By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
SNL alums craft clever media satire.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show plays up some racial stereotypes (like a slang-talking African-American man who's trailed by a posse of hangers-on) and exaggerated personality quirks for laughs. The well-intentioned protagonist is constantly playing catch-up to her self-serving boss.
Positive Role Models
Liz Lemon is a hilarious character who, despite her many pathetic traits, gets her job done, and done well. She manages her staff and boss, despite incredible odds. Stereotypes of all sorts are levied for humor.
Violence & Scariness
Infrequent violence is exaggerated for laughs (like a cat taking a bite out of a woman's neck).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual innuendo and suggestive glances are common, and some female characters wear tight, revealing outfits. One scene features strippers doing pole dances and giving lap dances to male customers. One character sings a suggestive song called "Muffin Top."
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"Pissed off," "hell," "suck it," "bitch," and the like are prevalent, as are sexual terms like "vagina" and "undersexed." One episode revolved around the word "c--t," but it was never said out loud.
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Products & Purchases
While the show satirizes the existence of conglomerate businesses (the onscreen network is called "NBC-GE-Universal-Kmart"), there's also a fair amount of product placement. Much of it is acknowledged with tongue-in-cheek humor, but it's there.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bar scenes include lots of drinking among the over-21 crowd; the characters sometimes drive immediately after drinking. Some jokes reference Tracy's history with substance abuse.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sitcom from former Saturday Night Live head writer Tina Fey garners some of its laughs with sexual innuendo and racial stereotypes, but it's the strained working relationships among distinctly different personalities that adult viewers will enjoy (and possibly relate to) most. Teens can probably handle most of the language and sexual content, but parents may want to pre-screen -- or, better yet, watch with them to discuss the show's more mature topics.
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Based on 12 parent reviews
Witty, funny and warm - this Tina Fey workplace sitcom is one of the best out there.
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Fantastic show, absolutely hilarious
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What's the Story?
Created by Saturday Night Live alum Tina Fey and co-produced by SNL's Lorne Michaels, 30 ROCK takes viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of a spoofed version of network TV. The show centers on Liz Lemon (Fey), who's the head writer of the fictitious variety program The Girlie Show, which stars her best friend, Jenna (Jane Krakowski). But the unexpected death of Liz's boss and the entrance of his condescending replacement, Jack (Alec Baldwin, who's won awards for the role), sends her into a tailspin. At Jack's insistence, Liz hires arrogant, unpredictable movie icon Tracy Jordan (SNL's Tracy Morgan) to perk up the cast ... and, hopefully, the ratings. As extreme personalities clash and egos swell, Liz must find a way to maintain her sanity among her motley crew of co-workers.
Is It Any Good?
30 Rock (which gets its title from the nickname of the building that houses NBC's studios in New York City) brings together a great cast -- rounded out by Scott Adsit, Jack McBrayer, and Judah Friedlander -- that expertly delivers the show's off-the-wall humor. Sharp writing backs up their strong performances and encourages viewers to ponder the agendas of the network TV executives who call the shots.
One particularly funny aspect of the show is its satirical take on network TV in particular and conglomerate business in general. As a head honcho at NBC-GE-Universal-Kmart (a business with its hand in every cookie jar?), Jack clearly enjoys making decisions based on whim and expounding on personal mantras, to his subordinates' great confusion. No doubt many adult viewers will enjoy the chance to chuckle knowingly at such a boss. Sexual humor, questionable language, and casual drinking are constants on 30 Rock; parents may want to join their teens for this one so that they can discuss the adult themes that pop up.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the media shapes our views. Who decides what we see on TV? Why are some shows green-lit and others not? What makes TV shows successful? What types of shows are popular today? What does that say about our society? Why do classic TV shows (Happy Days, I Love Lucy) seem so innocent today? Was society more genteel back then, or did the networks just candy-coat what viewers saw?
- Premiere date: October 11, 2006
- Cast: Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan
- Network: NBC
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: November 17, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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