TV Guyd: 30 Rock‘s Off

Andrew Tibbetts
Authored by
Andrew Tibbetts

January 21, 2013
4:12 p.m.

“Excuse me. I don’t mean to bother you but I’m a nymphomaniac virgin widow and I just completed my year of mourning. I’ve got a hotel room and a latex allergy and I’m just wondering what you were doing for the next twelve to fourteen hours.”

30 Rock is coming to an end, and according to the numbers almost no one will care. It’s kind of amazing that a critics’ darling show that nobody watches has survived seven seasons. I know! I know! Your best faghag watches it—the one who wears the bulky black glasses as if she’s in publishing although she only works at the ministry of transportation (DMV for you American readers, Automobilbürokratie for you Germans), but still…she’s not anyone who buys things influenced by advertising so she doesn’t matter. Yeah, but she and I are sad because line-for-line it’s the best show that’s ever existed in the history of the universe.

“How dare you say such things so close to the statue of Santa Lucia, patron saint of judgmental statues!”

A good comedy series should have characters you like who say funny things. What are the great ones? I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Friends. For smart people: Arrested Development; for dumb people, The Big Bang Theory, and the original lost Dutch masterpiece Yes Nurse! No Nurse! (not the film, which they turned into a musical, forgetting that you can’t make a Dutch musical because their consonants are too phlegmy). To that illustrious list I’d add 30 Rock, because I like the characters and they say funny things.

“Female jealousy is an evolutionary fact, Lemon. If you try to breed it out of them, you wind up with a lesbian with hip dysplasia.”

If you haven’t ever seen it, and most of you haven’t, you should get the DVDs or do some weird illegal on-line streaming thing and start at episode one and work your way through to the most recent last gasps. That way you can cry along with the A-list when the whole thing shudders to a stop a few weeks from now. It’s really good to watch in marathon recovering from plastic surgery. Who wants to go outside their apartment when their eyes are black and their nose is in a sling? Stay home and watch Liz Lemon try to be cool and fail and fail and fail, miserably, hilariously, week after week. Oh, Tina Fey! What will you do when this is all over?

“Who hasn’t made mistakes? I once french-kissed a dog at a party to try to impress what turned out to be a very tall 12-year-old.”

But my favourite character is Jack—a racist, homophobic, rich, privileged Republican with mommy issues. Because the secret secret to a good sitcom is a character that you should hate but that you actually love who says funny things. (Hello, Karen Walker as portrayed by Megan Mullally.)

“Michael Kors is a friend—we own a gay racehorse together—and I convinced him to make wizard cloaks fashionable this winter.”

And there’s the crazy black guy, the self-centered blond, the hillybilly, and the put-upon bald guy—as if Good Times, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show had a foursome-baby. Everywhere you turn on this show there’s a stereotype that deconstructs a stereotype.

“I love this cornbread so much I want to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant.”

For gay people, this show is completely insulting because they don’t have any sympathetic gay characters that are better than the undeserving straight people around them. Hello, every other show! We get picked on just as much! Come on. We’ve been through a lot—let us come to dinner! Nope.

Liz’s gay nephew: “I’m not going home until I give my cool cousin a makeover!”

Liz:”Is it gonna be fierce?”

Liz’s gay nephew: “It would be if it was 2006.”

Even after real-life-person Tracey Morgan, who plays Tracey Jordan on the show, said some stupid stupid homophobic things, the show made fun of the whole fru-fru-ah by having the character in trouble for saying some stupid stupid homophobic things. Despite its likeable veneer,30 Rock is the most radical thing on-air. Nothing is sacred. And in this era of cow-tow-ing to the sacred, that’s something quite special. Especially with Denise Richards championing that idiots are people too!

“Idiots aren’t just strippers or stay at home moms. Idiots are all around us!”

Because it’s not popular, there’ll never be anything like it. There’ll be lots of things like Three and a Half Men, so don’t worry about that show. But there will be nothing like this. So, catch up and suck on the bittersweet arc that ends it all. Come to my house and we’ll laugh/cry together as it goes out with a whimper/bang. I hope Kim Jong-il gets the last line!

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