Jenna Maroney (born February 24, 1969) is a fictional character on the American television series 30 Rock, played by Jane Krakowski.
In Tina Fey's original pilot script for 30 Rock, Jenna was named "Jenna DeCarlo", and The Girlie Show was entitled Friday Night Bits with Jenna DeCarlo. In the unaired pilot for the show, Rachel Dratch, a former SNL cast member, played the role of Jenna. In August 2006, executive producer Lorne Michaels announced that Dratch would be replaced as Jenna. Later in the month, NBC announced that Krakowski had replaced Dratch, and that the character was renamed "Jenna Maroney".
Despite being credited as a regular, the character does not appear in every episode, having been absent from five of the twenty-one episodes of the first season and three of the fifteen episodes of the second season.
In 2009, 2010, and 2011, Krakowski was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the role.
Jenna was born Yustrepa Gronkowitz on February 24, 1969 in Tampa, FL and grew up in Bakersfield. Jenna's father, Werner (or possibly Travis) Maroney, worked in a fast food restaurant in suburban Santa Barbara, before leaving her mother, Verna for a "curly-haired surfer" named Roberta. After that, her mother forced her to sit on every mall Santa's lap in Bakersfield in an attempt to find him. It is hinted that because of this, Jenna has developed "daddy issues". However, despite all this, Jenna still expresses affection for her father, claiming that she will always be his "little girl".
During Jenna's teen years, her mother moved what family she had left to Florida in search of money, a husband, or "anything she could get her hands on". The high school Jenna attended was located on a boat, which subsequently sank.
Jenna started her singing career when she was young, by singing Christmas carols in Sears, as a distraction while her mother shoplifted. Jenna studied voice at Northwestern University where she first met Liz Lemon in 1993. By her own words, Jenna was "slutting it up" to get car dealership owners to put her in their commercials. She also studied at the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks where she majored in portraying prom queens and murdered runaways (mentioned in "Black Light Attack").
She has a sister who urinated in one of her eyes when she was little, which caused it to not open all the way. Jenna's other sister (or possibly the same one) has also died. She has a half-sister named Courtney, whose death is announced in a later episode. She also has a niece named Charlotte, who has drawn her pictures which Jenna finds offensive, despite them being perfectly innocent and childlike.
A recurring joke in the show is that Jenna has had many dysfunctional relationships. She has been engaged to a congressman (when she was 16 years old) and David Blaine, and dated O. J. Simpson, a music producer (hinted at having been RedOne), a sniper, and a mob boss, and was in a three-way with Tom and Roseanne Arnold. Jenna's current boyfriend, Paul L'Astnamé (played by Will Forte) is a "gender dysmorphic bi-genitalia pansexual" and a professional female impersonator most renowned for his performances as Jenna. They met when Paul was the winner of a Jenna Maroney look-alike contest (in which Jenna herself placed fourth).
Jenna is shown to have histrionic personality disorder, an obsessive need for attention. She is vain and self-centred and is willing to do anything for attention. In "Queen of Jordan", she organises her own intervention for (fictional) alcoholism because she believes audiences will respond to the "redemptive qualities" that such a storyline would have; however, she attempts to back out when she realises that going into rehab would take her away from the show. In "The Ones", Pete suspects that Jenna might be a sociopath, after repeatedly poisoning Kenneth with strawberries, to date an attractive emergency medical technician.
Jenna is easily threatened by anyone who displays any degree of talent, and will go out of her way to sabotage their efforts in order to protect her position. Her usual response to these situations is to lock herself in her dressing room, forcing Liz to extricate her. Despite being best friends, Jenna is a constant source of frustration for Liz, often distracting her with insignificant problems and demanding Liz fix them straight away.
Jenna started off in theater, in performances that included The Jenna Chronicles: A One-Womyn Show in 1996 and Con Air: The Musical in 1997, where she appears to have played Rachel Ticotin's character. She was nominated for a CableACE Award for her work on HBO's Arliss. She appeared for three episodes on the show Night Court as a werewolf lawyer and is blamed by the cast for leading to the show's cancellation. She also appeared in an episode of Law & Order as a "lady rapist" and from a poster in her dressing room, had also starred in a production of the Broadway musical Evita.
Jenna was the star of The Girlie Show, a sketch comedy series that was created by her friend Liz Lemon. Jenna's star billing is reduced drastically when Jack Donaghy is hired as a new network vice president and brings in Tracy Jordan, a popular but unpredictable actor. Jack further decides that Tracy is a higher priority than Jenna, so he orders the show's title change to TGS with Tracy Jordan. This makes Jenna furious because she is no longer the star of the show, and believed that Liz gave in to Jack's demands. In addition she finds herself at the mercy of Tracy's antics, the writing staff's constant pranks, and Jack's constant avoidance of her (his reason is that she is not promotable for the show). But despite all this, Liz assures Jenna that her future on the show is safe (Lemon forces Jack to sign a contract stating he will never fire Jenna in the pilot).
When she is not working on TGS, Jenna stars in a series of low-budget films, including her first starring role, The Rural Juror, written by John Grisham's brother Kevin; Take My Hand, a romantic comedy that went through so many re-writes that it became a torture porn film; Jackie Jormp-Jomp, a biopic based on the life of Janis Joplin, but Joplin's name and music could not be used for legal reasons; and Nightstalkers, a werewolf film to be shot in Iceland that had production shot down when the producers realized they only had one minute of darkness per day.
One of her characters on the show is "Pam, the Overly-Confident Morbidly Obese Woman," for which she must wear a fat suit. In "The Rural Juror," she appears in a sketch as Paris Hilton, where "most of the jokes were about the nose."
While on the first season hiatus, Jenna starred in the Broadway adaptation of Mystic Pizza and was required to eat 32 slices of pizza on stage every week; accordingly, she had gained a significant amount of weight by the premiere of season 2. Jack's observation was that she either needed to lose 30 or gain 60 pounds, because anything in between is not acceptable on broadcast television. She was unable to control her appetite, and her attempts at bizarre crash diets, such as the "Japanese Porn Star Diet" (which involved eating only paper), proved to be ineffective. She was equally successful at disguising the weight (drawing the eye up, not standing next to fit and attractive women, etc.). Although Dr. Spaceman suggested radical surgery and offered to prescribe her crystal meth, she instead decided to keep the weight on after doing a sketch called "Me Want Food," which proved to be popular with viewers. However, she soon lost her desire to eat, and so lost the weight she had gained despite Kenneth Parcell's attempts to force-feed her.
During season 6, Martin Luther King Day was released.
Jenna is also a singer (and possibly a rapper, having once participated in a Gangsta rap contest). She has apparently been a somewhat successful dance pop superstar overseas, with one of her hits, a risque number entitled "Muffin Top" reaching number-one in Israel and number four in Belgium. Additionally, she sang a single entitled "Chocolate Rainbow" (a possible nod to the infamous viral video Chocolate Rain), which never was heard on the show. She has had the honor of singing at the United Nations. Jenna also joined celebrities such as Sheryl Crow and Mary J. Blige in performing the charity single "Kidney Now!" to help find a kidney donor, though she was not invited to this performance. In the fourth season premiere, Jenna decided that she needed to "go country" to help her career, and in a promotion for NBC's tennis coverage, she made her Country debut with the single "Tennis Night In America."
In season 6, Jenna was a judge on the singing talent competition show America's Kidz Got Singing.