We Are Going to Take You Down to Kabletown

By Food Stamp

Without any doubt, NBC Universal’s (soon to be a part of “Kabletown”) 30 Rock is an unbelievable meta-media critique. What I mean by “meta-media” is that 30 Rock consistently critiques the system and circumstances by which it is produced, distributed, and in many ways consumed (South Park, and other notable cartoons, share the same method of critique)–essentially the corporate media system.

This term we’ve grown familiar with the Comcast/NBC merger, one that would give Comcast further control over content and its distribution as well as the price we pay for entertainment. I caught this re-run episode of 30 Rock on my DVR last week and thought it was, well, a brilliant way of parodying/critiquing its (NBC’s) own fate in the merger with the fictitious Kabletown (see specifically 5:22, 9:09, 14:00, 17:00 for related content). My good friend at Bitch Magazine, Kelsey Wallace, even thought that the fake Kabletown website, announced by Jack Donaghy himself, did a better job of covering the merger than most news media outlets. Turns out that Kabletown is a real place in West Virginia.

The episode is great and critiques how cable companies produce little but “provide” a lot of service; as we know, NBC Universal delivers content. In the end, Donaghy convinced the board of directors at Kabletown to produce “porno for women,” and they bite.

If you haven’t seen “Conspiracy Theory Rock,” it aired once on SNL a few years back and was pulled by NBC Universal’s corporate parent, General Electric, for obvious reasons. I think it’s a brilliant (okay, I’m stretching it) poke at how a diversified corporation’s, such as GE, control over media outlets helps to further their personal agenda and cover up pernicious blunders.

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3 Comments

Filed under Relevant Issues

3 responses to “We Are Going to Take You Down to Kabletown

  1. Kelsey

    Great post, Andre! This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: What do you think of the humor peddled by meta-media outlets? I mean, on the one hand, it’s funny. But on the other hand, shows like 30 Rock poke fun at the corporate system while remaining a part of that system. I know it probably sounds all big-media-radical-conspiracy-theorist of me, but I can’t help wondering if the creators of these meta-media products hope the humor will distract us from what’s really going on (e.g., huge mergers, product placement, homogenization of content, etc.). I feel the same way about the wink-wink product placement on shows like 30 Rock and The Office. Who is really the butt of the joke here?

    OK. Enough on that front. But you know what I mean, right? Sometimes I wonder if I’m being duped. Opium of the people, I suppose.

  2. Sure, I mean, yeah, I get what you’re saying and agree. I mean, I watch this show and think it’s cool, think I’m cool for thinking it’s cool, and then talk about it like it’s cool, but at the same time you sit through product placement/ads and become the commodity sold to adverts…in the name of the meta. As our friend Foucault would say, all resistance just reinforces the system. Plus, I’m sure most people just watch it cuz it’s funny, not because of the meta-media aspect.

    However, I think the bluntness of it and sort of inverting and playfully deconstructing the corporate ideology instead of masking it, does make it somewhat subversive. Plus, it goes to show you that the bottom line is, well, the bottom line. NBC will poke at itself all day if they get paid.

    I think that regardless, being a good consumer and recognizing the potential health hazards of what we put into our mind, body, and soul mitigates any potential “health” hazards coming from the meta. I think the meta can be a good tool for locating ourselves within the system, even if we reinforce the MAN/Woman by consuming, and that if we apply the meta to the “real” media maybe we’ll come away with a new and powerful train of thought.

    Or, maybe we’ll just go get some McFlurries and drive off in our Chrysler.

  3. Pingback: 30 Rock « cream: cash rules every thing around me

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