30 Rock, winner of 10 Primetime Emmy Awards and six Golden Globes, aired its final episode last night on NBC. It was in its seventh season.
The cause of cancellation has not been confirmed.
Created by Tina Fey in 2006, 30 Rock was an immediate critical success. However, it never garnered the popular support that its small but devoted fan base felt it deserved. This is a story that has played out in TV land more than once in recent years, but somehow the self-aware sitcom managed to stay on the air much longer than shows like Arrested Development or Firefly.
Some die-hard fans will still cry foul at NBC and say they canceled 30 Rock too soon, but 138 episodes is a very respectable run. In fact, ending the show now was probably for the best, as it avoided the precipitous late-season downturn that has marred many a once great series (I'm looking at you, How I Met Your Mother). Add in that 30 Rock would have been especially vulnerable to shark jumping because of it's highly “meta” nature, and canceling the show after six and a half seasons seems almost merciful.
Last night's two part finale was a fitting end to the series. 30 Rock has always been driven by the writing, and its famously sharp wit was on full display. Puns and wordplay abound, almost to the point where it felt like they just wanted to share all of the good ones they came up with over the past seven years but never got to use. Unfortunately, there were a few too many winks to the camera, but that was to be expected from the “goodbye” episode of a show that never really had much of a fourth wall in the first place. I did actually chuckle at one of these meta moments, where Alec Baldwin's character, Jack Donaghy, remarks on how happy he is that his obscene CEO salary pissed off noted liberal Alec Baldwin.
The rest of the cast each gave us a last laugh as well, especially Jane Krakowski, who in my opinion has been carrying the show throughout this shortened final season. Of course, Tracy Morgan was Tracy Morgan, which is just about all you can ever really say about Tracy Morgan. He appeared on Sportscenter earlier this week as part of their “celebrities give brief interviews and Super Bowl picks” segment, where he picked the Ravens and tried to describe the bittersweet nature of the 30 Rock series finale. “We made great television,” Morgan said, noting that he was glad they didn't try to stay on the air for too long.
30 Rock is survived by its younger sister, Parks and Recreation. It will be replaced next week by Community, another critically-acclaimed niche-comedy that has always struggled in the ratings department, and probably always will.