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The Sun Sets on 30 Rock

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by Melissa Silverstein
January 30, 2013 2:00 PM
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As we wrote last week two female written sitcoms were shut down last week, Ben and Kate and Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23.  We also said goodbye to Private Practice which did not get much attention since Shonda Rhimes still has two shows on the air.  But that show was important because it was one place that consistently dealt with realistic medical situations women face like abortion. 

There are so few women created shows on TV so losing four in a two week period is a blow.

Tomorrow is the last episode of 30 Rock which was created by Tina Fey.  The show outlasted predictions and ratings and benefited from the fact that it was on NBC at a time that NBC was struggling to find hits.  It was never a big ratings success, but it was a big cultural hit.  Tina Fey had her pulse on what it was like to be a working woman struggling with trying to have a personal life (which she finally succeeded at) and being taken seriously at work.  She ran the TGS show despite the crazy shennanigans of the staff of politically incorrect, yet lovable misfits like Tracy and Jenna who will all surely be missed. 

I am grateful that Tina was able to imbue feminism in the DNA of the show and also take on important feminist issues of the times like the feminist blogosphere and whether women are funny.  She struggled with her desire to have children and also be in charge and most of all she was always a lovable nerd.  The nerdiness and awkwardness of Liz Lemon are some of the reasons why she is so beloved.  She's not perfect.  She doesn't wear high heels and fancy clothes and tons of makeup.  She's just a regular woman in charge of a TV show trying to get her motley crew of writers and actors to actually work.

Tina Fey is a huge talent and she's not going away.  As a boss she cared deeply about her staff when contemplating how her decision to have a second child would effect everyone else on the show which she wrote about in her hugely successful memoir Bossypants.  She's also got her four year deal with Universal TV, has a film Admission coming out shortly, and will hopefully go on to host other shows like her Golden Globes success with Amy Poehler. 

But we will miss 30 Rock for how it took on culture with biting criticsm.  She helped make feminism more relevant in the culture by making it a part of every day life and not something that has to be announced with a megaphone.  We are all the better for having had Liz Lemon in our lives these past six years.  We will miss her.

Guest Post: An Evening with Tina Fey - Queen Bossypants By Ashley Van Buren (Women and Hollywood)

“30 Rock” takes on feminist hypocrisy — and its own (Salon)

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