Oct. 11, 2006
30 min.
NBC TV Network

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30 Rock tv show photo

30 Rock

Liz Lemon, played by Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey, is the head writer of the fictional TV show, 'The Girlie Show.' When her old boss dies and a new boss comes in, Liz must try to run a successful TV show without losing her mind.

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Kenneth Parcell 30 Rock
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Kenneth Parcell

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  Played by:
Jack McBrayerJack McBrayer
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Character Bio

Kenneth Parcell photo
Kenneth is a perpetually cheerful NBC page who hails from Stone Mountain, Georgia, where his father was a pig farmer. After his father died, his mother's "friend" Ron moved in. It is heavily hinted that she had a sexual relationship with Ron, but Kenneth remains blissfully unaware of this. A graduate of Kentucky Mountain Bible College, his best friend is his mother and he credits his persistent optimism to her as she has told him that, no matter how bad things seem, there is always someone else having a worse day, "like being stung by a bee or getting a splinter or being chained to a wall in someone's sex dungeon."

Kenneth appears to be in his early-or-mid-twenties (McBrayer is actually in his thirties) and he speaks with a distinctly Southern accent. An awkward yet polite rube, he is always smiling, excited and happy to do his menial job, which many people do not understand. He has explained in two episodes ("Pilot" and "The Head and the Hair") that this is because he loves television so much. His love of television and his unending devotion to the NBC network are two of his most defining character traits. For example, he told Pete that he didn't want to "disgrace the peacock" in "The C Word" and, in "Corporate Crush", he was seen knitting a woolen bikini with the NBC Peacock on it for his grandmother.

As seen in "Hiatus", Kenneth has a considerably less friendly and more violent cousin named Jesse Parcell living in Needmore, Pennsylvania.

Role on the show
In initial episodes, it appeared as though Kenneth was not very familiar with some of Liz Lemon's staff, or even Liz herself. In the pilot episode, Liz refers to Kenneth as "that NBC page". As the show progressed beyond its initial episodes, the character became more familiar with other staff of TGS with Tracy Jordan.

Kenneth is often shown creating his own ideas for rather unusual television shows and one (a game show called Gold Case) became a reality in "The Head and the Hair", though it turned out to be very ill-conceived and was promptly shut down. When he pretends to be interviewed by Conan O'Brien on the empty set of Late Night with Conan O'Brien in the episode "Tracy Does Conan", it is shown that Kenneth dreams of making "hit movies" with Zach Braff and that he is skilled at clogging to boot. In real life, McBrayer performed in numerous skits on Conan prior to being cast on 30 Rock. On the August 10, 2007 episode of Conan, McBrayer made a cameo appearance as Kenneth.

As seen in the episode "Blind Date," Kenneth is a very good poker player due to the fact no one can read his thoughts, since, according to Frank, "he doesn't have any." In a high-stakes game with Jack Donaghy, Kenneth was goaded into betting his job and lost. However, Jack gave him his page jacket back and told him that he wasn't really going to fire him, but just wanted to remind him that he could. Jack then informed Liz that "in five years we'll all either be working for him... or be dead by his hand." Since this episode, Jack seems to have become convinced that the seemingly dim-witted, guileless Kenneth is actually a brilliant mastermind.

Kenneth often acts as Tracy Jordan's personal assistant, even going so far as to get him his nachos from Yankee Stadium. He is sometimes seen trying to impress or emulate Tracy, even wearing Tracy's chains when he wins them in a card game. A running gag with him seems to be someone taking his sandwich, which both Tracy Jordan and Jack Donaghy have done.

"Up All Night" hints at the possibility of romance between Kenneth and Cerie. In "The Aftermath", they are seen dancing together on the yacht. After insulting Jenna to get her to eat, Jenna instead starts to enthusiastically kiss him and Kenneth later tells Jack Donaghy that "I guess we have to get married now." Kenneth hosted occasional parties that no one but Liz ever attended, until a series of lies about music stars and celebrities turned one such party into such a destructive bacchanalia that Kenneth sternly reprimanded the staff for their behavior, and then said he would never host another party for them again.

In "Ludachristmas" it is revealed that Kenneth had quite a coke problem during his "Wall Street days." This is revealed to mean that he used to work at Blockbuster Video and was addicted to Coca Cola around the time that the film Wall Street was popular on home video.

In "Episode 210" Kenneth tries coffee for the first time and is immediately hooked. When he sees himself in a mirror, he becomes depressed because he realizes he has broken a promise to his mother that New York City wouldn't change him. Kenneth leaves to return to his mother's home, but returns during the show-ending musical number, singing that he missed The Midnight Train to Georgia because the train actually left at 11:45 and he was misinformed about the time.

Religious and political views
Kenneth has been shown to be rather religious, telling Pete to think of God in order to prevent him from cheating on his wife in "Black Tie". It is revealed in "The Fighting Irish" that his religion is "Eighth Day Resurrected Covenant of the Holy Trinity". His church (which was in the basement of a Cuban restaurant) has a fire-and-brimstones preacher, who scared away Tracy when Kenneth brought him there. It is revealed in "The C Word" that he attended Kentucky Mountain Bible College, where he studied television theory. In "Black Tie", Kenneth referred to Footloose as the movie where "those evil kids won in the end." Also he reads the Bible in German, because it is the only way "to get all the versteckte Bedeutungen (hidden meanings)". In "Episode 210," he says he doesn't drink any hot beverages for that's "the Devil's temperature."

In "Subway Hero", Kenneth reveals that he has no political views since "choosing is a sin". Instead, he always submits write-in votes for God. According to Jack, these are counted as Republican.

Critical response
Slate magazine named the character as one of the reasons they were looking forward to the return of the show in fall 2007.

Episode Screenshots

04x18 - Khonani
Season 4, Episode 18
02x09 - Ludachristmas
Season 2, Episode 09
05x06 - Gentleman's Intermission
Season 5, Episode 06
04x01 - Season 4
Season 4, Episode 01
[More Episodes]

Kenneth Parcell Photos

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