Funniest TV Comedies


'30 Rock'


It's an odd time to be heralding 30 Rock as the best comedy of the past decade, what with it currently in the midst of its most uneven season yet. But what creator/American sweetheart Tina Fey set out to do with her oddball workplace comedy was to create something that, for better or worse, lends itself to unevenness. She has said her aim was to create a live-action comedy with the density of The Simpsons. To create a cartoon starring people, those people--unbridled Tracy (Tracy Morgan), egomaniacal Jenna (Jane Krakowski), and country-naive Kenneth (Jack McBrayer)--have to be two-dimensional, which is narratively self-limiting. But it certainly isn't comedically self-limiting. When all four burners are hot, nothing on the air is funnier or more rewarding. And at the core of all the wackiness is television's sweetest platonic relationship, that of Liz (Fey) and Jack (Alec Baldwin), whose relationship fluidly shifts from boss-employee to mentor-mentee to brother-sister to therapist-patient, often in the span of a scene. It's also television's most culturally literate sitcom (I task you to find another with an H. R. Haldeman punch line), proof that dense can also be smart.