Tonight, I will lose some friends. “30 Rock” airs its final episode, an hour-long finale. I have had my ups and downs with the NBC comedy over the years, but the approach of this final 60 minutes has me realizing how much I will miss Liz Lemon in my life.
Sure, I will also miss the rest of the characters, some of them more than others, but most of the genius in the show really revolves around Tina Fey’s main character. In this GIF-able world, she has truly reached cult status and with good reason.
For a while there, it looked like we might not get this final half-season of “30 Rock.” Like “Parks and Rec,” “Community” and other like-minded (i.e. smart and funny) shows, the show looked like last season may have been its last. But NBC gave it a chance to go out strong, and did it ever deliver.
This season has reminded me why I started giving it a chance. I didn’t catch on right away and have floated in and out at times, but when Fey and her crew are on their game, few shows can match up. A lot of other people have explained why, but I will offer my own reason.
I can’t remember the last time I really sat down and watched the venerable cartoon, but it also holds a special place in my heart. “30 Rock” and the other shows I have mentioned owe a tremendous debt to Matt Groening’s creation. They have all created a wacky world of characters who pop in and out (or just appear once) to allow the writers to not just rely on the main characters. No one does this better than “30 Rock.”
That allowed Liz to plumb depths of her goofiness without the plot having to resort to hooking her up with Jack. That provided a doctor who would enable Tracy Jordan and a teenage foil who would vex Jack Donaghy. That also gave us possibly the only appropriate use of blackface for comedic purposes thanks to Jon Hamm.
I don’t know where “30 Rock” will land in the pantheon of television comedies. It does not have the wide appeal of “Big Bang Theory,” but will have the longevity to remain alive via streaming services and even some reruns. For me, the best part of tuning in will be finding out which one of our favorite random members of the TGS universe has decided to drop in that week.