EDITOR’S NOTE: I’ll admit it – I just got into 30 Rock. But to be fair, in about two weeks’ time, I became officially caught up with all past three seasons. And I’m currently watching the fourth one as it comes on every Thursday. In case you’re still questioning my true devotion, I’ve watched maybe half of all the episodes at least twice.
SPOILER ALERT! This post contains spoilers for anyone who has not seen “Audition Day,” episode 4 in the fourth season of 30 Rock.
I can’t think of many other shows that utilize the art of “cultural referencing” as often and as successfully as 30 Rock. One of the things that makes the show so uniquely funny is its nod to relevant pop and daily culture.
I’ve been hearing people say that the show is “not that funny” this season. Seeing as how I was doubled over with laughter while finishing the third, these comments worried me. But once I started catching up with the current season, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was laughing just as hard as I was in season three.
“Audition Day” – the fourth episode – is already a favorite of mine. I’ve watched it about five times since it aired. (Thank God for Hulu.) There are so many reasons why this particular episode makes that embarrassing snort escape from my nostrils while laughing too hard.
And trust me, I know that it’s not funny to point out why something is funny. So in the below list, I’ll try to just commentate briefly on my favorite moments:
- The Liz Lemon audition tape from 1996: As Liz and Pete attempt to “rig” the auditioning system to get Jack to pick the actor they want, Liz expresses that she feels a little guilty using the other actors in this process. “So much rejection,” she reflects, as the flashback cuts in and we see an old audition tape of her trying out for a carpet cleaner commercial. “My name is Liz Lemon, and I am represented by Suzanne’s B+ Talent.”
- Jack has bed bugs: And because of this, he is ostracized from the office and meetings. (“Did you just MUTE me?!”)
- “Beat it, Grizz or Dot Com” – Jenna, to Dot Com
- Jack on the subway, where he does the “homeless guy” speech, reworded to fit his own bed bug sufferings.
- The whiny violin music behind all of “rejection” scenes. Very reminiscent of the sad Charlie Brown music.
- “I’m not gay – I’m biiiiii-laarrrrrioussss!“: While gay humor does not…humor…me, I felt this was actually funny because it pointed to the ridiculousness of the “Funny Gay” stereotype. For another example, Tracy Morgan yelling, “I repeat, all funny gays into the car!”
- The doughnut-eating woman “Hmmm-mmmmm”-ing onstage: This is the most random and nonsensically hilarious thing I’ve seen on TV in a long time.
- And last, but certainly not least, dowdy Kathy Geiss doing the Susan Boyle “I Dreamed a Dream.” At this, I laughed so hard I cried as I watched this…on Hulu…alone in my apartment.
So there you have it. So much comedy and so many references packed into 30 (well, more like 21 with commercials) minutes. Yes, I say – 30 Rock’s still got it.