Chicago Sun-Times
We're watching TV. You're watching TV. Let's get on the same channel.

Recently in 30 Rock Category

"30 Rock" had plenty of ups and downs during its seven-year run. But with Thursday's finale, it stuck the landing.

The hour-long episode was full of the ingredients that made NBC's irreverent comedy work so well -- meta humor, social satire, insider jokes, physical gags, Tina Fey. It even threw in a bonus existential crisis, along with lots of references to reward loyal fans of this TV show about a TV show.

Here are the finale's top 10 moments:

'You're the dad'
After getting into a heated exchange online with SAHMs (stay at home moms) and WPs (working parents), Liz shows up at a park to smack down a SMB (smug mommy blogger), who turns out to be her husband, Criss.
"It's OK to want to work," Criss tells Liz. "One of us has to. We just got it backwards. You're the dad."
Liz agrees: "I do like ignoring your questions while I try to watch TV."
One of the things I love most about "30 Rock" is how it deftly tackled gender roles and what it means to be a feminist. I'll miss this giant piƱata stick, repeatedly poking fun at the notion that women can have it all.

I-love-you-but-not-like-that speech
Jack Donaghy's velvet-covered-gravel voice has delivered some great soliloquies over the years. His ode to Liz Lemon ranks up there with the best of them.
"I'm going to use this word to describe how I feel about you in the way our Anglo-Saxon forefathers would have used it in reference to, say, a hot bowl of bear meat," Jack says to Liz from the deck of his yacht.
"I love you too, Jack," Liz shouts down from a bridge.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the best platonic TV couple since Mary Richards and Lou Grant.

No-no words
For seven seasons, "30 Rock" has delighted in mocking the TV business, especially broadcast. Kenneth's list of TV no-no words -- quality, complex, high concept, edgy -- is a parting swipe at the industry as a whole, NBC in particular. The peacock net has made no secret of its plan to move away from insidery, niche shows like "30 Rock" in favor of broad comedies designed for mass appeal. Note the laugh track, lame jokes and animal humor at work in that clip from the toe-cringing multi-camera sitcom of the future, "Grizz & Herz," at the end of the finale.
Cue Liz Lemon's Yoda voice, "Dark times are these."

Revenge is a dish best served by Blimpie's
It was disrespected Lutz's turn to pick the last lunch for the writers' room, which meant one thing: payback in the form of Blimpie's subs.
"I want you to feel what I have felt for the last seven years: anger and disappointment and regret," he tells his horrified co-workers. "When that sandwich slides out of you after a week, look at it. Because that is Lutz's revenge!"

Strip club reunion
"30 Rock" came full circle when Liz tracked down Tracy Jordan at a strip club -- the same place she and Tracy went in the pilot when Liz begrudgingly hired the unpredictable comic for her live TV show.
"Working with you is hard Tracy," Liz told him during a poignant moment among the poles. "You frustrated me and you wore me out. But because the human heart is not properly connected to the human brain I love you, and I'm going to miss you."

Conan encounter
Liz, notorious for holding a grudge, ignored ex-boyfriend Conan O'Brien in the elevator.
"You can't pretend I don't exist," Big Red protested to Liz, although he just as easily could have been talking to the net that broke up with him for Jay Leno. "We dated for a year! We were going to lose our virginity to each other. Now I'll never lose it."

A vanilla-caramel sex swirl
I would have preferred dapper Jon Hamm to pop in for a final farewell, wondering where the free appetizers are. But at least we got to check in with a couple of Jack's old flames. The Kabletown CEO fulfilled the "sex and relationships" slice of his Six Sigma Wheel of Happiness Domination -- classic "30 Rock" corporate humor -- by having a rendezvous in a Puerto Rican prison with Latina sex pot Elisa (Salma Hayek) and Boston Nancy (Julianne Moore).
"And I got rid of their accents," Jack bragged.

Jenna sings "Rural Juror"
In a nod to "30 Rock's" first season when Jenna starred in the hard-to-pronounce film "Rural Juror," Ms. Maroney belts out an emotional -- and largely garbled -- song from the movie's musical adaptation.
"I will never forget you, rural juror," Jenna crooned to shots of Liz, Kenneth, Jack and Tracy during happier times. Before it got too sentimental, a teary Jenna ended her musical tribute singing "these were the best days of my ... flurm."

Busted by a minivan
Poor, downtrodden, henpecked Pete. He finally escaped his domestic prison only to get busted by wife Paula and his children while out for a jog, enjoying his new life. It's a humorous harkening back to the pilot when Pete thought he was fired. The then-family man told Liz he didn't mind because it would allow him to spend more time with his kids.

Kenneth and the snow globe
Holy head-trip of an ending. Kenneth clutched a snow globe in a clever reference to the 1988 finale of "St. Elsewhere," in which viewers were left to believe the entire medical drama had taken place in the mind of a blonde autistic boy. Meanwhile, a bespectacled descendant of Liz Lemon pitched Kenneth a TV show based on her great-grandmother's stories at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Jetsons-like spaceships travel in the background but Kenneth didn't look a day older, lending credence to his frequently referenced immortality.
"I love it," Kenneth said, flashing a toothy grin to future Ms. Lemon.
I want to go to there.


It's finally here: the 30 Rock series finale. Follow below as members of our staff live-blog the episode and share your thoughts along with them. Be sure to also check out our staff's favorite clips and Thomas Conner's top 7 musical moments from the show.

30rock_jan31.JPG Image courtesy NBC

Tonight, the beloved cult sitcom 30 Rock comes to an end and Sun-Times TV critic Lori Rackl as well as other staff members who are huge fans of the show will live-blog as we bid Liz Lemon and her crew adieu. But before we get to those final, tearful moments, we wanted to look back at our favorite clips from the show throughout its hilarious seven-season run. You can also check out Thomas Conner's Top 7 musical moments in the show's run.

Thomas Conner and Lori Rackl

Thomas: Yes, Tracy's on drugs and doing wacky things, but the dynamic between Jack and Liz is taking root -- earthy Lucy, dandy Ricky -- as Jack asks Liz to write some jokes for an upcoming speech. Which must be tonight, right? Cuz Jack's putting on a tux? No, it's days later.

Liz (exasperated): Then why are you wearing a tux?

Jack (cucumber-cool): It's after six. What am I, a farmer?

You know, back when the 1 percent was HILARIOUS!

Lori: The Liz and Jack dynamic has always been the strongest part of the show. This exchange, however brief it may be, encapsulates their wildly divergent world views and lifestyles. Fey and Baldwin have such a fantastic rapport and play off each other so well.

Darel Jevens

Alec Baldwin went out on a treacherous limb in the 2008 episode "Rosemary's Baby," helping Tracy through a therapy session by role-playing his irascible dad (in the voice of Fred Sanford), his beleaguered mom, the angry Hispanic neighbor upstairs and even the patient himself. Grotesque stereotypes all, but all it took to stir childhood memories for dotty Tracy and trigger a breakthrough. "30 Rock" demanded silly things of its stars, and Baldwin never failed to deliver.

Tina Sfondeles

This is Liz Lemon. Awkward, charming and hilarious. I dare you to watch this and not laugh

Marcus Gilmer

Following up on what Tina said about Liz. And kudos to Tina Fey for eschewing the typical ego issues most television stars face: taking themselves - and their characters - too seriously.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the 30 Rock category.

American Idol is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.