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Remember When 30 Rock Nailed Its Final Season?

March 6, 2015 Leave a comment

I complained recently about one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation, going off the rails in its final season by taking its natural positivity and detonating it into continual happy endings so excessive they seemed like the promises you read in chain emails.

Now I want to remember a show that did pull off a kick-ass final season by pushing its characters into new directions (which they somehow rendered inevitable). That show is 30 Rock.

30 Rock - Season 7

30 Rock was renewed for its 7th season in 2012 with the understanding that its 13 episodes would be it for the show. This is, incidentally, the same arrangement that Parks and Recreation got for its final season, which was also its seventh. Perhaps 30 Rock was thinking further ahead; a lot of the plotlines that pay off in season 7 were set up in season 6. Of course, you could say the same about Parks and Recreation. Basically, both shows seem to have had the exact same advantages and disadvantages, and while Parks and Rec provided a sweaty, dubious final season, 30 Rock’s was concise, heartwarming, surprising (and still funny!).

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In Praise of 30 Rock’s Live Episode

October 15, 2010 2 comments

If you haven’t done so yet, skip on over to Hulu and watch last night’s episode of 30 Rock, which, for the first time, was filmed and aired live.  It’s a gimmick–and other shows have done it before–but it was funny in the goofiest possible way, and it made the show seem more special than it has in ages.

Here are some of the high points:

  • Guest shots from Matt Damon (still playing Liz’s boyfriend, Carol), Jon Hamm (whose character, Dr. Drew, has had a hand transplant), Bill Hader (as Carol’s co-pilot), Rachel Dratch (as an eastern European cleaning woman) and Julia Louis Dreyfus (as Liz, during cutaways, and by the way, what a clever means of keeping that 30 Rock staple in the show)
  • Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson singing “Live show!  We’re doing a live show!” to the opening credits music
  • Actually seeing TGS skits–when was the last time that happened?  I liked the Fox News one: “This is Fox News.  I’m blonde.”
  • Tracy’s wordplay to avoid making promises: “I swear on my mother’s grape.”  “Kraut’s honor.”
  • The fact that Liz was turning 40.  When was the last time a sitcom lady was allowed to turn 40 without the obligatory, “Dear lord, I’m 40!” plot?  Liz just wanted someone to say, “Happy birthday.”

It was a weird show, and certainly not up to the standard of the best 30 Rocks.  But it was a hell of a good time.