January 12, 2014

Why We'll Miss 30 Rock

30 Rock Liz and Chris
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30 Rock has officially ended its seven-season run on NBC to the dismay of many. A show that gave the audience a “behind the scenes” view of a fictional variety hour called The Girlie Show, it was different, wonderfully written, and hilarious. Tina Fey plays Liz Lemon, the head writer of The Girlie Show and sometimes-babysitter of Jenna Maroney and Tracy Jordan, the two main characters on TGS. Along the way, she has to navigate around dealing with a money crazy boss (Alec Baldwin) and life in New York.

The range of characters that 30 Rock has built was so different from anything we had seen before on television. Liz Lemon, the heart and soul of the show, was ambitious, yet sloppy and down-to-Earth. Jack was a businessman who knew how to outsmart his way out of anything or past anyone, including 13 year-old girls. Tracy, a deranged actor played by Tracy Morgan, who reminded us of a mix between Tom Cruise jumping on a couch and a Mel Gibson anti-Semitic rant, was a light character that never knew how to be a good husband, a good actor, or a good person. Jenna was the vain, sex-obsessed, do-anything-to-reach-the-top kinda gal who could be downright scary when she wanted something. Kenneth, of course, was always a mystery. Born and raised in small town middle of nowhere, he was the conscience of the show, providing a God-lit, moral-filled path when the rest of the cast were too busy trying to prevent Lutz from ordering Blimpie.

At the heart of it, 30 Rock was a gut-wrenchingly hilarious light-hearted show about trying to produce a show. Nothing was off limits. Margaret Cho as Kim Jong-il? Check. Jane Krakowski poking fun at The Golden Globes and Harvey Weinstein? Check. Calling Ryan Lochte a “sex idiot” to his face? Check. The show made fun of everything and everyone: Republicans, Democrats, Canada, Obama, Reagan, hippies, Florida (especially Florida), and even NBC. I suppose that was part of the charm of the show. The things they said were always hilarious and sometimes cruel, but it was easy to attribute each joke to a character’s flawed personality and laugh it off, no matter the punch line.

But it has left us with many questions. Will Liz Lemon be happy as the head writer of a new show, with a new husband and new children? Will Kenneth be a good president? Will Jack find happiness as a CEO? And most importantly, will Jenna move on to CSI and finally return to her two loves: dramatic acting and sex crimes?

No matter what the characters go on to do, it was a pleasure to watch them get there. Maybe it was such a joy to watch because the audience knew that the actors were having the time of their lives. Maybe it was because some of the lines were so outrageous, so demeaning, so I’ve-always-thought-it-but-never-said-it, that you couldn’t help but laugh. Or perhaps it was because, deep down, we all wanted to be like the food-obsessed, sparrow-loving, yet successful Liz Lemon. Whatever it is that made us love 30 Rock will also make us miss it. I suppose if there’s one piece of advice we can take from the show, it is “Live every week like it’s Shark Week”. That is something we can all live by.

By Kyle Shaughnessy

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