Has Liz Lemon invented a word for simultaneously laughing and crying? If such a word existed, its synonym would be “30 Rock series finale.” I know I’m not the only viewer who sat through the second half of last night’s 30 Rock laughing hysterically through tears.
It’s really rare not only for a sitcom to tug at viewers’ heartstrings, but also for one to manage to be sentimental without sacrificing the brand of humor it’s become known for. The series finale of 30 Rock managed just that, and I’m incredibly sad that I won’t get to join these characters on any new adventures… Ugh, if I think about it too much I just get weepy all over again, and while writing with tears falling on one’s keyboard is poetic, it’s also potentially damaging.
Last night’s finale was classic 30 Rock. The episode felt like a present for die-hard fans of the show. Around every corner there was a throwback to a well-known joke from seasons past, from night cheese to Jenna’s mysterious past with Mickey Rourke (which she hilariously broke the fourth wall to admit was made up — she’s never met him). The episode felt comfortable, which is the ideal way to say goodbye.
The show wrapped up Liz’s family storyline in the first part of the finale, in order to give due attention to what really kept us watching for seven seasons — the TGS gang. Now that she’s gotten married and adopted mini Tracy and Jenna, Liz has become a SAHM (stay-at-home mom, duh) posting to online forums where other mothers are predictably hostile. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone in a real-life online comments section actually had written “Double Hitler” as an insult to a fellow poster.
Liz’s presence on this forum leads her to set up a rumble in the park with another “mom.” When she gets there, she realizes the poster was actually her husband Criss (James Marsden), who hates his job and is lashing out about it. They quickly decide that their roles should be reversed, and Liz should be the “dad.” How could we expect any other outcome, really? Liz “can have it all” (said through huge bite of sandwich).
Liz’s decision to go back to work comes at an ideal time, since new NBC president Kenneth (How perfect was that development, by the way?) informs her that she has to put on one last TGS show in order to fulfill Tracy’s required 150 episodes and avoid paying him $30 million.
Meanwhile, Jack’s attempt to master all aspects of his life, from family (Hello, Liddy! Where you been?) to sex (Hello, Julianne Moore and Salma Hayek, but where is Elizabeth Banks?!) to work, fails, and he blames it on Liz. NOOOOO!!!!
The events of this first half-hour were just the tip of the emotional iceberg, setting up the scenes that would make us guffaw through sniffles.