I don’t always love 30 Rock, but this week’s episode hit exactly the perfect New York spot (apologies in advance for the advertisement):
[sorry, hulu just does not play nice embedded]
For people who don’t live in NYC, the joke is about Alec Baldwin having bedbugs and finding himself an outcast, finally reduced to asking for help on the subway. Which was kind of funny.
But what makes it brilliant is this ending. Like almost every New Yorker not named Michael Bloomberg, I get asked for money pretty much everyday. If not everyday, every few days. I can say that in 6 years of living here, I’ve never gone a full week without someone on the subway or street, performing, begging, shouting, but somehow asking me for money. Dealing personally (do you ignore? give food? give money? get involved?) with dramatic inequality and homelessness is simply part of living in an urban environment.
And in the constellation of homeless people on the subway, these guys are absolutely perfect. They are real guys, and this is indeed the song they sing all the time. You cannot help but smile when these guys are singing, and somehow this hits the incredibly sweet spot at the intersection of parody, comedy, and reality. When Baldwin takes a swig and gets out the bag, it is just so damn funny. Thank you for this, 30 Rock writers!