Buzzfeed Wannabe 30 Rock Edition
5 Ways Kenneth is Amazing (Because an Immortal Hillbilly Is Never Not Funny)
Oh 30 Rock, you got cancelled too…wait, no it didn’t! It lasted seven long years. That’s a lifetime compared to what some shows get and rightly deserve (Joey from Friends never needed his own show). What makes 30 rock great? Great characters, great writing, tender yet awkward moments, and Kenneth. Yes, Kenneth Ellen Parcell is the grinning glue that holds the show together through his unfaltering cheer, optimism, and immortality. You read that right, Kenneth is immortal. No one’s quite sure WHAT he is, whether he’s just a great Lost reference or he’s some kind of benevolent Lovecraftian God, all I know is I can’t get enough of him.
1. I am not a person
Let’s get the easy one out of the way right now. In “Govenor Dunstan” Kenneth’s Mother, Pearline (Catherine O’hara of Beetlejuice) and his step-dad Ron (Brian Cranston, you know, from Godzilla?) come to visit him at work. It is quickly revealed that Ron has never purposefully mistreated Kenneth, despite Kenneth constantly implying he did, and more importantly his mother reveals the first time she laid eyes on him after he was born.
Kenneth seems very naive and childlike at times. He respects everyone (except gynecologists) and the world really is wonderful through his eyes. Maybe because he and everyone else is a muppet. A MUPPET! How could you not be happy and cheerful around the clock when everything seems so bright, singsong, and made of felt? Yes, Kenneth, the world would be a better place if we were all muppets.
I wouldn’t mind someone’s hand up my backside for that kind of happiness…
3. Maybe he’s not happy…
Maybe the cracks are actually starting to show? Kenneth is the personification of happiness and hope but maybe he’s just been lying to himself and us the whole time! In this episode Jack thinks he’s about to get a pep talk from the unshakably happy Kenneth, but what he actually gets is a dose of awful reality. I love that at the end you can physically see Kenneth put his happy face back on and it looks like it hurts.
4. Doin the Microwave
This episode is gold. Will Arnett as Devon Banks, an amazing quote every other second (“Liz Lemon, you boogaface, i’ma kill you with a bazooka!”), and a quick but interesting look at more of Kenneth’s extensive history. Briefly at the beginning Jack talks about the America’s waning interest in the microwave. Flashbacks ensue and you see a 50’s band playing a song called “Do the Microwave”, and you can briefly see Kenneth himself dancing away (which would make him around 90). Also this episode is a great critique on the American Auto industry.
5. The End
VINDICATION! Here is the final proof that Kenneth’s long running gag was perfectly plotted for this moment. After the series is wrapped up, we get to see Liz Lemon’s great grandaughter pitching THE EXACT PLOT of 30 Rock to the current president of NBC. Of course it’s Kenneth. It’s even better that earlier in the episode he shot down Liz’s idea for the show when she proposed the same, stating that NBC wasn’t looking for anything that had to do with “shows about shows”, “immortal characters”, and “Quality”. It’s nice to know that he changed his mind…after a 100 years or so.
I leave you with my favorite image of Kenneth wearing his gender neutralizing hood that he wore to his Abstinence Rally on Valentines Day.
Why? Because it’s goddamn hilarious.