10. Frank's hats.
They're never the same, and they're brilliant.
9. Liz Lemon.
If you ever feel bad about yourself, Liz will make you feel better. Between her love for off-brand Mexican cheese curls and her bumbling altruism, I'm not really sure how she landed her job as the TGS head writer, but I'm glad she did. (To Pete, her producer: "Did you know that inner-city graduation rates in New York are lower than they are in the Sudan? Wait. That doesn't sound right. Maybe it was teenage pregnancy. I should really read more.")
8. How incredibly dumb the "actors" are.
I'm lumping Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Tracy (Tracy Morgan) together in this category because it's hard to determine which one's idiocy is more hysterical. Both are caricatures of self-centeredness, and it's hard to believe either has more than a fifth grade education, but we love them anyway. Why? It's hard to say. Tracy decides to leave a legacy for his children by inventing a porn video game? Jenna performs on the show her Israeli award-winning original song entitled "Muffin Top?" Sure, why not.
7. Kenneth the page.
"I don't drink hot liquids. That's the devil's temperature!" Part ridiculous hillbilly, part omnipotent genius, and 100% committed to his page duties, Kenneth probably has the highest quotability factor on the show. The lining of his page jacket is also rumored to be the safest place in 30 Rock to hide your cash, but that's just hearsay.
6. The episode "Jack-Tor."
While I would be hard-pressed to find an episode of this show I don't like, "Jack-Tor" stands out to me as the most brilliant by far. It kicks off with Jack instructing the TGS writers (via a professional-looking video, even though he is sitting in the room with them watching it) that they need to incorporate not-that-subtle "Product Integration" for GE microwaves into their next show. Liz and the staff are outraged. (I won't spoil what makes this so funny, but be forewarned that there is a man in a giant Snapple costume involved.) When they write the sketch, they ask Jack to guest-star as a GE executive. Hilarity ensues. Meanwhile, Liz discovers that Tracy is illiterate. (Or is he?) It's truly top-notch comedy. I can watch it over and over.
5. The guest stars.
What do Jerry Seinfeld, Jennifer Aniston, Salma Hayek, Gladys Knight and the Pips*, and Steve Martin have in common? That's right. They've all guest-starred on 30 Rock.
*this episode, obviously, concludes with a cast-wide musical theatre-style rendition of "Midnight Train to Georgia." And it's awesome.
4. Jack Donaghy.
When you were a kid, I bet you always wanted to grow up to be GE's Executive Chair of Television and Microwave Oven Programming. Well, Jack Donaghy has achieved this dream. He works on the 52nd floor, has a hard-working assistant and an assortment of beautiful girlfriends (Beyonce, Condoleezza Rice, Salma Hayek, etc.), and powerful political connections. In fact, he even served in the Bush administration for a short period when he was almost ousted from his GE position by his archenemy, Devon Banks. Never fear, though; he was able to overcome the odds and return to his position of power. He's a marketing genius, too. Anyone remember SeinfeldVision, in which Jerry Seinfeld's likeness was captured from the hundreds of hours of Seinfeld programming owned by NBC and inserted into every program aired by the network? It's amazing what computers can do these days.
3. Dr. Spaceman.
It's an honor to the medical profession that we are able to include Dr. Leo Spaceman (pronounced "spa-CHE-man") as one of our own. I want to be him when I grow up. At the end of season 2, when Liz discovers Don Geiss passed out in a diabetic coma, Dr. Spaceman comes to the rescue. After regretfully informing Jack that he can't inject something into Geiss's heart because "there's no way to know where the heart actually is," he ponders whether to call 911 or 411. Luckily, he is able to ask the 411 operator for "New York, diabetes repair?" We could all learn a lesson from this man. The NBC staffers keep him awfully busy, too; between acquiring Tracy's growth hormone pills and rationing flu shots so only the rich employees get them, he must never get a moment's rest.
2. The not-so-subtle political humor.
Political satire is obviously one of Tina Fey's strong points, as evidenced by her SNL portrayal of Sarah Palin this past election season. 30 Rock is no exception. Perhaps the best example is in the season 2 episode "Subway Hero," where Jack can't find a celebrity to represent the Republican Party at a McCain fundraiser he is planning. He tries to convince Tracy to do it. At first, Tracy is unsure. "I can't vote Republican!" he exclaims. "That's letting my people down!" But after a "We Didn't Start the Fire"-induced nightmare in which he finds himself in purgatory with Richard Nixon, he is convinced. Together, Tracy and Jack come up with a new campaign method - and a rather unorthodox one.
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1. The way NBC shamelessly makes fun of itself.
Product integration. Comedy sketch writers. Executives with enormous salaries. Ridiculous reality shows like "MILF Island." I'm glad NBC has a sense of humor.
If you are a member of Netflix, the first two seasons are available to watch online for free. Do it. I'll see you in a couple weeks after you are able to unglue your eyes from the computer screen.