Tuesday, February 5, 2013

30 Rock wants you to know getting imprisoned in a sex dungeon is the worst it will get

Last week was so sad. We had "The Clone Wars" season 5 finale and the 30 Rock series finale. But alien/immortal Kenneth Parcell would want you to know that life doesn't get any worse for you if you've been locked up in someone's sex dungeon. So if that's your situation, it's okay to be pessimistic. But otherwise, you really have no excuse not to be optimistic about the present and the future.

Tina Fey is unquestionably brilliant. I mean she totally owned her role as Sarah Palin during the 2008 election year, appropriately shaming that dunce for such clangers as, "I can see Russia from my house." But aside from that, her splash on Saturday Night Live led to the writing and creation of one of my favorite series, not to mention the New York Times #1 bestseller Bossypants (which is incredibly funny btw). And by the end of "30 Rock," I not only concluded that it's a shining example of how a drop of speculative fiction can improve any tale, but that the immortal Kenneth Parcell is the allegorical stand in for fiction writers everywhere. It's almost like that "tug on the ear" thing that Carol Burnette is famous for doing. Kenneth Parcell was Tina Fey's "tug on the ear" to all of us out here in t.v. land to let you know "the characters you invent will be immortal, just like Kenneth Parcell."

For those of you who didn't watch 30 Rock...well, shame on you. It was really funny and had a lot of great moments. Here are some facts pulled from the 30 Rock Wiki:

Kenneth is a perpetually cheerful immortal NBC page from Georgia. He came from pig farmer stock, and his best friend is his mother.

Throughout the series, Kenneth's age is questioned. Sci-fi website io9 called him an alien (but I don't think he's an alien). Kenneth told Tracy and Jenna that he'd kept a bird for almost 60 years. He's snapped at Tracy before when he asked Jack if there was an age limit to being a page. Kenneth responded "Who said I've been alive forever?!" When Frank played an iPhone application that emitted a low-pitched sound only those over 40 could hear, Kenneth was in agony. We've seen Kenneth packing up a photo given to him by Fred Allen dated 1947 which reads "To Kenneth, you're the tops!" We've also seen a tombstone which shows Kenneth's birthday as May 27, 1781. He's also claimed that his parents at some point were technically brothers. Interesting, eh?

Kenneth also had quite a "coke" problem during his "Wall Street days." This is revealed to mean he used to work at Blockbuster Video and was addicted to Coca Cola around the time that the film Wall Street was popular on home video.

His personality is definitely religious (and he's part of a fire and brimstone church that has services in a basement). Kenneth also reveals that he has no political views since "choosing is a sin." Instead, he always submits write-in votes for God. According to Jack, these all count as Republican.

And let's not forget the most awesome moment in the series finale that shows you how strange Kenneth really is:

So here's my take: Kenneth is not an alien but just a really nerdy/geeky angel that's stuck here on earth and wants to control NBC. From the looks of the final panel above, that's exactly what he got. And maybe that's just the final validation I needed for my own story. If Tina Fey writes about weird angels, then it's okay for me to write about them too. And the characters I invent, just like Kenneth Parcell, will be immortal too.

Also: huge nerd props for featuring a Bespin Cloud car from Star Wars in the window behind Kenneth.

Have a great Tuesday.

26 comments:

Em-Musing said...

DARN! I wish I got U.S. TV stations here in Mexico. I do get some, but not the network for this TV series.

Elise Fallson said...

Another series I'm totally foreign to... but it sounds hilarious.

Tim Riley said...

The finale was great. 30 Rock was a show that my wife and I could always enjoy together, and for that reason, I'll really miss it.

J.L. Campbell said...

Something else I've never seen. Where do you find the time, is what I want to know.

L.G. Smith said...

That's hilarious. I missed the finale, but I love that ending. And Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are the funniest people on television.

mshatch said...

Never saw it :(

Andrew Leon said...

That's not a Bespin Cloud Car, but 30 Rock is/was great!

mooderino said...

I always thought he was a mutant. Some people are born with six toes, others can't die. that's the South for you.

mood

Hart Johnson said...

You know... it's funny--I enjoy the snippets I see, but haven't managed to make time to watch. I may have to rectify that. I tend to avoid comedies, but this one seems smart enough I could stomach it. (I don't like that so much American comedy is either based around mean or dumb)

laughingwolf said...

no tv...

Tonja said...

I missed the finale. I've been catching the reruns late at night. Tina Fey is my hero. I agree Kenneth is awesome.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Oh well, then I'm not going to worry anymore if that's the worst that can happen. Thanks. I love this kind of information.

Sarah Ahiers said...

I've only seen the first couple seasons of 30 rock (however many they have on Netflix Instant). I keep checking, hoping they'll update more.

Fun Fact. My little sister is a comedian/theater director in chicago (she's still in school) and she's met Kenneth IRL

Matthew MacNish said...

We haven't made it all the way through the new season yet, but whenever we watch 30 Rock, my kids do this weird shoulder dance during the opening theme song. They call it "shouldering."

Morgan said...

This whole show is beyond amazing. I've probably watched every episode twice! Kenneth is awesome---love the way they tied up his character in the end. BRILLIANT.

Clarissa Draper said...

How funny! I never watch the show but I should really get into it.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

@Em: I can't believe you didn't get NBC!

@Elise: It was really funny. I love Jack. It gave me new respect for Alec Baldwin who has excellent comic delivery.

@Tim: I agree! Tina Fey made it all happen.

@Joy: I have no life.

@LG: Mmmhmm

@Mshatch: It was the Seinfeld of this generation.

@Andrew: I thought it was. Oh well.

@Moody: LOLOL

@Hart: I agree. Although I do like Big Bang Theory and some of that is what you've described. 30 Rock was intellectual humor for sure. I also loved the random guests that would pop in as themselves...like Bryan Williams.

@wolf: Oh you poor dear...

@Tonja: hehe we are in sync.

@C.Lee: Indeed. It IS THE WORST that can happen.

@Falen: Netflix is woefully behind. I think all they care about is the House of Cards thing.

@Matthew: That's fascinating.

@Morgan: Finally a series we both watch! I agree :) It shall be my mission in life to find another one in which we can be fans of together.

Romance Book Haven said...

It sounds hilarious and we get it here, but I haven't been watching it. Need to remedy that now.

Nas

Liz said...

Thanks for showing the end. Now I feel like I'm in the know even though I never watched the show. (I stopped watching sitcoms, mainly for the reasons that Hart Johnson mentioned. And then I just got out of the habit.)

Cherie Reich said...

Unfortunately, I missed watching this one. Our NBC access is often spotty, so we usually just don't bother watching it.

Rusty Webb said...

I"ve not quite made it to this season of 30 rock. I love the show though. Only seen the netflix episodes.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's always a little sad when a favorite series ends on TV or in books. They'll live on in reruns for a long time.

David P. King said...

I have yet to get started with 30 Rock, but I am sad to see Clone Wars is over, even though I feel it has tarnished my son's mind. He things Clones Wars is the REAL Star Wars, and the one's with real people are fake. Can you believe that? Kids today ...

Oh well ... Walking Dead on Sunday. I'm good. :)

Helena said...

So of course I missed the final show. I never watched 30 Rock that much, but now you've made we want to bring it up via On Demand and catch the last couple episodes.

BTW, I've been wanting to tell you about a profile of the late billionaire Theodore Forstmann that was in Vanity Fair. It turns out he wanted to call his memoir The Goalie because as a student he'd been a hockey star at Yale. "He believed his personality was characteristic of the position: the goalie, solitary and tense, enclosed in his face mask, is the last line of defense, forsaken in failure, unappreciated even in success." Shades of Jordan in Slipstream and Oculus?

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

@Clarissa: I think you might like it. The writing is very clever.

@Romance: Mmmhmm

@Liz: I think you might like 30 Rock. Then again, it could be funner to watch it with a fan like me. You could knit, and I could draw. We'd bake cookies and chain watch episodes.

@Cherie: You might be able to catch it on Hulu.

@Rusty: See comment to Cherie above.

@Susan Gourley: Oh definitely. 30 Rock is on all the time as a rerun.

@DPK: Have I mentioned how I love your new Avatar? LOL at Clone Wars being the "Real" Star Wars. However, I'm very impressed with it. In many ways, I do like it more than any of the movies because the production value is so high and the storyline doesn't end (unlike the movies). Basically, if you like something, then you want it to continue, right? And just to be clear...it isn't ending. Just this season is ending. And I'm with you (chomping at the bit for the return of The Walking Dead). I'm doing a post on The Walking Dead for Thursday.

@Helena: That is a fascinating fact you've put in your comment. I would probably say that it is so hard to get the kind of position that Mr. Forstmann had that no matter all the success he achieved in life, he probably died thinking of his time on the ice surrounded by his teammates. It was probably the pinnacle of his life.

Michael Pierce said...

I'm sorry, I'm one of the shamed who have not watched 30 Rock...or maybe just Shameless. Haha. But I thought you might appreciate that I just started watching Breaking Bad...and I can't wait for The Walking Dead to come back this weekend!