Friday, May 15, 2009

The More We Know



What happens when a character's persona overtakes the real-life actor or actress? I like Jane Krakowski-- she somehow kept her comic chops sharp as everything on Ally McBeal fell apart around her; she sings a lovely version of Stephen Sondheim's "Barcelona" on my Company cast album; and she's a delightfully self-absorbed star on 30 Rock, where she seems to be having a lot of fun trying to top Tracy Morgan in sheer craziness.

The problem is, she's so good in her 30 Rock role-- and the show itself is so wired into its through-the-looking-glass satire of NBC's backstage politics--that the PSA above no longer works the way it's intended. Instead of being a touching reminder to be environmentally conscious, it plays like a parody of such an ad, its shallow response to larger social problems (use reusable bags, and we'll never have these problems again!) coming off as the dilletantism of sitcom diva Jenna rather than the surely sincere plea of Krakowski herself. At least Alec Baldwin seems in on his own joke, offering a wickedly deadpan spoof of celebrity endorsements that highlights the silliness of such corporate advice-giving, and skewers it for all it's worth.

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