Wednesday, January 30, 2013
30 Rock is ending and now I don't know what to do.
This feels like the last day of summer camp.
30 Rock is coming to an end after seven seasons, and while I know I'm lucky to have watched it for that long (as Tina Fey said, she got to make 140 episodes of the kind of show that usually gets cancelled), I'm not quite ready to let go. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I've grown too attached.
When I first found out that Tina Fey would be leaving my beloved SNL for a show of her own, I was ecstatic. The concept sounded hilarious, and I looked forward to seeing all sorts of in-jokes about cool SNL stuff. Plus, it had Alec Baldwin in it. The actual, real Alec Baldwin who was usually in movies and stuff. Little did I know that the show would evolve into something even bigger than that. Little did critics know that they would grow to love a show they originally panned, and that the mess of an Aaron Sorkin melodrama that they praised would end up retooling itself more than a Real Housewife, only to flounder in its first season. (I guess Sorkin was right: smart girls do have more fun!) Despite the cast changes and such that 30 Rock went through, the show continued strong. I remember some of the third season's best episodes as if they just happened. I don't know why NBC decided to give this gem a chance despite low ratings (Lorne Michaels), or how they knew it would have more staying power than Studio 60 (Lorne Michaels), or why they kept a show on the air that relentlessly made fun of the network (Lorne Michaels), but I'm glad they did.
They must be glad, too, since 30 Rock arguably changed the game.
30 Rock proved that an original, fast-paced, single camera series could work on network television, all while staying true to the structure of the TV season and bringing in big-name guest stars, much like its Must See TV predecessors did. It also proved that sometimes the zany, quirky comedy doesn't get cancelled, and just gets more popular. I'm pretty sure that one of the best compliments I ever got was from a friend who started watching the show in its second season and told me that Liz Lemon reminded him of me. (I high-fived a million angels.) I honestly wish that I could be more like Liz Lemon: completely in control of all my character quirks, eating cheese whenever I want to, hanging a framed picture of food in my office at my TV writing job. More than that, though, I wish I could be more like 30 Rock itself: genuinely funny (even when I'm not), a survivor, someone who manages to make other people happy while staying true to herself.
So I'll just be here eating my Sabor de Soledad, yelling at a plastic bag outside my window, and wondering why that guy at the bar wouldn't buy me mozzarella sticks if you need me.