TV review: Last call for ‘30 Rock’

By Alex Sferrazza

For fans of the NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” the inevitable ending of the show proves to be a bittersweet moment.  On the one hand, longtime fans will be saddened by the ending of a brilliant sitcom, but on the other it’s a both a surprise and a blessing that the show has been kept on the air as long as it has.

Despite the astoundingly low ratings of “30 Rock,”  NBC still awarded this masterful program six full seasons as well as an abbreviated seventh. Despite the poor commercial reception of the show, critically the program has proved a darling for the network, winning the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row perhaps stands as the shows crowning achievement.   One can only hope that the show’s small but incredibly dedicated fan base will expand with the passage of time as more are exposed to the antics of Liz Lemon via syndicated reruns and online video steaming services.

And how was the final hour long show itself? In a word, spectacular.

Besides providing fans with a well deserved and, as expected, incredibly funny conclusion, “30 Rock’s” finale manages to draw an actual emotion and perhaps a tear or two from its audience for the very first time on more than one occasion.

Jack Donaghy, finally achieves his goal of becoming one of the world’s greatest CEOs only to find himself unfulfilled.  Liz is unsure of what path to take now that TGS is over, especially since Jack is now going back on all his past several years of advice, which Liz points out makes him nothing more than “an alcoholic with an amazing voice.”

New NBC President Kenneth is no help after rejecting a new show pitch from Liz for using descriptive no-no words including “woman” and “quality.” Pete is on the verge of finally leaving his depressed life of wife and kids, while the writing staff of TGS is finally getting payback from years of ragging on Lutz.

Jenna meanwhile fails to realize her total and utter uselessness but at least finds a real emotion at last when her mirror is taken from her.

Tracy, in an attempt to receive $30 million due to a contract clause, wrecks as much havoc as usual before he and Liz have a heart to heart, fittingly inside a strip club.

While the entire 7th season has featured encore appearances from favorite recurring guest stars, the finale itself featured a who’s who of surprise appearances including Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore, Conan O’Brien, and Al Roker among many others.

The entire cast delivers an amazing performance in the finale, mixing the shows characteristic one liners with a twinge of emotion, in particular Alec Baldwin whose performance as Jack in the episode is absolutely Emmy deserving.

The jokes in the finale flowed plenty and often, as they have for seven years, and without a single hitch during the episode to boot. In summary – brilliant.

“30 Rock” was a show whose commercial failure is sometimes blamed on the thought that the idea is too smart, too quick, and too witty for most average americans to stay invested in.  To be honest, the same has been said about “The Simpsons” and “Arrested Development”, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Over the past decade, ever since her famous stint as co host of Weekend Update on SNL began, “30 Rock” star and creator Tina Fey has established herself as one of the premier comedic minds of her generation.  While no one knows if the future will hold a comparable degree of wild success for Fey, one thing is for certain: “30 Rock” will serve as the standard upon which other comedy programs should be judged. Tina Fey has easily created one of the funniest television sitcoms in history. Period.

Oh and as you might have guessed, Kenneth is indeed immortal.


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