The end of an era: Saying goodbye to ‘30 Rock’

| Senior Editor

The final episodes of a TV show are like the final sheets of paper towel at the end of a roll. You start using them slower and slower, delaying the inevitable end before reaching under the kitchen sink to grab another. Whenever I finish a show on Netflix, I usually take a poll and collect anecdotal evidence from my friends about which shows are worth watching and which are snoozes. Regardless of their answers, I always circle back to watch my dear old friend: “30 Rock.”

When I was little, I would often watch TV with my parents before going to bed. Granted, most of the jokes went over my head, but I remember “30 Rock” being on in its early days. Known for its smart, poignant jokes and cultural relevancy, “30 Rock” critiqued political leaders at the time, referenced obscure historical events and brought in pop culture references so specific even Wikipedia couldn’t help me decipher the most miniscule of breadcrumbs.

As a warning before a show is taken off of the site for good, Netflix will add an “expiration date” label 30 days before the show is set to be removed. “30 Rock,” unfortunately, has had this label for 27 days, and it will be taken down on Oct. 1.

During its 13-year run, “30 Rock” won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2007, 2008 and 2009, and was nominated every other year it ran. Loosely based on Tina Fey’s experience as head writer and performer on “Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock” centers around the producers and actors of a sketch comedy show called “The Girlie Show,” later changed to “TGS with Tracy Jordan” within the plot of the show itself.

Netflix is like a TV show reincarnation machine. Shows like “Friends” and “Friday Night Lights,” for example (which originally aired from 1994 to 2004 and 2006 to 2011, respectively) ended just before people my age became invested in binge-watching and the cult-like following that surrounds certain programs. Netflix allows stale shows to have a rebirth by giving access to a new generation of viewers, whether they missed them the first time around or were too young to understand the premise or dialogue.

For those of us experiencing a show during its online renewal, the end of its tenure on Netflix is like a season finale in the real world, just with a deadline. Although “30 Rock” technically ended in 2013, for me, this is the real end. Although I’ve watched it probably four times all the way through, it’s been something to rely on when the never-ending stress of homework and midterms hits. A comforting reminder of my childhood, and now a formative part of my high school and college years, the end of “30 Rock,” for me, means the end of an era. No more Liz Lemon, Tracy Jordan or Jack Donaghy.

If you’ve never watched “30 Rock” and have a will of steel, I challenge you to finish all seven seasons in the next three days. That’s 138 episodes, at 22 minutes each, or 3,036 minutes (50.6 hours) of Jack Donaghy drinking whiskey. Oct. 1 is about 72 hours away, so you have plenty of time to sleep, like, a little, and then maybe get some homework done, and then go back to watching.