face, and in all honesty, I don't think the show would work without him. I am however disappointed that Rachel Dratch was replaced by Jane Krakowski in the best friend role, because I thought it would have been interesting to see real life best friends Dratch and Fey play that on the screen as well. That is not a knock against Krakowski mind you, rather just wistfulness that another talented actress was passed over for that role.

But in the end, there was just something about it that just didn't click for me. Maybe The Larry Sanders Show amongst others has set an artificially high bar for me, but at the moment it isn't hitting on all cylinders just yet, so at the moment I can only give it a moderate recommendation. Perhaps it will get better, perhaps not. I do think that part of the problem may be the fact that Lorne Michaels produces the show, so on some level it has to pull its punches about the show it is critiquing so it can't be as sharp as it could be given Tina Fey's wit and experience in that arena. I am still recommending Studio 60 highly though.

I will say that 30 Rock was more entertaining than the pilot of Smith was.


snackiepoo said...

I almost pulled Studio 60 from my lineup after last week because it just bored me (great now I sound like fraking Heidi Klum) but this week's episode was awesome and I am definitely hooked; the cast is amazing as are the storylines and I will admit it...I am a huge closet Matthew Perry fan.

I deleted 30 Rock halfway through the show; I don't have time for half assed crap, LOL.

Paul said...

I've yet to see 30 Rock, which is too bad because it sounds like my kind of thing. Studio 60 has really been growing on me. With the exception of the first episode rant, I thought it started slowly - and it takes time to get used to a drama about a comedy. I'm now thoroughly enjoying it - one of the few fall series I've actually been able to follow.

MC said...

snackie: Well, you do have quite the full television plate after all.

Paul: You may like 30 Rock or you may not. I think it comes down to where your comedic itch is.

Jeremy Barker said...

I'm hoping 30 Rock improves, but it certainly suffers by comparison to Studio 60. Now I think Studio is the better show, but I wonder how it would look if 30 Rock had four episodes out first - would it seem they were following in the latters footsteps?

MC said...

I think it would probably still pale in comparison. Comedy takes a bit longer to really hit its stride than drama seems to.

SwanShadow said...

Hey, now... I liked Smith! In fact, I'm convinced that CBS canceled it just to mess with me.

Studio 60, which started slowly, is rapidly improving week by week.

MC said...

I wanted to like Smith, I really did... in fact, I gushed about it months ago when I heard about it... but to me it didn't live up to the potential in my mind.