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Headscratchers: 30 Rock
  • At the end of the episode "MILF Island", it's revealed that Jack knew it was Liz all along and that he just made up all that stuff about Gilly to get her to admit it. However, she was just about to tell him the truth when he told her about Gilly and that actually made her decide not to tell him.
    • Regardless of what he says, it seems reasonable that Jack made up the Gilly story in order to torment Liz, not to get her to confess - a goal which it certainly achieved.
    • Or, as an alternative explaination, Jack knew that Liz did it, but he didn't know she was about to confess when he first told her the Gilly story.
    • His goal wasn't to get her to confess, it was to guilt her enough that she would feel obligated to write Deborah's show.
      • Although, ironically, if Liz knew that Jack was faking it and his feelings weren't really hurt, she wouldn't feel guilt and wouldn't really feel compelled to write the show
  • Throughout the series, GE and NBC are owned by the fictional Sheinhardt Wig Corporation. However, in "The Rural Juror", it's GE that owns the Sheinhardt Wig Corporation, which, in turn, owns NBC.
    • That's the thing: it's not that GE is owned by Sheinhardt, it's just NBC. So they'll need to get Sheinhardt out of crap on NBC, but if this were set in another department, wouldn't happen.
    • It's a Retcon, presumably.
  • Heaven help you if you try to reconcile the characters' backstories. Liz aged two years, from thirty-five to thirty-seven, between the first two seasons. Jack's father left him and his mother when Jack was two, but he has loads of much younger siblings who have good memories of their dad. Tracy was thirty-four in "Ludachristmas". So he was a teenager when he did that 1980s "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" song?
    • Jack's dad was kinda of a drifter; he easily could have come back for a quickie.
      • The episode "Goodbye, My Friend" makes this explanation canon.
    • Did he really say it was an 1980s song? It could have been done much later as an eighties throwback campy song.
    • It was all-but-established early on that Jenna lies about her age; Tracy could too. So could Liz; assuming she was born in 1970 like Tina Fey, not much. But still...
      • He didn't say he was thirty-four in "Ludachristmas" - it was listed on a profile shown in the episode. Also, it was not Liz, but a doctor who said she was thirty-five in "Tracy Does Conan" and in the previous episode ("Jack Meets Dennis") it's mentioned that her birthday was "last week", so she couldn't have had two birthdays before "Cougars". She couldn't have even had one birthday for that matter as she says in "Secrets and Lies", the episode after "Cougars", that her birthday was "yesterday". Therefore, as of "Cougars", she should be thirty-five, no?
      • Although, in "Retreat to Move Forward" Tracy says that he's forty (which is the number accepted by Wikipedia.
    • Since Eddie Murphy started on SNL when he was 19, I don't think it would be ridiculous that Tracey would have been in show business around the same age, since Tracey's character seems to be partially based on him (though mostly Martin Lawrence and Tracy Morgan himself).
  • In the season 2 DVD release of the episode "ROSEMARY'S BABY," there's an egregious edit when Rosemary/Carrie Fisher is pitching her terrible movie idea - it used to be "50-somethings go to spring break, get laid by grateful 18-year-olds," now it's "50-somethings join the army and get laid by a bunch of grateful 18-year-olds." Did they change it because Tina Fey's pal Amy Poehler is starring in a movie that's disturbingly similar to the first concept (SPRING BREAKDOWN)?
    • FWIW, I heard it was originally intended as a dig at Rachel Dratch, who had recently stopped appearing on the show due to a soured business relationship with Fey. (Dratch co-wrote and co-starred in Spring Breakdown, for the unaware). They reportedly changed it after the first airing because a host of mutual friends (including Poehler) objected to the comment.
  • Where has Josh been all season (three, that is)?
    • Clearly, he's been living it up in Vegas with Chuck Cunningham.
    • He was back (briefly) in "Goodbye, My Friend".
    • He quit in "Season Four" (the first episode of, you guessed it, season 4) because Liz didn't want the actors to know that she was hiring a new cast member to boost ratings (which Jack made her do), and she forgot Josh was in the room.
      • Agreed: It was lampshading
  • Kenneth is said to be from Stone Mountain, GA, where he grew up on a pig farm. The place is depicted on the show as a tiny, backwards hick town in a rural area. The real Stone Mountain (the town, not the mountain) is an eastern suburb of Atlanta, in a not-particularly-rural area of Dekalb County. Evidently, they didn't research the state's geography, but they could have saved themselves even having to do the research if they'd simply made up a fictional town in another part of the state. Paradoxically, they did do a brief cutaway once that showed Kenneth attending his high school reunion and being the only white person there, which is rather more accurate.
    • There was a dairy farm across the street from where I grew up in the 80s/90s in Stone Mountain. It is not that bizarre to think there might have been a pig farm too. But yeah, the Kenneth-type hicks were pretty much all gone by the 90s.
    • You haven't factored in the Kenneth-is-actually-really-old jokes. He could be remembering Stone Mountain as it was in the 1920s or something.
    • OP here... since it turns out that Jack Mc Brayer, who plays Kenneth, is actually from Conyers, not too far away, it seems more likely to be an intentional send-up of how people in other parts of the country might think life in metro Atlanta is like than a misunderstanding of what it's actually like. And, yeah, there's the possibility that Kenneth is actually a mysterious ageless entity.
    • This troper is from the South, and can agree that there's not as many backwoodsy types as you'd think. But considering everything in the show is exaggerated to absurdist levels, I took it as Rule of Funny.
    • On the DVD commentary, Donald Glover, who was a writer for the show at the time, said he is from Stone Mountain, Ga. They knew full well it wasn't rural, but they liked the name and Rule of Funny.
  • What is going to happen to the show after NBC-Universal is bought out by Comcast? The premise of the show has been so intertwined with General Electric's ownership of the company, I don't know how they'll continue the plot.
    • Sheinhardt owns Comcast?
    • GE will still own 49% of NBC. TGS is probably part of that portion.
    • Jack, ever concerned with looking the good company man, will cancel his Direc TV only to find the town his house is in is served by another cable company?'
    • OP here, the last episode had GE sell NBC to "Kable Town", but Jack will stay on as President of NBC. So... cheerfully withdrawn.
  • Whatever happened to Liz's plans to adopt at the end of Season 2? I might have missed something, but was it never brought up again?
    • She's on a list.
    • Also there was that whole plot about her trying to move forward with it in 'Do Over'; adoption is not a quick and easy process and the show is reflecting that.
    • Liz also mentions that's she's on a list for adoption in the season 5 opener, hinting that the plot might come up again.
    • 'Murphy Brown Lied To Us' in season 6 has Liz admit she gave up on kids, only to have Jack rekindle her interest.
  • There's a part in 'The Moms' where Tracy is complaining to Jenna about his hired-for-TV-mom: Jenna responds: "You're lucky! At least your mom is paid to pretend to you like you." ....Ouch, all things considered. I always cringe at that line. Anyone else think that it's weirdly casual? Normally, I feel like 30 Rock tries to cushion the blow of something like that with some comedy.
    • That was a joke. It was admittedly a little dark, but not considerably so.
  • Character Development. Why is there none? Liz and Jack gain some, whereas the rest of the cast are all caricature versions of themselves. I do understand that this is what makes the show funny; Jenna wouldn't be funny if she wasn't so self-centered etc. But this leads on to the lack of a story arcs given to other characters, which could give them a chance to grow, possibly. (Feel free to shoot me down as I'm probably looking at it a little harshly, and perhaps it should be seen like The Simpsons or Family Guy, where reset buttons are hit at the end of every episode in terms of development)
    • Tracey has developed over time. It has been shown that, to a fairly large extent (though not completely), his craziness is an act. When he isn't acting crazy, there has been a large difference in how he acts as the series progresses. Jenna hasn't had much, but her character is superficial, narcissistic, and almost completely divorced from reality, so there isn't much room for her to develop. Even so, she has had a bit of development through having a long term relationship.
  • In "SeinfeldVision", MILF Island is stated by everyone to have 25 moms. Then Jack shows Jerry the commercial, which shows "20 moms"...with a voice-over saying "25". Wait, what?
  • Jack's age. In season one he was fifty years old, but by season four he's aged to... fifty-one. What?
  • In the episode "MILF Island", it's never explained how Pete gets out from under the vending machine. I assumed they would wrap it up with a last-minute rescue, but they just kind of leave him hanging. Presumably someone comes along and saves him, but he was still trapped there for hours, and it seems odd that no one would mention it again.
  • Why did Pete stop wearing the wig after Tracy Does Conan? It really did look good on him, plus it did everything Jack said it would. For that matter, why didn't his actor, Scott Adsit, take up wearing it?
    • 1) Because "Complete loser" is basically Pete's character, and getting hair/respect would have wrecked the joke. 2) Maybe Mr. Adsit doesn't mind being bald.
    • 3) Some people think bald is sexy
  • Liz's disappearing allergies. In the first season she's wildly allergic to cats, dogs, and "anything furry and adorable." But in season five's "It's Never Too Late For Now," she has a cat and doesn't seem to be suffering as much as a runny nose. It's possible that she bought into Jack's spiel about how allergies are all psychosomatic, but that seems incongruous with the pathetic Liz we know now, so... what gives?
    • Allergy medication.
  • Why does Cerie continue to work in her secretarial job after getting married to a rich guy? I mean, she's lazy as hell, so it can't be because she's driven.
    • Maybe she quit for a while, but found married life boring, so she decided to get her job back. Or maybe she got divorced off-screen.
      • What little is said about her husband Arlis implies that he's a jet-setter. Cerie doesn't travel with him, for whatever reason, so she might hang out at TGS just to keep from getting bored while he's out of NY.
      • Maybe Cerie doesn't realize it's a job. She goes there, hangs out for a while, and every week they give her a check. She doesn't seem to do very much. Maybe she thinks the errands she runs and the messages she takes is just being polite.
      • She also only seems to take messages when it would cause trouble and run errands that she wants to do anyway. She may just be hanging out there to meet celebrities. With her looks she can probably go anywhere in the building and just get smiled at and waved through.
    • Tracey didn't realize he had enough money to quit his job until it was pointed out to him, after which he promptly quit (he did come back, but for reasons unrelated to money). Cerie might be in the same position as Tracey, in that she never really thought about to realize she could quit.
    • Finally answered. In "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World", Cerie reveals that she quit two years ago and no one noticed.
  • In Plan B, Jack's first thought on a "gay Jack Donaghy" is Devon Banks. What about the Generalissimo?
    • Because they needed "gay with the killer Donaghy business instinct," not "gay with the killer Baldwin looks," of course.
  • I get why everyone would put up with Dr. Spaceman, because he has no morals and says/does whatever they want him to. But in "Successor," there really was something he could have done to save Don Geiss from his diabetic coma. He injected him with a placebo and then basically gave up. Why did everyone, especially Jack, just accept this? In fact, why did Jack call for Dr. Spaceman in the first place? He should have known that in this one special instance it would probably be better to get a real doctor.
    • Jack actually seems to respect him ... which is a bit strange, since you'd think that Jack, Tracy, and Don Geiss could afford the best doctors in the world. Even Liz and Jenna should have their own physicians instead of just using the "NBC doctor."
  • In "TGS Hates Women", why was the ending so nasty? The slutty female comic adopted the fake persona to hide from a crazy ex boyfriend and had 6 hours to come up with a new identity. Isn't the witness protection program supposed to help? I know its Rule of Funny but the ending was pretty dark and terrifying by implications alone.
    • The Witness Protection Program is for witnesses, hence the name. They don't just give out new identities to everyone who's been victimized by a crime. Plus, there are plenty of real-life examples of women who've been abused by their partner but found little to no help when they went to the police. Maybe it's dark and terrifying because sometimes the world is dark and terrifying.
    • Given that he's made repeated direct threats and probably strolled right through a few restraining orders he should be in prison or a mental ward for the rest of his life. Even diplomatic immunity doesn't let you waltz through that.
  • In "The Gold Case" in the episode "The Head and the Hair", wouldn't telling all the women to pretend to wobble be sufficient to prevent the contenders from easily guessing who had the real one?
    • Or they could put the suitcases on tables. Either way, it'd wreck the joke.
    • By the time anyone realized the problem NBC had lost a lot of money and everyone involved on the project had been humiliated. No one was interested in fixing it, just sweeping it under the rug. The amazing thing is that it took so many episodes to notice the problem.
    • Come to think of it, nothing makes sense in that show. Why would people want to watch someone point to a brief case and maybe get gold from it? Wouldn't that get repetitive and boring, even for reality TV?
      • Ever heard of Deal or No Deal? Yeah, it's basically that.
  • Why is Jenna so ambitious to star in TV movies and win Oscars and be a star. She stars on the equivalent of Saturday Night Live or since it premieres during weeknights, a more apt representation is the Dana Carvety. People on sketch comedy shows like SNL generally transition to being the third lead on a sitcom to getting bit roles in Will Ferrell, Bill Murray, or Adam Sandler movies? If she wanted to be a respected actress, why didn't she star on some TV procedural like Closer or The Good Wife?
    • She has tried on numerous occasions to get on other shows. They have even shown numerous failed pilots for shows she has been involved with and had an entire subplot devoted to one of those shows.
    • Most actors on sketch comedy shows are comedians, not actual actors. Most don't transition into acting because they can't actually act. Acting in sketch comedy is very different from movie and TV acting.
    • ...Will Ferrell, Bill Murray, and Adam Sandler are all SNL alumni. Sandler was nominated for a Golden Globe for Punch Drunk Love, and Murray has an Oscar nomination for Lost in Translation. So clearly, it is possibly for actors on sketch comedy shows to do serious work.
  • In 100, future!Jack warns past!Jack, sideways!Jack, and Jack that if Jack takes sideways!Jack's advice, Liz will sign a lease with Denis and be trapped with him. This is entirely true. Does this mean future!Jack is actually from the future (unlike the other two, which are implied to just be hallucinations from the gas leak)? Or is this like in the live episode, where Jack stops drinking and basically gains psychic insight into the world? OR did Liz just really luck out with Jack's hallucination lining up with reality?
    • Jack knows Liz. One gag has the two of them be so in sync that they have the other's responses written down ahead of time and the responses to those responses. He gets how she thinks so well, that he can probably tell how the gas will affect her.
  • MILF Island just confuses me. Why does no one bring up that underage boys are being seduced by MIL Fs?
    • Presumably the island it takes place on is located somewhere with different laws.
    • The whole joke is that the concept is ridiculously squicky. Addressing or explaining that would just deconstruct the joke.
  • How is Avery hired by NBC if she acts like someone like on Fox News?
    • MSNBC does, in fact, have conservative pundits.
  • How did the fireworks episode even happen? Even in small towns, there are licenses, permits, and zoning regulations that require lots of paperwork in order to put on even a modest fireworks display. The fact the mayor calls Jack forcing him to shut it down shows he didn't go through the proper channels. If anybody could make that happen without all the bureaucracy, it would be Jack Donaghy. Not to mention Rockefeller Plaza would have to be closed off for safety which would require some kind of public service to be involved. That said, it seems unlikely any of that could have happened, let alone in NYC, without city officials giving the green light.
  • Why is Liz spending so much on wigs? Tracy's changing head-size aside, they're owned by a wig company; shouldn't they get a deal on wigs from Sheinhardt?
    • Same reason why Cartoon Network has to pay so much to use DC character's despite having the same parent company.
  • Why would Jack Donaghy, a straw Republican caricature, constantly make references to "evolutionary facts"?
    • Maybe he's a more complex character than you give him credit for. In any case, Jack is part of the corporate right, not the religious right. Several episodes make it clear that he was Raised Catholic, but is no longer really religious. (And if he was still a practicing Catholic, then it's worth pointing out that the Vatican actually endorses the theory of evolution.)
      • He also wanted to be a marine biologist as a kid.

24Headscratchers/Live-Action TV3rd Rock from the Sun

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