Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Africa on 30Rock

Last week's episode of the hit NBC sit-com 30Rock featured a storyline where the Tracy Jordan character, played by Tracy Morgan stops working and leaves 'for Africa' -- hilarity ensues.

Among the dialogue's gems, Tracy scolds Liz Lemon, Tina Fey's character, at the beginning of the episode:

"Click, click, click! Yeah, that's right: I just put you in your place in African."

I suppose there is an opportunity to be offended here, but I think the comedy is not in perpetuating American stereotypes about Africa, but in making fun of that ignorance itself. I think its OK to laugh.

NBC.com doesn't provide scene clips, but the entire episode is online. Watch from the opening and then skip to 20:00 to see the parts where Tracy video chats, with tropical plants behind him and West African garb. If you can't see where this is going, SPOILER ALERT below the video:

The humor is that, as it becomes increasingly obvious that Tracy is not in Africa but still somewhere in New York, his character's normal level of obliviousness is extended to his knowledge of Africa. Veteran African travelers will pick this up earlier than it is revealed to other viewers: NO WAY you can do a video skype from most parts of Africa to the US!

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