One of the reasons why I don’t care for comedies about Hollywood anymore is that the humor cannot match the ridiculousness taking place behind the scenes. Take NBC’s upcoming 30 Rock. It was a recently announced that Rachel Dratch would no longer be appearing as the lead of “The Girlie Show” - the show within the show. Instead she would appear as different characters each week, supposedly to take advantage of her sketch comedy chops. In conjunction, they mentioned that the character she was to play had been downgraded - even cut according to some reports.
Of course, soon after an announcement came that Jane Krakowski was joining the cast to play the character that Rachel Dratch once played in the pilot. A character that was just announced in the trades to have reduced importance - not exactly an inducement to any semi-name actress.
Yesterday, The Sound of Young America’s Jesse Thorn rightfully called bullshit. I second that I smell it too. His implication is that attractiveness is an issue here, and Dratch is being pushed aside for someone less funny but more appealing. I can see it this way, but I’ll also volunteer that perhaps the role has been reduced and Krakowski didn’t know when she took it. I think the first is more likely, but I’ll consider that Dratch might not be the one, well, getting the shaft here.
The irony: “Girlie Show” - the show within a show - is a more female friendly sketch comedy until a network exec, played by Alec Baldwin, monkeys with it. Pushing aside a talented, funny player for someone considered more attractive and demographically appealing is exactly what that character does. In the pilot script I read, Tina Fey’s character Liz Lemon only brings on an crazed African-American comedian on the show not only in hopes of saving the lead’s job but to have a hit show that makes enough money so she won’t ever have to change her own child’s diapers. Why make TV making fun of devil’s bargains if you’re going to engage in them yourself?