After 30 Rock’s second season (my first) my inclination was to already put it in the pantheon of best TV comedies ever. It never declined from there, only went up. Then when I watched the entire first season back-to-back over a weekend, I knew it to be the truth. Open those hall of comedy fame doors, this group of people, the work they’re doing and their comedic voice is special. That voice, which I presume to be the voice of my second wife presumptive Tina Fey, is one that feels to me like a best friend – we just click, it’s always comfortable and I wish it would never end. I have never laughed so much at a TV show, week after week. I even laugh at the repeats, and I do not generally watch repeats even of shows I love.
I did not want to love 30 Rock. Because Tina Fey came from Saturday Night Live, a series of words that evokes scowls in my house, I did not have any intention of watching 30 Rock. When it won the Emmy for best sit-com that first season I chalked it up to the usual TV crap being feted by the usual morons (see Modern Family, yeah I said it)
So when I was turned onto 30 Rock in the middle of season 2 and found myself laughing uncontrollably through the episode, it was a revelation. The machine gun approach to jokes just works for me, so long as the jokes are smart and well executed and 30 Rock always was. From the theme song on it’s a high energy, percussive rat-a-tat-tat of jokes, hitting a target and moving on, if you missed that arcane reference, wait no more than a few seconds, there’ll be one you do get. I got ’em all, so 22 minutes of 30 Rock could sometimes leave me drained wanting a cigarette and a cuddle like after other enjoyable spiritual acts.
When a show like 30 Rock has it’s farewell I feel it like a real loss. I’ll never see these characters again, hear that voice again in quite the same way. There is a real sense of sadness. I expect tonight to be hard and I will need a good episode of Workaholics to get through.
So we hereby induct 30 Rock into my own personal (and yes, this is all subjective) TV comedy Hall of Fame along with Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, Bob Newhart (Chicago and Vermont), Get Smart, Mary Tyler Moore, All in the Family, Taxi, Cheers, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm – the friggin’ pantheon of funny for me.
Shout out to Tina Fey (adorable genius extraordinaire)
And some of the greatest recurring characters ever
Chris Parnell (Dr. Spaceman is maybe the funniest character ever, ever)
Elaine Stritch (a legend, say no more)
Dean Winters (the “mayhem like me” guy was the worst boyfriend ever)
Will Farrell (“Bitchhunter”)
Margaret Cho (if you actually recognized her as Kim Jung Il, congrats)