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30 Rock and Philosophy: We Want to Go to There

ISBN: 978-0-470-63285-7
240 pages
June 2010
30 Rock and Philosophy: We Want to Go to There (0470632852) cover image
A fascinating exploration of the philosophy behind NBC’s hit TV series, 30 Rock

With edgy writing and a great cast, 30 Rock is one of the funniest television shows on the air—and where hilarity ensues, philosophical questions abound: Are Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy ethical heroes? Kenneth redefines "goody two shoes", but what does it really mean to be good? Dr. Leo Spaceman routinely demonstrates that medicine is not a science, so what is the role of the incompetent professional in America today?

In 30 Rock and Philosophy, Tina Fey and her fellow cast members are thrust onto the philosophical stage with Plato, Aristotle, Kantand other great thinkers to examine these key questions and many others that involve the characters and plotlines of 30 Rock and its fictional TGS with Tracy Jordan comedy show.

  • Takes an entertaining, up-close look at the philosophical issues behind 30 Rock's characters and storylines, from post-feminist ideals to workaholism and the meaning of life
  • Equips you with a new understanding of Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy, Tracy Jordan, Jenna Maroney, Dr. Spaceman, and other characters
  • Gives you deep and meaningful new reasons (who knew?) for watching Tina Fey and your other favorites on 30 Rock

Ideal for both casual and diehard fans, this book is the essential companion for every 30 Rock­-watcher.

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Acknowledgments: Thanks for Helping Us Go to There.

Introduction: Platonic Fantasies and Tina Fey-losophy.

PART ONE What Would Oprah Do? Ethics and the Good Life at 30 Rock.

1 Being Kenneth: Some Moral Lessons (P Sue Dohnimm).

2 Sour Lemon: Liz’s Workaholism and the Meaning of Life (Jeffrey A Hinzmann).

3 Friendship on 30 Rock: What a Greek Philosopher Can Teach us about Companionship (Daniel Yim).

4 A Confucian-Aristotelian Critique of 30 Rock’s ‘Semi-Virtuous Path’ (Adam Barkman).

PART TWO The Girlie Show: Gender, Race, and Sexual Orientation at 30 Rock.

5 Race at the Rock: Race Cards, White Myths, and Postracial America (J Jeremy Wisnewski).

6 Getting Gay: How 30 Rock Helps Us Understand Sexuality (J Jeremy Wisnewski).

7 And the Followship Award Goes to…Third Wave Feminism? (Ashley Barkman).

PART THREE Dealbreaker!: Corporations, Professions, and Politics.

8 Medicine’s Not a Science: Dr Leo Spaceman and the Role of the Incompetent Professional in Today’s America (Kevin S Decker).

9 Is There a Difference between East Coast Television and Microwave Ovens?: Moral Questions about Corporate Management (Andrew Terjesen).

10 The Emancipation Corporation: Loving and Loathing the Shinehardt Wigs of the World (Nick Michaud).

11 Liz and Jack Can’t Be Friends!: Communitarianism, Libertarianism, and Politics at 30 Rock (Nicholas Michaud).

PART FOUR: Mind Grapes (To Nourish Your Thinking).

12 "The Bubble," the Cave and Samsara: Being Deluded at 30 Rock (Adam Barkman).

13 Of Cookie Jars and CEOs: Time and Self on 30 Rock (Tyler Shores).

14 One City's Cheese-Curl Addict Is Another City's Model: A Question of Taste (Michael Da Silva and Melina Found).

15 "I’m Straight Up Mentally Ill": Tracy Jordan and True, Justified Belief (Robert Arp).

16 Performing at 30 Rock (and Everywhere Else) (Marc E Shaw).

Appendix 1: Frank’s Hat Store.

Appendix 2: The Wisdom of the Page: Meet Kenneth Ellen Parcell.

Contributors: Cast Members of 30 Rock and Philosophy.

Index: Shinehardt Wig Company Filing System.

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J. JEREMY WISNEWSKI is an associate professor of philosophy at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. He coedited X-Men and Philosophy and Twilight and Philosophy and edited Family Guy and Philosophy and The Office and Philosophy.

WILLIAM IRWIN is a professor of philosophy at King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books as coeditor of the bestselling The Simpsons and Philosophy and has overseen recent titles including Batman and Philosophy, House and Philosophy, and Mad Men and Philosophy.

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