“Hogcock! / Last Lunch” (series finale aired 1/31/13)
Many of us hoped this day would never come, but sadly, I think Tina and the gang ran out of every random, hilarious joke they could think of. “30 Rock” is one of my all-time favorite shows, filled with the wackiest, strangest comedy and dialogue you could ever watch – so much so, that it’s hard to remember all the details from the series’ 7 seasons. It’s one big dream-like blur.
The one hour finale, which was sort of 2 episodes mashed together, did not disappoint. There were, of course, laugh out loud “what the what?” moments, and some tender moments that I had hoped for.
Now that Liz and Criss have adopted their cute little kids, Terry & Janet (a mini Tracy and Jenna), their life seems to be perfect. Liz’s show TGS is now over (thanks to the scheming Hazel and her lawsuit), so she’s a stay at home mom, and Criss is back to work, at a dental office. However, Liz doesn’t like the nasty mommy blogs, and when she goes to the nearby playground to beat up a mean mom, she realizes it’s her husband Criss! He’s not into working, and she’s not into staying at home, so the two decide that their parental roles need to be switched. Tina again shows audiences how to be a “modern mom.”
Meanwhile at NBC, Kenneth is now the new president of NBC, in a happy and surprising twist. Since Jack had moved up to Chairman, and since Kenneth expressed his love for TV, Jack decided to promote Kenneth. This throws people off, like Tracy, who is so used to having Kenneth do anything he needs him to. It even throws Kenneth off, as when Jack comes to see him in his office, and Kenneth stands, asking for them to switch places so that Jack can sit in his seat. When Liz goes to Kenneth with a pitch for a new show idea, he gives her a hilarious list of all the “No-No” words that he doesn’t want to hear in regards to new TV shows for NBC. Turns out he doesn’t care about quality shows, so Liz needs to figure out what to do in order for him to approve an idea.
Kenneth actually tells Liz that she can do one more “TGS” episode. Why? Because of Tracy Jordan’s unusual contract clauses. Tracy is supposed to get $30 million if fewer than 150 TGS are produced, and so far, TGS has only done 149 episodes. Liz begrudgingly goes back to work for one last episode, and Tracy makes sure he does everything he can to try to get that money.
Now that Jack is in his dream position at the company, he’s starting to wonder if he’s really happy. He was taught at Six Sigma “Analyze, Strategize, Succeed… A-S-S.” He applies that method to his life, creating a pie chart and making sure all facets of his life (work, family, hobbies, faith, etc) are all satisfactory. Enter Julianne Moore as Nancy, and Salma Hayek as Elisa, Jack’s former lovers. In order to make his Sex & Relationships part of his life complete, he asks Nancy for a three-way relationship with Elisa, who’s video chatting with them from a Puerto Rican jail. After committing their “sin” (according to Nancy), Jack’s so good, he’s able to get rid of their accents.
But when Jack’s new huge salary is leaked, and it pisses off Nancy Pelosi, he realizes he’s still not happy. He resigns from his post, and when Liz asks him to help her get a new job, he tells her something that she never thought Jack would say: work is never going to make you happy. He thinks maybe he’ll buy a boat to make him happy, which angers Liz, who thinks Jack is bailing on her after all these years. It seems that he was just a boss, and she was just an employee, and now they’re going their separate ways…
Over in Jenna’s world, she has a guest star role on a new “Law and Order” episode, which she is very excited about. But she doesn’t realize until the moment she shoots her scene that she’s actually just playing a dead body, and refuses to stay silent during the scene! She comes up with her spin-off title “Law and Order: Mind Beauty,” which made me shake with laughter. Ice T and Richard Belzer walk off the set. She then decides TV is beneath her, so she turns to film… but once she arrives at LAX, she sees hot girls in slow-motion EVERYWHERE! She says “Shut it down!” and decides to turn to Broadway.
As the crew gets back to work on the real final episode of “TGS,” Liz says it’s time to order their last lunch. Cerie says that since Liz ordered last time, alphabetically that means it’s… Lutz’s turn! To everyone’s disgust, Lutz has his heart set on ordering Blimpie’s. After they try picking someone else’s name from the jar, they’re stuck (literally) with Lutz’s name again because he wrote it on fly paper! He also legally changed his name to Aardvark, so when the writers come to the realization that technically this new episode is the start (an end) of Season 8, and they therefore can go back to the first person in the alphabet, it’s still his turn! He explains that he’s being this way because he wants revenge on everyone for picking on him all of these years. Liz shoves him into her office and breaks the doorknob to lock him in – with one of her awards, naturally. She tells Cerie to order sushi as she runs off to find Tracy at a strip club.
Tracy admits to Liz that he doesn’t want to do the last show because he doesn’t want to say goodbye to everyone. With tears in her eyes, Liz tells Tracy how it is (and I think Tina does, as well, since she had to do that real-life damage control when Tracy used a homosexual slur on stage)… she admits that working with him is hard and frustrating, but “because the human heart is not properly connected to the human brain,” she loves him and will miss him. He appreciates her brutal honesty, and decides to go back to the show… as soon as the strip show is over.
When Liz gets back to enjoy all the wonderful food Cerie has ordered, she discovers that Lutz has escaped her office and is in the air ducts! Just as she yells “Cover the food!” Lutz falls from the ceiling onto the table, ruining their lunch. With that, they are left no choice but to order Blimpie’s.
Kenneth asks Jenna to sing during the last TGS episode, and Jenna chooses a song from the musical adaptation of “The Rural Juror.” Kenneth wants to make sure she has real emotion during the song, not just phony acting. Because Brian Williams needs a new mirror on another floor, Kenneth decides to give him Jenna’s… and that is what precisely gets her to cry and show real emotion! “Am I crying? I have no way to see if I’m crying!” she sobs, in true Jenna fashion.
After watching Jack’s suicide video, Liz leaves the TGS studio to search for him. She finds him jumping off a bridge, but luckily onto a nice boat he just purchased. He plans on sailing away to find his bliss (not “beautiful ladies in short shorts”) for however long it takes. He does his best to say “I love you” in his awkward, wordy, strictly platonic way, and she says it back to him. They give a heartfelt goodbye to each other… but just then, Jack turns his boat around after figuring it all out: CLEAR DISHWASHERS! You can see what’s going on inside them – it’s the best idea he’s ever had! (Not gonna lie, that’s a cool idea.)
Jenna sings “I’ll never forget you, Rural Juror / I’ll always be glad I met you, Rural Juror” (which has been stuck in my head for days now) during the TGS finale. “These were the best days of my… flerm…”
Right before the credits roll, we see the gang One Year Later… Jenna tries to steal someone’s Tony award and flashes the audience; Liz works on Grizz’s new sitcom for NBC that Kenneth has approved, while her kids hang out on set with her; Tracy’s been reunited with his dad on his birthday; Jack is back in his office, and has a hot new female assistant named Sam; and in the future, when cars fly in the sky, ageless Kenneth meets with Liz’s great-granddaughter about an idea for a show that takes place at 30 Rockefeller Center, based on Liz’s stories, and he loves it. Just when you think it gets normal, a little bit of bizarre is thrown in there!
I love “30 Rock” for many reasons – one of them being that I’ve worked on the show (background work a few times, being Kenneth’s stand-in for a season) – and this hour-long goodbye made me love it even more. It was 90% usual quirk, and 10% sentimental – just what I figured. I’ll miss seing these weirdos each week. Maybe they’ll do a musical version on Broadway soon?
Here are some links to the best lines of the night: