TV Article

There's 'Moore' to '30 Rock' Than Meets the Eye

Our mathematical take on how Tina Fey's comedy mirrors its 1970s predecessor

''30 Rock'' is just like ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show''

MARY RICHARDS (Mary Tyler Moore) & LIZ LEMON (Tina Fey)
Both thirtysomethings work on struggling TV shows. Both ditch creepy boyfriends (Mary a commitment-phobic doctor, Liz the last remaining beeper salesman in New York City), only to suffer through a city's vast population of unsuitable suitors. And both endure oppressive bosses, named...

LOU GRANT (Ed Asner) & JACK DONAGHY (Alec Baldwin)
Grant is Mary's gruff, sarcastic superior. He excels at his job even though he drinks at the office...and Mary begrudgingly loves him. Donaghy is Liz's gruff, sarcastic superior. He excels at his job even though he hawks his barely potable sparkling wine at the office...and Liz begrudgingly loves him too.

TED BAXTER (Ted Knight) & TRACY JORDAN (Tracy Morgan)
The stars of a Minneapolis newscast and an SNL-style comedy program, respectively. Baxter can barely read his cue cards, but his face is considered the program's greatest asset. Jordan pretends he can't read his cue cards, and his brand of sophomoric comedy is considered the program's greatest asset.

RHODA MORGENSTERN (Valerie Harper) & PETE HORNBERGER (Scott Adsit)
Shlubby Jewish confidants to their frazzled WASPy gal pals. Rhoda juggles an overbearing mother, a landlord who hates her, and a tumultuous love life. Pete lends a sympathetic ear while trying to keep his job, marriage, and children. Each is a rare beacon of sanity in an insane life.

Originally posted Apr 02, 2007 Published in issue #928 Apr 06, 2007 Order article reprints