30 Rock is a TV show that could essentially last forever, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. My biggest complaint over the last four seasons is that the show has mainly recycled old lines and become too cartoonish with their jokes. But in its prime, 30 Rock was a hilarious satire of television, making fun of the old age of television while adapting to the new one. The show both respected and mocked NBC and was self-referential about its appeal. 30 Rock never rose above 8 million viewers, and back in 2006 I would have been surprised to hear that it would ever past 100 episodes.
TV finales tend to not be very strong. While the final episode of The Larry Sanders Show has earned much praise, the last episodes of shows like Seinfeld haven’t (and there are finales that have most viewers mixed like The Sopranos). 30 Rock ended in the only way 30 Rock could end: with the cancellation of TGS.
The storyline for the final few episodes wasn’t well adapted into the show (the writers only introduced TGS’ cancellation a few episodes before, it would have been a better idea to have done so at the middle of the season), but despite my complaints, I hoped 30 Rock would cap well. I’ve heard phenomenal reviews of the finale but I was disappointed.
The first part of the hour long episode, “Hogcock!,” deals with Liz trying to adjust to her new life as a stay at home mom. But Liz can’t adapt to not working. Meanwhile, Jack contemplates on being CEO and what really makes him happy. Kenneth is now CEO and Tracy tries to adjust to this.
The second episode, “Last Lunch,” further went on with Jack’s plight while everyone on the crew says goodbye. In a sense, I was wishing for a more emotional last episode. I’ve been watching the show since the first season. I knew the characters and was sad to see them go.
The writers seemed aware of that, but didn’t try to make an emotional finale. Liz tries to tell Tracy how to say goodbye while Jack goes on a mad self-decline. This could have been a perfect final note for the show, having the cast and crew saying farewell to each other. There was one part of the episode that would have been a great way to end the show, when Jack starts to leave Manhattan on a boat with Liz right behind him. 30 Rock was really about the friendship between Jack and Liz, and it was have been great if the show ended there.
But it didn’t. 5 seconds later, Jack turned back to Liz and the final few minutes of the show depict everyones’ lives being happy and joyful.
I felt ripped off. In the end, 30 Rock didn’t care enough to fulfill the plight of its characters. In a way, the show didn’t really felt like it ended. There were funny moments, but I was annoyed why the show would do that. For me, a finale had to salute its characters and look back to its span. In a way, 30 Rock‘s finale could be considered a parody of TV finales. But I just wanted to be reminded of all the great moments of the show. I felt robbed.
I know I’ll be the minority here, since I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews. I really wished I liked the finale episdoe. But 30 Rock ended disappointingly for me.