YOU KNOW YOUR favorite television show has made it big when it gets adapted into a porn flick.
It’s a creepy kiss of success, but one that means enough people both know about your show and enjoy watching it … so much that they’d watch people who look vaguely like the show’s stars get naked and happy together.
Like, who cares about the 22 Emmy nominations “30 Rock” received for its third season, when “30 Rock: A XXX Parody” is now available? Let’s be real.
In all seriousness, though, if you’re going to spend your hard-earned cash on some DVDs, we’d recommend the actual show, not its lust-heavy knock-off — for the third season of “30 Rock” is one of the funniest things we’ve watched in a long time.
From the fantastic ensemble cast (including Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, Jack McBrayer as page Kenneth and Alec Baldwin as head honcho Jack Donaghy, our favorites) to the bizarre dialogue (why is everything Tina Fey says as Liz Lemon so funny?!), these 22 episodes and the plethora of special features (including audio commentary, deleted scenes, a hilarious fake commercial from Fey and Baldwin’s latest introductory monologue from “Saturday Night Live“) are totally necessary viewing before the fourth season of “30 Rock” premieres on Oct. 15.
And if this is your first time getting into the “30 Rock” thing, never fear. The storylines are structured such that you can pretty much jump right in at any point and rapidly pick up on the characters and their relationships with one another, something which is harder to do with similarly funny NBC hits like “The Office.” If you don’t know all the dramatic background to Jim and Pam (Roy, the kiss at Chili’s, so on), their love connection isn’t as adorable; however, you being unaware of the details of Tracy Jordan’s bond with his wife does not make his decision to get a tattoo of a gay lion named “Tangiers” any less uproariously great (in episode 19, “The Ones“).
Although that episode comes toward the end of the season, the preceding 18 are just as good. Season premiere “Do Over” has a fantastic spot from recurring guest star Will Arnett as Devon Banks, Jack’s nemesis and a vice president at NBC who revels in demoting Jack while he’s away in Washington, D.C. There’s a solid blast to NBC’s past with the nostalgically charming “The One with the Cast of ‘Night Court,’” which is pretty self-explanatory.
And the holiday episodes — “Christmas Special” and “St. Valentine’s Day” — provide some great insight into American culture, as Jack describes the perfect Christmas as tanning in the nude and betting on monkey wrestling (“Just like Norman Rockwell drew it”) and Liz divulges the secret to her super-glutinous, date-ruining chili (“Thanks, it’s my own recipe. I use cheddar cheese instead of water”).
And although Fey and Baldwin get the most screen time, watching the season in full also allows you to revel in the hilariousness of Morgan, McBrayer and Jane Krakowski, who plays the vapid, dude-obsessed and self-absorbed Jenna Maroney. As a comedic trifecta, they work wonders in the supporting cast, providing great one-liners (“Oh no, I must have ox fever. When did I walk barefoot near an ox?” from Kenneth, and “How am I gonna live? I only have $300 million!” from Tracy) and classic physical comedy, like Krakowski’s confused face, which is worth a chuckle every time.
Plus, the guest spot from Selma Hayek as Elisa — Jack’s Puerto Rican lady love — is also enjoyable, as she displays some comedy chops (“Why can’t I have fun like an upper-middle class person?”) that add depth to the spicy character.
The abundance of special features add to the overall experience, too: Audio commentary with McBrayer and Krakowski shows their natural chemistry and humor (“I didn’t know you could say ‘my period’ on national television these days,” Krakowski notes); deleted scenes again showcase the strength of the supporting cast (Tracy: “Every great relationship begins with a great lie”; Kenneth: “My mother would have never married my father if he had told her they were first cousins”); and the feature “Behind-the-Scenes with the Muppets” is an interesting look into why “Muppets are better actors than human beings,” according to Fey (and really, Jack’s hilariously tan and bloated Muppet is great).
The best features, though, are fake commercial 1-900-OKFACE, in which Fey sports some awful lace get-up and overzealously applied make-up while pretending to be an Eastern European phone-sex operator (“Some operators may be men doing a woman’s voice. Please, no suicide calls”), and the table read of season finale “Kidney Now!,” in which you can really see how the actors inject their own personalities and talent into the script. For example, when Kenneth exclaims, “Science was my favorite subject! Especially the Old Testament” and Fey advising a woman, “There’s no such thing as bisexual. That’s something they made up in the ’90s to sell flannel shirts.”
Just words on a page? We think not.
Written by Express contributor Roxana Hadadi
Photo by Mary Ellen Matthews/NBC