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But it's socially conscious second. First, it's funny. In the pilot (being reshot in parts for recasting), Jack sizes up Liz instantly, with creepy accuracy: "New York, third-wave feminist, college educated, single and pretending to be happy about it, overscheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that has 'Healthy Body Image' on the cover, and every two years you take up knitting for--a week." In a brilliant bonding scene, Tracy takes Liz to a strip club and says she could learn from the dancers: "They know the window of opportunity's only open for a moment." Liz stuffs a bill into a persistent stripper's stocking, protesting, "This is for computer classes."
30 Rock is willing to let each of its characters be right and wrong; it's confident that we don't need to worship them to like them. And for all the show's cartooniness, its gender-conscious take on the TV business is actually more sophisticated. Sure, networks occasionally interfere with shows for political reasons. But more often, they do so for demographic reasons. Or for no reason. "Sometimes," Jack boasts, "you have to change things that are perfectly good just to make them your own."
Which is not to say 30 Rock is cynical. But where Studio 60 reveres television, 30 Rock loves TV, and that makes the difference. At one point in Studio 60, the show's director cracks a joke that a stressed-out Danny fails to appreciate. Says the director: "It's a comedy show, dude." Good thing somebody remembers that.