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.
During the Fall, Winter and Spring television seasons, NBC fills its Thursday night line up with four of its comedy television shows. Every week there was an evening of comedic television for comedy fans to look forward too, leaving a hole when NBC comedy night ended in the spring. Last night, Thursday June 28th, FX attempted to fill that hole with their own comedy night by premiering two new comedy shows and returning two shows for their second and third season.
• 8:00 Anger Management: I was not overly excited for Charlie Sheen’s return to television and I was right not to get my hopes up. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Two and a Half Men when Charlie Sheen was on it, I found it to be corny and crude. Anger Management is a very similar show. Sheen stars as psychologist, which allows the writers to introduce a cast of crazy characters, that is divorced and has a no nonsense daughter. Beyond that, Sheen’s character seemed to be taken directly from Two and a Half Men. He is a womanizer, a chauvinist and is obsessed with sex. I believe the show tried to make him less of a pig by giving him a family but ultimately, we are watching the same man make the same jokes in the same situations.
• 9:00 Wilfred: The Wilfred season premiere aired last week and last night was the second season’s second episode. I love this show. I think it’s hilarious and brilliant and the first two episodes this season have proven that this show is not afraid to be different. The season premiere picked up where the season 1 finale left off, Elijah Wood attempting to determine if he is crazy. Though there weren’t many laughs last week, I appreciate what direction the show took for the episode. This week however, Wilfred and Ryan were reunited and hilarity ensued. With his mind poisoned by Drew (Chris Klein), Jenna’s boyfriend, Wilfred no longer wants to be best friends with the selfish Ryan. As Ryan spends the episode trying to get back into Wilfred’s good graces, the two slowly restart their relationship. The end shot of the show, with Wilfred and Ryan smoking pot and making jokes, suggests that next week’s episode will return to the norm the show established in their first season. I liked to see a comedy show go out on a limb and do something different with their story and their characters. Wilfred has been strong so far this season and I look forward to the rest of Season 2.
• 9:30 Louie: It took me a while to get into this show but now that I have given it a real shot, I believe it may be the funniest comedy on television. Season 3 started with a hilariously awkward bang. The mind of Louie C.K. is so brilliant it is almost difficult to believe. With his show and his standup, Louie has been able to cultivate a style of comedy that is unique which is rare for a new show. Most new shows now seem to emulate or model themselves off of a previous show but Louie is unique. If you don’t like or understand sarcasm, I cannot stress enough that this show is not for you. Louie uses sarcasm without shame or limits throughout his career, creating an endless number of awkwardly hilarious scenes. The sarcasm combined with a barrage of ever changing facial expressions mix together to create a half an hour of brilliant television. My only complaint about the season premiere is that there weren’t enough cut scenes to Louie’s standup comedy. In previous seasons, they would cut to a stand up routine at least twice an episode but in the premiere, they only had one stand up scene. Other than that I have no complaints, it was perfect.
• 10:00 Brand X: I was really excited for Russell Brand’s new late night show and ended up being horribly disappointed. I have seen Brands standup comedy before and thought it was hilarious so I just assumed that the comedy would transfer to his late night show. What I got was a number of incoherent rants and disjointed jokes that barely even got me to crack a smile. I don’t know if maybe I didn’t understand the topics Brand was talking about or if I’m just completely ignorant but the show did not work for me. I did expect the show to be amazing but it let me down, it let me down hard. I found Brand X to be the weakest comedy of the evening and don’t even know if I’m going to give it a second chance.