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January 28, 2013 12:48 AM   Subscribe

The Lasting Limberness of 30 Rock. 30 Rock is uniquely skilled at eating its cake and having it, too, while crowing “Isn’t cake ridiculous?” and making you crave cake. 30 Rock ends its seven season run this week. Here's Vulture's thoughts on its 10 Best Episodes. The AV Club's 10 Episodes that tweaked the sitcom formula. And the original pilot with Rachel Dratch as Jenna DeCarlo.
posted by crossoverman (56 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love 30 Rock, but haven't been able to watch this latest season. Is it worth it?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:45 AM on January 28, 2013


Yes.
posted by steganographia at 3:07 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: "I love 30 Rock, but haven't been able to watch this latest season. Is it worth it"

It's worth it if you love 30 Rock.

I somehow never watched this show until last year. I mean, I would catch bits and pieces sometimes, but it seemed too self-conscious and frenetic to enjoy. But then, we actually sat down and watched it, finally figured out how funny it actually was, just in time to see it die.
posted by Red Loop at 3:08 AM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is it worth it?

Completely. There's some discussion to be had about when the show went off the rails. I think season four. I believe cast members say season five. But the show was back on track last year and this final season has been pretty much perfect; an amazing send-off season.
posted by crossoverman at 3:11 AM on January 28, 2013


The extended Willy Wonka riff recently was *genius*
posted by The Whelk at 4:49 AM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


In the most recent episode, everything I've wanted to happen since season 2 that I was completely convinced was never going to happen actually happened. I would say "called it!" except my personal wishlist was really more of a "the only way this show could get crackier is if the following things happened" list. Lo and behold, they saved them for the second to last episode of the whole thing. I eagerly await the finale. I hope it involves Muppets.
posted by Mizu at 5:33 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love 30 Rock, but haven't been able to watch this latest season. Is it worth it?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:45 on January 28 [+] [!]


Yes.
posted by steganographia at 3:07 on January 28 [+] [!]


YA BURNT!
posted by curious nu at 5:42 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bring back D'fwan!

The Queen of Jordan episodes were some of my favorites. And Kidney Now! And so many other ones. It was fun.
posted by discopolo at 5:55 AM on January 28, 2013


I am hoping for the Return of Wesley Snipes next week.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:23 AM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm going to watch the last episode, and I really hope that it ends with Bob Newhart waking up and telling Suzanne Pleshette about a terrible dream he had where he was a TV producer for NBC.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:29 AM on January 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Both best-of lists mention the Ludachristmas episode, but fail to mention one of the greatest jokes ever to make it past the censors: Liz' father Dick Lemon proclaiming that it "Wouldn't be a Lemon party without old Dick!"

It was a great show, and I'll miss it. Among the greatest writing of all-time, and plenty of first-rate sitcom moments. It did get a bit wobbly there, but it's coming in for a strong finish.

Lemon out.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:37 AM on January 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: There's some discussion to be had about when the show went off the rails.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:37 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I too am amazed at how the show has returned with a fury. I checked out around season 4 or 5, and said "well, you had a good run." But then I happened upon a season 7 episode and couldn't believe how funny it was.
posted by ORthey at 6:53 AM on January 28, 2013


I was delighted that the final season of 30 Rock has been pretty damn good.
It's ending at the right time, in the right way. In the meantime, Modern Family has bloomed from being excellent, into a masterpiece.
posted by Theta States at 6:55 AM on January 28, 2013


The whole series was worth it for this one setup:

"A guy crying about a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy show."
posted by mikepop at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wrap party at Tramp World?
posted by drezdn at 7:08 AM on January 28, 2013


Which was the episode with the high-def camera that showed what each character would look like on high-def TV? Because my wife and I both lost bladder control when they got to Kenneth.
posted by Ber at 7:15 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's Dealbreakers Talk Show #0001.
posted by drezdn at 7:22 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm really excited to hear that more recent seasons are better--my ex and I watched 30 Rock straight through on Netflix (he'd never seen it before!), and by stacking the seasons like that you can really tell when it hit the Season 4/5 slump, so we gave up. But I really, really loved 30 Rock so maybe I'll jump back in.

In fact, the only problem I have with NBC syndicating the show is that I'll watch it while I'm at the gym and it's hard to work out when you're laughing so hard. As Lemon would say, "That's a dealbreaker, ladies!"--I'll catch it on Netflix.

In conclusion, Tina Fey is awesome and I'm glad to hear the show is ending on a high note.
posted by librarylis at 7:42 AM on January 28, 2013


This was the moment that I decided I could not miss an episode of this show.
posted by Ber at 7:50 AM on January 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


that line attributed to Donald Glover, Ber.
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hmm I'll have to check out some recent episodes if everyone says it's rebounded.
I started ignoring it this season because the few snippets I caught were sort of sadly and painfully unfunny. I'll probably watch the finale.
posted by chococat at 8:23 AM on January 28, 2013


I love Rachel Dratch, but she was not right for that role at all, too similar to Liz Lemon. I do miss her cameos, though, especially Elizabeth Taylahhh.
posted by juniper at 8:33 AM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Disagree re: this season. It's like one good episode followed by two phone-it-ins which contradict some previously established character trait or plot.

And the Vulture list is way too skewed toward later seasons. My list would include RoadTrip Jack and Liz episodes ala Reunion; Apollo, Apollo and the one with Phoebe and Jack's mom (S1 finale?).
posted by NorthernLite at 8:40 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


30 Rock is fine. It's very very funny and has many well written jokes but has no emotional depth past season 3 and hasn't taken a real risk structurally ever. It's like the opposite of Parks and Rec which takes emotional risks but also panders cheaply with lots of soap opera love plotlines. I wish NBC would stop greenlighting good shows and then hamstringing them with ratings pressure and just become CBS Part II entirely.

More than anything, I think of 30 Rock as a live action Simpsons. Always watchable, but never life-alteringly addictive
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:00 AM on January 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Potomac Avenue, I do agree that something feels amiss with P*R and 30 Rock - I will never miss an episode of either, but I'm always left feeling like the incredibly talented and daring people on the writing team* and on-screen are adding up to a lot less than the sum of their parts.


(*Someone who can take Harris Wittels, Chelsea Peretti and Amy Poehler, and have them output a show that hasn't ever quite made me laugh out loud has to be doing something wrong)
posted by forgetful snow at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2013


Well I laugh often during both shows but compared to something like Arrested Development or The Larry Sanders Show which has l.o.l. jokes, gripping plot lines and ground-breaking metafictional elements, they just haven't lived up to their potential.

I'd argue that at its best the American Office reached that caliber of show, but I'll wait for the actual documentary they've been filming all these years to come out before making that final value judgement.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:10 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Wouldn't be a Lemon party without old Dick!"

There's actually been two distinct 'lemon party' jokes in the show, and just a few eps ago there was a tubgirl callout as well. I think, in order to complete the triptych, the season finale is just going to have to have Lutz perform a full Goatse on camera.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:13 AM on January 28, 2013


He pretty much is, on every show.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:16 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because my wife and I both lost bladder control when they got to Kenneth.

There's a low-grade running gag that points to Kenneth being immortal, or an angel, or a vampire, or just very, very old. Evidence is here. I'm sure they'll do something with it for the last episode, but I hope they keep it subtle.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:27 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a low-grade running gag that points to Kenneth being immortal, or an angel, or a vampire, or just very, very old.

That gag is possibly my absolute favorite thing about 30 Rock. It's so bizarre, and it's such an over the top, strange thing to make Kenneth even more inexplicable. It is just endlessly hilarious to me. I too hope they do something great and subtle with it in the last episode.

Also, the part of me that watched way too many syndicated episodes of Highlander in the 90s kind of really wants a Highlander/30 Rock crossover in joke or something, if they haven't done it already. Kenneth with a sword, Kenneth saying there can be only one, Kenneth humming the "Princes of the Universe" song, I'm not picky!
posted by yasaman at 11:57 AM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Alec Baldwin has a podcast where he interviews various notables. I keep wishing he would do it in character as Jack Donaghy.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2013


This season has been worth it just for "Hold my calls, giant bee," which had me laughing until I cried.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jack: "The American public doesn't want your elitist, east coast, alternative, intellectual, left wing-"
Liz: "Jack, just say Jewish, this is taking forever."

One of the best lines in any sitcom I have seen, delivered perfectly.

30 Rock has been very inconsistent, but when it's good, it's as good as you can get.
posted by dglynn at 12:06 PM on January 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


From The Onion: "30 Rock may have more of The Muppet Show than Saturday Night Live in its DNA at this point."

The parallels between the two are well established.
posted by John Shaft at 12:16 PM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Alec Baldwin has a podcast where he interviews various notables. I keep wishing he would do it in character as Jack Donaghy.

I would subscribe to that podcast in a heartbeat. Even better would be if Baldwin just stayed in character as Donaghy indefinitely, like a sort of roving Colbert. Got himself invited onto Fox News, talk radio, the 2016 RNC convention keynote list. There's really no scene where most of the people in attendance are men in dark suits that wouldn't be improved by Jack Donaghy.
posted by gompa at 12:17 PM on January 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I thought it was interesting that the fake credits for The Girly Show in that Dratch pilot included a writer named Elizabeth Cackowski.

I have loved its anarchic approach, often contemptuous of structure, and general avoidance pf (or at least putting a good paint job on) standard sitcom plots. I do kind of miss the more backstage stuff they were doing in the early days as opposed to later seasons where it seemed like nominally sometimes they did some TV stuff when they weren't preoccupied with whatever.

I do think the show proves that Alec Baldwin is a comedy genius.
posted by dhartung at 12:42 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, while we're all talking about 30 Rock, does anyone know if Carrie Fisher's character on 30 Rock, Rosemary Howard, was based on actual Laugh-In and Letterman comedy writer Merrill Markoe? When I heard her on the Jordan Jesse Go! podcast last year, all I could think was "The mailbox was Haldeman!".
posted by mhum at 2:34 PM on January 28, 2013


Forget about Old Dick -- There ain't no party like a Liz Lemon party, 'cause a Liz Lemon party is mandatory.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:19 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can anyone, specifically, someone who listens to Alec Baldwin's podcast, tell me if he's funny?

He's hilarious on 30 Rock, and was great on SNL and the Simpsons and even the Clerks cartoon before I ever thought of him as a comedic actor, but is he funny on his own or just have terrific comedic timing and dedication? Whenever I've heard him in interviews, he strikes me as not being nearly as smart or as funny as he thinks he is.
posted by elr at 9:29 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Meat Cat!
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:11 AM on January 29, 2013


No. He's the worst kind of fawning, pretentious, self-involved interviewer. But I love his podcast because his normal (I assume) speaking style is the best thing since Odenkirk's Robert Evans.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:29 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Overthinking It! has a round-up of all their 30 Rock posts.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:28 PM on January 30, 2013


Oh finale, thank you for letting me hear Jane Krakowski say "cam-er-AH" one more time.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:37 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm always left feeling like the incredibly talented and daring people on the writing team* and on-screen are adding up to a lot less than the sum of their parts.

Yes!! I have always vaguely thought this about P&R and 30 Rock despite liking both shows!
posted by sweetkid at 7:23 PM on January 31, 2013


That finale was wonderful. Complete with a dark-as-hell split-second Temple Grandin reference.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked the Kenneth close. No explanation, just a continuation into the far future.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Baldwin!
posted by Artw at 11:27 PM on January 31, 2013


benito.strauss: they've made vague references throughout the show to Kenneth's agelessness as one of their more obscure running jokes. The final shot was simply a confirmation that Kenneth is immortal (also referenced earlier in the episode, when "Immortal Characters" was on Kenneth's list of "no-nos.")
posted by Navelgazer at 11:46 PM on January 31, 2013


It's a St. Elsewhere riff - the ending of which bizarrely seems not to be on YouTube.
posted by Artw at 11:48 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yes, of course, it also sets things in a bizarro future version of the Tommy Westphal universe before undercutting that to confirm that it did actually happen.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


All I wanted was a Brian Williams cameo and a reference to Kenneth is immortal. I got a Brian Williams mention and Kenneth is immortal was the last joke of the series. I also got a Tommy Westphall reference. All is right with the world.

Goodbye, Liz Lemon.
posted by crossoverman at 1:49 AM on February 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


I can't believe that Lily ended up being the mother.
posted by drezdn at 7:27 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was pretty disappointed by that last episode, it seemed as slapped-together as the last TGS show, for the most part. Still, I'm sad to see it go.
posted by Red Loop at 4:30 PM on February 2, 2013


I agree -- it was incoherent at times, and not in a good way. But it's been a great show overall.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:55 PM on February 2, 2013


Hey, while we're all talking about 30 Rock, does anyone know if Carrie Fisher's character on 30 Rock, Rosemary Howard, was based on actual Laugh-In and Letterman comedy writer Merrill Markoe? When I heard her on the Jordan Jesse Go! podcast last year, all I could think was "The mailbox was Haldeman!".

My presumption was that it was based on Anne Beatts, having met both Markoe and Beatts.
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:16 PM on February 5, 2013


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