Well, those bastards did it. Those magnificent bastards did it. In a world where the desire to make well-crafted, self-aware comedy can turn into a pressure capable of crushing the final product (right? that's not just me?), 30 Rock turned out a truly wonderful conclusion to seven wonderfully bizarre seasons.
Now, obviously I don't have to tell you that the reason 30 Rock is/was the comedian's sitcom was because you could see Tina Fey’s influence in every aspect of the show. That’s the dream about having your own show, right? People just immediately know it’s yours. Having read her book approximately a trillion times, I'm always tickled when I spot plot points and jokes taken from Tina Fey’s real-life experience (the glasses of urine left around the offices by male writers, the phrase "ball of fingers" used to describe the baby Liz or Tina might have after they turn 40) and put on screen.
I'll say up top that the only regret I felt about the finale is that Liz's family life was introduced so late in the game, we never got to see her have one last moment of reflection with Criss, Terry and Janet during the finale. Plenty of people (I being one of them!) wished Liz Lemon could have reflected Tina Fey's life even more closely throughout more of the series. Most of the elements of 30 Rock seem like they would play out much the same if Liz Lemon was a successful female comedy genius who is also a happily married mother of two. Right? RIGHT? READ MORE
Halle: Okay, just finished. Another great episode!
Emmy: For real!
Emmy: The Bob Dunston plotline (in which Tracy bares a striking resemblance to new buffoonish Republican Vice Presidential nominee Bob Dunston) is genius.
Halle: AGREED! I was momentarily nervous that they were going to bring back Palin, but I should have known better than to underestimate them
Halle: And their meta commentary on the insanity that comes out of politician's mouths
Emmy: What, the chili?
Halle: lol, yes. And the concept that the show literally does not have to write lines for Tracy. They just use REALITY. "There are nine types of legitimate rape. One-a Halloween party."
Emmy: Oh that. yes.
Emmy: It reminded me a bit of Kenan Thompson's Jimmy McMillan impression on Weekend Update last year, where it seemed like a lot of it was taken verbatim.
Halle: Haha, oh yeah! Good memory.
Emmy: no, I just really love Jimmy McMillan.
Halle: May the history books remember The Rent Is Too Damn High party.
Emmy: Amen. READ MORE
Another season finale, another wedding, another chance for Penny to wallow in her chronic loneliness, then at the last minute find hope and redemption. Only this time, there’s a Skype table! It’s Derek and Erik’s wedding (“Their Brangelina name is Derek…or Erik,” gasps Alex) and their ostentatious, confetti-covered, gladiator-themed love inevitably stirs up issues for everyone. “And that was just the Save The Date!,” Penny marvels. And to think, just last season Derek was posing as Penny’s sham date at Shershow’s nuptials. Dra. Ma. READ MORE
When Dave joins Max's gym (An actual exercise gym! The gang can't believe it either!), I must once again wrestle with my complete and total love of the gay stereotype mash-up that is Derek. Could those canary yellow gym shorts be any shorter? Considering that the show has no problem with letting Max be a lovable schlemiel, I guess a little upper man thigh never hurt anyone. Or maybe I'm just making excuses for it…no! Max and Derek together is like eating sweet eye caramels, particularly their slow-motion treadmill routine! "Actually he owes me $900. Drama!," Derek chuckles with Dave about Max. "No, seriously how do I get him to pay me?" Maybe I just need to remember that gay men can truly be whatever they want, whether it be lawyers, congressman, murderers, dentists or life coaches for rich people's pets. It is a real job. READ MORE
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I need me some B storylines! I prefer my Happy Endings episodes to be swarming with Bs! You better B-lieve it! Bs and wieners! I guess what I'm saying is, the gang is at their best (in my correct opinion) when they are grappling with individual dilemmas that tie together deliciously at the end, versus having one dominant storyline as they did in last night's episode "Party Of Six." Locking everyone down as a group around a series of tables just made me antsy, ya'll. It also put too much pressure on the writers' one-liners which, while great, didn't pop as much as they would have if they'd been snuggled in between a slow-motion dive or a spastic flail or an uproarious head-first fall down a flight of stairs. Or the image of a bear man riding a unicycle. That still gets me. It always will. READ MORE
Last we left the Happy Endings gang, Alex and Dave had just been down each other’s rabbit holes (Eh? Ew? I’m sorry). While Dave has been frantically trying to call her with visions of unplanned pregnancy dancing in his head (“Group baby?” he muses. “Is that a thing?”), Alex has instead chosen to pretend their hot drunken lovemaking never actually happened. All those phone calls? Well, wouldn’t you know it? Alex’s phone line somehow got crossed with an intrepid home-made cough drop salesman. “Next you’ll be telling me Chaz's cough drops aren't laced with ketamine,” she scoffs at Dave’s attempts to discuss their boning. “They are, trust me. I saw God. He's black.” READ MORE
On the advice of one Miss Terry Hatcher's blog, Penny decides to quit sugar cold-turkey, no matter what a stupid idiot this makes her seem to the rest of the gang. "My body is a temple; your bodies are stadium urinal troughs," Penny snarls. Despite having just ordered a table keg for one, Alex quickly climbs aboard the health train too, a train which is almost certainly barreling toward tears and starvation and disaster. Oh, and then Mork stops by. Or is it Max? No one has seen him for awhile since he's gotten so busy with his super serious boyfriend Grant, so it's kind of hard to remember. "We're sharing this cute toggle coat," a shivering Max explains, before stopping and listening to the words that are coming out of his mouth. Max is still leery about settling down, despite the fact that Grant won two horses for him to hold, and anyone who will set you up for a great visual gag like that is definitely a keeper. READ MORE
Winter has descended on the Happy Endings gang, and you know what that means! Excellent physical comedy! Oh, and Brad and Jane's annual Spring Smackdown. An explosive fight between their friends that emerges every year to usher in the beginning of spring, Penny and Dave look forward to their Smackdown windfall: free steaks and Ice Capades tickets purchased in anger for him, white wine, flowy pants from Bassett by Angela for Angela Bassett and a fleeting sense of superiority over Jane for her. They decide to push Jane and Brad into a fight to hurray things along, but, as Alex warns them, even the smallest change to the yearly event is bound to have dire consequences. "It's like The Butterfly Effect," she predicts. "The one little movie lead to Ashton Kutcher doing a lot of bad movies." READ MORE
This is the first Happy Endings episode I can think of that didn't really have a distinct b or c story, and frankly, it could have used one. If only the person working at the newsstand had been Claire Forlani! Alas, it was merely a teenage boy with long hair. As such, the entire episode revolved entirely around the gang’s reaction to Max’s hunky perfect boyfriend-of-two-weeks Grant. It turns out, Grant is so perfect, what with his ideal brow thickness and spot-on vest/tie combination, that normally chillaxed Max is losing his goddamn mind. READ MORE
There's only a small window of time (i.e. right now) where it is socially acceptable for me to drool over hot gay kissing on TV before depictions of gay relationships are more commonplace, and our culture rightly recognizes my fervent ogling as the objectifying lechery it is. Until then…HOW ABOUT THAT HOT GAY KISS, HUH? Why every sitcom isn't filled with hot gay kissing is beyond me. NBC, this could be your niche! IT IS THE FINEST NICHE OF ALL! READ MORE
I could watch a person wrestle with ski equipment for hours. When I'm finally Dictator for Life, I'm going to have someone constantly wrestling ski equipment through a doorway at all times, just for my amusement. Or maybe someone could make a gif of it for me? Much like Penny struggles to drag here skis into a bar, so too must she struggle not to change herself for a man. God, you guys, my recap segues are getting so fucking tight. "It's like Nordic Track, but with wolves!" Penny complains after indulging an extremely recent ex's love of cross-country skiiing. Jane suggests that Penny try changing a man instead of herself, a plot which will of course work out swimmingly and with no ego-bruising surprise twists. READ MORE
When the question is, "How does Happy Endings satisfy me so?," the answer is always "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad." While Jane and Alex experience an intense spiritual connection during a round of Celebrity (though…that "we finish each other's…pizza" joke was pure Arrested Development, yes?) Dave reveals that his dad Big Dave is coming into the city…with a new girlfriend in tow. Was I the last one to realize they are all childhood friends? Or is it just Penny, Jane, Alex and Dave, with Brad and Max joining later? Either way, we learn that Dave's father hates Alex for spilling YooHoo on his imitation sheepskin seat covers 20 years ago, though not for, you know, ripping his son's heart of his chest on their erstwhile wedding day. We also discover that Penny became a woman (well, half of a woman. 1/4?) in Dave's rec room courtesy of cape-clad peer Peter Wong. "I still smile everytime I see wood paneling…or Peter Wong," she says wistfully. READ MORE
Love is in the air (along with revenge, sweater smoke and a very stinky hot dog), as the gang groans about the cheesmo factor of rom-coms, for example the brand new film That’s The Way It’s Gotta Be. It's all so hooky, gripes Jane, "Like when a couple is getting married, and then one leaves the other at the…doctor's office." The table grows silent and everyone looks side-eyed at Alex and Dave. Oh, it's good to be back. READ MORE
At some point along the long slow crawl of evolution, something terrible happened to the Reynolds’ family tree. Where most people have the mental capacity for empathy, forgiveness and self-reflection, Dee and Dennis Reynolds have only a giant red button labeled Revenge. Thank god for that. Without it, what would this season finale have been? Season 7 has, in my opinion, basically been the Dee and Denni show; the tragedy that continued to unfold at their high school reunion is yet another testament to their insanity. Or maybe it's more like…a promise. READ MORE