Sunday, October 24, 2010

30 Rock and the Reset Button

I really love 30 Rock. It’s a mature and really funny comedy. It is also a very good example of the reset button in episodic retelling.

The reset button in storytelling refers to a trope where at the end of each episode (or set of episodes) the situations of various characters more or less goes back to where they began. Thus, as the story progresses, nothing essentially changes in the life of these characters. Apparently the trope began when television producers demanded that they be able to telecast the episodes in any order they wanted. The reset button makes it easy for viewers to ‘jump in to’ to the show at any point. It also makes possible for the viewers to be able to enjoy the same character over and over again.

30 Rock is a classic example of the reset button. Let’s take a few examples.

  • Leading character Liz Lemon is forever looking for the guy. She dates many men one after the other but each one of them turn out to be not for her.
  • Jack Daunaghy does the same. He also tries to get promoted to the CEO of the company ever so often but every time something happens that sends him back to his old office.
  • It often looks like that Kenneth will finally be able to achieve something despite his heartland-America innocence but he always ends up being the page.
  • Similar things happy to Tracy and Jenna. They often go off on side projects which might lead them away from TGS. But they too always end up back at the TGS as actors.

No comments:

Post a Comment