Ep 231: Danny Blay, 30 Rock Characters

rescue-me.jpgDanny Blay is an Executive Officer from No to Violence. He comes in to talk about representations of sexual violence on television. If that doesn’t sound like enough fun and good times, we look at some characters from 30 Rock in the Greatest TV Characters of All Time.

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  1. murrayNE says:

    Me fail. I read this title and thought “30 characters that are rocks? I can only think of one!” (The Thing from Fantastic Four, if you'r wondering).

    I've never managed to catch 30 Rock. It fits into the surprisingly large category of “shows I think of as new and probably transient, but which have actually racked up several seasons”.

  2. murrayNE says:

    Me fail. I read this title and thought “30 characters that are rocks? I can only think of one!” (The Thing from Fantastic Four, if you'r wondering).

    I've never managed to catch 30 Rock. It fits into the surprisingly large category of “shows I think of as new and probably transient, but which have actually racked up several seasons”.

  3. I'm the same way with Psyche. I hear someone else joining the cast and I think: “Oh wow. That's still a show?”

  4. David Boxcutter says:

    Brett, I'd like to hear more about how you justify the concept of anti-siphoning laws as “completely valid”. I don't recall seeing a section in our non-existent constitution enshrining the right to free sports on TV. If all broadcast sport was on Pay TV, what would be the problem? What's the damage done? Nobody is going to starve over it, and in fact it might mean more people getting off the couch and going outside.

    Now, assuming this mythical right, why does it only apply to certain sports? How about the boxing, which is typically only available on pay-per-view. Why don't we have the right to get that for free?

    And what's so special about sports in the first place? Why don't I have a right to get the movies/series they show on Showtime or HBO for free? In reality, we're talking about more than a “right to watch” it's more a “right to be provided with” which is an entirely different thing.

    Personally I think the whole thing is a “bread and circuses” political farce. The intention was for the government to seem to be on the same side as the average suburban battler – “look at us, we're fighting to keep your beloved sports free!” There's also the angle that they want to keep the masses placated and distracted with their sports, so they don't think too hard about more important issues.

    I just don't see how it's justified, either in principle or practice. If you want to watch the footy for free, you can always go down to your local oval and watch the juniors.

    Of course, the terminology “free” is misleading in the first place. It's paid for by commercials, which are in turn paid for by your attention to commercial interruptions, and your wallet at the supermarket.

  5. Sorry Wilbur but fail. You acknowledged that audiences have moved on: that's precisely what's wrong with the show. Also, it's great that you're all enjoying yourselves and that you don't want to be concerned with ratings, but fun alone is not enough to sustain a television show in the 21st century.

    I know you're more contemporary than your appearance in this interview (Cat Empire enthusiasm aside) so I trust you're being diplomatic for the sake of the show. Next year when it's gone and the dust has settled I hope you can be frank.

    Now, Daryl, if you're listening:

    – The show's weird insistence on booking guests that were history 10 years ago is mystifying to say the least. Book more Kylies and fewer Engelbert Humperdincks.

    – The format is tired and irrelevant. I can do my own Phunny Fotos in far less time with a laptop and Google. The parlour games are slow and dull, even if people did still play them in real life (hint: they don't). Use your considerable resources and talent line-up to bring the show up to date. Citing a Twitter hashtag once a week does not cut it.

    – Be less patriarchal. Ditch your weird barrel girl. Give Livinia something real to do. Stop pretending men do all the real work.

    – Embiggen the set. The current one is tiny. It was fine in 1999, but Big Brother, Aus Idol, Stardancers etc etc changed expectations. You need dynamism and depth.

    Oh, and when the show is inevitably axed, please — PLEASE — don't hit the press blaming Nine for being unsupportive and short-sighted. Normally Nine is exactly that, but by the end of the year Gyngell will have allowed you 23 attempts to get it right. 23. That's about 21 episodes more than most failing shows get in this country.

  6. *stands up and claps*

    The odd thing is, even at this stage, there's still a chance to save Hey Hey as a show. There's nothing wrong with the format per se – it's just the rusted on performers and routines that (then – and now) are killing it. Imagine – even if only by way of hypothetical, a bizarro universe version of Hey Hey hosted by say Rove, with Tony Martin in the John Blackman role (stay with me! I'm going somewhere!). it'd be energetic, it'd be fun, and it'd have the barely-controlled chaos that made the show a legend in the first place. Of course, I know that will never happen – collective pride and that “we're all still having fun together” attitude gets in the way. BUT –
    – it'd damn well work, wouldn't it? Now go find an up-and-coming Rove, and a not-yet-famous Tony Martin, and BY GOD start grooming them to take over. If not this year, next year. or the year after. Try deliberately evolving the format, because at the moment you're just exposing all the weaknesses that caused the show to be cancelled in the first place. And it doesn't have to happen.

    Also, 20+ shows is waaaaay too much for a nostalgia act. I go back to old argument from an earlier thread – if Hey Hey had come back for six specials, spread over the year ( Hey Hey it's Xmas, Hey hey it's Mothers Day, whatever) then the numbers would stay up, and the show would easily get renewed…

  7. Yes. Yes, exactly. The potential of the format to endure for decades is enormous. Daryl just has to relinquish control a bit. Just a little bit. As you said, groom people to replace the fogeys who are probably only planning to hang around for another few months anyway. Roster a week off for all the regulars and drop in a fresh face, giving new talent an opportunity to be involved.

    If Daryl weren't such a tenacious control freak, it'd work.

    Not long before it was axed in 1998, Lano and Woodley guest-hosted an entire show. It was a bit rough, of course, but it was very, very fresh. It proved that the show can cope with a different host.

    Obviously I don't want to see people like Wilbur out of a job, but let's be honest: if the show doesn't move into the 21st century, it'll die.

  8. Sophie Geffrois says:

    I've never understood the fuss about 30 Rock. After hearing, repeatedly, from just about everbody (including Boxcutters) that it was the best thing EVER EVER, I tuned in this winter and was disappointed. To me, it seemed to be too self-consciously wacky, and not particularly funny, like it was taking decent punchlines from a sketch and then spreading them out over a 30 minute television program.
    It felt like watching an episode of reasonably good SNL sketches: nothing hilarious that caused me to laugh out loud, a few 'that's funny' moments followed by 'this is going on too long. Oh, Jesus Mary and Joseph, someone get them an editor!'
    Did I miss the good 30 Rock, or do I just have no sense of humour?

  9. Sophie Geffrois says:

    Ah! Your new comments system knows my last name! I am scared…

  10. Leechboy says:

    The king of this is Wings. Nine seasons, NINE SEASONS, and I never met anyone who was a regular viewer.

  11. BTW – whilst no one plays parlour games in this day and age; it sure doesn't seem to do Good News Week any harm-!

  12. murrayNE says:

    Were you logged in to Facebook when commenting? I've almost been caught out by that (and have been caught out by being logged into one Wordpress blog while intending to comment anonymously on another).

  13. David Boxcutter says:

    I don't know how long you've been listening to Boxcutters, but when 30 Rock first came out, the reaction from the Boxcutters was somewhere in-between “meh” and “Why are people watching this?” Now the show is getting tributes from them.

    But then again, the Boxcutters' reaction to Studio 60 was “This is a great show! Aaron Sorkin FTW!” Today, their opinion on Studio 60 is “That show is crap, and why did you steal 13 hours of my life!”

    Personally, I think 30 Rock hits its stride towards the end of the first season, and into the second season. It's the characters that make it great. But then again, I thought 30 Rock was quite amusing from the beginning, and I never saw the appeal of Studio 60.

    The real name thing has caught me out. If you have your real name at the beginning of your email address, the comment system “helpfully” fills out the name field based on your email address. It's a terrible feature, especially as the text is light grey and difficult to notice, and even if you already entered something in the name field, if you later input to the email field, it writes over what you already entered in the name field.

  14. Nelly Thomas says:

    Hi Sophie, I found 30 Rock a slow burn but persisted (because I admire Tina Fey so much) and now, as you've heard, I am a huge fan. Once I adjusted to the short episodes and got to love the characters, I was hooked. Having said that, maybe it's just not your thing – I'm sure your sense of humour is fine. Nelly

  15. To MordWa's comment about GNW's parlour games: GNW runs them at a cracking pace and with biting satire. Hey Hey just lines up the celebs and gives everyone about 30 seconds to have their turn. It's painfully slow and empty.

    I think the crucial difference is that GNW uses talented improvisers in its games. Hey Hey puts one person with genuine riffing ability (e.g. Akmal) next to that mystifying Suze Raymond woman and some network random. The result of that is a very slow segment, a very bored viewership and Akmal looking as lost as Daryl at a computer swap meet.

  16. It's tricky to get into. I think the trick is simply to persevere. Much of the humour comes from really getting to know the characters (e.g. 'ROBOT PENIS' wouldn't be the crying-with-laughter moment it is if you didn't fully understand Liz Lemon's personality).

    As David Boxcutter said, the first half of the first series is a bit of a chore. Series 3 dips toward the end (Salma Hayek's subplot is rubbish), and it doesn't really get back on its feet until about halfway through series 4.

  17. actualchad says:

    Danny Blay was surprisingly interesting. Pity he kept getting cut off by everybody else, or questions to him were answered by other people.

  18. Thanks all! I'll keep at it, hopefully it picks up soon. 🙂 Double thanks to David for pointing out the reasons behind the 'psychic' commenting system.

  19. Thanks all! I'll keep at it, hopefully it picks up soon. 🙂 Double thanks to David for pointing out the reasons behind the 'psychic' commenting system.

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