The Best of 30 Rock

With today comes the end of an era as 30 Rock has its series finale tonight, Thursday, January 31st. I’ve made a list of my favourite episodes and lines in commemoration of such an amazingly funny show. Here’s to hoping Tina Fey will come out with something equally as awesome very soon.  Warning: spoiler alerts if you’re not all caught up with the episodes.

Top 5 episodes

5. Rosemary’s Baby

This episode is hilarious for exploring Tracy’s daddy issues. It starts with Tracy sings the anthem incorrectly. He goes to Jack who tells him that it’s fixable and jokingly tells him the only thing he can’t do is dog fighting. After hearing this, all Tracy wants to do is dog fight. Jack finds out about this and then somehow deduces that it comes down to Tracy having problems with his dad, who left him when he was a kid. Jack suggests a therapy session to fix this and it hilarity ensues with Jack roleplaying as Tracy’s dad, mom and even Tracy himself.

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The other storyline that I enjoyed in this episode was the page off. Jenna accidentally burns Kenneth’s page jacket and she goes to ask the head page, Donny (Paul Scheer), for a new one. He really does not like Kenneth and has been trying to find a way to get him sent to New Jersey, but was he never able to find a reason until this incident. Jenna pleads for him to reconsider and Donny suggests a page off instead where Donny and Kenneth have to compete in a contest of physical stamina and NBC trivia. As the page off is about to start, Pete comes to find all the pages there and yells at them because no one is doing their jobs. I was really hoping to see the page off actually happen, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Also Donny swears to get back at Kenneth and Jenna, which I thought would somehow be brought into a latter episode, which hasn’t happened as of yet, but there is always tonight’s episode!

Favourite line from the episode:

“Never go with a hippie to a second location.” – Jack Donaghy, in regards to Liz going with her idol, Rosemary, back to her place, and then finding out that she’s crazy.

4. Greenzo

Liz at Kenneth’s Party. Copyright of NBC.

The best part of this episode is Kenneth’s party. We never really get to fully see what happens during it, but I think that’s what makes it so great. The previous day, Liz finds out Kenneth is having a party, which scares her since at his past parties, she’s the only one that ever shows up and the parties are incredibly lame. Liz shares this with Tracy, so he can help her out. They decide to get a buzz going about the party to get the others to go, which involves the help of the biggest gossips: Grizz and Dot Com, who definitely are not the ones you would have thought of. By the time for Kenneth’s party, everyone from The Girlie Show is going to the party, since they’ve heard that T.I., Fall Out Boy and the Harlem Globetrotters will be there, along with Foxy Boxing.  The next scene is with everyone in Jack’s office looking all disheveled from the night before. Snippets of what happens are shown throughout the scene: Liz kissing Grizz, Cerie hitting Toofer over the head with a bottle and Frank and Lutz choking each other. Kenneth then expressing his disappointment in everyone is probably the icing on the cake: “Mr. Hornberger, I would thank you to come pick up your wife.” “Harlem Globetrotter, does that name mean nothing to you?” “And Miss Lemon, I will have you know that before last night, I had never ever seen Grizz or Dot Com cry.” “Congratulations, you were all present at Kenneth Parcell’s last party ever.”

This is only one side story of the episode, as the main one has David Schwimmer as Greenzo,  the non-judgmental business friendly environmental advocate, who saves the earth while maintaining profitability.

Favourite line from the episode:

“Quiet, a whale is in trouble. I have to go.” – Al Gore, who shows up at the end of the episode.

3. Black Tie

I find this episode to be great because certain aspects of it are so over the top. The premise is that Jack invites Liz to a birthday party for Prince Gerhardt (Paul Reubens). The two storylines that I really like are the ones with Liz and Jack and then Jenna and Prince Gerhardt. With Liz and Jack, Jack brings Liz to the party so he can introduce her to his ex-wife, Bianca (Isabella Rossellini), as his live- in girlfriend. Bianca takes it graciously during the introduction, but when Liz and Bianca are alone she becomes jealous. Liz lets Jack know, and to take it one-step further, she decides to pretend that Jack just proposed to her and goes to inform Bianca. Liz doesn’t expect this, nor did I when I watched it for the first time, but Bianca goes crazy and physically fights her. I think what makes it so funny is the element of surprise and that it is over the top.

Jenna and Prince Gerhardt. Copyright of NBC.

Jenna and Prince Gerhardt. Copyright of NBC.

Jenna’s storyline is equally as funny. She finds out that Liz is going to the party and decides to sneak in. Prince Gerhardt, who is disfigured and in a wheelchair due to many years of inbreeding, seems to be interested in Jenna and sends his attendant over to invite her to eat dinner with him. She has a conversation in the bathroom with Liz about dining with the prince, which has my favourite lines from this episode, such as “I’ve always reminded myself of Grace Kelly. I’m not going to be gorgeous forever. Who knows how long this show will last. And I have no other skills whatsoever.” When she finally dines with the prince, you can see more and more that Jenna could never be with him, but she sucks it up as she’s determined to become a modern day royal. up close. To celebrate the prince’s birthday and Jenna in his company, they have some celebratory champagne, which ends up killing the prince, since he can’t metabolize grapes. Can you see why this episode is ridiculous, but in a great way?

Plus point: I love Will Forte and he acts as the prince’s attendant with a German accent. I’m so happy that he ended up having a recurring role as Jenna’s shman because at least I got to see him on 30 Rock after he left SNL.

Favourite line from the episode:

“I can get past his looks. I’m an actress, Liz. It would be my greatest role of all time.”

– Jenna Maroney

2. Fireworks

It’s pretty rare, for me at least, to find all three story lines in an episode to be so funny, and Fireworks is able to do exactly that.

The first story line is with Liz and her new love interest, Floyd, played by Jason Sudeikis. The episode starts with Liz and Floyd on a walk and then they separate ways because Floyd needs to go to church. “Church on a Tuesday? But he seemed so normal.” This is Liz’s hot dog vendor that makes this observation, which I think is hilarious. The next day, Liz decides to follow Floyd to the church to see what his secret is, and originally she thinks he’s just really into church, but it turns out he’s at an AA meeting. Instead of leaving, she stays to hear his story where he’s being so open and honest, which in turn, leads her to lying about being an alcoholic. Obviously when someone lies, it doesn’t end too well, but that’s where the comedy comes from. Seeing Liz go on pretending in the situation would be normally be cringe-worthy, but the writers really wrote some good stuff to make it funny. And of course, Liz redeems herself at the end by confessing to Floyd.

Jack’s story line involves Devon Banks (Will Arnett), the Vice President of West Coast News, whom he believes is trying to take his position in New York. From Kenneth, he realizes that Devon is gay and asks Kenneth to seduce him and find out his secret plans. The scenes where this happens are probably some of my favourite of Devon. Kenneth goes to Devon’s hotel room and Devon tries to seduce Kenneth by putting on a robe that he cut to be extremely short. Kenneth ends up telling Devon some of Jack’s plans because “I had to keep on talking to stop him from putting his fingers in my mouth.” This relationship of being nemeses between Devon and Jack continues on throughout the series and is a source of some great material, including double entendres like this:

Devon to Jack: You’re going down.

Jack: No Devon, I don’t do that.

Devon banks seducing Kenneth in his tiny robe. Copyright of NBC.

Devon banks seducing Kenneth in his tiny robe. Copyright of NBC.

The last and final story line in this episode is with Tracy. He is getting slapped with a paternity suit and needs to prove the baby isn’t his, which he knows as a fact. This brings in Dr. Spaceman, who is played brilliantly by Chris Parnell. Dr. Spaceman does a test on him and they find out that he is not the father, but they do find out that Tracy is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and that in fact, genetically, he’s mostly white. This leads to Tracy dreaming that he’s on Maury and waiting for DNA results to find out who is biological father is. It turns out to be Thomas Jefferson, which is just Alec Baldwin/Jack Donaghy dressed as Jefferson. I suggest watching the clip, because it’s much funnier than me explaining it.

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Favourite line from the episode:

“Boy, it’s crazy to think we used to settle questions of paternity by dunking a woman in water until she admitted she made it all up. Hmm…different time the 60s.”

– Dr. Spaceman

1. Tracy Does Conan

This is hands down my favourite episode of 30 Rock. In this episode Jenna gets bumped from Conan for Tracy, which makes her upset, but also makes everyone nervous because the last time Tracy was on Conan, he tried to stab him. In the writer’s room, they try to come up with topics for Tracy to talk about, and the ones Tracy comes up with are ridiculous, but then he starts to hear a phone ringing, which no one else seems to hear. And it progresses throughout the show where he starts to see a “blue dude” and is on the ceiling and talking into his shoe like it’s a phone. This episode also introduces my favourite recurring character, Dr. Spaceman.  It showcases the fast pace of the show and its wit, which is why I think it’s the best episode. It also has so many good lines, but without context, they just sound ridiculous. If you haven’t seen this one, then definitely do!

The first time Tracy was on Conan. Copyright of NBC,

The first time Tracy was on Conan. Copyright of NBC.

Fun fact: Aubrey Plaza aka April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation plays a page in the episode.

One of my favourite lines from the episode:

“He’s on so many different neuroleptics and tricylcics that there’s no telling how they can mix. But what can you do, medicine is not a science.” – Dr. Spaceman

Top 5 phrases/scenes

5. Dr. Spaceman about woman

Dr. Leo Spaceman has some of the funniest lines on 30 Rock. This is just one of many that made me laugh out loud.

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4. Shut your mouth

Kenneth is always nicest and most positive character on this show, so it’s hilarious to see him acting so mean in this clip. To set this up, in one of the episodes previous to this, Kenneth goes to Nancy’s house for Jack, so that she will divorce her husband.

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3. You’re not my dad

I’m not sure why I find it so funny, but my sister and I say it all the time to each other.  I couldn’t find a clip of the exact scene I wanted, but here’s a similar one. The original clip has Tracy as a child doing different activities. His “dad” tells him not to do them for certain reasons and he gets angry and responds with “You’re not my dad!”

http://www.hark.com/clips/bndbjwvzmn-youre-not-my-dad

2. Scene from the episode, Up All Night

This scene is just so funny! Unfortunately, this episode didn’t make my top 5, but if I included every episode with quick humour like this, then my list would just include every episode. To set this clip up, Liz receives flowers on Valentine’s day and she is trying to find out who they’re from.

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1. It’s after 6

This is my all time favourite line, which also happens to be from my all time favourite episode, Tracy does Conan.

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I hope you end enjoyed my list! What are some of your favourite 30 Rock episodes and scenes/lines?

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About amandakumar

Engineer. Adventurer. TV enthusiast. World Traveler. Knower of random facts. Addicted to using exclamation marks (see tweets)!
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2 Responses to The Best of 30 Rock

  1. Kien Lee says:

    This is one of the best shows not watched enough….like Boston Legal back then.

    Anyhow, how did this clip not make your list lol???!!!

    And The Rural Juror was one of the funniest inside jokes on the show too!

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