Blerg! All the times ’30 Rock’ was the funniest show on TV
Another day, another reboot. In the case of Tina Fey’s 30 Rock, the corpse isn’t even cold yet and already there’s talk of bringing the beloved NBC comedy back from the grave. This week, star Jane Krakowski – who played Liz’s (Fey) eccentric bestie Jenna Maroney – told The Hollywood Reporter that although nothing’s been set in stone, “there’s definitely been talk and conversations” about the cast (which includes Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Judah Friedlander, and Katrina Bowden) reuniting for more episodes. “I know it’s something the fans would love and we would love.”
While it’s clear we need 30 Rock more than ever in a world that’s gone blerg, we fear a remake would mean yet another classic destroyed by the Hollywood reboot mill (a la Heathers). Either way, it’s early days right now – we can quibble about the who, what, when, why, and how if the remake comes into fruition. Until then, all this talk of Fey’s TV opus has got us wanting to live every week like it’s shark week. So sit back, fire up some cheesy blasters, and get those mind grapes ready, because we’re taking a look back at some of the best 30 Rock moments.
“Hi, I’m Bijou!”
Liz realized she’d made a huge mistake by allowing Jenna to tell the writing crew that she was once in a sex phone hotline commercial. The snortworthy moments come from Liz’s underwhelming attempts at being sexy, including crawling on a bed, chowing down on some greasy pizza, and playing the weirdest game of tug-of-war you’ve ever seen.
In one of the many messages presented in 30 Rock, the birthday party mocks the concept of aristocracy through its ridiculous portrayal of Prince Gerhardt (Paul Reubens) a.k.a. His Royal Highness the Duke of Terechia, the Earl of the Duchy of Westphalia, Prince Gerhardt Messaschmidt Ramstein van Hoppe. The whole episode is so gloriously silly that it manages to avoid being too preachy, which is one of the best things about 30 Rock: its messages on societal issues were served with a hefty dollop of hilarity.
Fey and the 30 Rock writing team were absolute masters of repetition (“blerg” anyone?), one of our faves being the “mind grapes” debacle. The ridiculous term highlights Jack’s (Baldwin) failure as a writer (although we can’t deny, we still use it to this day). Here he is passionately delivering the phrase to Liz before accepting it “doesn’t even make sense.”
In the third season episode “Believe in the Stars”, Tracy (Morgan) and Jenna decide to switch places to determine who has it roughest – black people or women. While it wasn’t the most inspired narrative in the world, it did give birth to one of the best gags in 30 Rock history when the makeup peeps ran out of white powder (during the covering of Tracy’s butt). Their solution? To cover his hand with a monster claw, of course.
For Jack, his Irish roots are something he simultaneously hopes to escape and a source of organizational principles that are hardwired into his brain. This conflict is perfectly exemplified when he announces to Liz, “This ought to prove my mother wrong, saying Donaghy is Gaelic for failure. What the hell does she know, she’s a Murphy, bunch of mud farmers and sheep rapists.”
Racist NBC show
In one of the most excellent examples of 30 Rock’s hilariously executed messages on societal racial prejudice and its rejection of white guilt, the live episode in season six played on old TV tropes. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) shows up in blackface to (as Kenneth Parthell puts it) demonstrate how NBC “used to” do sitcoms.
In one of the most memorable TV weddings, the most LOL moment has to be when Liz chooses her wedding gown, replying to Jack’s quizzical look with, “It’s the only white dress I own.” Turns out even Liz can be a princess about her wedding.
One of the great things about 30 Rock is its wily criticism on corporate culture, one of its best (and most debated) targets being product placement. Numerous times the show walked the line between poking fun at it and actually buying into it, as you can see by the outrageous Snapple plug below.
Liz outs her cousin
30 Rock won a GLAAD Award for the episode in which Liz outs her cousin in the most devastating display of “a few too many wines”. During her acceptance speech, Fey explained: “Jokes are tricky things and so much of what makes the difference between a joke being offensive and being funny is the context its in and the intention behind it.”
Bonus clip: The episode is also worth a mention for featuring James Franco as a celebrity in love with a Japanese body pillow named Kimiko.
Jack & Tracy in therapy
One of the best moments in 30 Rock history has to be when Jack stands in as Tracy’s entire family for his therapy session. As the psychologist plainly puts it, “this is not helpful.” The scene is so funny, we nearly Lizzed ourselves.