With Tina Fey joining the cast of Great News (rather than just her previous behind-the-camera role as executive producer), the 30 Rock comparisons are inevitable. After all, the NBC show, which comes from the mind of 30 Rock writer and producer Tracey Wigfield, does take place in a TV studio with a lovable cast of goons. Now, with Tina Fey guest starring at Diana St. Tropez, the new MMN president, the comparison's to Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy are already rolling in. But when I watched the season 2 premiere, which aired Thursday night, I was reminded of a different character: Liz Lemon herself.
No, Diana definitely doesn't have the same witticisms as Liz, or the same vulnerabilities. And, yes, arriving undercover as a janitor does seem like a very Jack Donaghy move, but I'm not convinced the two actually have anything in common. Whereas Jack was constantly spouting ludicrous and privileged rhetoric heightened to the point of absurdity, there's not much that Diana says that I don't agree with myself, and that Liz Lemon wouldn't also agree with had her hard work ever been given the recognition it deserves, or had she made the choice to attempt the impossible feat of "having it all."
Of course, there are elements of Diana that are also absurd. She claims to sleep two hours a night and to never not be doing kegels. She also tells Katie (Briga Heelan) that your 30s are for working, and that she should put her personal life on the backburner. But at the same time, those things are something that all women unfortunately have to consider when evaluating their careers.
Plus, if you parse through the parody, she does make some legitimate points, like her advice that women never turn their statements into questions. She's also skilled at working with each person in the office in unique ways that push their potential (while also doing exactly what Diana wants). It's admirable! It's what I would have wanted for Liz Lemon had she lived in a universe where her talents were appreciated and rewarded.
But, at the same time, the two characters from different shows actually complement each other well. Both are successful, but both have their flaws, and side-by-side, they prove, after all this, that there's many right ways to be a woman.