30 Rock speaks clearly in all languages.
When I was living in San Francisco, I still spent summer vacations in my hometown of Pasadena. Once while I was down there, I discovered that a girl I fancied had just taken a boyfriend. It was liberating. Suddenly, I was freed of any desire to go back to SF State. I had no reason to be up there in the first place; too expensive, the school was terrible, the film department was completely belligerent and I didn’t even want to be in film anymore. San Francisco itself almost made up for my horrible experience at the University, but it didn’t matter now anyway.
Being away from home so often made me feel like an outsider now, so my first instinct was to find new friends. I looked up some stuff on Meetup and chanced on a fairly new screenwriting group that met across the street from my apartment. On that note, please check out Planet Writer. All of this was a direct influence on my current project Totally Radical.
Which brings us back to 30 Rock. As I already liked the show and knew the main points of their plots, I decided my first spec script would be a 30 Rock script. “Capre Alleate.” Basically, NBC is in danger of being sold again to an angry Italian businessman played by Bob Odenkirk, so Jack foolishly attempts to set him up with Lemon in the hopes that it will crush his spirit. Meanwhile, Tracy goes to accept an Albany Regional Grammy that turns out to be a prank by some zoo-crew radio hosts. His absence causes Toofer to step in as TGS’ star.
The script actually wasn’t badly received. It was too short, and iffy in the third act, but at least somewhat cohesive and everybody liked the aside jokes. The problem was that I’d spent hours watching the best episodes of 30 Rock and taking notes about the pacing, placement of the jokes, etc. (Did you know that there are twice as many jokes in the first half of each episode?) And, as copying is rampant in Television, showrunners these days prefer pilots. But that’s a story for another day.