Too inside television? Yeah, probably. But last night NBC’s smartest sitcoms, Community and 30 Rock, presented the kind of sharp mockery that makes real TV fans drool in their popcorn.
First up, Community with an episode that was a rather brilliant satire of NBC’s long-running crime-and-punishment fable, Law & Order. The sound, the graphics, the narrative style, all faithfully followed Dick Wolf's perennial procedural.
Here’s an early scene featuring Troy and Abed using a little shoe leather to crack the case. (Later Annie and Jeff would take over as the prosecutors.)
Great guest stars by the way including Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers) and the return of Michael K. Williams (The Wire and Boardwalk Empire) as biology Professor Kane.
30 Rock was after bigger fish and going for it in the notoriously leaky vessel of a live episode.
The show attempted nothing less than a mock montage of live television through the ages – news, drama, sitcoms, variety shows, telethons, you name it. Here is Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey in The Lovebirds, a rather vicious takeoff of The Honeymooners. (Not sure what accent Tina is going for here – middle late Katharine Hepburn?)
Couple of guest stars turned up for this one too. Paul McCartney, Jon Hamm, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, in fact about half of the current and former Saturday Night Live cast. Even Community’s Donald Glover as a young Tracy.
It was a frantic half hour, especially for Baldwin who also did a soused Dean Martin type host. Then they all had to turn around and do it again for the West Coast feed. Break a funny bone, you guys.