30 Rock (season 6)

The sixth season of 30 Rock, an American television comedy series on the NBC network in the United States, began airing on January 12, 2012. 30 Rock was renewed for a sixth season by NBC on November 15, 2010. The season began airing mid-season to accommodate Tina Fey's pregnancy. On November 14, 2011, NBC announced that 30 Rock would return at the new time of 8:00 pm.

This season was initially expected to be Alec Baldwin's last, as he had announced he would be looking to expand into other forms of media. However, in January 2012, Baldwin confirmed that he would remain for the seventh and final season of 30 Rock. Season six received positive reviews and 13 Emmy Award nominations.

Synopsis

The story arcs of season six include: Liz has a new relationship and emotionally matures; Jack continues to attempt to recover his wife from North Korea and find his identity at Kabletown; Kenneth moves up (and later down) the corporate ladder; and Jenna reaches a new level of fame thanks to being a judge on a reality show, and considers settling down with boyfriend Paul.

Cast

Tina Fey portrays Liz Lemon, the head writer of a fictitious live sketch-comedy television series TGS. The TGS cast consists of two main actors. The lead actor is the loose cannon movie star Tracy Jordan, portrayed by Tracy Morgan. His co-star is the extremely narcissistic Jenna Maroney, portrayed by Jane Krakowski. Jack McBrayer plays the naïve NBC page, and later janitor, Kenneth Parcell. Scott Adsit acts as the witty and wise TGS producer, Pete Hornberger. Judah Friedlander portrays trucker hat-wearing staff writer Frank Rossitano. Alec Baldwin plays the NBC network executive Jack Donaghy. Donaghy's full corporate title for the majority of the season is "Head of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming". Keith Powell plays the Harvard University alumnus and TGS staff writer James "Toofer" Spurlock. Katrina Bowden acts as writers' assistant Cerie Xerox. Other cast members include Grizz Chapman as Grizz Griswold, Kevin Brown as "Dot Com" Slattery, and John Lutz as J.D. Lutz. The cast for the season will also feature recurring guest stars Kristen Schaal as Hazel Wassername, a new NBC page who looks up to Liz, and James Marsden as Criss, Liz's new boyfriend.

Main cast

Recurring cast

  • James Marsden as Criss Chros, an unemployed entrepreneur and Liz's new boyfriend. (9 episodes)
  • Kristen Schaal as Hazel Wassername, a new NBC page who becomes obsessed with Liz. (8 episodes)
  • Thomas Roberts as himself (5 episodes)
  • Mary Steenburgen as Diana Jessup, Avery's steely mother who is romantically attracted to Jack. (5 episodes)
  • Will Forte as Paul L'astnamé, Jenna's boyfriend who also happens to be a Jenna Maroney impersonator. (4 episodes)
  • Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman, a physician who practices questionable medical techniques. (4 episodes)
  • Hannibal Buress as Hannibal, a homeless man. (3 episodes)
  • Sue Galloway as Sue LaRoche-Van der Hout, a TGS writer from the Netherlands. (3 episodes)
  • Ken Howard as Hank Hooper, the owner of the fictional company Kabletown and Jack's boss. (3 episodes)
  • Subhas Ramsaywack as Subhas, a janitor working at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. (3 episodes)
  • Dean Winters as Dennis Duffy, Liz's immature ex-boyfriend. (3 episodes)

Guest stars

  • Elizabeth Banks as Avery Jessup, Jack's wife who was kidnapped by North Korea. (2 episodes)
  • Tituss Burgess as D'Fwan, reality television star and judge on the fictional talent show America's Kidz Got Singing. (2 episodes)
  • Billy Bush as himself (2 episodes)
  • Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-Il/Kim Jong-Un, the North Korean dictators. (2 episodes)
  • Jimmy Fallon as himself/young Jack (2 episodes)
  • Kelsey Grammer as himself (2 episodes)
  • Matt Lauer as himself (2 episodes)
  • Michael Mosley as Scott Scottsman, a sports journalist who was kidnapped by North Korea along with Avery. (2 episodes)
  • Denise Richards as herself (2 episodes)
  • Fred Armisen as various characters (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • Will Arnett as Devon Banks, Jack's nemesis. (Episode: "Idiots Are People Three!")
  • William Baldwin as Lance Drake Mandrell, an actor who is portraying Jack in a television movie. (Episode: "Kidnapped by Danger")
  • Steve Buscemi as Lenny Wosniak, a private investigator. (Episode: "The Tuxedo Begins")
  • Nick Cannon as himself (Episode: "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell")
  • Jim Carrey as Dave Williams, the lead character in the fictional movie Leap Dave Williams. (Episode: "Leap Day")
  • John Cullum as Leap Day William, a mythological holiday figure. (Episode: "Leap Day")
  • Ann Curry as herself (Episode: "Idiots Are People Two!")
  • Steve Earle as himself (Episode: "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell")
  • Mick Foley as Mankind, Jenna's friend. (Episode: "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell")
  • Ira Glass as himself (voice role) [Episode: "St. Patrick's Day"]
  • Donald Glover as young Tracy (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • Jon Hamm as various characters (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • Marceline Hugot as Kathy Geiss, Don Geiss' socially awkward middle-aged daughter. (Episode: "Idiots Are People Three!")
  • Cheyenne Jackson as Danny Baker, a TGS cast member. (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • Kim Kardashian as herself (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • Stacy Keach as himself (Episode: "Murphy Brown Lied to Us")
  • Pat Kiernan as himself (Episode: "What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?")
  • Karolina Kurkova as herself (Episode: "Leap Day")
  • Adriane Lenox as Sherry, a nanny hired by Jack to look after his daughter. (Episode: "Leap Day")
  • Steve Little as Thad Wormald, Liz's former classmate who is now a billionaire. (Episode: "Leap Day")
  • Patti LuPone as Sylvia Rossitano, Frank's stereotypical Italian-American mother. (Episode: "Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky")
  • Andie MacDowell as Claire Williams, the wife of Dave Williams in the fictional movie Leap Dave Williams. (Episode: "Leap Day")
  • Rachel Maddow as herself (Episode: "Meet the Woggles!")
  • Paul McCartney as himself (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • John McEnroe as himself (Episode: "Dance Like Nobody's Watching")
  • Chloë Grace Moretz as Kaylie Hooper, Hank Hooper's cunning young granddaughter. (Episode: "Standards and Practices")
  • Bobby Moynihan as Stewart Derr, the foreman of a couch factory purchased by Jack. (Episode: "Murphy Brown Lied to Us")
  • Cynthia Nixon as herself (Episode: "Kidnapped by Danger")
  • Amy Poehler as young Liz (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")
  • Suze Orman as herself (Episode: "Today You Are a Man")
  • Al Roker as himself (Episode: "St. Patrick's Day")
  • Andy Samberg as himself (Episode: "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell")
  • Susan Sarandon as Lynn Onkman, Frank's former teacher and girlfriend. (Episode: "Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky")
  • Sherri Shepherd as Angie Jordan, Tracy's no-nonsense wife and reality television star. (Episode: "Queen of Jordan 2: Mystery of the Phantom Pooper")
  • Emma Stone as herself (Episode: "The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell")
  • Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy, Jack's cold and overbearing mother. (Episode: "Meet the Woggles!")
  • Stanley Tucci as Henry Warren, Jack's former colleague. (Episode: "Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky")
  • Cornel West as himself (Episode: "What Will Happen to the Gang Next Year?")
  • Brian Williams as David Brinkley, a news anchor. (Episode: "Live from Studio 6H")

Reception

Critical reception

Alan Sepinwall, writing for HitFix, noted that "there's been a lot of discussion [...] about how much Liz has or hasn't grown since the series began, and also about whether 30 Rock is a show that needs character development — or if, in fact, that growth would be counter-productive on such a silly, cartoonish show." He opined that "if a comedy is as funny as 30 Rock is capable of being — and as it's been so frequently in this late-in-life season — I'm fine with the characters being virtually identical now to the way they were in the pilot." Indrapramit Das, writing for Slant Magazine, awarded the season three stars out of four and commented that "there's something to be said for 30 Rock's unrepentant adherence to formula. By now, the characters' repeated bumbling through the cyclical purgatory at 30 Rockefeller Plaza has attained a certain rhythm, a comforting familiarity akin to long-running sitcoms like Friends." He concluded that "the cast's unfailing enthusiasm points to an ensemble that's only strengthening with age", but commented that the talents of guest star Kristen Schaal had been "wasted".

Dan Forcella, reviewing for TV Fanatic, opined that "television shows, especially sitcoms, normally lose some of their luster as time goes on. Whether it be that the series actually gets worse, or simply our perception of it does because the novelty has worn off, more often than not, things are not going to be the same by season six. Because of that fact, 30 Rock should be commended for how good its sixth season has been. There have been misses [...] and big hits [...] but all in all, this spring has been a solid run for the veteran sitcom." Writing for Splitsider, Jesse David Fox called the series "the best comedy of the 2011–2012 season" and went on to remark "next season is the show's last but it's not because of an overstayed welcome. The show is as sharp as ever, as gutsy as ever, as strange as ever, as funny as ever. Guys, it's the best."

Ratings

The sixth-season premiere, "Dance Like Nobody's Watching", attracted an audience of 4.5 million viewers. This demonstrated an increase from the fifth-season finale, "Respawn", which had drawn an audience of 4.2 million, but a significant decrease from the fifth-season premiere, "The Fabian Strategy", which had drawn 5.9 million. Four episodes of the sixth season demonstrated new series lows: "Idiots Are People Three!" (3.8 million), "Today You Are a Man" (3.2 million), "The Shower Principle" (3.1 million) and "Nothing Left to Lose" (2.8 million). The nineteenth episode of the season, "Live from Studio 6H", was broadcast live and demonstrated a six-week high in the ratings, with an audience of 3.5 million. However, the first live show, broadcast during the previous season, had attracted an audience of 6.7 million. Overall, with the inclusion of DVR viewership, the season averaged 4.6 million viewers, ranking one hundred and thirtieth for the year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Awards and nominations

The sixth season received 13 Emmy Award nominations. The series obtained its sixth consecutive nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Alec Baldwin was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Tina Fey for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. Will Arnett was nominated for Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Devon Banks in "Idiots Are People Three!" and Jon Hamm was also nominated for his roles as Abner and David Brinkley in "Live from Studio 6H". Elizabeth Banks was nominated for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Avery Jessup and Margaret Cho was nominated for her role as Kim Jong-il, both for "The Return of Avery Jessup". The season received seven other Emmy nominations.

Episodes

Uses material from the Wikipedia article 30 Rock (season 6), released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.