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"Goodbye Forever, You Factory-Reject Dildos!": The "30 Rock" Series Finale

By Sarah Carlson | TV Reviews | February 1, 2013 | Comments ()


30_rock_series_finale_tina_fey.jpg

Throughout its seven-season run, "30 Rock" could be almost uncomfortably self-aware. Few shows reach the self-referencing level Tina Fey's creation has; "Arrested Development" had its moments toward the end, as its characters' speculation about their lives mirrored the show's uncertain future, and "Community" likes to throw winks and nudges at the audience (though almost in a self-reverential way). But "30 Rock" has always known where it stands -- as a unique, at times hilarious comedy that not a whole lot of people watched -- and it likes to poke fun at that fact (and poke fun at NBC). "But the joke's on you," Tracy Jordan (Morgan) said to both the pretend audience and the real one in Thursday's series finale of the NBC comedy. "We got paid anyway!" Even Kenneth -- formerly a page, now the President of NBC -- scoffs Liz Lemon's pitch about a woman writer living in New York: "I want to make shows people actually want to watch." "30 Rock" was never a ratings hit, but the joke is on those who didn't tune in to one of the most original, influential and quotable comedies of the past several decades. Tina Fey can dig at herself and her show all she wants; "30 Rock" helped solidify her place as one of the most important entertainers around. She, especially along with Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski and Tracy Morgan, delivered one hell of a show.

"30 Rock" did, however, lose some of its spark in its later seasons, and for a while, Lemon as a character was too stuck in a rut to be very funny. But the series came back for a strong final run, and the two-part finale, "Hogcock!" and "Last Lunch," provided a perfect ending. Guest stars abounded (Julianne Moore, Salma Hayek, Nancy Pelosi, Richard Belzer, Ice-T) and the fourth wall was broken several times -- Jenna admitted to the audience she doesn't know Mickey Rourke, and Liz was startled by a crawler promo for Grizz's future show, "Grizz & Herz." The show always has skewed more toward the ridiculous than other modern comedies, but it works. Of course Jack chose Kenneth to replace him at NBC (in a Willy Wonka-style bit last week); of course Liz and Criss adopted twins, Terry and Janet, who are mini versions of Tracy and Jenna; of course Pete tried to fake his own death and start a new life in South Carolina. In the "30 Rock" world, these developments seem natural -- not expected, but believable when presented. Mixed in with the silliness is sharp commentary, notably in these episodes the pressures on mothers -- especially the pressures they place on fellow moms. Lemon getting her life together with marriage and adoption only made her more like Fey, and the actress has a lesson for her creation: It ain't easy. But all isn't lost for Lemon, even when Jack throws her for a loop by insisting that work is never going to make her happy. It is the relationships she has made that do, and will.

"TGS" may have been canceled, but by having to come together for one last show, the gang's members were able to come to terms with goodbye. Better yet, they realized how much they love each other, and the final scenes of the series gave us glimpses of their futures: Liz happily goes back to work (Criss is actually the stay-at-home type) on a sitcom starring Grizz and a dog; Jack heads back to GE (having resigned from Kabletown, surely to the delight of "Pelosi, Maddow and Baldwin") to invent clear dishwashers; Jenna at least makes it to the Tony Awards, where she flashes the audience, for the musical adaptation of "The Rural Juror"; Pete's family catches up to him and takes him home; Tracy's father finally returns from buying a pack of cigarettes. Conan O'Brien probably still hasn't lost his virginity, however. Of course, it all could have happened inside Kenneth's snow globe or in the mind of a young Liz Lemon pitching him a sitcom about crazy adventures at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. Either way, it was a fitting end to a show that will be sorely missed.

The two episodes were so jam-packed with great lines, as most "30 Rock" episodes are, they deserve to be listed:

  • Jack: "Hogcock! That's a combination of hogwash and poppycock."
  • Jenna: "I will stop being an actress when the world stops spinning -- on Kabbalah monster's fingernail."
  • Jenna: "Goodbye forever, you factory reject dildos!"
  • Jack: "Analyze, strategize, succeed: ASS. I'm going to crush this problem -- with my ass."
  • Jenna: "Goodbye forever, you soup line at a gay homeless shelter."
  • Tracy: "He's avoiding me! What am I, my son's piano recital?"
  • Jenna: "Goodbye forever, you Eastern European knock-off Mr. Potato Heads."
  • Tracy: "I know what it is to grow up overnight, and I'm not talking about my gout."
  • Liz: "You're just an alcoholic with a great voice." Jack: "Careful, Lemon, you're playing with fire."
  • Jack: "For your information, most of Tan Penis Island was destroyed in Sting's house fire."
  • Liz: "Cut the B.S.!" Tracy: "But I promised Barbra Streisand I'd never stab her again!"
  • Dot Com: "Grizz just found out his uncle left him a bed and breakfast outside Sante Fe." Grizz: "I'm gonna be a real fish outta water."
  • Kenneth: "Brian Williams wants a mirror on the floor of his bathroom. I guess you'd want that if you have a glass toilet."
  • Liz: "He killed himself because of me! This is like what happened with my gynecologist all over again!"
  • Jack: "I have to find my bliss, which for once is not an acronym for Beautiful Ladies in Short Shorts."
  • Jack: "I could totally be a professional boat model."
  • Liz: "I love you, too, Jack."

Likewise, the entire series has had countless memorable bits. Here is a sampling of the scenes we'll remember and the lines we'll recite. Wrap your mind grapes around these life lessons:

We all want to go to there:

What are you, a farmer?:

Ham makes everything better:

So does night cheese:

Maybe eat them behind the middle school?

Thomas Jefferson was black:

Or ... maybe white:

Mind your own damn business, Mrs. Rodriguez!:

Do the worm!:

Line?

High-five those angels:

Best avoid Lizzing:

You like Phil Collins?

Glerg:

Blerg:

Just use your unused wedding dress to hold up the desk:

When you're wedding finally day comes, you should be a princess:

Also, there's always jury duty:

Remember -- your high school classmates are still jagweeds:

Don't forget the chocolate:

Or the mac and cheese:

They help when you're on your period:

Just, uh, use the vodka wisely:

Stay away from champagne:

Don't be afraid to do it live:

Never go with a hippie to a second location:

That's a dealbreaker: :

Wear your Snuggies as a joke:

And when the time comes, shut it down:

Later, nerds. Blimpies for everyone.

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio.


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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • csb

    Where are all the baby pigeons?

  • Artemis

    Perfect way to go out, and thanks for compiling so many of my favorite 30 Rock moments in one convenient location. But I think you left out the best line of the night: "Because the human heart is not properly connected to the human brain, I love you and I'm going to miss you."

  • babykangarootribbiani

    i will miss seeing new adventures of liz, a.k.a the blocker. after all, sometimes the best way to prevent monkey business is to create it...

  • John W

    Gonna miss Liz Lemon....

  • Of course, it all could have happened inside Kenneth’s snow globe or in
    the mind of a young Liz Lemon pitching him a sitcom about crazy
    adventures at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

    I was so pleased that we got final, true confirmation of Kenneth's immortality. I had missed some of the hints over the years, but the "immortal characters" on his No No List, and the final scene as absolute confirmation were a nice little tag for the end of the show.

  • Banjo!

  • elenaran

    My favorite thing about the finale was that they ended it with the longest running inside joke in the show: Kenneth being immortal

    Great way to end!

  • lowercase_ryan

    On the bright side, 30 Rock can take over for Seinfeld in the world of syndication.

  • Cree83

    That wasn't young Liz Lemon pitching the show at the end, right? That was Liz Lemon's granddaughter? Great granddaughter? I forget what they said. She said she was pitching the idea based on stories her (Great?) Grandmother told her. It was a joke playing off of the whole Kenneth is immortal thing.

  • Blake

    Yep it was her Bi-racial descendant.

  • Abby

    Well, given her new son Terry, the descendant didn't necessarily have to be bi-racial. But yes, and I also loved the callback to "immortal characters" on Kenneth's no-no list, especially because, until that very last moment, I had thought it was "immoral characters."

  • toblerone

    Kinda looks something...

  • Abby

    Well. We're all something, or more accurately, someone. If you mean that she looks non-white, and more specifically black, that's what I meant: since Liz adopted Terry, a black son, her descendant (if you fanwank that Terry adopted Lemon as his last name), Future-Lemon could be completely black.

    And *that* is entirely too much thought given to Liz Lemon's family tree by me...

  • I'll miss the hell out of it. I won't miss Kenneth--I was still praying that at the end he'd meet with a fiery death (I got the opposite instead, BLURGH), and I was sad that Hook Hands Hamm didn't show up again, but I will miss it.

    And Jenna was the BEST last night. I'd never liked her so much.

  • Jill

    Yeah, I was wondering where the hell the Hamm was, too.
    And Jenna is usually much better than she's ever been given credit for. I'll miss that there'll never be another chance for a "Rural Juror" joke.

  • Blake

    My Sigma Wheel Of Happiness Domination will be a little harder to fill without 30 Rock.

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