Monday, June 8, 2009

30 ROCK is a rip-off of THE MUPPET SHOW!

How are your minds today? Are they good? Not blown, you say? Do you like them that way? Then my sincerest apologies for THIS...



Tina Fey's 30 ROCK is currently the most acclaimed comedy series on television. It's won numerous Emmys and Golden Globes and I think Pulitzers. Critics and audiences alike love the show and its lovable zany characters, and consider it one of the most original comedies in years.

And I guess it is original...if you've never seen THE MUPPET SHOW. Because, my "friends" (in quotes because I don't know or trust you, please don't be offended), Tina Fey's 30 ROCK is quite obviously ripping off Jim Henson's beloved TV show.

"You're crazy", you say? "Wow, now with the insults. This is why I don't trust you", I respond. And the I hit you up with so many facts you HAVE to concede I'm absolutely right.

EXHIBIT A: THE PREMISE

Each week, our smart yet neurotic lead character has to manage a group of wacky misfits and put on a weekly sketch comedy show. Which show am I talking about? 30 ROCK plays like NBC went to JJ Abrams and told him to reboot THE MUPPET SHOW. "Do what you did with STAR TREK. Make it hipper, more adult. Maybe lose the puppets to allow more time for product placement."

EXHIBIT B: LIZ LEMON VS. KERMIT THE FROG


Both are the most normal characters on their respective shows. Both are unlucky at love. Both are neurotic worrywarts and type-a personalities who slow burn into a crazy breakdown once per episode. AND both have some kind of flirtation with the guest stars that ultimately goes nowhere. There is absolutely no difference between Liz Lemon and Kermit the Frog save for genitalia (Liz is a lady, Kermit has none).

Clearly Tina Fey has studied Kermit for hours preparing for her role. Remember the wacky voice Liz Lemon used to get out of Jury Duty? Oh man, that was funny. UNLESS you saw the part in THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN when Kermit got amnesia.

EXHIBIT C: JENNA MARONEY VS MISS PIGGY


Blonde and beautiful...but possessing, to put it politely, questionable talent. Both characters' vanity and desire to be the star of the show leads them to conive and backstab...which usually winds up making them the butt of the joke. NBC got really lazy on this one, as Jane Krakowski looks like the human version of the beloved Muppet. I'm somewhat surprised that Krakowski hasn't busted out karate moves or awkward French phrases.

EXHIBIT D: TRACY JORDAN VS. THE GREAT GONZO



The insane cast member overflowing with eccentricities? Check. Is in a committed relationship but has a wandering eye? Check. Has to be watched closely or he will hurt himself? Check. Watch this clip from THE MUPPET SHOW and picture Tracy Jordan doing it instead of Gonzo. Oh sure, there might be cursing and Tracy would probably be topless by the end of it, but other than that, Tracy and Gonzo act the exact same. And don't tell me you'd be surprised if Tracy started dating a chicken during sweeps. In fact, I am going to write that as a spec script.

In 30 ROCK's defense, the actual Tracy Morgan was ripping off Gonzo's completely ludicrous antics long before 30 ROCK was on the air.

EXHIBIT E: KENNETH THE PAGE VS. SCOOTER

I'm talking out my ass here, I guess. Kenneth is a naive, earnest page who runs around the set trying to put out fires and make everyone happy. Scooter, on the other hand, is a naive, earnest GO-FER who runs around the set trying to put out fires and make everyone happy. Totally different.

EXHIBIT F: THE JACK DONAGHY FACTOR

This is where 30 ROCK almost had me. Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy is without ANY direct Muppet parallels. Aw man, arguably the most beloved 30 ROCK character and he's not clearly based on any one Muppet. At first I thought he might fill the role of "Very Special Guest Star" every week (after all, before 30 ROCK Baldwin was known primarily for being a film actor and crazy).

But then I watched an episode of 30 ROCK and it hit me: Jack isn't just ONE Muppet. Jack is like Voltron: many Muppets combine to form a BIGGER, COOLER super muppet!

Jack's Republican leanings and stiff outward demeanor? Come on now.

Jack began as the cold, all business boss that only cared about the bottom line and profits.


But he slowly came around, hanging out with Liz Lemon and becoming all sorts of warm and fuzzy. Beneath that big, hirsute exterior was someone who just wanted to be loved.


And Jack/Fozzie's relationship with his old, decrepit mother? Why does she insist on constantly insulting him, doesn't she realize how insecure she's making him? I mean, who does she think she is?

I mean, think about it. Even Jack's VOICE is ripped off from the Muppets.

"Now you're grasping at straws" you say? Well CHECK OUT THESE STRAWS AND PREPARE TO GRASP SOME YOURSELF, I SAY! As I hit you with:

EXHIBIT G: THE REST OF THE CAST








And





Don't forget





Hey what about




Oooor





"Hey, Lynch, he's not from THE MUPPET SHOW, he's from SESAME STREET"
"Quiet, you, I'm almost done, let me end big..."





EXHIBIT H: VERY SPECIAL GUEST STARS

30 ROCK is famous for bringing in guest stars. Oprah. Al Gore. Jennifer Aniston. Steve Martin. Paul Reubens. That impossibly handsome man from MAD MEN. Week in, week out, people that would never do network television pop by for surprise guest appearances. DOES THIS SOUND AT ALL FAMILIAR? It happens with such regularity, I half-expect Tina Fey to pop out of the "0" in the 30 ROCK opening credits, announce who's stopping by, and then wave her arms manically in the air celebrating.

And finally:

EXHIBIT I: THEY'VE PRETTY MUCH ADMITTED IT

Kenneth the Page sees the world as puppets.

Jane Krakowski has STARRED in a Muppet TV movie as penance (or so she could spy on the Muppets and take notes).

WERWOLF BARMITZVAH plays like a MUPPET SHOW sketch.

Hell, maybe some of the stars of 30 ROCK are Muppets! Here is some sloppy puppeteering on the part of the Alec Baldwin puppet.

And then, there is THIS. They're getting sloppy, people. An actual still from an episode of 30 ROCK:



THE PROSECUTION RESTS. I'm glad I opened a few eyes. Tina Fey, you should be ASHAMED. But can we do? We can't just sit back and let NBC and Tina Fey get away with this. We have to bring this to light.

Maybe, MAYBE we should even steal 30 ROCK and give it BACK to the Muppets.

Don't fret, people.

The Muppets' cohorts at SESAME STREET have already done just that.

That's all for now. Stay tuned next week, when I blow the lid off of the entire "NBC's THE OFFICE is a rip-off of a British TV show of the same name" scandal. I'm almost too good, is the problem.

By the way, if you're not following me on TWITTER, you can do so here. Critics call my Twitter "pretty great" and "okay I guess". Catch the fever!




338 comments:

1 – 200 of 338   Newer›   Newest»
jacintha said...

That's fantastic! I've only just started watching this show but now i'm only gonna be able to see muppets!

angelslayer78 said...

*lmao*
You´re awesome! I don´t know the Show coz it´s not on German Screens, but i heard about and the way you wrote it, just maked me laugh!!
It´s too funny, coz the Guys look like the Puppets too!
Thanks for this entree, mr. Lynch.

By the Way: I follow you, since the Day i started on Twitter.
aaand.. I hope you will come back soon on the Angel comics, it´s boring without you doing the stuff!

Ralphy said...

That's great man, love it

Mihai said...

Whoa... mind blown.

Great post!

Moondog said...

But how long before NBC realize that the boy Lynch knows too much? How long before the inevitable 'if you have a clean visual on the target, take the shot'?
This way madness lies, Brian.

Jennifer Roland said...

Very funny! I'm a huge fan of the Muppet Show (especially the curmdugeonly critics), so it makes perfect sense that I love the Muppets as real people.

Scott Hanson said...

This is fantastic. You've done a better job at pointing out the connections than we have at Muppet Wiki

http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/30_Rock

Well done!

Daddy Geek Boy said...

I'm not sure if you've ruined the Muppet Show or increased my love of 30 Rock. Either way, bravo. This is a brilliant post.

Anonymous said...

brilliant! love the muppet show, muppet movies, muppet music, seriously love 30 rock as well! so I hope tina offers u a job cause u sure have the funny!!!

Betsy said...

Fantastic post! You forgot to add that Jenna was once compared to Miss Piggy in a "Who Wore it Better?" contest in a magazine. (Miss Piggy won.)

BlueDahlia77 said...

Don't forget: Liz Lemon actually walks like a Muppet. =D

Jealous Bitch said...

Holy crap. This is the best exposure of a cover-up I have seen since Oliver Stone took on the Kennedy Assasination. Also, I am laughing my ass off like a rabid jackal this morning. Great job!

mulderjoe said...

Brilliant. Very nicely done.

Jill Elswick said...

Where's Floyd?!?

Mark Schoneveld said...

Holy crap. You're right!

George Peterson said...

also, don't forget that kenneth sees everyone as a muppet

Mathew said...

Jenna Maroney was compared in a "Who wore it better" with Miss Piggy... and lost.

I can't link it but here's the image url:
http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/thumb/3/3b/30rock-piggy.jpg/300px-30rock-piggy.jpg

Megan said...

Brilliant! I didn't think I could love 30 Rock more, but now I do.

Minor note -- Jane Krakowski's character is Jena Maroney not Jena Malone (star of Saved, Pride and Prejudice, Step Mom, etc).

Maybe now I'll have the guts to reveal that JAWS is really a total rip off of Henrik Ibsen's 'An Enemy of the People." Seriously. It is.

Anonymous said...

I knew there was a reason for that happy feeling of security and fond memories of Sunday nights whenever I hear the 30-Rock theme. I always felt-it was sooooo close and yet elusve like the lyrics for "Ma na ma na" -great post!!!

Steve D. said...

Awesome post, man, just awesome. Makes me feel a little awkward about having a crush on Liz Lemon now that I know she's based on a married, male frog...but that my issue to deal with.

Later,
Steve D.
(lazycomic.blogspot.com)

G said...

How many joints did you smoke before you put this together!?

Robb Todd said...

Thanks for exposing this for all the world to see. Do you run around telling kids Santa Claus doesn't exist, too? I hope so.

Great work.

My word verification was "fraicart."

Brian Lynch said...

Thanks guys! Jenna's name has been fixed, and I put in that Jenna-Miss Piggy US Magazine comparison.

I bet the people that make 30 ROCK are shaking in their hilarious boots.

Amy said...

Love this! I wondered why I thought everything suspiciously familiar! I wonder if it was intentional or it the writers were just flashing back on some Muppets!

novytron said...

Wow...This is SO true!!! ...well as Picasso once said ... "good artists borrow, while GREAT artists Steal!!"

Jeremy said...

Wow. Pretty convincing.

Amy Nieto said...

*dying here*

Beckylooo said...

You say all this like it's a problem. I find that confusing.

SJ said...

You have "ruined" 30 Rock for me but this is so funny I don't care.

Craigga said...

Absolutely awesome. Unfortunately half of the links seem to have been taken down. Probably from high volume.

Great job and continued success.

savingpeople said...

You're just NOW coming to this conclusion?
http://savingpeople.livejournal.com/221292.html

I posted about this 8 months ago when a friend of mine noticed the similarities and we chatted about it.

Bedlam said...

A++

JM said...

Wow, Brian, you really blew the lid off of this conspiracy. Crack reporting! ;P
Also, congrats on the attention your little blog is getting. Our little ATF writer is becoming big time... so proud.

burtonkd said...

I feel so stupid now, the purpose of a work of truly great art. I've seen every episode of 30 Rock within the last 1 1/2 yrs and just went through the Muppet Show DVDs with my kids and didn't make the connection (maybe subliminally)

Matt said...

This is seriously genius. One of the most creative things I've read in a really long time. I'm subscribing.

Beth said...

Really funny stuff! It's good you're getting noticed because this is very original and creative. I linked to you from TVTattle.com.

Anonymous said...

The little things like Kenneth seeing everyone as muppets, and Jenna dressing like Miss Piggy, make me think that it is actually intentional and that the writers are making the same joke you're trying to'expose' here.
You write as if no tv show has ever copied another. This is not new or surprising: what about Honeymooners v. Flintstones, Project Runway v. Fashion Show... http://tv.yahoo.com/blog/tvs-biggest-ripoff-shows--303

Sean Ferrell said...

I'm confused. Which picture is of Jane Krakowski. Aren't they all Miss Piggy?

Anonymous said...

This is really excellent--you're right on the money with all of this stuff. But have you considered that maybe Pete Hornberger is Fozzie instead of Bunsen? Not sure where that leaves Jack, though.

Also, I can't even look at your comparison pictures of Cerie vs. Muppet Cerie. It's just too much. Well done, sir.

Anonymous said...

incredible.

sleeper.awake said...

lol

Polter-Cow said...

That was amazing.

Anonymous said...

No Fraggle Rock references?

Brent said...

I think Tina Fey might be drawing comparisons on purpose. She probably the ideas are so similar she so she is making fun of her own show/paying tribute to the Muppets by comparing Jenna and Miss Piggy (I don't think they're "getting sloppy").
Besides, I don't think that borrowing old ideas detracts from the originality of the show. No one would have said James Joyce or the Coen Brother's were not being creative for borrowing ideas from the Odyssey.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I'll have to watch a second episode.

golanalive said...

I love that you took the time to do this. I LOVE THAT.

Highly Groovy said...

Kermit did have luck in love -- with Miss Piggy. So if Jenna is Miss Piggy, then wouldn't she have to be in love with Liz (Kermit)?

Liz Lemon said...

Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

One flaw in your theory is that Tina Fey wanted to cast Rachel Dratch in the role of Jenna Maroney instead of Jane Krakowski, but NBC overruled her because Dratch isn't glamorous enough. Maybe NBC had the Muppet Show in mind, but the creator of the show didn't seem to, at least with regard to the Miss Piggy angle.

Anonymous said...

NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're ruining my life, I love 30 Rock. Damn you, damn you, damn you!!!!!!!

Mordecai said...

maybe she's paying homage to the great muppet show?

NCM said...

I peed a little!

Josh, Molly, Lucy, Jasper and Oliver Gravholt said...

That blew my mind grapes.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but I find this comparison completely off-base. I don't see how comparing a male frog to a female human is possible, regardless of their personalities and the one clip you showed as "proof." The only similarities I, personally, have noticed, have been the ones made by 30 Rock intentionally. Beyond that, the character comparisons, especially the one for Jack/Alec Baldwin, are terribly contrived, not to mention disagreeable (judging by how different the other person's comparisons were).

Truth of the matter is, there are only so many different personality types, but hundreds of different bits and pieces which make up a personality. It's fairly easy to compare any two characters so long as they're similar in a handful of ways. For example, let's compare 24 to 30 Rock using Jack Bauer and Chloe, and Jack Donaghy and Liz.

Jack Bauer: Hard-ass person who wants the best for who he works for (CTU, FBI, America). A middle-aged man who doesn't take crap from anybody, but also has a soft side, which we rarely see.

Jack Donaghy: Hard-ass person who wants the best for who he works for (GM). A middle-aged man who doesn't take crap from anybody, but has a soft side, which we rarely see.

Chloe: A smart, informed, socially-awkward geek who maintains oddball relationships with her cohorts.

Liz: A smart, informed, socially-awkward geek who maintains oddball relationships with her cohorts.

Oh my God! Mind = blown!

No, not really. You can do this with any show as long as you prey on the right personality traits. An added bonus to your argument is that each show has SO many characters to choose from, you wouldn't ever really be wrong, no matter what you said.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but this whole comparison is a bit contrived. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

i thought 30 rock was a simpsons ripoff. alec baldwin is mr burns, tracy morgan is homer, liz is lisa, ken is ralph, etc.

Galileo said...

Excellent post. I always thought that Brian Williams looked like Johnny Fiama, the lounge singer from Muppets Tonight.

PatShand said...

Anonymous from 7:37. Look over your shoulder, buddy, I just saw something fly right over your head.

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

You Sir, is a genius.

JtotheF said...

perhaps 30 rock is as original as this post is vs. the other guy from eight months ago (http://savingpeople.livejournal.com/221292.html).

or as original as any story is vs. the poetics.

i dunno. but the pictures look funny.

Anonymous said...

PatShand: No.

elizabeth said...

This is absolutely amazing!

Jamie said...

This was awesome. I did something similar a while back comparing "The Wrestler" to "Hot Rod." No, really!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamie-frevele/hear-me-out-while-i-posit_b_171655.html

Anonymous said...

Anyone who likes this is probably a 30 Rock hater already and looking for an excuse to take it down a notch.

You forgot the BIG difference, that 30 Rock is actually funny and watchable.

Annie said...

I take issue with your statement that Kermit is unlucky in love... he has Miss Piggy, after all, who loves her "Kermie" with all her heart! So. Think about changing that. Because my whole conception of romantic love is based off of Kermit and Miss Piggy's relationship. It knows not ego nor species, and neither of them commits suicide at the end, so suck it, Shakespeare.

I hope you don't mind that I posted this entry on my own blog, and that I'd like to link to yours. My blog is currentlyinpreproduction.wordpress.com -- please check it out sometime!

Lester and Eliza productions said...

Aces! Now to parlay this into a book deal...

Meaghan Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe said...

now i know! thanks for the (weekend) update!

Anonymous said...

OUTSTANDING!!!

Anonymous said...

Someone had to try and fill the void after Jim H. passed away. Guess this is as close as we'll get.

kjv7782 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Amazing!!!

Nanette said...

Brilliant!

Vanilla Chunk said...

this blew my mind. Please, continue, Dear Leader!

DH said...

I hunker down on Thurs. nights with my popcorn eagerly awaiting 30 Rock JUST as I did way back when on Sunday nights and NOW I know why!

Loved this analysis!

Anonymous said...

Nice little analysis, but strange that you use the word "rip-off", as if there is something sinister about it. These are fairly obvious stock characters that are designed to act as foils to each other. Like the ol' "Q Source" of the gospels of the Bible, there is a larger outside paradigm from which Jim and Tina are both drawing. Take any ensembles, and you'll probably be able to fit them all into the same basic boxes.

But of COURSE Tina Fey watched a lot of Muppets growing up. Didn't we all? Does that mean every rock songwriter is "ripping off" Zeppelin and the Beatles just because their influence is everywhere?

Like I said, nice analysis, but I don't think you discovered nuclear fusion here.

Tony said...

Technically Scooter is not a gopher, he's a go-fer, which is basically an intern. So, you know, you got that there.

avb said...

And, don't forget, in that episode where Liz starts dating her doctor/neighbor (Jon Hamm) and opens his mail, he has MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN from NetFlix.

K. L. said...

Jack is Sam the Eagle! LOVE IT!

Afton said...

genius!

JonnyT1971 said...

Very funny in theory... but somehow I doubt Tiny Fey was actively lifting from the Muppet Show. But the comparisons made me smile just the same.

you're gay said...

What a fuckin joke. Is this what you do with your free time, sit around and make shitty comparisons? Perhaps it's a Dark Side of the Rainbow type thing (feel free to Google that since you're old enough to know about it, but probably too ill informed.) Yet here you sit like your blog is something worthwhile and then insert shameless plugs so people can listen to more of your pointless babbling bullshit on twitter?

Get a life. A real one.

Anonymous said...

The ONLY difference...and this is actually a fairly sizable one...is that the Muppet Show actually prepared the sketches, and showed them all to the "audience." (of course I mean the theatre going muppets, and the tv viewers)
30 Rock does not do that. Occasionally we see something that might have been a plot point (a la the musical number from the finale) but for the most part the show is about them working on the show as opposed to them actually putting on the show.

nicoolio said...

How did I not know until just now that you have a damned blog? What the CRAP?!

frank1569 said...

BL - you are so totally wrong. 30 Rock is not a rip-off of The Muppet Show - it is simply a reimagining of a classic for the anti-aging boomers.

Anonymous said...

right on, this is great. my first time reading your blog. You should make your links open a new page, I kept losing you when I clicked on them.

Natalie said...

To those of you who think Kermit and Miss Piggy are in love...TRY AGAIN. Sure, they were actually in love in The Great Muppet Caper, and she tricked him into marrying her in Muppets Take Manhattan but as for The Muppet Show??? NO WAY. She loved him, he ran away scared.

Robbie Q. said...

i would argue that jack is jim henson, frank oz, richard hunt, et al., with his hand up the ass of the rest of the cast.

Nicholas said...

this really just makes me want to watch 30 rock all the more.

Matt said...

Hey man,

You didn't really crack any cases here, or "expose" 30 rock. You simply just pointed out and described in detail the many comedic archetypes and how they are used in both shows. These comedic archetypes are used in a ton of different comedic shows and formats. As a comedy writer, that's great you recognize these archetypes but I don't know why you would claim that Tina Fey is ripping off the Muppet show. As a comedy writer you should know that these archetypes are used often and date back to the Greeks and Romans, man.

I feel sorry for you that you can't recognize this, and also you would call out a fellow comedy writer on stealing from a particular show. This blog post is purely sensational and done to get attention. You have pointed out nothing new or interesting.

I would gladly debate this with you at anytime. Feel free to email me. mross8888@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Why would any of this be a bad thing? They clearly did it on purpose. They've probably just been waiting to see who would pick up on it.

AJP said...

The Muppet Show is CLEARLY one of the best comedies, EVER. I grew up watching that! I need to go find episodes online, stat.

The episode where Kenneth saw everyone as muppets was so my fave. I lol'd.

Anonymous said...

Simpsons did it! Simpsons did it!

Owen said...

30 Rock rips off Newsradio! But it is still a good show. I mean, Newsradio ripped off the Mary Tyler Moore Show, right?

Another1forSteve said...

There is essentially no more originality left in television any more and most of what you see is quite disappointing. This program 30 Rock is actually very funny, and who gives a toss if it's inspired by the muppet show (which by the way was 30 years ago, and only made American tv because it was rescued by UK broadcast first)

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so - as per your example of "Miss Piggy Vs Jena" - well if you can't see that was tongue in cheek then you've got a more desperate sense of humour failure than some of the other respondents here

Anonymous said...

If you look close enough, you can see statler and waldorf in the background, heckling tina fey

sigszilla said...

Well played, sir. Well played.

Anonymous said...

It figures..every major network PASSED on "The Muppet Show" from the late 60s until Jim finally got it going in syndication (and by British production company ITC) in 1975. Within a year it was the biggest sydicated show in the WORLD. I'm guessing the execs who passed on the Muppets have never forgiven themselves...it was bound to come back at some point.

Peri1020 said...

Hey, Anonymous 6/10 2:04 pm, check this out...

http://www.wordnik.com/words/satire

And as PatShand said,

Look over your shoulder, buddy, I just saw something fly right over your head.

madeira said...

i'm from the UK and have never seen it but the case is strong and the resemblances uncanny!

Robert Alexander said...

I never would have gotten that!

Trish said...

The writers of 30 Rock must have known you were on to them because they did that show this past season where they flash back to the muppets. Could that be? Maybe that is where you got your idea?? Just a thought.

Angelo said...

Clever. Very clever. Makes me enjoy 30 Rock all the more.

Anonymous said...

And "The Flintstones" was a complete rip-off of "The Honeymooners" -- but at least in this case, 30 Rock is just as good as The Muppet Show.

meleah rebeccah said...

its still my favorite show EVER.

catinthedoorway said...

hilarious

check out liz "lemon" and jack "the boss" on sesame street

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vxv7qi3BJI

gillymorn28 said...

Don't forget that Kenneth also sees muppets and hallucinates them singing

bob said...

genius... true genius

Lincolnlogger said...

Hmmm. Interesting.

Next thing you know, you'll be saying that "Strange Brew" is just like "Hamlet".

Leah Franqui said...

I buy absolutely none of that. But nice effort.

Erin O' said...

HI-larious!

Zak said...

And Brian Lynch is a rip-off of whatever site this is:
http://savingpeople.livejournal.com/221292.html

Just kidding, yours is clearly more on point, but thought this was interesting.

Anonymous said...

Actually your a little off base here. 30 Rock is a rehash of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; ie- Liz=Mary, Jack=Lou, Tracy=Ted, Jenna=Rhoda+Sue Ann, Kenneth=Georgette, Pete=Murray.

Maybe the Muppet Show was a copy of The Mary Tyler Moore Show too, or may the old Our Gang - "Let's Put On a Show" concept.

april-in-autumn said...

I saw an excerpt from a Muppets comic earlier this week and thought "How funny! The Muppets are doing a parody of 30 Rock! Oh, wait... they're not."

The excerpt is here: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2009/06/muppet_show_comic.html#photo=3

The Legend said...

This wouldn't be the first time Jim Henson was ripped off. Disney's Toy Story is a rip off of Jim Henson's "A Christmas Toy". It's now available in the US again, however Kermit is edited out (Kermit is dressed as Santa and provides an introduction). If you buy a copy from the UK you will see the original cut with original songs. I won't point out the similarities here, as they are endless.

I liked Toy Story a lot, but I love “A Christmas Toy”. I highly recommend you try to rent or buy a copy for your kids. The US version was re-released in the US last year, and is incredibly cheap on Amazon. I personally recommend tracking down the UK release for the original cut (It can be found on Amazon’s UK page or eBay). Jim Henson was the man.

As for 30 Rock and the Muppet Show, I love them both. I think it is awesome that 30 Rock sneaks in little references to its influences. Now if we could just get all of the above on Blu-ray.

Anonymous said...

In what way should Tina Fey be ashamed? Your examples of the show ripping off the muppets through "slip ups" is just the opposite of what you argue. If anything you point out that there is a possibility that 30 Rock was created with a structure similar to that of the muppets. If anything the close similarities you so "brilliantly" point out are if anything an homage to the show.

Tina Fey has nothing to be ashamed of. She has created one of the most entertaining and engaging comedies since Seinfeld done an incredible job at that. Whatever her force may be behind the show, then more power to her.

Anonymous said...

You are fucking stupid. Go fuck yourself.

jamestobrien said...

This is fucking genius.

Anonymous said...

Okay, there are a lot of haters here... I think the comparison is hilarious and brilliant, and I think I'm right in assuming you aren't anti-3o Rock, just pointing out some interesting similarities. Even if it is a rip-off, it's a show with humans, not muppets, so there's not exactly a competition between them, right?

E said...

Don't you mean Tracy MORGAN???

Julie said...

Hysterical and seems dead on. You should share this link with Tina Fey on Twitter. I think she would find it very funny.

erock said...

Some people are taking this way too seriously. I'm always amazed at the inability of some people to detect when things are tongue-in-cheek.

Mike Linstroh said...

You are a funny man! Nice work!

Anonymous said...

Heh HeH:)

And ya re:the people who are giving Brian abuse: IT'S A JOKE!!!! Dear God!No need for the cursing and abuse - it's just a laugh people

Anonymous said...

That's scary!

Incredible post!

Chris Na Taraja said...

That's hysterical. Though i must argue one point. Kermit the Frog genitalia would be a cloaca, which in frogs is one opening that serves as urinary track, anus and genitalia....which would make his genitals closer to Tina Feys than you might have first suspected!

Lemon Drop Kid said...

Let's not forget Jennifer Aniston telling Liz not to make "that angry Muppet face."

pete said...

impressive!

LB said...

in literature, movies, tv, everything is a rip-off of the classics. Check out the Borat movie and Don Quijote by Cervantes and you will see that the characters fit 100%. By the way, I loved the post! And I love 30rock!

Curtis Ludlow said...

very funny!!!! :D

Justin Ott said...

pretty funny brian. doesn't really change my opinion of 30 Rock though. you can "borrow" ideas or comedic situations from anywhere but without superb acting, directing, and editing it doesn't mean anything. i don't think it's a coincidence that there are similarities, but think about sitcoms in general. sitcom means situational comedy. how many comedic situations are there? oh no, i'm dating two girls and ran into both of them in the coffee shop! how many times has that happened in different sitcoms. anyway...i was on the fence until the picture of Suri and the blond muppett. hysterical. great investigative journalism! keep up the funny.
thanks!
Justin

Anonymous said...

This is Cute. But not that insightful. I mean, the Muppets are just Template characters as well.

Scott Mendelson said...

This is the funniest comparison piece since the 'Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes is Tyler Durden' essay from several years back.

JakeFray said...

BRAVO!!! You'd fit in well down at our website. POPSENSE.com.

As an avid fan of 30 Rock, I enjoyed this very much.

Cairo Typ0 said...

This is brilliant!! I haven't laughed this hard in ages.

Anonymous said...

Both shows were about making a show, go figure they have similarities. Do you honestly think they casted these people due to the fact that they share a couple mannerisms? This show is a comedy that uses the process of making a show like "Saturday Night Live" which many of the characters and writers come from. I recognize the comedic value to your post but if there is supposed to be any substance to it you failed miserably, stick to comedy not hack brain theories.

Uelsimon said...

Ha, I've been saying this for months. but never, did the investigative research to back it up! Well done.

Oh, And Jack Donagie could be - Clifford, the host from Muppets Tonight. In charge...and funny at large.

crone51 said...

well this is simply splendid. I guess I am now following you.

Anonymous said...

30 Rock is in no way "ripping off" the muppets. The writers obviously appreciate the genius that was "The Muppet Show" and by adding the idiosyncrasies of the muppet characters to human characters makes the humor more outrageous and offbeat. Good for you for picking up on it; it's interesting to see just how many muppet-references they've made over the years. Might want to work on your grammar/writing, though...

Sean Coleman said...

Fantastic post. Henson was a rare talent and I'm sure he would be laughing pretty hard at this if he was still around to read it.

Anonymous said...

maybe it was done on purpose.... ever think about that. i think it's even more hysterical now that i've read the connection.

Hayley Jay said...

Great article. A little more help (I don’t think you mentioned these):

- When Jack asks Liz what animal best describes him, she says ‘an eagle with the head of a bear’ (The Collection).
- When Jack tells Kenneth to help Jena get fat, Kenneth says ‘It’ll be just like back home on the pig farm. I’m gonna fatten you up, grow to love you and then my uncles will slit your throat' (also from The Collection).

Elizabeth said...

Yes, that's what I want to know...
How many joints did you smoke before writing this JD? Very funny!

Private said...

Good Shit!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm sorry but I don't like you at all! Although it is a good point, do you have to make it sound like Tina Faye is a bad person? She is still a more successful writer than you! I mean, if you are a screanwriter (So you say!) and you don't understand the importance of inspiration, there is a reason you don't have those Golden Globes. In art, you take examples from other peoples work and make them your own. Seriously! Plus...you have too many typos for a writer. You suck!

lla said...
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lla said...
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Gabriella Kennedy said...

Good work, very true, BUT you only JUST found out about the American the office being a rip off the WAY WAY WAY funnier British one.

WAIT here is another idea for you Brian, Life on Mars - another rip off of a british show

Gabriella

Beat Sleep Apnea said...

I think maybe you missed the Alec Baldwin/Jack Donaghy Muppet relation: Link Hogthrob.

Pigs In Space forever, man!

I'd like to see 30 Rock bring on a guest as classy as Beverly Sills.

Anonymous said...

30 rock is till the best! LOL

ub said...

That's awesome, thanks. I'm glad we can eventually see the spirit of the Muppet Show again. I loved that show, it was genius.

Anonymous said...

you make some good points, but i think you stretched some things a little too far near the end. i think that you could compare jack to kermit as well. also, as far as the bad puppeteering for jack's muppet, you do know that an actual muppeteer did that, right? seems to me that as for all the muppet references on 30 rock, it seems like the show is more embracing it thn denying it.

Samantha Page said...

hahahahahaha! You just made twitter all worth the while for me. Thanks a million.

Anonymous said...

Very good information you shared. I will spread the news. LOL. You have made very nice comparisons. Puppets and the real people. exbi chao!

Des said...

Outstanding post. I never would have linked those two together. This is extremely creative and and insightful. Well done.

Shaun said...

Two words for you sir, confirmation bias...

Sputnik said...

Hilarious, great great post!

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Brilliant! I can't believe I never noticed the connection before.

GearingUpForGettingDown said...

Great post.

Anonymous said...

No sh*t

Phoenix said...

PETE IS FOZZY! You had everything else right and then lost it right at the end.

Joel Bradshaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel Bradshaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Even if 30 Rock "copies" the Muppets, who cares. To follow your own writing style I will explain my use of quotes. I put quotes around the word copies because I do not believe it is so. I agree that there are some major connections, but at some points you just start splitting hairs. Also, what is wrong in taking an extremely successful show and modernizing it. You claim you are a comedy writer, don't you get inspiration from other things you fined funny? Also your in depth analysis of each character leads me to think that you yourself have watch the show many times. If this is true, which it should be because if it is not that means you got your information else where and is then no longer credible. However if my assumption is correct and you do watch 30 Rock then you know how hilarious it is and you should stop wasting your time blogging and more time, laughing. That is something, as a "comedy writer" you should know how to do.

Anonymous said...

That's really great. I love it!

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bruce said...

Superb. We should compare notes on how CSI is Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

just to let you know, the american version of 'the office' is an adaptation of the british one created by ricky gervais. and ricky gervais is still a writer for the american version of 'the office.' so the office isn't a rip off of the original british office at all. it was just more successful on american television, that's why it's still airing.

Josholland said...

Good stuff!

But we all know that Tracy Jordan is a non-acting Tracy Morgan, who modeled his whole life after Kool Keith:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4y9IZqJEhw

Arielle said...

I'd venture a guess that Tina is actually perfectly aware of this, having watched The Muppet Show as a child, and has purposefully modeled her show after it. Why else would she even include Tracy Morgan and that crap at all?

It's like Shakespeare doin' the ol' tragic love story with simultaneous, mistaken suicides. No he didn't make that outline up, but it's his take on it, his script that makes Romeo and Juliet what it is. 30 Rock is probably the most hilarious, post modern, wonderfully written TV show that ever has been. But I'm sure you know that and really agree and only wrote this post as if it were criticism because you think it plays better... What was I even looking up in the first place that brought me to your blog...?

Goddam I wish Fey were as gay as she seems.

Clarity said...

Interesting. Being a Brit and not a TV watcher (strong words for a Filmmaker) I must admit to not finding 30 Rock that funny, except for Baldwin - who is hilarious (I watched one episode where he channeled Tracy's mom, family and her next door neighbour!) Then again I did not find the Muppets funny except for Miss Piggy... wait a minute, IS it the same show? .... It's not that easy being green/original.

eagleapex said...

Brilliant!

Daniela said...

hilarious!

Anonymous said...

really surface level comparisons, i hope you didn't spend more than 5 minutes thinking this one up

Tom Croom said...

Just stumbled onto your 30 Rock/Muppet Show blog post. Showed my wife. She is in tears from the agony of being faced with the truth.

Genius, sir... and LOLZ.

mma pound for pound said...

Fascinating! Really love the Muppet Show! Seriously this is great! Thanks!

Term paper said...

This is fantastic. You've done a better job at pointing out the connections than we have at Muppet Wiki

Out of Order said...

this is amazingly funny and accurate, reposting!

webthesurfi said...

this is really great i have watch the show and it make me impress

daoes said...

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Tom said...

ha ha ha ha ha!!!!

Anna Turner said...

The show is really great and I like it very much, though my friends don’t. I believe that it’s possible to discuss this show in a term paper on different expressions of humor in media and culture in the United States.

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Страховка said...

Its a pity but i can see it only from today!Better later then never!

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Страховка ОСАГО said...

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mellysa said...

really surface level comparisons, great investigative journalism!

renan said...

this is great i love watching on tv the muppets show.

Sport Supplement said...

That's so funny. The children enjoy this show and they luagh so much when viewing it. :)

luxury villas mauritius said...

Its the first time i watched the show and to be frank thats soooo funny. i enjoyed it a lot.

mauritius villas said...

I heard from my german friends that its a wonderful show.

Hamza said...

30 Rock is an American television comedy series created by Tina Fey that airs on NBC. The series is largely based on Fey's experiences as head writer for Saturday Night Live. 30 Rock takes place behind the scenes of a fictional live sketch comedy series depicted as airing on NBC; the name "30 Rock" refers to the address of the GE Building where NBC Studios is located, 30 Rockefeller Plaza. This series is produced by Broadway Video and Little Stranger, Inc., in association with NBC Universal.
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Grafica said...

Greats pictures

jignesh said...

I like this show ...

awesome Post with Pictures.

gadgets said...

Brilliant. I like show and good luck for you.

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