Tina Fey is one of the best comedic minds around today so it's not too surprising that she is responsible for two of the best television comedies in recent years. 30 Rock was an outrageous show largely inspired by Fey's time as head-writer at Saturday Night Live. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was a weird and wild show about a woman reintroducing herself to society after being trapped in a bunker for years.
Both shows share similar off-the-wall humor that makes them so hilarious. But which is the better show? Though they share similarities, there's a lot of different aspects of the shows that one might be better at than the other. Here are some of the things 30 Rock does better and some of the things Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt does better.
10 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Theme Song
For most comedy shows, the theme song is not that memorable. That's not why people tune into the show so it is usually just a catchy tune that will sometimes stick in your head. However, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has one of the best and most memorable theme songs on television.
In a really inventive gag, the theme song actually comes out of the show itself. After Kimmy is rescued from the bunker, the news interviews a local resident and the interview results in a meme music video. The song is catchy and it also works as a pretty funny joke for the show itself.
9 30 Rock: Setting
A show about a woman being released from an underground bunker and having to make her way in the new world sounds like it has more potential than a show about a late-night sketch show. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt certainly had a lot of fun with its crazy premise, but 30 Rock's simpler approach proved even more interesting.
Perhaps with the more grounded premise, the outrageous antics of 30 Rock seemed even funnier. The show business setting allowed for big personalities, great pop culture references and, of course, Tracy Jordan's hilarious movie career.
8 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Topical Subjects
Neither of these shows was shy about addressing controversial topics, but they do so in a way that means we still laugh and enjoy the comedy. While 30 Rock occasionally stumbled with mixing the comedy and addressing real issues in a meaningful way, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt seemed to excel at this style.
Throughout the series, the show explored such things as sexual harassment, racism, misogyny, and homophobia to name only a few. Through Kimmy's innocence, the show was able to look at these issues through her eyes which made for some hilarious and thoughtful moments.
7 30 Rock: Guest Stars
30 Rock was never one of the highest-rated shows around, but it gradually gained a reputation as one of the funniest shows on television. Because of this, a number of famous faces were eager to join in on the fun. While Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had some fun guests as well, 30 Rock was packed with great actors.
You had Matt Damon playing an airline pilot and love interest to Liz Lemon. You had Carrie Fisher playing an out-of-touch comedy writer. You had Steve Martin playing an eccentric millionaire. That's just a small sample of the celebrities that helped make the show even more fun.
6 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Jane Krakowski
Though she was a well-known actor at the time 30 Rock came along, Jane Krakowski found a new level of success playing Jenna Maroney on that series. As the spoiled and unhinged actor, Krakowski was brilliant on the show. And yet she managed to top herself with her role on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Krakowski played Jacqueline White, an entitled woman married to a wealthy man who eventually tries to make her own way in the world. With a larger role, Krakowski had more to do on this show. And though the part plays to her amazing comedic skills, she was also given some great dramatic moments.
5 30 Rock: Tina Fey
By the time 30 Rock hit the air, we all knew how funny Tina Fey was from her time on SNL. However, it remained to be seen if she could carry an entire show. As Liz Lemon, Fey helped create one of the most memorable television characters in recent memory and proved she was a great actor.
She played Liz as an awkward person with troubling eating habits who was nonetheless professional and independent. Fey also appeared in several guest-starring roles in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but that really just made us miss her playing Liz more.
4 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kindness
While the likes of Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy were great and entertaining lead characters on 30 Rock, Kimmy Schmidt is one of the most lovable television characters ever. From actor Ellie Kemper's energetic performance to the sweet innocence of the character, it's a joy to follow her on her adventures.
The inclusion of Kimmy Schmidt also provides a genuine sense of kindness to the show. She is nice to everyone and, even though she realizes the world isn't always nice back, her positive attitude is contagious. Watching her show provides a lot of laughs but it also makes you feel good.
3 30 Rock: Side Characters
As wonderful as the main characters of 30 Rock are, the real fun comes from the many bizarre side characters who pop up throughout the series. These oddballs help make the world of the show funnier and crazier. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has its share of wacky side characters, but none as good as 30 Rock's rosters.
There is Leo Spacemen, the clueless doctor. Devon Banks, Jack Donaghy's intense business rival. And Dennis Duffy, Liz's dirtbag ex-boyfriend. These and many other oddballs help make the world of the show funnier and crazier.
2 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Later Seasons
It can be hard for a show to maintain its greatness for its entire series-run. Few shows don't experience a dip in quality if they're on long enough and sadly, 30 Rock fell victim to that common problem.
While the show was never really bad, the later seasons suggested it was losing a sense of what made it special. The characters were changing in uninteresting ways and the wackiness was starting to feel forced. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, on the other, stayed fresh and funny with a short 4-season run which ended in a satisfying way.
1 30 Rock: Special Episodes
Both of these shows were willing to take risks by breaking outside of the normal format of a television sitcom. They each did the occasional "special episode" that tried something new, but 30 Rock really nailed these moments.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's faux-documentary was great, but nothing can beat the 30 Rock "Live Shows". Shot like an episode of SNL, packed with guest stars, musical moments, and fake commercials, these episodes had an amazing energy and were absolutely hilarious.