There are very few sitcoms that can pull off that razor edge of satire and surrealism without teetering into live action cartoon territory. Even fewer can make characters both ridiculous and relatable all at once, but for seven seasons “30 Rock” has managed to nail the satire and the characters. And Thursday, January 31, is, sadly, the series finale.
If you’ve never watched 30 Rock, head over to Netflix immediately to rectify that. Need more motivation than just “It’s that great show with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin”? Here are my top ten reasons why you’re missing out if you never watched 30 Rock:
- The show within a show: The fake sketch show (TGS) is only seen in small glimpses, but it’s always either ridiculously bad or super slapsticky. It almost looks like a show you want to watch!
- Live shows: Sure, other shows have done this, and SNL does it each week…but 30 Rock managed to pull off two live shows with just the right amount of fourth-wall breaking to make it just slightly surreal.
- Awareness of the fourth wall: After a particularly ham handed bout of product placed dialogue, Tina Fey looked directly at the camera and asked “Can we have our money now?”
- Puppets!: Not saying why, or which episode, but if you’ve ever imagined a cast as muppets, this is the show for you.
- Insulting NBC: The sad part is, some of the fake shows on the 30 Rock version of NBC almost seem real…would you REALLY be surprised if NBC aired a show called “MILF Island”?
- The hit parade of guest stars: Matt Damon, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, That Baldwin Brother who looks the most like Alec, Julianne Moore, Jon Hamm…the list goes on and on. Best of all, none of them feel like “stunt casting”; the show does a great job of organically meshing their guest stars with the storyline and joke.
- Trucker hats: Frank the writer has a seemingly endless supply of plot-specific trucker hats. Keep the remote handy, as you may need to rewind to verify exactly what each one says!
- The wordplay: Not just the made up words, but the strange and funny ways that words and names get spun into new jokes. Like how Jack Welch got his name from “squeezing his workers mind grapes”.
- Alec Baldwin is Dorian Gray: Seriously, watch the pilot right before the finale. It’s like he aged backwards.
- Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin’s chemistry: Not (necessarily) romantic chemistry…but the relationship between their characters makes the show click. Other actors would make Alec Baldwin’s character too smarmy, and Tina Fey’s too quirky…but they strike just the right balance, and watching their friendship deepen and change over 7 seasons is reason alone to watch the show.
So there you go…give 30 Rock a chance if you never watched it. You’ll be Lizzing in no time! And if you did watch it all seven seasons, what will you miss most?