Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Watch: First Teaser Trailer For 'Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation' With Tom Cruise Arrives, If You Choose To Accept It Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey & Jason Momoa Join Ana Lily Amirpour’s Cannibal Love Story ‘The Bad Batch’ Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far 13 Cult Films About Cults 13 Cult Films About Cults The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Watch: 10 Funny '30 Rock' Moments To Commemorate The End Of Tina Fey's Classic Sitcom

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist January 31, 2013 at 12:55PM

If the last few years have been a golden age of TV, 2013 might mark the end of that era, as many of the shows that have been the highlights of the last few years are wrapping up this year. We've already seen the underrated "Fringe" finish, "The Office" and "Breaking Bad" are wrapping up this summer, and question marks hang over the survival chances of "Community" and "Parks and Recreation." And tonight sees another great show go to syndication heaven -- Tina Fey's "30 Rock."
0

Liz's early acting role
A contender for the finest episode the show ever did was season three's "Apollo Apollo," which sees Liz trying to convince Tracy that he's going into space, while Jack tries to regain the pure happiness that made him throw up at a childhood party. The episode culminates when Jenna, taking revenge on Liz, shows the staff an early acting appearance by the show's head writer. Saying any more would be ruining the fun.

Liz's talk show
One of the series' finest episodes comes in the otherwise patchy season four, in "Dealbreakers Talk Show," where Liz gets a pilot based on a TGS talk show skit. The filming of the opening credits (seen below) not only showcases Tina Fey's always-excellent physical comedy skills (we tried desperately to find video of her eating a footlong subway sandwich in an airport, but no dice), but also an inventive gag involving an HD camera that keeps on giving.

My Single Is Dropping
While it's not as experimental as "Community" or "Louie," "30 Rock" could be formally playful, with bottle episodes, live shows, movie tributes and more. One of the more successful experiments were the two "Queen Of Jordan" episodes, parodies of Bravo's 'Real Housewives'-type reality shows that came about due to Tracy Morgan's indisposition due to a kidney transplant. Focusing on Tracy Jordan's wife, the two episodes are full of highlights, but none funnier (or briefer), than Mrs. Jordan's mention of her upcoming record release.

Alfie & Abner
Speaking of formal experimentation, the show's fifth and sixth seasons saw two star-studded live episodes, using the SNL studio and crew. The first was an uneven, slightly awkward attempt, but the second was a triumph, one of the best episodes they ever did, thanks to a sketch-show-type format that paid tribute to the tradition of live TV. The best moment came with "Alfie & Abner," an "Amos & Andy" parody featuring Tracy Morgan and, in blackface, regular show scene-stealer Jon Hamm. It's a classic "30 Rock" example of having their cake and eating it; letting Hamm go broad and borderline offensive with his performance, but having the joke be on him, rather than on Morgan. And being live, you can see several cast members, including Baldwin, break up from laughing too hard.

Homonym
It's hard to think of a sitcom -- or TV show in general -- which can claim that its last season might be its finest, but "30 Rock" has made a damn good case for that over the last few months, with season 7 being incredibly consistent, hilarious, and even touching. And perhaps the finest new addition is "Hononym," the fake game show that's appeared several times across the season, part of Jack Donaghy's plan to deliberately tank the network.


 

This article is related to: 30 Rock, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Alec Baldwin, Features


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates