I'm a bit surprised I'm saying this, but I think that I might like 30 Rock more than The Office. Nothing against Michael Scott and company, but the sheer absurdity of 30 Rock's asides plus Alec Baldwin plus Kenneth the Page is just too good. And when you throw Will Arnett into the mix? We're talking almost Arrested Development levels of amazingness.
Revisiting 30 Rock's first season on DVD, you can see how it found itself and developed into a worthy successor to Arrested Development as the most under-appreciated comedy on television. The show may have started off on rough footing, but even when it was struggling, it showed signs of the truly brilliant show it has the potential to become. And it did become that show, thanks in part to stellar performances all around, great guest casting, and awesomely geeky Star Wars references, my personal favorite being:
Liz: The Hair asked ME out.
Jenna: What? THE The Hair? Well, what did you say?
Liz: I had to say yes. I mean, he looked at me with those crazy handsome guy eyes... it was like the Death Star tractor beam when the Falcon--
Jenna: No, Liz, do not talk about stuff like that on your date. Guys like that don't like Star Trek--
My favorite episodes of the first season would have to be Fireworks, Black Tie, and Jack-Tor, with Blind Date and The Head and the Hair getting honorable mention. Fireworks and Black Tie feature some great guest appearances by Will Arnett, Rip Torn, Isabella Rossellini, and Paul Reubens - a random assortment of actors if you've ever seen one. Jack-Tor features some of Alec Baldwin's funniest moments in a montage of his character filming a promotional video.
And there are just so many awesome little touches, like the names of the ridiculous sketches on The Girly Show (30 Rock's show within a show), Jenna's obsession with her sexuality, Tracy's entourage of Griz and Dot Com, Jack's uptight personal assistant, and Liz's moments of sheer nerdery. Plus, the movie references are plentiful.
And for what it's worth, I totally identify with Liz Lemon. Although I'm not sure I could fall so desperately in love with the city of Cleveland.