Despite winning the Emmys in the “Outstanding Comedy Series” category three years in a row along with a plethora of major prestigious awards for the show and its cast members, NBC’s is one of the most underappreciated programs on television (if ratings are any indication).
The fourth season premiere of , which aired last week during its regularly scheduled time (Thursdays, 9:30 p.m.), continued the thankless effort of entertaining while hoping one day of receiving its deserved attention.
Traditionally, has always fallen under the shadows of that other, more popular Thursday night comedy series, , which comes on in the time slot right beforehand on NBC. In fact, many speculations led to believe that the show’s original fans were those who left the television on for too long after watching Steve Carell’s 30 minutes of mischief.
However, the simple truth is that the show is more than just a closing act. It is a great comedy series perfectly capable of standing on its own and earning the recognition that it rightfully deserves from viewers.
Created by and starring Tina Fey, is grounded comically in the tradition of () as the show is produced by executive producer and entertainment giant Lorne Michaels and stars favorites like Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan.
Furthermore, the stories revolve around the cast and crew of a televised sketch comedy program, , and the show’s head writer, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). Because the show so shamelessly hearkens back to Fey’s own days as ’s head writer, the show often contains political remarks as well as reference to pop-culture in order to enhance the show’s humor value.
The unique humor is noticeably different from that of other comedy series, which could account for both of the show’s lack of a substantial audience and its critical acclaim.
Rather than over-the-top slapstick humor often found within many contemporary comedy programs, it takes a relatively subtle approach in achieving smart and relevant comedy.
Instead of ridiculing stupidity or absurdity in a way that is condescending to the show’s audience, the tales are instead inspired by the ironies in life, love, and friendships. As a result, the characters are laughable but not looked down upon by the audience as they are very relatable.
However, the show’s quick wit can be easily missed as most of the humor takes more work than just that cursory first glance to fully understand. This has proven unpopular with today’s audience who seems to be solely interested in instant gratification when it comes to their comedy.
What they fail to realize is whereas those great one-liners will quickly fade away from their memories, clever insightful remarks will last much longer and be much more impactful.
If the other comedies series out there are popular fast food chains, it is a fresh home-cooked meal. While it may take much longer to prepare, it is always different and much more substantial in the end.
Overall, the unique style of the show, not found much elsewhere in today’s televised comedy shows, is both its greatest strength and weakness.
It is a fantastic comedy series, one that is severely undervalued and definitely recommended to those who can indulge themselves in clever jokes rather than humor inspired from absurdity and chaos.
Even so, for those others who think that they prefer more popular forms of entertainment, might just change their mind and introduce them to a different style of slow-cooked, flavorful comedy.