30 Rock’s 4th season debut grabbed poor ratings especially for a show that’s won the Emmy for Best Comedy three years running.
While there were a few good lines (most delivered by Tracy) and one good bit (Jenna doing a Sunday Night Football opening for offseason tennis) the show was sluggish, banal and preachy.
In a bit of self deprecation, half of the show’s plot revolved around the TGS (the show within the show) trying to get in touch with Real America or Middle America.
When Jack used the term “Real America,” Liz smarmily said, “that’s a nonsense term, all of America is America.” True, but Tine Fey and her ilk will never be mistaken for “Real Americans.”
To get in touch with those mouth breathers in the fly over states, Jenna launched a country music career and Tracy went to the streets to reconnect. The situations that resulted were short on laughs and long on condescension.
The fictional drive to reach “Middle Americans” is of course 30 Rock answering its critics, or at least answering the executives at NBC. 30 Rock and its values, or lack thereof, don’t connect with “Real Americans” and its ratings prove that.
Last night’s 4th season premiere garnered a measly 6.3 million viewers (that’s 2.1 million per Best Comedy Emmy Award). NCIS: Pensacola gets better numbers.
30 Rock narrowly edged Fox’s Fringe, one of the worst shows on television, for third place. CSI and Grey’s Anatomy more than doubled the number of 30 Rock viewers.
Another plot in last night’s 4th season debut involved a page strike. This labor stoppage occurred when Kenneth learned that Jack received a healthy bonus despite the edict that NBC pages would no longer be paid overtime. This storyline had even less laughs than Tracy and Jenna’s exploits and was even more condescending. If 30 Rock didn’t have so much contempt for the average American, then the page stike might have actually been funny.
Meanwhile, Liz was indignant because she had to hire a new actor for the show. Not only was this situation completely un-relatable, but Liz reacted to it by doing nothing but whining and moaning. It became very annoying very quickly.
Sadly, 30 Rock had fewer laughs and more preaching than ever before. If the trend continues, as well as the pathetic ratings, 30 Rock’s 4th season debut will be its last. And that’s okay with us.