30 Rock

In: English and Literature

Submitted By nabylet
Words 1153
Pages 5
Tina Fey’s sitcom “30 Rock” ends tonight, dammit. I haven’t yet seen the finale (I’ll be watching it along with you screener-deficient folks), but I’m genuinely sad to lose my Thursdays with this awesomely dense comedy, which amounted to a grenade made of zingers. Sweet yet sour, at once funny ha-ha and funny-peculiar—and also funny-relevant, if that were a thing—“30 Rock” is quotable to a nearly psychotic degree. I’ll miss it like a stalker misses her stalkee.

I could take pretty much any angle in looking back on “30 Rock,” but I’ll take the one that I am currently experiencing: looking straight at the Empire State Building. When the sitcom débuted, it was based on Fey’s experience as the first female head writer for “Saturday Night Live,” but it quickly became something bigger, stranger, and bolder: a surreal machine capable of commenting on anything, from feminism and prismatic perspectives on race to national politics, reality television, and corporate culture—always from a New Yorker’s P.O.V.

Not that the characters were native New Yorkers, mind you, other than Tracy (who was born in Yankee Stadium and attended middle school at an Exxon station in the Bronx). The rest had moved to Manhattan from somewhere else: Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, Georgia. They were ambitious nuts who lived for their jobs, injecting the office comedy mold with both workaholism and a recurrent anxiety about what that might mean. (“I wish I’d worked more,” confessed Jack on his near-deathbed. Later, during a time-travel sequence, Future Jack told Jack he needed Liz to distract him from his own ambition.) While many shows have been set in a bland facsimile of “New York,” “30 Rock” was obsessive about the actual city, referring to events large and small, including several elections, the financial crisis, and that weird maple-syrup smell that floated over Manhattan. It…...

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