30 Rock

Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on HBO. Seven episodes into the third season.

As much as I love Arrested Development, I understand why it never found much of an audience. With long, complicated story arcs and dark, pointed humor—not to mention nine principal characters and more than a dozen frequently recurring characters, many of whom aren’t, technically, all that likeable—the daring sitcom is difficult for casual, uninitiated viewers to “get” immediately. But why is 30 Rock heir to the critically-adored-but-low-rated comedy crown? Why aren’t enough people watching it?

30 Rock is so easy to enjoy. The “plots” are generally a bit beside the point (if you miss an episode, no harm done), the humor is less caustic and more zany, and the small ensemble features riotously funny Alec Baldwin embracing his reincarnation as a comedic character actor as well as the show’s creator, beloved comedy goddess Tina Fey. I know not everyone is as enamored with the neurotic, geeky brunette archetype as, say, Sean is (to my very good fortune—I love you, baby!), but even so, other than Sarah Palin enthusiasts, who doesn’t love Tina Fey?