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DVD Review: 30 Rock – Season 3

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It was a season of riches as this 22-episode season of the television show 30 Rock earned 22 Emmy nominations — the most ever for a TV comedy. This comedy/self-parody television show revolves around a comedy variety show called The Girlie Show (TGS) with Tracy Jordan, which is produced at NBC Studios (30 Rockefeller Plaza) in New York City. The show’s main writer, Liz Lemon, is played by Tina Fey, her boss, executive Jack Donaghy, is played by Alec Baldwin, and various TGS cast members include famous comedian Tracy Jordan, played by Tracy Morgan, and Jenna Maroney, played by Jane Krakowski, who has deep roots with Liz.

Tracy lives a rich life greatly affected by his meandering mind. His assistants Grizz, played by Grizz Chapman, and Dot Com, played by Kevin Brown, keep him out of trouble while going along for the crazy ride directed by Tracy’s whimsical requests.

Another cast member is Lonny Ross, who plays the talented Josh Girard. After a great Nicolas Cage show bit in the first season, his reduced role still packs a punch though the storylines concentrate more on Liz, Jack, Tracy, Jenna, and Kenneth Parcell, head page at the TGS office.

Jack McBrayer continually amazes in the role as Kenneth’s duties expand and include an impromptu Night Court reunion with Harry Anderson, Charles Robinson, and Markie Post. The country-to-city culture shock still works, but Kenneth’s independent character arc has given him savvy smarts so other opportunistic characters can’t take advantage anymore.

Liz's writing team includes Frank Rossitano, well played by Judah Friedlander, a no-nonsense chauvinist; Pete Hornberger, Liz’s other good friend, played by Scott Adsit, and James “Toofer” Spurlock, played by Keith Powell.

Maulik Pancholy plays Jack’s assistant Jonathan while Katrina Bowden plays the office babe Cerie. Viewers can always expect a laugh whenever medicine is involved with Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman.

The storylines have migrated from the TGS show to the characters' personal lives, mainly Liz's and Jack's. An amazing guest star cavalcade boosts these storylines in season three. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) plays Liz’s boyfriend Drew while Salma Hayek plays Jack’s love interest Elisa in six episodes. Other guest stars included Jennifer Aniston, Oprah Winfrey, Megan Mullally, Milton Greene, Carrie Fisher, Elaine Stritch, Steve Buscemi,  Steve Martin, and Alan Alda, who also provides audio commentary on the “Mamma Mia” episode. Even the Muppets’ guest spot gets the behind-the-scenes treatment in the special features.

The first two discs have eight episodes each while the third disc contains six episodes and most of the special features. There are some great audio commentary tracks (one on the first disc and three on the rest). Other special features include a photo gallery, award acceptance speeches, and 13 deleted scenes. The two best pieces, involving the season finale, present an entertaining rehearsal/read-through as the cast go through their lines and a “making of” featurette. This one-two punch would have been great for a few other episodes as well.

The anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) format matches the sharp feel of the quick, single-camera shooting style. Audiences really get a feel for the environment as the characters melt into their world as viewers sit back and enjoy the antics. An appealing cast looks even better while the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound accentuates the high quality dialogue, quips, and one-liners. Use the English subtitles to catch all the great lines. A high quality comedy set and essential for 30 Rock fans.

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