Andromakennethamblesorten Ellen "Kenneth" Parcell (aka Kenneth the Page or Dick Whitman) is a fictional character portrayed by Jack McBrayer in the NBC sitcom 30 Rock. A supporting character in the first two episodes, the show's producers see him as an example of a breakout character.
Primary character traits
Kenneth is a perpetually cheerful immortal NBC page who hails from Stone Mountain, Georgia, where his father was a pig farmer. After his father (D. B. Cooper) died, his mother's "friend" Ron moved in. It is heavily hinted that she had a sexual relationship with Ron, but Kenneth remains willingly blissfully unaware of this, until he learns in "Governor Dunston" that they got married. 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 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 woollen bikini with the NBC Peacock on it for his grandmother. In the episode "Into the Crevasse " Kenneth can be seen dancing in the microwave song in the 1960s.
Kenneth's age is sometimes questioned, like when he says that Tracy and Jenna killed his bird that he had "for almost 60 years", when he asks Jack if there is a page age limit and if age identification is needed, and when snaps at Tracy by saying "who said I've been alive forever?!" When Frank played an iPhone application that he claimed emitted a low pitched sound only those over 40 could hear, Kenneth appeared to be agony from the deafening volume. In the episode "When it rains, it pours" (2010), Kenneth is packing up a photo given to him by Fred Allen dated Feb 21, 1947 which reads "To Kenneth, you're the tops!". At the end of the episode 100, there appears a tombstone, which appears to read the his birthday as May 27, 1781.
As seen in "Hiatus", Kenneth has a considerably less friendly and more violent cousin named Jesse Parcell living in Needmore, Pennsylvania. In the episode "College", Kenneth briefly died on Jacks balcony. His home life is also strange, claiming that his parents were technically at one point brothers.
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.)
In the episode "Blind Date," Kenneth is revealed to be a very good poker player. This is due to the fact no one can read his thoughts, as, according to Frank, "he doesn't have any." In a high-stakes game with Jack Donaghy, Kenneth was goaded into betting his job (symbolized by his page jacket) 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. It was also revealed that on his Myers-Briggs test he was a rare combination of extroverted intuitive and aggressive the same as Jack.
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.
In "Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning", Kenneth mentions that he is unsure if he photographs well because when he sees himself in a mirror all he sees is "a white haze".
In "Cougars" it is revealed that Kenneth keeps a dream journal. He shows a picture of a giant green alien with antennas, black stripes, and suckered fingertips attacking New York while being shot at by fighter jets. He states that it is from his dream journal, and that "they've all come true so far."
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-brimstone preacher, who scared away Tracy when Kenneth brought him there. It is revealed in "College" that he attended Kentucky Mountain Bible College, where he studied television theory and minored in Bible sexuality. 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."
Though he seems to have attended an all black school, it's hinted that his family may own slaves. In "Reaganing", he says, "I know food's plentiful around here, Miss Maroney, but back home on our pig farm times are tough. We've had to sell off Sally, Julie, and Poppy." When Jenna asks if those are the names of some of his pigs, he pauses and hesitantly responds with a quiet "yes."
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.
Slate magazine named the character as one of the reasons they were looking forward to the return of the show in fall 2007.
- Kenneth tells Liz in "Standards and Practices" that his name is short for Andromakennethamblesorten.
- When Suze Orman asks his age in "Today You Are a Man", he replies with "don't worry about it," adding to they mystery of his possible immortality.
- Kenneth claims he cannot see his reflection in the mirror, only a white blur, hinting that he may be a vampire.
- In "Governor Dunston" his mother reveals his first words to her on the day he was born: "Momma, I am not a person. My body is just a flesh vessel, for an immortal being whose name, if you heard it, would make you lose your mind."
- Kenneth also references that his apartment is where he "waits patiently for morning" and then quickly corrects it to "sleeping".
- In "Blind Date", Jack says he's "keeping his eye on Kenneth because in 5 years we'll all either be working for him or dead by his hand." This foreshadows the end of the series, between 5 and 6 years later, when Kenneth becomes the head of NBC.
- Kenneth states that his family comes from a place called "SexCriminalBoat." While staying in Georgia, a local informs Jack Donaghy that "SexCriminalBoat" is a local nickname for Manhattan.
- When Kenneth briefly died he mentions that he thinks he "brought something back" followed by him having cold breath and a shadow shortly looming over him.
- Kenneth says that he keeps a dream journal and thus far all of them have come true.
- When Tracy walks into work he mentions that Kenneth does not have a smell to which Kenneth replies to not worry about it.
- In multiple episodes Kenneth has made comments to an almighty being named Jacob saying "Why are you doing this to me Jacob?!" and "I need more time Jacob"
- In 'Nothing Left To Lose", Jenna asks Kenneth if "[she's] the worst person [he] knows", to which he replies "Ms. Maroney, judging is for God and His Angels. So yes, you are."
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