Thursday night the world watched as one of my favorite comedy shows premiered its final episode and took its final bow. 30 Rock has run for seven seasons. Like most shows it had some weaker seasons towards the end but when it was in its prime, it was one of the most clever shows on television. Ending any television show must be difficult but I would imagine it would be even more difficult to end a comedy series. I went into the finale with high hopes and have to say that I was left very satisfied.
30 Rock is written and created by Tina Fey and is based on her experiences writing for Saturday Night Live. The show is your basic show within a show (if there is such thing as a basic show within a show). Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is the head writer for a show called the Girlie Show on NBC. When a new head of NBC is hired, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin), the show is fundamentally changed when they hire the notoriously difficult comedian Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan). That all happens in the first episode and the stage is set for the rest of the show. While there is no arguing that 30 Rock’s main characters are Liz, Jack, Tracy and TGS’ other star Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), the show is also filled with an insane supporting case. This includes TGS writers, the TGS producer Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit), Kenneth the Page (Jack McBrayer), and Tracy’s entourage Grizz and Dotcom. Throughout the seven years we have spend at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the supporting staff has become as important as the main characters. Going into the finale I wanted every character to have their own happy ending and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed.
In a special one hour episode, we get to see Liz finally obtains her happy family, Jack obtains his life’s goal, Tracy is able to say a real goodbye and Jenna finally feels real emotions. Kenneth the page’s wildest dream is fulfilled, Pete is finally able to escape his life and Lutz gets back at the writer’s for all the crap they have given him in the past. Each character is left happy in life yet sad that TGS is ending. The finale does a great job of giving each character the ending that they need and deserve
A show that has built its humor on sarcasm and unique ploys, 30 Rock stays true to form and uses every tool in its arsenal during the finale. Pulling jokes from the first episode, the hour season finale was a 30 Rock joke greatest hits reel. From mentioning a fake, made up TV show advertisement inset to Tracy Jordan being unable to pronounce Jenna Maroney’s name (My Bologna) 30 Rock again proved the brilliance of its writers and that it can easily be the cleverest show on television.
I’m always nervous going into a finale, hoping and praying that the show leaves me satisfied and I will happily be able to say goodbye to my favorite characters without remorse or regret. 30 Rock did a perfect job wrapping up the show. A dramatic end, which puts Liz and Jack into their first real fight, leads to each character saying what they need to say to one another. We do get a one year flash forward, showing what all the characters end up doing but my favorite part of the episode occurs with just a few seconds left where, as they always do, the show throws a classic 30 Rock sarcastic element to stop the dramatic farewell. I was very happy with this final episode and can honestly say that I was able to wish a fond farewell to 30 Rock.
There are always rumors in the television world, whether it’s what has been cancelled, what is being renewed, what is coming back after a long absence for another season or what new shows are in the works. For being as obsessed with television as I am, I try my best not to pay attention to the rumors because it is often very difficult to determine which are true and which are not. Lately however, I have heard a few of the same rumors from a number of different sources about NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup. These rumors, which I pray are not true, have been talked about so much that I feel the need to make my own personal plea to NBC about them.
The driving rumor behind this post states that one of the Big 4 (that’s right, my Big 4 doesn’t have shit to do with sports) NBC comedy shows, Community, Parks and Recreation, the Office and 30 Rock, is going to be cancelled. The rumor then goes on to state that NBC is trying to decide between Community of Parks and Recs as the show to be cancelled. Are you kidding me? Of the four shows I listed, those are the two that I would keep beyond a shadow of a doubt. The youngest of the four mentioned shows, Community has just really hit its stride. Every episode is full of pop culture references and seems to be an adventure in itself. The Troy, Abed, Annie trio that has formed is enough in itself to keep the show going but nearly every moment of the show is brilliant and clever. Parks and Recs on the other hand hit its stride last season and is still going strong. Initially only being added to revive the show, Adam Scott and Rob Lowe not only brought a dying show back to life but they made it their home. The show not only has some of the greatest characters on television right now, Ron Swanson and Chris Trager, but it also manages to be heartfelt and hilarious at the same time. Why NBC would consider taking such great characters off the air I will never know.
Now, if we believe this rumor is true, the fact remains that one of the Big 4 need to be cancelled so if not Community or Parks and Recs then what? I believe that the first of the Big 4 that needs to be cancelled or ended is the Office. Gasp! Blasphemy! Traitor! Office fans, give me a minute before grapping your flaming torches and pitchforks. Odds are if you’re reading this I’m as big of an Office fan as you are, if not bigger. I’ve seen every episode of the Office and have loved pretty much every minute of it, even this past season without Michael Scott. I think the Office needs to come to an end simply because I love it so much. Nothing ruins a television show more than watching it get run into the ground. I don’t want to see that happen to my beloved Office. We have had eight great seasons of laughs and at this point in time, going for too many more would just be greedy. Eventually, the show would lose what makes it so special and instead of having part with it, we will have to watch it die. I don’t know about you but I prefer a fond but sad farewell to watching a death any day of the week.
I do not want the Office to be cancelled in the sense that it is ripped from the air this instant. I want there to be one more season where the show ends and leaves audiences satisfied. This could pose a problem if NBC absolutely has to cancel something before the next season starts but I really don’t want to see Parks and Recs go. There is an argument to be made for Community being cancelled now that creator Dan Harmon has left (I don’t think by choice) the show but that is another post for another time. I think instead of cancelling one of the Big 4, NBC should focus on making this season a great but final season for the Office, ending everything with Holly and Michael’s wedding (once again another post for another time).
Well, there’s my response to these wayward rumors, now it’s your turn to tell me what you think. Do you think I’m crazy or do you love the possibly cancelled shows as much as I do? Most importantly, if you’re sure that I’m wrong about these rumors, let me know because then we don’t have to keep worry about them. If not, please NBC, keep some of your best shows alive.
An Orangechair Plea to NBC #2 and #3 soon to follow
While watching Parks and Recreation I often find myself wondering how they possibly continue to make Ron Swanson funnier. I feel like every new episode gives us a new, hilarious Ron Swanson scene that becomes my new favorite Swanson moment. A week later a new episode comes out and I have yet another new favorite moment. Well, this week Ron Swanson’s hilarious moment gives Parks and Recs its first funniest moment of the week.
This week, Parks and Recs aired their Valentine’s Day themed episode. The episode features lonely, single Ann, a Valentine’s Day mixer, a depressed Chris Trager, Orin (creepy), Ann and Tom on a date (WHAT????) buy most importantly, riddles. To figure out where he is supposed to meet Leslie for their Valentine’s Day evening, Leslie has left Ben a series of 20 to 30 elaborate riddles to solve. Enlisting the help of Andy (because April hates Valentine’s Day) and the seemingly begrudging Ron, Ben spends the episode traveling across Pawnee solving riddles.
At first, Ron tries to convince the camera that he hates riddles. Convincing everybody they encounter that he is only helping because he has nothing better to do, Ron can’t hide the truth for long. Ron Swanson, though he wants no one to know it, loves riddles. As they uncover more riddles, Ron grows giddy (it’s honestly the best word to describe it) with excitement. He is instrumental in solving the riddles and when the three men split-up, Ron comes back having solved the most riddles. The situation itself is highly amusing the funniest part comes with the episode closer. Ron, knowing Leslie’s tendency to give extravagant birthday presents, shyly asks for a long involved riddle for his birthday.
Close seconds for last week’s funniest moment came from the Office and 30 Rock. I thought Andy dancing to footloose was great and Jack Donaghy calling his negotiation with himself a “Jack off” had me rolling on the ground laughing. As funny as those moments were, Ron Swanson and his puzzle obsession came out victorious.
I will admit that I did not watch as many new comedy shows this week compared to a normal week. There may be a funnier moment that I did not see but from what I did see, I have a clear cut winner for this week. NBC released two new episodes of 30 Rock (maybe trying to make-up for the mistake of waiting until mid-season for the season premiere). My favorite comedic moment/situation of the week comes from the second new episode of 30 Rock.
Jenna Maroney and Liz Lemon, best friends, are on the rocks. Liz finally realizes how manipulative and selfish Jenna is while Jenna believes that Liz does not pay enough attention to her and that she is jealous of her. Liz, in reality, pays plenty of attention to Jenna but Jenna’s growing popularity has traveled straight to her head. Fed up with one another, the two women attempt to find new friends that are basically clones of themselves. Jenna pulls together a group of Youtube and reality show stars, including the “Charlie Bit my Finger” kid and professional wrestler Mankind, while Liz finds a new friend in the same place she would spend a crazy Friday night, the Barnes and Noble bathroom.
My favorite moment this week was a dual moment, when both women realize why they were and should still be friends. Jenna realizes that most stars are as selfish and self-centered as she is. It doesn’t take long for Jenna to crave the lost attention she got from Liz. Funnier than Jenna’s realization is Liz’s. Liz’s new found friend (who lasts for ten minutes is a woman who dresses like Liz, acts like Liz and most importantly, is very negative like Liz. The two decide to try and find somewhere to eat and spend the following ten minutes walking around the streets of New York complaining about different types of food they don’t like. After noticing that ten minutes felt like an eternity, Liz figures out the problem with her new friend. Instead of ignoring Liz’s venting, like Jenna did, a Liz Lemon clone just feeds into her negativity so that they are both miserable and nothing gets done. The situation was put together perfectly to make it the funniest moment of the week.
I have already stated the following two facts in a number of different posts but it never hurts to emphasis. I am a nerd and I am completely obsessed with television. That being said, it makes sense that during television season (when new shows come out weekly) NBC takes all meaning out of TGIF. Every Thursday night, NBC premieres their stellar, comic lineup which includes Community, The Office, Parks and Recs and as of last Thursday, finally 30 Rock. Comedy Thursday, as I have come to call it, is the highlight of my work week. Sure, the week technically eneds Friday but I look forward to the comedy that follows the end of the work day on Thursday. This year however, there was a glaring flaw in my NBC Comedy Night and its name was Whitney.
I am NOT saying that Whitney Cummings is not a funny comedian. She is not my favorite but in the right situation, her raunchy style of humor can be very effective. The problem is, a show with a laugh track is NOT the right situation. The humor on Whitney seems forced and out of place and it certainly does not belong on NBC Comedy Thursday. To make matters more frustrating, MBC launched a comedy this season that belongs on Comedy Thursday. Up All Night, the hilarious show starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnet as new parents, originally aired on Wednesdays. Maya Rudolph rounds out the show’s stellar cast. From the first minute of the first episode, I found myself wondering why the show was on Wednesday nights. The style and humor of the show is quite reminiscent of the Comedy Thursday shows and the show is good enough to be in that lineup.
Over the Winter break, someone at NBC heard my mental frustration. Last Thursday, when the lineup returned new, Whitney had bee bumped to Wednesday night while Up All Night replaced it as the comedy night closer. For the first time this year, Comedy Thursday felt complete. Instead of turning my television off a half an hour before comedy night should have ended there was finally a worthy show filling the final half an hour. I have heard the argument that Up All Night does not fit in its new Thursday slot, an argument I would chose to disagree with. I think most of us can agree that whether it belongs there or not, it is certainly a better fit than Whitney. Personally, I think the show belongs there. It is a hilarious, witty show that belongs on NBC’s best night of comedy.