TV review: '30 Rock' signs off with a winning, heartfelt farewell


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True to itself to the end, NBC's "30 Rock" wraps up its seven-year run in a one-hour finale (8 tonight, WPXI) that revisits some of the show's favorite themes, jokes and characters. The episode offers closure for its characters' stories and humorously references the series finales of predecessor programs (to say which ones would spoil the jokes).

As the hour begins, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is settling uncomfortably into life as a stay-at-home mom to her two adopted kids with husband Criss (James Marsden). But workaholic Liz won't be content with fighting other moms who post hilariously awful comments to mommy blogs.

'30 Rock'

When: 8-9 tonight, NBC.

Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) is now running NBC and he's come up with a list of "no-no words" for producers of NBC shows, including "conflict," "urban," "divorce," "shows about shows," "New York," politics," "complex," "quality," "edgy," etc.

With "TGS" done, Jenna (Jane Krakowski) tries to move forward with her career but she refuses to play a corpse on "Law & Order: SVU" and a trip to Los Angeles ends almost immediately when she steps off the plane and discovers everyone else at the airport is more beautiful than her (this is, in fact, the experience of everyone who disembarks from a plane at LAX).

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) gets all the power he can muster -- he's even chided by U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi on national TV -- but finds he's still not satisfied.

Eventually, the whole gang must come together to produce one last "TGS" program, leading Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) to seemingly speak for the cast of both "TGS" and "30 Rock" when he says, "That's our show. Not a lot of people watched it but joke's on you, we got paid anyway."

Mixed in with the gags -- and there are many and most of them hit their target -- are a few heartfelt farewells between Liz and Jack, Liz and Tracy and Jenna and her mirror.

"30 Rock" has not been a perfect show. It went through stretches of unfunny plots. But no other show in the history of television has been so gleefully observant about the medium. It certainly laid the groundwork for the meta humor of "Community."

No show before "30 Rock" commented as astutely on television culture as it mocked NBC and terrible TV trends ("MILF Island," anyone?). For that alone, "30 Rock" deserves the thanks of a grateful nation.

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TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Read the Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.


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