'30 Rock': 15 funniest moments from the first 100 episodes [Video]
Congratulations are in order for "30 Rock." Back in 2006, no one would have guessed that the quirky sitcom would have long outlasted "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," that other NBC series about a late-night comedy show. Luckily for us fans, it has. Tonight, the hourlong 100th episode of the series airs on NBC and, no doubt, will feature lots of montages and memorable guest appearances.
To celebrate this landmark, we've compiled an entirely subjective and not exactly scientific list of the 15 (half of 30!) funniest moments from the first 100 episodes of "30 Rock."
Disagree with our list? Think we missed something? Please share in the comments.
15. Liz chokes on camera
After Liz's dating manual, "Dealbreakers," becomes a nationwide sensation, she and Jack develop a spin-off talk show. But the project is scuttled when, under enormous scrutiny from Jack -- not to mention a particularly unforgiving high-definition camera -- Liz completely chokes on camera. Rarely, if ever, has the cruel pressure of being a woman in showbiz been conveyed so effectively.
14. "The Rural Juror"
A running joke throughout season 1 was the indecipherable name of Jenna's latest movie project, "The Rural Juror." She stars as Constance Justice, a Southern lawyer, in the adaptation of a novel by Kevin Grisham (John's brother). Much to everyone's surprise, the movie isn't terrible, but the real problem is its title, which no one can quite understand. Various misinterpretations include ""Roar Her, Gem Her" and "Roaring Junior."
13. Jack meets Avery
Avery: "Favorite movie?"
Jack: "Tie: 'The Fountainhead' or 'Uncle Buck.'"
12. Jack gives up drinking -- live!
Last year, "30 Rock" decided to up the ante by performing not one but two live episodes in a single night. The experiment was a success, a perfect outlet for the show's zippy writing and a cast made up of seasoned live performers such as Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan and Tina Fey. Possibly the highlight of the live episode came when Jack, having given up drinking in solidarity with a pregnant Avery, resorts to sniffing Jenna's boozy breath.
11. "Give me your fingernails!"
Way back in the first season of "30 Rock," Kenneth pitches a game show called "Gold Case," and tells NBC executives that he's already met with "Moonvest over at CBS" about the project. They assume he means Les Moonves, the president of CBS. Cut to a shot of Kenneth, astride his bicycle, talking to a homeless man wearing a vest covered in gold crescent moons. It would probably ruin the fun to explain what happens next, so just watch for yourself.
10. "I want to go to there"
For "30 Rock"'s female fans, Jon Hamm's recurring guest role as Liz's dim-but-gorgeous boyfriend, Drew, is mostly definitely a series highlight. An impossibly handsome pediatrician who likes "The Muppets Take Manhattan," owns an ice cream maker and even smells like frosting, Drew initially seems like the perfect man. It's no wonder Liz is reduced to gibberish ("I want to go to there") when she first sets sights on him. Sadly for Liz, it turns out that the comically inept Drew is a victim of the "handsome bubble." As Jack explains, "When you're super-handsome, no one tells you the truth."
9. Jack versus the Generalissimo
In the very same episode in which Liz meets Drew, Jack also meets his match ... sort of. The grandmother of his Puerto Rican girlfriend, Elisa, religiously watches a Spanish telenovela called "Los Amantes Clandestinos." The problem is the show's villain, a character named the "Generalissimo," looks exactly like Jack. In order to smooth over his relationship with Elisa's abuela, Jack buys the show and tries to kill off the Generalissimo. But Hector Moreda, the actor who plays him, fights back, leading to this showdown:
8. "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah"
"I growled and I roared, and my rabbi did as well. It was a rocking werewolf zoo at Temple Beth-Emmanuel."
What else is there to say?
7. Seeing the world through Kenneth's eyes
In an episode called "Apollo, Apollo" from the show's third season, Jack's 50th birthday is approaching. After watching some home movies sent by his mother, Jack longs to recapture the innocence and joy of his childhood. He wonders what it's like to see the world through Kenneth's eyes. Turns out, Kenneth sees everyone as a Muppet. (Note: "30 Rock" later reprised the Muppet motif in Season 4's "Dealbreakers" episode, when Kenneth walks in front of the same high-definition camera that sends Liz into a spiral of self-doubt.)
6. Liz has a threesome with James Franco and his pillow
Liz's romantic nadir arrived in Sseason 4 when, after a drunken night on the town, she fell into bed with James Franco and his "girlfriend," a Japanese body pillow named Kimiko. Earlier in the episode, Franco had staged a fake relationship with Jenna in order to quell the rumors about him and Kimiko. In a rare moment of sanity, Jenna decided to break things off. In a rare moment of sexual abandon, Liz went in for the kill. Sloppy seconds, anyone?
5. Tracy plays Thomas Jefferson
Near the end of Season 1, after Dr. Spaceman tells him he's a descendant of Thomas Jefferson, Tracy decides he wants to make a Thomas Jefferson biopic. He films a trailer and shows it to Don Geiss, in hopes it will convince the GE executive to foot the project's $35-million bill. It doesn't work.
4. "MILF Island"
Of the many, many fake television shows within "30 Rock," few have resonated as much as "MILF Island." Jack's brainchild, the smash-hit reality show featured "25 super-hot moms" and "50 eighth-grade boys" competing on a jungle island. Losing contestants were dispatched with lines like, "Heidi, we no longer want to hit that." No doubt executives at NBC wish they'd thought of it first.
3. Therapy with Jack and Tracy
In this much-beloved sequence from Season 2, Jack and Tracy meet with an NBC-appointed counselor, who encourages them to work out their grievances through a little role-playing. In a bravura comic performance lasting less than 90 seconds, Baldwin plays Tracy's dad, mom, the "white dude" she left him for, and the family's upstairs neighbor, Mrs. Rodriguez. For good measure, there's even a "To Kill a Mockingbird" reference. Baldwin clearly earned his Emmy that year.
2. Tracy's repressed memories
Tracy's role in the urban drama "Hard to Watch based on the book 'Stone Cold Bummer' by Manipulate" may have won him an Oscar -- and the coveted title of EGOT -- but it also brings back some traumatic memories of his hardscrabble childhood. Tracy's string of increasingly ludicrous recollections (e.g. "Our basketball hoop was a rib cage ... a rib cage!", ""A pack of wild dogs took over and successfully ran a Wendy's") helped make this episode, "Emmanuelle goes to Dinosaur Land," one of the best ever.
1. Every scene with Jack and Liz
OK, this is a bit of a cop-out. But, as any "30 Rock" fan can tell you, Jack's and Liz's unlikely friendship is the heart and soul of this show. It's impossible to pick a single moment that really encapsulates their unique relationship, but this scene, in which they meet with Jeffrey Weinerslav for a couple's counseling session, comes pretty close.
-- Meredith Blake
Photo: The cast of "30 Rock." Credit: Art Streiber / NBC