Isabella Rossellini — who visited Pelham in October to promote a movie about her father, director Roberto Rossellini — will be making a cameo on “30 Rock” next week, playing the ex-wife of Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). According to the promo that appeared after last night’s rerun, Paul “Pee Wee Herman” Reubens also guest-stars and Rossellini’s character gets into a cat-fight with Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). Place your bets.
I was slow to give “30 Rock” a chance when it premiered this fall, mostly because of its original time-slot and my general malaise when it comes to trying out new shows. But, wow, is it funny. It reminds me a lot of “Saturday Night Live” at its best and “The Simpsons” in terms of its comedic style, running gags and its ability to prompt frequent, genuine guffaws.
NBC was smart to move it to Thursdays as part of its “Comedy Night Done Right,” formerly dubbed “Must See TV” before an awkward stretch of programming after “Seinfeld” (and, to a much lesser extent, “Friends”) went off the air. NBC would really get me to watch for a solid hour if “The Office” and “30 Rock” were back-to-back, because I’ve never really enjoyed “Scrubs” all that much.
Find out why I appreciate the performances of Fey, Baldwin and Tracy Morgan after the break.
Fey had showcased her funny as a writer/performer on “Saturday Night Live” and “Mean Girls,” which now appears to mark the official peak of Lindsay Lohan’s career in more ways than one. Fey is charming, witty and gorgeous as the straight-woman on the show.
I always got a kick out of Tracy Morgan on “SNL,” because the writers always seemed to get the most out of his great delivery (“Astronaut Jones,” anyone?). That same synergy works with “30 Rock,” with Morgan at his brilliant, goofy best.
And as much as I love Steve Carell on “The Office,” I was really rooting for Baldwin to win this year’s Golden Globe for leading male in a comedy (perhaps because Carell had already won one). Brother to the LoHud Baldwins, Alec’s always been a great “SNL” host, but he’s still a tremendously underrated and self-effacing comedic actor.
Sprinkle in a well-balanced supporting cast, as well as frequent cameos from “SNL” all-stars Rachel Dratch in various roles and Chris Parnell as Dr. Spaceman (pronounced “Spa-CHEH-min”), and you have my favorite sitcom among those pumping out new episodes.
Seriously, check it out on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m., catch up with reruns here and read this great list of 30 reasons why “30” rocks. While NBC likely will pick it up for another season, start watching now or it might get the “Arrested Development” treatment down the line.
(Associated Press file photo by Tina Fineberg)