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"30 Rock" Series Finale - Did the Show End Right?

Annie Lloyd |
February 1, 2013 | 1:16 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Where else could it possibly end for the illustrious Mr. Jordan except a strip ciub? (NBC)
Where else could it possibly end for the illustrious Mr. Jordan except a strip ciub? (NBC)

On October 11, 2006, NBC introduced America (or at least the small percentage who decided to tune in) to Liz Lemon’s world. What started as a loose interpretation of Tina Fey’s time as a writer on "Saturday Night Live" grew into an acerbic satire of the current state of American television, politics, and obsession with subway heroes. The show had been a critical favorite since the first season, but never reached a large viewer base. In an age where ratings continue to lose relevance, "30 Rock’s" avid cult-like fan base continually confirmed how worthy the show was to receive seven seasons on NBC.

Dripping with meta plots and unforgettable lines (“Superman does good, you’re doing well” anyone?), "30 Rock" made an indelible mark on the comedy landscape of the new millennium. "The Girly Show" with Tracy Jordan, "30 Rock’s" show-within-a-show, and the NBC/GE/Kabletown corporation that runs it, served as the vehicles for witty commentary on their real life counterparts. This smart and self-aware humor finds relatives in shows like "Arrested Development" and "Community". But what set "30 Rock" apart was its close tie to a reality with which every television viewer is familiar. Its meta aspects weren’t just referencing the plot of the show itself, or even its construction, but the real world in which it operated. By poking fun at the broadcast network structure, specifically at NBC, "30 Rock" created a relationship between the viewer and the network made up of half mockery and half appreciation that such a show existed.

While the later seasons stumbled more with their comedy than the early ones, "30 Rock’s" final season has offered no shortage of wit. With full awareness of its impending end, the show tied up every character and plot in the most fitting manner. The show gained momentum with each episode and culminated in a hilarious and surprisingly moving finale. The last hour of the show was filled to the brim with quips and pop culture references, and even called back to its earlier seasons (something that "30 Rock" never bothered doing much of in the past). In addition to its regular offerings, the finale included an affecting and emotional current that differed from "30 Rock’s" usual attitude. Despite this, the reminiscing and love the characters expressed felt appropriate and effective. Their presence didn’t hinder the delivery and abundance of jokes, instead supplementing them even during the more emotional scenes. For "30 Rock" to effectively tap into the viewers’ emotions after never actively doing so proved just how brilliant and unique the show’s presence has been for the past seven years.

While it both began and ended with coercing Tracy to do TGS while in a strip club, "30 Rock" doesn’t come full circle. It extends into the future: one where Liz’s great-granddaughter pitches a television show to an ageless Kenneth Parcell, and one where real live television will never lose "30 Rock’s" signature spark. Hopefully someday soon another show will make us want to go to there as much as Liz, Tracy, Jenna, Jack, and the rest of those nerds have for the past seven years. As a parting gift, check out Jack Donaghy's personal guide to flawless manipulatio below:

Reach Staff Reporter Annie Lloyd here.



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