’30’ surpasses ‘Office,’ ‘Studio’ rants turn viewers off

Robert Taylor

“30 Rock”

NBC, Thursdays at 9:30 p.m.

Here is a show that started very weakly and has improved with every single episode. Recent episodes have actually usurped “The Office” as my favorite comedy on air right now.

Part of this is the thankful marginalization of Tracey Morgan’s annoying-as-heck bipolar comic. Creator Tina Fey seems to have finally gotten the message that less of Morgan’s shtick is better than more, and the results have made a more likable and less annoying clich‚.

It’s also given the supporting characters more opportunities to shine. Alec Baldwin has become downright funnier than Steve Carell on his best day, especially in recent episodes where he is going through a long-coming divorce with his wife.

Jane Krakowski has blossomed recently after barely appearing in earlier episodes, and the running gags concerning her film The Rural Juror are some of the best-timed and perfectly-delivered comic scenes on air right now.

And while the cameos by Rachel Dratch were annoying at the beginning of the show, they have finally won me over — most notably her impressions of a street hooker and Barbara Walters.

I highly suggest you stick around after “The Office” this Thursday or buy a recent episode off iTunes, because “30 Rock” has become a weekly stomachache from over-laughter for me.

“Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip”

NBC, Mondays at 10 p.m.

Here is a show that started amazingly strong and has all but imploded since its pilot. Despite a phenomenal cast doing its best, I can barely bring myself to watch it anymore, even though I love the concept.

First off, what the hell is up with creator Aaron Sorkin just having his characters go off on random liberal rants that last for minutes on end? I’m a liberal and I want Matthew Perry to shut up half the time. While rants like these may have worked on “West Wing” because it was a political show, they don’t carry much weight on a show that should be making fun of politics.

And then there are the romances. I love Sarah Paulson and think she is the shining star of the show, but when she repeats the same dialogue to Matthew Perry in every scene, I want to scream. Why waste such a gifted actress on one note?

In fact, all of the actors, in one form or another, are trapped within their characters. The writing never plays to their strengths, and that is why I can’t stand the show. The characters have so much potential in both comedic and dramatic aspects, but Sorkin’s agenda doesn’t match up to their strengths, which results in him shooting himself in the foot every week, until the show is canceled — which should be very soon, if things don’t improve.

Contact ALL correspondent Robert Taylor at [email protected].