I know a lot of you aren’t watching this show, and I understand — I skipped out on it for most of its first season. I had two reasons for this: One, I stopped watching Saturday Night Live after Will Ferrell left, thrust into a deep funk by the prospect of no more Celebrity Jeopardy! sketches or George W. Bush impressions, and thus miissed most of Tina Fey’s best work on the show; and two, I decided I only had room in my life for one series devoted to the behind-the-scenes goings-on at a sketch comedy show, and opted to follow Aaron Sorkin’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip instead.
As you may have already guessed, I started having second thoughts about halfway through Studio 60‘s only season, and sometime around John Goodman’s arrival as a loquacious small-town sheriff, I decided it would probably be a good idea to see what was happening on the SNL-inspired series that stood a snowball’s chance in hell of making it to Season Two. I had reservations — aside from a few insane outbursts during “Brian Fellow” sketches, I’d never found Tracy Morgan the least bit funny, and since suffering through The Shadow, I’d made a habit of studiously avoiding anything involving Alec Baldwin.
Surprise, surprise — Morgan and Baldwin are the two best parts of 30 Rock, as evidenced by the following clip from Season Two, a comedic tour de force for Baldwin:
Do you see what you’re missing? It’s gold, Jerry. Gold!
Like pretty much every other season set from ’08, 30 Rock Season Two suffers from an abbreviated length — the writers’ strike chopped it down to 15 episodes — but Universal has piled on a fair number of extras, including:
- A handful of (funny) deleted scenes
- A table read for the “Cooter” episode, guest-starring Matthew Broderick
- Some behind-the-scenes footage from Tina Fey’s February 2008 hosting gig at SNL
- The cast’s live performance of the “Secrets and Lies” episode at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater
- A Q&A session with the cast
- Commentary tracks from cast members and guest stars including Tim Conway, Will Arnett, and Fred Armisen
Even with the extra content, $40 feels pretty steep for what amounts to five and a half hours of television, most of which you can watch for free online — but only chumps pay list price, and if you can get it for less, it’s well worth picking up, especially if you haven’t been following the show. 30 Rock isn’t as richly layered as The Office, but it’s just as consistently funny. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to watch Alec Baldwin scream “the honkies shot me!” again.
For more 30 Rock-related content, check out Jack “Kenneth the Page” McBrayer’s interview with our own Robert Cass.