30 Rock is one of those television series that have no comparison. Its style is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t seen it, because it blends so many different kinds of humor and never tries to be any other show but itself. It combines high-brow and low-brow, wordplay and slapstick, satire and farce.
When I discovered 30 Rock during its second season, I knew I had a new favorite show and a new idol in series creator and star Tina Fey. Fey’s heroine, Liz Lemon, is the quintessential everywoman. She’s flawed but lovable, emotionally stunted but accountable, smart without being pretentious. I love every 30 Rock character in his or her own way, but Liz is the main reason I keep watching.
Now that I’ve established my unconditional love for the show, it’s time for the “but” part of the post. Tonight is 30 Rock‘s seventh and final season premiere, and I’m okay with it ending. It’s a bittersweet time, because, as much as I’ll miss the TGS crew, I know that it’s better to end on a high note than to fade out after too many seasons, having lost fans and barely holding onto the viewers who feel obligated to watch.
30 Rock has remained funny since 2006. However, as with any show, some periods have been better than others. Last season, while wonderful, didn’t have the same spark or conflict as previous seasons. It felt like the show was approaching its natural conclusion, since characters were starting to settle down.
I want 30 Rock to end before it’s been on so long that I want it to go away. That’s unfortunately what I started feeling when Steve Carell left The Office in season seven. While the show has had its moments after his departure, Michael Scott was the glue that held the show together, and without him, watching it became an aimless, uncertain experience. It’s almost like NBC is just putting it out of its misery with this final season, which is a sad fate for a show that was once so hilarious and heartwarming.
I don’t want that to happen to 30 Rock. I love it too much. The two worst things you can do to a show are to end it prematurely or to let it go on too long. It’s hard to find that happy medium, and few shows manage it. I’m confident 30 Rock will be one of those rare shows that do.
This last season of 30 Rock would be even easier to accept if the characters ended up exactly where they’re supposed to be by the end of the series, good or bad. Come on, it’s 30 Rock. Not everyone will have a fairy tale ending. Personally, I’d like to see the following happen:
- Jack (Alec Baldwin) and Avery (Elizabeth Banks) reunite, despite their ridiculous decision to get divorced last season, and Jack begins his 2016 presidential campaign.
- Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Paul (Will Forte) start a drag show, and Paul has a vasectomy, because they should never procreate.
- TGS gets canceled, but Tracy (Tracy Morgan) never realizes it and continues to come to work every day. Grizz and Dot Com (Grizz Chapman and Kevin Brown) can’t bear to break the news to him, so they keep up the charade that the show exists, which won’t be difficult.
- Pete (Scott Adsit) wins the lottery but loses the ticket before he can cash it in, in typical Pete fashion. Sorry, Pete.
- Toofer (Keith Powell) gets a call from Harvard saying his diploma is invalid because he’s missing a P.E. credit. Spin-off?
- Frank (Judah Friedlander) sets out to create the first book written entirely on hats. It’ll be a memoir of his TGS experience. No one will read it.
- Lutz (John Lutz)? No one cares about Lutz.
- Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) finally earns his angel wings.
Liz’s ending is a little more complicated. It seems right that she should stay with Criss (James Marsden), who serves her mashed potatoes in martini glasses (deal: sealed), and she’s had baby fever for six seasons, so she should probably get one of those. In my dreams, they’d use a surrogate who turns out to be Parks and Rec‘s Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), in the weirdest NBC crossover/Baby Mama reference ever. I also think they should have a boy who grows up to have babies with Liddy Donaghy, so that a Liz/Jack genetic combo will exist in the world without them having to get together.
It’s Liz’s job I’m having the most trouble with. I’ve narrowed it down to head writer at SNL (a little meta goes a long way), judge on Top Chef: Junk Food and teaching improv to senior citizens (which is what Liz always imagines herself doing without TGS).
Considering last season’s homage to live broadcasting, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show made its series finale some sort of tribute to series finales, referencing iconic endings like Newhart and The Sopranos. Throw a Jon Hamm cameo in and I’m sold.
As much as I believe ending 30 Rock this season is for the best, I’m still sad it’s almost over. I’m certain I’ll cry during the final episode, even if the last scene is just the cast “snarting,” which isn’t unlikely.