Maybe a good place to start is to attack the notion that “30 Rock” is a satirical take on “Saturday Night Live.” If that’s what you want, visit “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” which also has some of the best and smartest acting and writing on TV.
“30 Rock,” though written by and starring Tina Fey of “SNL” acclaim, goes in a different direction, and does it quite well. It is, first and foremost, a workplace comedy. The workplace happens to be a network sketch comedy show, but it could tell the same stories and produce the same hearty laughs if it was set in a law office or, truth be told, a trade publication. In short, it is about show business in pretty much the same way “The Dick Van Dyke Show” was.
What’s more, “30 Rock” shares some of the same elements that made that classic comedy a favorite with viewers, including an underdog hero, a demanding boss, nutty but enjoyable co-workers and a star with a gift for comic timing and facial expressions.