Unless you are living under 30 proverbial culture-blocked rocks, then you probably know that NBC’s 30 Rock had its finale on Thursday. This past week has been a media saturation of the show’s greatest hits over the past 7 seasons, and if there is one good thing about 30 Rock ending, it’s that someone took the time to compile that many tributes.
It means that a few other people out there love 30 Rock as much as Liz Lemon loves deli meat.
Somebody bring me some Ham!
Could it have been a better send-off? Doubtful. The hour-long finale was packed full of references to the show's greatest hits, and still managed to tie everything up nicely in a way we weren't expecting. If I was the writers for The Office, I'd probably just give up, since at this point everyone is just playing for second banana.
But now that the dust and smoke has cleared, and we will never again be treated to new Blergs or What the What’s, there’s nothing to do other than reminisce and try not to cry in front of my former high school’s graduation ceremony… And maybe do a recap!
I know, I'm stoked too.
And while if you don't watch this masterpiece of film you're missing out on what will probably win all the Emmy's next year (finger's crossed), I'm going to break down its best moments for you anyway. Because I feel for all of my readers that same feeling that was tragically coopted by the romance industrial complex, which comes to us by way of the High German Luba, from the Latin Lubere, meaning to be pleasing. I feel about all of you the way our Anglo-Saxon fore-fathers would have felt about a hot bowl of bear meat, or our enemies skull, split.
*Spoiler Alert: Don’t Read On if You Haven’t Watched the 30 Rock Finale*
The episode begins with Criss and the twins going off to work and school in the chaotic mess that has always been 30 Rock. But then there’s silence, and Liz is left with something we know she doesn’t know what to do with: time. And in what I’m sure is almost a verbatim chat room from the internet, Liz gets accosted and called a "Double Hitler" while looking for advice on adjusting to her new role in life. Best line of the exchange: “So What? My 2 year old is super gay and we love him even more than a straight child because HE DOESN’T RAPE!”
The nerve of those guys!
Somebody remind me if I ever have kids to NEVER join a chat room for moms.
Liz attempts to get a new job at NBC while Jack confronts the ultimate question, is he happy? And it turns out, he’s not. In a montage that is straight out of a 30 Rock fan-fic dream, we see Jack crushing work, hobbies, family life, sex and relationships, and philanthropy in a Six Sigma Wheel of Happiness domination, but even after he has managed to get himself an effigy from the Occupy Wall Street movement and have Nancy Pelosi publicly denounce him, he still isn’t happy. It’s a turn of melancholy that 30 Rock doesn’t do very often, and feels real despite the absurdity of this world.
The emotional heart of the episode is in the goodbyes, and they are genuinely heartbreaking. Liz and Tracy in a strip club, Jack and Liz at the harbor and Jenna and her mirror. Each one is brilliant, and is essentially answering the questions 30 Rock has posed from the pilot: Can TV be successful without sacrificing quality. And it turns out, it can. Tracy says it best in the last few minutes of the episode:
“Well, that’s our show. Not too many people watched it, but the jokes on you, because we got paid anyway.”
This show was absolutely SOLID for 7 seasons, something very few shows even come close to, and it’s ending because it never got the viewership it deserved. It’s the plight that will always follow the 30 Rock’s of the world and will always keep crap like Two and A Half Men on the air. Kenneth gives Liz a list of words that are “TV No-No words” almost all of which apply to 30 Rock. Shows about Shows. Writer. High Concept. Immortal Characters.
And just for good measure: Justin Bartha. Take that “The New Normal.” I will not like you.
But I digress. Ultimately, the last two minutes of the episode is the ending we have all been waiting for. Liz is back working at NBC on a show starring Grizz (despite their sexual history), content with her adopted twins. Jack is crushing see-through dishwashers. Jenna wins a Tony (sort-of), Tracy’s father comes back and years into the future, Kenneth is still head of NBC, and Liz Lemon’s great-granddaughter is pitching him the story for a show about the people at 30 Rock. It just doesn’t get much better than that.
And so the greatest TV sitcom of the decade comes to an end. I loved every minute of it, and while I will miss it forever, one does well in times of duress to remember the age old adage:
When God closes a 30 Rock, he opens a Community.