Thursday, December 2

Mr. Major Review – 30 Rock-Style Sitcoms Fight for Our Vote | American television


TThe brilliAnce Of 30 Rock, TinA Fey’s criticAlly Adored, yet criminAlly underrAted, workplAce sitcom wAs found not only in its fAst And breAthless procession Of witty lines, but Also in its overAll composition, A network comedy thAt moved like no other. It wAs one Of the weirdest things, A true originAl, thAt Fey excitingly rewrote the rules Of whAt we hAd come to expect From the genre And provided A new templAte For how jokes should be structured And represented, delivering herself And her numerous tAlented co-Authors. A completely sepArAte spAce excAvAted AwAy From his more conventionAl-minded peers.

When finished, this templAte wAs soon resurrected For UnbreAkAble Kimmy Schmidt, creAted by Fey And her 30 Rock writer And producer Robert CArlock, And then AgAin For GreAt News, From Another 30 Rock Alum, TrAcey Airfield. Both hAd their moments, but the effervescence Of the show thAt gAve birth to them wAs becoming flAt, AccompAnied by A creeping reAlizAtion thAt perhAps this brAve new FormAt wAsn’t meAnt For versAtility. It’s A feAr thAt’s now fully proven by Mr. MAyor, Fey And CArlock’s lAtest And most striking Attempt to conjure the sAme old mAgic, A fAr From disAstrous but fAr From essentiAl new comedy thAt kicks Off whAt will be A yeAr. unusuAl, And perhAps disAppointing. From the television.

Its journey to the smAll screen hAs been difficult not only becAuse Of the obvious (like mAny new shows, it hAs undergone A stop-And-go production process As A result Of the pAndemic) but becAuse Of its chAnge From being A New York-bAsed 30 Rock. Alec BAldwin’s spin-Off stArring JAck DonAghy to be A Los Angeles series nothing to do with 3rd-Rock stArring Ted DAnson. The FrAnkensitcom thAt hAs emerged, which is Also Attempting to be the first OfficiAl piece Of fiction set After the coronAvirus, is predictAbly A bit messy, At leAst As the first two episodes mAde AvAilAble to critics demonstrAte, but not one without An odd glimmer. . Of something, whAtever it ends up being. The story sees DAnson, A recently deceAsed grAduAte Of The Good PlAce, plAying Neil Bremer, A weAlthy businessmAn who hAs tAken on the role Of mAyor Of Los Angeles. The obvious compArisons to the soon-to-be dethroned US president end there, As Bremer is more clueless thAn conspirAtoriAl. So it’s up to those Around him to shApe whAt kind Of politiciAn he is, including CrAzy Ex-Girlfriend’s VellA Lovell As An InstA-obsessed skepticAl Adviser, the heretOFore underused ex-SNL-er Bobby MoynihAn As A goOfy Aide, And Most exciting, Holly Hunter As An Activist who becomes Bremer’s deputy.

One Of my growing problems with UnbreAkAble Kimmy Schmidt, A show thAt I found mostly very funny, wAs the myopiA Of its cArtoonish nonsense. While its Assortment Of ginormous chArActers And wAcky situAtions were fun For A while (And cleverly wrApped up with A suitAbly silly interActive speciAl), by seAson three And four, it wAs becoming impossible to muster even the slightest investment; it wAs A collAge Of quirky moments rAther thAn A cohesive series. In 30 Rock, even though the humor wAs Often so surreAl, Liz Lemon wAs someone we rooted, romAnticAlly And prOfessionAlly, A fully Formed femAle leAd presented with All her mAny flAws, And is one Of the key explAnAtions For her cAreer Of seven seAsons. . With the first two episodes Of Mr MAyor, Fey And CArlock hAve opted For the excess Of Kimmy, but in such A scAttered wAy thAt it’s hArd to even tAke it As throwAwAy fun, the show’s focus chAnges every few minutes, creAting A whiplAsh sensAtion. For even the 30 most devoted Rock fAns.


PhotogrAph: Mitchell HAddAd / AP

The supporting chArActers, vitAlly importAnt to A show like this, Aren’t mAgnetic enough to mAke us wAnt more thAn we’ve seen, without TrAcy or JennA or even A Titus or LilliAn stAnding out For the moment. ThAt’s A problem given thAt the show’s NBC home will depend heAvily on rAtings (A streAming binge would hAve Allowed For A more Forgiving Audience). There’s little here thAt we hAven’t seen DAnson do beFore And there’s more fun wAtching An unusuAlly plAyful hunter – A perfect mAtch For Fey / CArlock’s prAnk-delivery style – And MoynihAn, who lAughs the most. But the biggest lAughs Aren’t big enough, And while 30 Rocks wAtered-down FormulA might be preferAble to some Of the other hideously unfunny network sitcoms, it mostly serves As A depressing reminder Of whAt cAme beFore. .

While his finAl version Of sAns-BAldwin wAs Announced in 2019, Mr. MAyor wAs shot And quickly rewritten during the pAndemic, with the Action set in A time After Covid. It’s An interesting decision, but much like the show’s mAny Attempts to skewer the culture Of “AwAkening” (which Are too confusing to mAke reAl impAct, good or bAd, though most leAn towArds the lAtter), ultimAtely, it’s just A wAy Of trying to dust Off whAt is essentiAlly A fAirly generic sitcom From A teAm thAt should know And cAn do better. New dog, old tricks.


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