NBC's sweeps strategy this November will include a week of programming oriented around an activist campaign, introducing environmental themes across the schedule. It used to be crossovers; now writers for all of its various shows have had to work in a little save-the-earth material. The campaign is called Green is Universal (as of today that link takes you to not much more than a logo and a countdown). And it's not just the net; the NBC U cable channels are in on it too. Universal, get it? All at once we will get confirmation that the media companies are liberal, synergystic, and eager to exploit a good cause if it will help them score ratings. Ka-ching!
The network's court jester, 30 Rock, is being meta as follows (you might consider this description a spoiler):
Thursday, November 8
30 ROCK (8:30-9 p.m.)
SPECIAL GUEST STARS OSCAR AND NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER AL GORE, MEREDITH VIEIRA, AND DAVID SCHWIMMER JOIN IN ON '30 ROCK'S' GREEN INITIATIVE -- As part of a GE-wide green initiative, Jack (Alec Baldwin) has come up with the idea of creating a green mascot for NBC -- a "Phillie Phanatic" -looking character named Greenzo. When Greenzo's eco-friendly preachiness gets obnoxiously out of hand in "The Girlie Show" offices, it's Liz (Tina Fey) who gets fed up the most with the ridiculous character. Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) is planning his annual house party, a boring little soiree where Liz has been the only one who ever shown up in the past. Tracy (Tracy Morgan) wants the party to be a success for Kenneth, so he spreads a few little rumors to get the event hopping. What starts out as simple office gossip, gets out of control. Also stars Jane Krakowski, Lonny Ross, Judah Friedlander, Scott Adsit, Katrina Bowden, and Maulik Pancholy.
Much as I admire 30 Rock, I fear that it functions more as an enabler than a critic. It might make the brass at NBC U feel good about subjecting themselves to this mockery. That might be a little creepy, like frat boys joking about sexism.
While on the topic, here's the video of "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" you've been looking for. And if you can follow along, come with me to this clip from The View of Sherri Shepherd (yes, the same one who said she doesn't know if the earth is round or flat, who plays Tracy's wife) asking James Lipton to talk about his days as a pimp! Awkward!
Alec Baldwin's tour-de-force scene from last night's episode in which he plays Tracy's mother, father, step-father, Tracy himself, and a Mexican neighbor, Mrs. Rodriguez, is all the evidence one would ever need to persuade the snobbiest skeptic that there is art in television. And to think that Baldwin might have left the show because he said something nasty to his daughter last spring. The loss of his talent would have crippled the show.