It’s the blerg heard ‘round the world. TV fans are in mourning, as the very last episode of 30 Rock airs Thursday night. After all, this is the show that gave Alec Baldwin the role of his career, catapulted Tina Fey to comedic genius status, and gave us 139 episodes of cutting-edge, refreshingly smart, intelligent, hilarious, and, most of all, good television.
Hammering down the show’s funniest moments or best liners would be an impossible task, so instead let’s celebrate what truly made 30 Rock so great: It was so damned weird. Whether it’s fantasizing about meat cats, singing songs about muffin tops, or making inspired use of Pee-wee Herman in a guest spot, 30 Rock was always at its peak when it was at its most absurd. Here, the strangest moments of them all (and there were so many).
Liz Gives Birth to Meat Cat
In a dream sequence, Liz is married to Jack and Tracy is delivering her baby. Kenneth the Page is dressed as a nurse. Liz, however, doesn’t give birth to a human, but to Meat Cat, the cartoon mascot for her favorite snack, Cheesy Blasters—because of course Liz Lemon gives birth to a cartoon named Meat Cat.
Midnight Train to Georgia
Shamed by his coffee addiction, Kenneth decides to head back to Georgia. Cue an entire cast sing-a-long to “Midnight Train to Georgia,” complete with Grizz and Dot-Com as the Pips, Edie Falco and Alec Baldwin trading a verse, and Tina Fey breaking down the final riffs. The whole thing is played completely straight, with no sign that it is a dream sequence, hallucination, or break from reality.
Liz’s Old Phone Sex Commercial
Tina Fey called Liz’s old phone sex commercial from her salad days as a struggling actress as her favorite 30 Rock moment. She couldn’t have chosen better.
Liz and James Franco’s Threesome
Remember that time Liz had a threesome with James Franco and a Japanese Anime body pillow named Kimiko?
Pee-wee Herman Is an Inbred Prince
Paul Reubens is great as Pee-wee Herman. He’s a revelation as Prince Gerhard Messerschmidt Ramstein Von Hap, the Austrian royal with the tiny hand and laundry list of health issues due to “centuries of inbreeding.” With a voice that modulated uncontrollably between quiet and loud, a litany of neuroses, and a brilliant subplot involving Jane Krakowski’s Jenna trying to date him for his money, Prince Gerhard is easily one of 30 Rock’s most off-the-wall and utterly brilliant creations.
30 Rock has had its fair share of… unusual… original songs: “Make a Pizza,” “Tennis Night,” “What Do You Say to Cleveland.” None, however, rival “Muffin Top” for sheer absurdity—and genius. Credit is due to Krakowski for delivering the song with such seriousness, as the earnestness of her delivery is the lynchpin in the bit’s hilarity.
“Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”
“Werewolf bar mitzvah, spooky scary / boys becoming men, men becoming wolves.” OK, Tracy Jordan’s “novelty party song” is also a masterpiece.
Jack Donaghy pitches a reality TV show about cougars who compete for the attention of adolescent boys Survivor-style—instead of “The Tribe Has Spoken,” the host says “We No Longer Want to Hit That.” The scary thing is that it seems like a reality TV show that could actually air. (And that I would watch.)
Alec Baldwin Plays Tracy’s Family
Channeling his best Eddie Murphy, Alec Baldwin pretends to be Tracy’s entire family in a role-playing therapy session. It is a comedic tour de force, Baldwin’s best performance throughout the entire series (which is saying a lot), and madcap ridiculous in the best way.
Liz Cries From Her Mouth
If we’re talking about ridiculous scenes and actors’s best performances, nothing tops this scene from Tina Fey in which Liz cries from her mouth.
North Korea Everything Is Sunny
Margaret Cho plays Kim Jong Un disguised as a weatherman for state-run TV, and gives this forecast: “North Korea everything sunny all the time always good time beach party.” Said Fey of the genius casting and pitch-perfect skewering of the Dear Leader, “To have witnessed that and helped to cause that to happen gives me great joy.”
Oprah Winfrey guest starred on 30 Rock and talked about bowel movements. It was good.