’30 Rock’ Series Finale Recap — And Excuse Us as We React via Animated GIFs
During the show’s hour-long episode, I laughed (and thankfully not Lizzed), I cried into my Slanket and managed to devour a sandwich within five minutes — just because Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) taught me that one of the greatest joys in life is to “sit in peace and eat a sandwich” throughout the series’ seven-season run.
In fact, I learned a lot from Liz’s tumultuous journey to “having it all,” and I find that it is only fitting I recap the series’ swansong the only way that was taught: through Liz, Jack (Alec Baldwin) and the whole 30 Rock gang’s shenanigans.
When one door closes, another one opens. Liz may have lost her job as head writer for TGS With Tracy Jordan, but she gained two adopted kids when the show got cancelled. After seven years of dealing with Tracy (Tracy Morgan) and Jenna’s (Jane Krakowski) diva demands, Liz finds it hard being a stay-at-home mom, seeking parental advice from a parenting message board before challenging a fellow user — who turns out to be her husband (James Marsden) — to a playground fight. Take that, double Hitler!
Meanwhile, Jack has become the CEO of Kabletown — his dream job — while Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) has replaced him as the president of NBC. (Hardcore fans will remember that this was kind of foreshadowed by Jack on Season 1: “In five years we’ll all either be working for him… or be dead by his hand.”)
However, Jack still feels empty after nabbing his dream job and begins to desperately search of existential happiness — using “sex and awesomeness,” no less.
As the show’s cancelled, Jenna casts her eyes on the TV screen, silver screen, Broadway, then any medium that will have her — even going as so far to travel to Los Angeles to become a dramatic actress before realizing she’s too “old” to fit in with the youthful L.A. crowd.
Failing to find happiness and satisfaction in work, Jack resigns CEO, blaming Liz for his problems. “You unsharkulated me,” he tells her.
Liz agrees they’ve “ruined” each other with their so-called mentor/manatee relationship and they part ways. Tear.
But, it’s no 30 Rock without some crazy plot twist to force the gang back together. Kenneth discovers that Tracy contract states he must complete his 150th TGS episode or be awarded $30 million as per a settlement. So, Liz and the writers (sans Jack) get a second chance at finishing the show.
Obviously, the first order of business for the TGS crew is picking out their last lunch. Cue the running gag of Lutz’s (John Lutz) horrible lunch choices — this time, he’s chosen Blimpie’s.
Wanting to get away with his millions, Tracy tries sabotage the production by skipping the final taping. Liz tracks him down — in the same strip club they first met, I’m hoping — where he reveals he doesn’t want to do the last episode because he’s afraid to say goodbye. Right in the feels, Trey.
“Unsharkulated” Jack all the while starts giving away his possessions. Pete (Scott Adsit) tells Liz it’s all the sign of a man setting up his own suicide, a premonition that comes true when she finds Jack’s video suicide note in his office. At least, he also left her a link to a funny YouTube video, right?
Liz rushes down to the street just in time to see Jack jump off a bridge. But… he lands safely in a boat below.
Turns out, the depression was just a ruse by Jack, who wants Liz to know that he truly loves her in a platonic way like a mentor would to his manatee, or as the forefathers would have loved “a hot bowl of bear meat.” Jack reveals he has decided to set sail on a voyage to find himself, but only to turn around a few yards from the dock when he comes up with a new idea for GE: clear dishwashers so you can see what’s happening inside.
Fast-forward to one year later: Pete has actually faked his death to start a new life, but is eventually located by his unimpressed wife and kids. Jenna flashes her breasts at the Tony Awards after not winning Best Actress for The Rural Juror. Jack is in charge at GE, presumably thanks to his innovative transparent dishwasher idea. Liz is balancing work and motherhood, writing for a sit-com starring Tracy’s former bodyguard Grizz (Grizz Chapman). Elsewhere, Tracy himself is overjoyed because his dad has finally returned after going out for cigarettes.
Then, flash-forward to some point in the distant future. Cue the running gag that Kenneth is ageless, the NBC head is sitting at his desk holding a snow globe containing the Rockefeller Center building as a young woman pitches him a show that sounds awfully familiar to Liz’s life.
“Based on stories my great grandmother told me,” she says.
“I know,” Kenneth replies. “And I love it.”
And after the credits started rolling, I let everything settle in and wiped a small tear from my eye. Thanks for the seven great years, Liz.
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