Oscar Wilde once noted that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” Of course, he didn’t live in the same world we currently reside in, now did he? You see, in this world, even the most scandalous real life incident made by the lowest form of supposed funnymen can be turned into something amusing for the sake of a laugh on TV. Take, for a very modest example, that point in time a short while back when comedian Tracy Morgan made some anti-gay remarks — which resulted in the LGBT community calling for his resignation. Sure, he apologized, but 30 Rock creator/star/producer/writer Tina Fey didn’t waste an opportunity to make a joke out of it.
Thus, at the beginning of 30 Rock: Season 6, Tracy Morgan’s onscreen character of Tracy Jordan (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) does the exact same thing: make an anti-gay remark in a stand-up routine, which he attempts to rectify by apologizing to Glad. No, not GLAAD, but Glad: the trash bag company. Life imitated, Art achieved — or at least a chuckle or two. Of course, Fey and her crack writing staff don’t stop there — and continue to crank out the laughs as they poke fun of everything from the Rapture (yeah, you crazy now-insolvent Christians remember that one, don’t you?) to the late Kim Jong-Il (who always required poking fun at).
Returning once more to hit audiences with their rapid fire machine puns are Ms. Fey as TGS writer Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin (who always makes me laugh, whether he’s making calls to his daughter, or trying to remake The Shadow) as network executive Jack Donaghy, the abovementioned Mr. Morgan, Jane Krakowski as the bubble-headed insensitive prima donna Jenna Maroney, Jack McBrayer as the so-naïve-it-hurts NBC page Kenneth Parcell, and the other usual suspects: Scott Adsit, Judah Friedlander, Keith Powell, and Katrina Bowden. Kristen Schaal joins the cast this season as the recurring character of a page obsessed with Fey, and James Marsden appears on-and-off as Fey’s love interest.
It often takes a great ensemble of guest stars to keep a show like 30 Rock from going past its sell-by date, and Season 6 is no exception: one only need see the epic cameo by Kelsey Grammer as a Winston Wolf-esque variation of his actual self (see it to believe it, kids). Appearances (both recurring and temporary) are also made by Will Arnett, Ken Howard, Mary Steenburgen, Will Forte (they couldn’t get Will Farrell, I guess), Cheyenne Jackson, and Susan Sarandon, while Kim Kardashian (please, hold your applause) and Paul McCartney show up for series’ second live episode, “Live from Studio 6H” — which was broadcast in two different versions (one for the West Coast, one for the East Coast).
Fortunately, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has saw fit to give us both versions of the aforesaid episode, the West Coast airing appearing as one of 30 Rock: Season 6‘s bonus items. Additional special features include an audio commentary by select cast and crew, several deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the live episode, and some musical stylings by Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson. Universal’s three-disc set presents this delightful season in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, with a nice English 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack accompanying.
In short, 30 Rock: Season 6 makes for some damn funny viewing. Why, I’m fairly certain even Oscar Wilde might approve were he with us here today.