May 6, 2010

"30 Rock" Cuts Close To Home

Tonight's Mother's Day episode of '30 Rock' cut awfully close to home for Tracy Morgan.   Tonight's episode saw the mothers of all of the characters appearing on the show-within-the-show's special Mother's Day show.  The staff, however, are unable to contact the mother of Tracy Morgan's character (despite him giving him the solid leads of saying he thought her name was Sandra and she was wearing a red shirt when he last saw her in 1984.)  This joke fits in with the scatter-brained, insane character he plays, but when you factor in his real life issues with his mother, the joke seems a little too close to home.   Morgan recently released a biography, titled I Am The New Black, and it he discusses his troubled childhood.  Comics with a sad story to tell is almost a cliche, but Morgan's past is particularly insane.  His father, who spent five tours in Vietnam, returned home, like many, a shattered man crippled with a drug problem he developed as a way to deal with the insanity that was his life during the war.  Ultimately his drug addiction was too much for Morgan's mother to deal with and they split up.  As a 13 year old, Morgan one day literally fled his home, leaving his mother and siblings behind to live with his father instead.   After a year with his Dad, Morgan met his brothers at their school and took them to live with his father as well.  This set off a full scale domestic war between his parents that would soon spill into the courtroom.  Morgan's father ultimately ended up with the kids until he would tragically die a few years later from A.I.D.S. which he contracted as an intravenous drug user, and a habit he had long since kicked, only to have his past come back and bit him in the ass.  Morgan's older brother was crippled and his younger brother still a child, so they would return to their mother's home.  Morgan went his own way, and  to this day he has never spoken with his mother since the day he failed to come home from school as a 13-year old.

'30 Rock' has riffed on issues in Tracy Morgan's life before mining his pain for comedic gold.  It's not a coincidence that his character, Tracy Jordan has a name very similar to Tracy Morgan, and his past seems like an exaggerated version of reality, with similar issues and vices.   But to joke about his sad, unresolved estrangement with his mother - in a Mother's Day episode - seems a bit tacky and beneath the show.   In his book, Morgan talks very honestly about the choice he made and the emotional wreckage he left behind in doing so.  Sadly, his problems with his mother affected his relationship with his brothers as well meaning Morgan, in many respects, is a man without a family at all.  Morgan In the book he speaks of regret, loss and possible reconciliation.   Frankly, this just doesn't seem like a very funny chapter of his life nor does it seem appropriate to as comedic fodder on the show.

No comments:

Post a Comment