Last night I began a conversation with a co-worker with one the most reliable moves in my chatting repertoire.
“So…Do you watch 30 Rock?”
“Actually, I just started watching it recently,” she replied.
And just like that, I underwent an uncontrollable physiologically reaction and began to cry because that’s appropriate workplace behavior.
Not big, messy tears. Rather the tears that just fill your eyes and yet still completely betray the fact that you’re on the verge of a fullblown meltdown, heaving, snotting, you know, the works.
“You. Are. So. Lucky,” I said, blinking furiously. “You get to experience each episode for the first time.”
I have a long history of inexplicably crying at inopportune moments—a certain college admissions interview comes to mind. This crying jag, I fear, spouted from somewhere deeper. 30 Rock means a lot to me. Over the years, its made me laugh so hard and totally boggled my mind with its brilliance. As this last season comes to a close, I’m grieving like Liz Lemon after she realizes Sandwich Day is over and not coming again for another year. But this time Sandwich Day will never come again. Ever.
I discovered 30 Rock during my last year of college in the throes of thesis paper procrastination. In college, I had limited access to TV shows until Netflix Instant came along and changed everything, forever. Streaming TV for hours without the threat of Toyota commercials and hard drive dissolving viruses? I was in procrastination heaven. I’d heard good buzz about 30 Rock, and all three previous seasons were available on Instant. I settled in for a couple hours of mindless distraction. And, oh! How much more it turned out to be! The weirdness! The silliness! The sheer density of jokes packed into each episode! ‘This is my new favorite show,’ I concluded.
That is, until I saw Cougars (2.07), in which, Jack’s attempts to coach an inner city youth baseball team bare a strikingly resemblance to the United States’ failed attempts to democratize Iraq. And it wasn’t even the A storyline. Maybe I was just proud of myself for getting the references (I read the news! Look at me!), but it was also something more. I didn’t know TV could be the funny, that economical, that expansive. I was in love.
But like any great romance, everything must end. There are five more episodes left in the final season and I am so, so sad.
My pain’s exacerbated by the disparaging remarks I hear about my beloved everywhere I go. At some point in its seven-year run, it became cool to remark upon how the show has gone downhill. Just last night at a Christmas party, I was minding my own business by the hummus and found myself in a conversation with a dude spouting off about how ‘seasons 1 and 2 were great but now they’re just marrying or killing everybody off.’ First of all, whatever-your-name-is, your opinion is wrong. Seasons 1 and 2 are great. Season 2 alone contains many of my all time favorite episodes, including the aforementioned Cougars as well as Sandwich Day (2.14) and Rosemary’s Baby (2.04). And although I will admit season 6 was not my favorite as a whole, I present to you The Tuxedo Begins (6.07). Watch that and tell me the show has gotten bad. I dare you. Furthermore, the show has hit high notes during every season. I’m talking about Reunion (3.05), Deal Breakers Talk Show #0001 (4.07) and Brooklyn Without Limits (5.07). Need I continue, people? Because, trust me, I could. For days.
Second of all, you are actually complaining about a show wrapping up its loose ends? Do you know how many sitcom lovers have suffered through the loss of their favorite show before the plot points were given their worthy conclusions? 30 Rock dedicated a whole episode to that specific grief: The One with the Cast of Night Court (3.03). Suck on that.
I know my rage at the naysayers is my own misdirected pain. I love 30 Rock. I don’t want it to leave me. But I guess with Netflix Instant at my side (I usually fall asleep next to my laptop), I’ll make it through. In the meantime, I’ll try to avoid the subject for fear of crying and ranting at co-workers and strangers at holiday parties Jenna at a baby’s birthday party. But I can make no promises.
Ginny Leise grew up in Jersey, earned a delightfully useless degree in Colorado and currently resides in Brooklyn. She spends her days writing, filming sketch videos with ThreeGForce and improvising at PIT. Oh, and rewatching episodes of 30 Rock.