One of my favourite parts of Tina Fey's recent autobiographical book Bossypants was when she talked about the ratings fate of her sitcom 30 Rock.
"Though we are grateful for the affection 30 Rock has received from critics and hipsters, we were actually trying to make a hit show," Fey wrote. "We weren't trying to make a low-rated critical darling that snarled in the face of conventionality.
"We were trying to make Home Improvement and we did it wrong."
Well, I'm not a hipster. But as a critic, I have to say, I certainly have enjoyed 30 Rock "doing it wrong" since 2006.
The seventh and final season of 30 Rock, in which series creator Fey stars as Liz Lemon, kicks off Thursday on NBC and Citytv. It's actually a shortened season, too, with only 13 episodes to wrap up one of the most acclaimed and decorated sitcoms of the 21st century thus far.
"We don't quite know what the ending is," said 30 Rock co-executive producer Robert Carlock during a conference call with journalists this week. The cast and crew currently is nearing the halfway point in the season's shooting schedule.
"We have kind of a shorter runway than usual to do a lot of stuff," Carlock continued. "And we do want to give everyone closure, even if it's in our own weird way.
"In the first season, Jack (Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin) said that either everyone would die by Kenneth's hand or they'd all be working for him, and we want to try to achieve one of those goals, at least."
Kenneth is played by Jack McBrayer, and he was on the conference call, too.
"I have been expecting this show to end immediately since season one," McBrayer said. "It's a miracle it has lasted as long as it has."
As a big fan of 30 Rock, I can say with great affection that it's time to wrap it up. The last couple of seasons went a little off the rails.
Brilliant moments notwithstanding, I thought the show started focusing too much on the personal love lives of Liz and Jack. To me, 30 Rock always has functioned best as a work-place comedy.
As season seven begins, Liz is alarmed by Jack's shockingly bad fall programming lineup; Jenna (Jane Krakowski) aggressively "volunteers" a reluctant Liz to be her maid of honour; and Kenneth and Hazel (Kristen Schaal) invite Tracy (Tracy Morgan) to a dinner party.
I'll miss these characters when they're gone, even if 30 Rock never became the big hit Fey intended.
"You know those scientists who were developing a blood-pressure medicine and they accidentally invented Viagra?" Fey wrote in Bossypants. "We were trying to make Viagra and we ended up with blood-pressure medicine."
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