CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
DVD Review: NBC’s ‘30 Rock’ Still Hilarious In Fourth Season
CHICAGO – Time flies quickly in the world of television. Look no further than the fact that NBC’s “30 Rock” has become one of the elder statesmen of the sitcom. As new shows like “Glee” and “Modern Family” stole headlines, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin’s brilliant creation kept knocking them out of the park. It never set the ratings on fire, but there’s no denying that this is still one of the best comedies on television.
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
Recognizing that the program’s strength has always been in its ensemble, Universal put Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jack McBrayer, Tracy Morgan, and Jane Krakowski on the cover of the recently released fourth season. They’re all great and the latest year of “30 Rock” also included some fantastic guest appearances including Matt Damon, Jon Hamm, and James Franco. I think the show can sometimes push the revolving door of guest stars a bit too quickly, but most of their choices in 2009-2010 were inspired and well-executed. The 2nd season remains my favorite but the 4th was a slight uptick from the disappointing 3rd.
30 Rock: Season 4” was released on DVD on September 21st, 2010
Photo credit: Universal Home Video
If you haven’t caught up with the show, you’re missing one of the most beloved and acclaimed series of the ’00s. And Universal treats the many fans of the show who watch it on DVD well with a very nice three-disc box set. First, some episode highlights from the season to either refresh your memory or give you a preview of what to expect:
“Audition Day” — Liz and Pete try to rig the TGS auditions as everyone else jockeys for a chance to audition for the show or, in Tracy and Jenna’s case, tries to sabotage the proceedings, amid the chaos, Jack is treated like a pariah because of a bedbug infestation.
“Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001” — The pilot of her new talk show gives Liz the chance to be the center of attention, while Jack feels pressure from Devin to make it a hit. Meanwhile, Tracy takes on the ultimate Hollywood challenge in order to prove his commitment to his wife, Angie (Sherri Shepherd).
“Secret Santa” — Jack reunites with his high school crush, Nancy Donovan (Julianne Moore), thanks to a social networking site. Meanwhile, Liz struggles to find Jack a perfect gift, the writers invent a religion to avoid Kenneth’s secret santa gift swap, and Pete enlists Danny in his crusade for revenge against Jenna.
“Floyd” — Liz deals with the unexpected return of her one good boyfriend, Floyd Debarber (Jason Sudeikis), Jack helps Danny battle the writers in a rapidly escalating prank war. After being subjected to hours of his stories, Tracy and Jenna are haunted by Kenneth in their dreams.
“Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter” — Jack’s birthday brings additional pressure on him to choose between Avery and Nancy. Liz forces herself to attend as many singles events as she can. Back in the writers’ room, Toofer is troubled by the circumstances behind his hiring.
The DVD set for “30 Rock” is a beauty but the original broadcast in HD is stunning, so why can’t I own the show on Blu-Ray? It’s ridiculous that a show this popular and this high-selling on DVD hasn’t made the jump to the next-gen format.
The episodes are presented in 1.78:1 widescreen and accompanied by English Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Of course, they look and sound good, but a show should be available in at least the same quality it was originally broadcast in, arguably better.
As for bonus features, “30 Rock” includes several diverse and interesting audio commentaries, listed below, along with deleted scenes and featurettes.
Episode 4.3, “Stone Mountain” — Donald Glover & Gillian Jacobs
Episode 4.4, “Audition Day” — Lorne Michaels & Alec Baldwin
Episode 4.5, “The Problem Solvers” — Jane Krakowski & Jack McBrayer
Episode 4.7, “Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001” — Scott Adsit & Don Scardino
Episode 4.10, “Black Light Attack!” — John Lutz & Sue Galloway
Episode 4.12, “Verna” — Tina Fey
Episode 4.13, “Anna Howard Shaw Day” — Jane Krakowski & Jack McBrayer
Episode 4.15, “Don Geiss, America, and Hope” — Tracey Wigfield & Tom Ceraulo
Episode 4.19, “Argus” — Tina Fey & Jeff Richmond
Episode 4.21, “Emmanuelle Goes to Dinosaur Land” — Jon Hamm & Jack McBrayer