30 Rock

Common Sense Media says

SNL alums craft clever media satire.

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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

Infrequent violence is exaggerated for laughs (like a cat taking a bite out of a woman's neck).

Sex

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."

Language

"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.

Consumerism

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan
Network:NBC
Genre:Comedy
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of 30 Rock was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bycolormestupid June 22, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

by far, one of the best shows on tv.

i f*ckin love this show. it is hilarious. there is some drinking & sex references though. but there are usually good messages (if you're listening to what LIZ says, and NOT tracy xD). gooo watch this show!!! it is awesome!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bymyknell February 25, 2010
AGE
14
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 13 years old Written bylisa.beth.rose June 29, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Possibly the best show on TV.

This show is amazing! The amazing Tina Fey stars as Liz Lemon possibly the best female character on TV right now. Everyone does amazing jobs acting here especially Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey, their characters are incredible. My mom lets me watch it and watches it with me because she isn't a TV Nazi who cancels her cable because she doesn't like a reference in one TV show. Guess what-- Your kids use that term at school! I bet you they do. They have product placement but they openly talk about it and joke about it.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism

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