The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Alternative Romance

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This is what I love about 30 Rock: the central romance, the ‘Ross and Rachel,’ ‘Jim and Pam,’ push and pull of ‘are they gonna get together/ aren’t they gonna get together?’ is reframed in Liz and Jack.  No one wants them to hook up, but watching the beautiful development of their friendship fills us with the same emotions – indeed, better versions of these emotions – than we get watching other intimate relationships unfold on sitcoms. Liz and Jack offer us a new version of the sitcom-romance – something in which the the pleasure, excitement, desire and care is all about deep friendship rather than sexual attraction.  When Jack moves the candle so Liz’s sleeve doesn’t catch on fire; when we realize that both of them can finish each other’s sentences and anticipate what the other will do; when Jack realizes not only that he wants to make Liz’s life better, but also that it’s always been her who he wants to do business with; and when Liz realizes that Jack’s not trying to screw her over in so doing…these moments of lovely intimacy and friendship caught me up more than any canned primetime romance has managed in recent years.

This is a key narrative of the sexual revolution.  As women have entered professional domains previously dominated by men, it’s not necessarily opposite-sexed romances that have come about, but rather opposite-sexed friendships.  I have loved watching this type of relationship unfold over these four seasons of 30 Rock, and I for one find it not only refreshing, but beautiful.

But workplace equality and politics aside, last night was a pretty hilarious episode.  We had classic 30 Rock moments of playful self-referentiality with Jack reminding Liz that successful acting only requires that you “hit your mark, stay in your light and do the same thing every take for continuity,” only to cut away to LIz wearing a red scarf and drinking a coke, both of which disappear in the next shot.  We have a fabulous new actor, whose Canadianness, I love: “All right hosers, I want all 12 of us fighting for every meter on all three downs or we’re gonna make this a boxing day the prime minister will never forget” – genius!  And, of course, Kenneth’s declaration of feeling about as useless as a mom’s college degree.  There has been some talk over the last few weeks that 30 Rock has had a hard time finding it’s stride this season.  If last night’s episode doesn’t shut such rumors up, I don’t know what will.

Posted by Natalie.

Written by themothchase

November 13, 2009 at 9:37 am

Posted in 30 Rock

Tagged with , , ,

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