Tuned In Journal: '30 Rock' dings NBC

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007

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Viewers may have noticed that NBC has a green-themed week going on with "Today" show anchors reporting from around the planet and environmental themes worked into prime time shows. Color me overly cynical, but it seems like a hollow gesture. Doesn't sending those "Today" anchors across the planet use a lot of energy? Will their sage advice on ways to prevent envrionmental degradation really offset the pollution they create in making their trips?

The writers at NBC's "30 Rock" (8:30 p.m. Thursday, WPXI) are apparently as cynical as I am, but far braver in their willingness to bite the hand that feeds them. This week's episode is a complete send-up of attempts at corporate responsibility. NBC deserves credit for letting the show get away with it.

NBC executive Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) creates "America's first non-judgemental, business friendly environmental advocate" in the form of Greenzo, a character played by guest star David Schwimmer ("Friends").

"Saving the earth while maintaining profitability," Greenzo declares. "The free market will solve global warming, if that even exists."

Greenzo eventually lets his fame go to his head. He appears on "Today" where Meredith Vieira cheerfully chirps at him in the mindless way morning show anchors are wont to do when interviewing the stars of one of their network's shows.

"What's in that styrofoam cup," Greenzo interrogates Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). "Is it the Earth's blood?"

NBC has already given away in its promos that there's a cameo by former vice president Al Gore, who plays good-naturedly mocks himself. He also suggests a week of environmentally friendly programming, exactly what NBC has concocted.

"Yes," Jack says, "Or you could put on a silly hat and tell the kids how outsourcing means cheaper toys for Christmas."

It's dialogue like this that makes "30 Rock" rock. Hard.


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