More on our online Culture page. Here's a smart and funny review about a smart and funny show, "30 Rock," written by Jake Martin, a Jesuit scholastic (who used to be a stand-up comic). Martin (no relation other than being my brother Jesuit) explains why the show is more than your average sitcom.
"Its deconstructive irony is only a veneer: the true beauty of the show lies in its fierce commitment to authentic characterizations. Unlike such structurally innovative shows as “Seinfeld,” which never let its audience forget that it was in on the joke and consequently seemed to prohibit any significant emotional investment, “30 Rock” never gets bogged down in its own slickness. The writers and performers have a concern for the humanity of their characters that overrides the show’s formal conceits.
All the standard character types are present: the narcissistic boss, the blonde bimbo, the Bible-belt cracker, yet the actors and writers of “30 Rock” are not satisfied with mere caricatures, as is often the case for TV comedies. Instead, the show does it the hard way, presenting a collection of fully realized personalities, who never lose an ounce of their comedic edge by virtue of their humanity."
Read the rest here.