Sociological Analysis

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30 Rock, EC – Roshnee Sukhnandan

April 5th, 2011 · No Comments

In this episode of 30 Rock, there is a bombardment of cultural stereotyping, throughout the dramatization of a major current sociological theme:  the economic/job issue many of us face.

The TGS team may undergo a “forced hiatus.” Jack notifies Lemon first, and assigns her the position of informing all the other TGS employees about it. Lemon soon discovers that almost everyone on the team has a “Plan B” if ever their job at TGS is at stake. Lemon becomes anxious that she may be the only one who does not have a “Plan B.” This dramatization very accurately depicts a common, current sociological issue. This is that currently many people have the fear that they can lose their job at any time, and must have some sort of back-up plan if it does happen.

It’s simply amazing how many cultural, political, and other social stereotypes embedded within this episode as well. They include stereotyping of African Americans, Asians, gender roles (women being scientists, men being main caretakers of children), achieving “useless” majors in college, conservative “conspiracies” against President Obama, over-exuberance of vampire stories, and the emergence of the gay sexuality in society.

I’ve chosen a couple of the stereotypes I felt were major in the episode to expand on. African American dialect is used by Tracy Morgan as “click, click” when he tells Lemon he just cursed her out in African. Also the flashback scene of Lemon in LA, with all the young African boys rocking the car back and forth, in what looked like an normal occurrence of violence in LA. A stereotype of Asians is shown when another TGS employees pulls out her Plan B of “jenna babies” where she has the Asian baby saying that she is smart in math. The character Devon Banks plays important roles in showing the stereotyping of gay men and of men who are the main care takers of their children. He is recruited as the worker on Jack’s new gay network “TWINKS.” He comes to his first business meeting with one of his “sexy babies” (because of high cheek bones) trying to win over the head boss Hank, who is fond of babies. Jack himself, has also been spending all his time in the office and none with his new baby, Liddy. Hank asks him at one point “how’s the baby?” and he responds talking about “black asian bisexual youths.”

By the end of the episode there is some hope for recovery when we see Jack looking at his daughter’s picture, as if ready to go home to spend time with her, and Lemon exclaiming that she is now “hungry again!,” (after giving away her pizza since she had lost her appetite with the stress) because the company will be saved with Tracy Morgan coming back.

30 Rock accentuates stereotyping (cultural, social, political) in the show, as it is a satire, to make comedy out of real issues our society faces. I feel that the shows ultimately serves to reinforce these stereotypes because they use them comically, and while it is funny to watch, it only dramatizes the stereotypes more and doesn’t do much to reverse the effect. However, they do a service in making awareness, I suppose, of these issues and showing how trivial and sometimes stupid, for lack of a better word, these situations are, because they are masked with societal bias.

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