I love 30 Rock! It's the only show I've found to adequately replace the void left by Arrested Development. And I never would have predicted how much Alec Baldwin has made me laugh, what a great comedy actor! But I've noticed some recent criticisms and I have to say that while I don't agree with most, there are 'appendix' (unnecessary) characters that are in danger of ruining this show.
Alec Baldwin, Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski & Jack McBrayer - these guys are the only regular cast members I am enjoying watching anymore. I don't know what's happened to Tracy Jordan. Nobody made me laugh *more* than this guy in the first season. Now I am tempted to reach for the remote to speed past any of his scenes. What makes this show funny (and shows like Arrested Development, The Office) is anticipating the reactions from characters we know have hangups or vulnerabilities. I think this is why Tracy doesn't work - he has none.
And I feel equally irritated by most of the backup cast (Pete, Toofer, Lutz etc) who seem to be getting more attention recently than is befitting a *backup* cast. I remember wondering in the earlier seasons why these guys even made it to the front credits as they were in it so little, but this didn't bother me. It does bother me now however that they are getting more air time because I have no interest in hearing more than a line or two from them in each episode. The blonde 'bimbo' Cerie for example is still fun because she is given a line or two per episode that is usually funny and relevant. The others should have no place in more than 1 minute of each 20-min episode but we're seeing more and more and I'm wondering why. Are the actors demanding it and the writers complying? Sorry - too many cooks spoil the broth and I only want the few cooks that make the best food - the others are just waiters - necessary but only in small doses. Recurring characters like Elaine Stritch, Will Arnett and my new fave Ken Howard (as Hank) follow this same principle and it works. Don't make us resent these guys who never got in our face before!
My other favourite comedy show The Office seems to be taking the opposite approach. It's a very dicey time right now with frontman Steve Carell just gone and I waited to see them head down the same route as 30 Rock and start dragging forward the backups but I was pleased to see they seem to be filling the void instead with recurring/guest cast stars. (Things aren't perfect in Scranton but on this one issue they've done better than 30 Rock).
Anyway, love 30 Rock, and can't wait to see more of Jack and his beloved Lemon, Jenna & Kenneth and their backup cast next season! :-)