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Could Ending TGS Save 30 Rock?

By Alyssa Rosenberg

"Could Ending TGS Save 30 Rock?"

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I’m absolutely sure that Liz and Kenneth are going to track down Tracy Jordan based on the end of the last episode of 30 Rock, but I actually wonder if it would be a good thing for the show if they didn’t. I do think 30 Rock is near the end of its productive period, but if it’s going to continue, it might benefit from a serious creative shakeup.

The last two episodes of the show have been some of the best it’s had in a long time. “Queen of Jordan” was a brilliant half-hour parody of the Real Housewives franchise, and “Plan B” shuffled through genres like Ricky Jay in a David Mamet production. I think that just making fun of a combination of Bravo and Logo shows would be a good idea, though 30 Rock‘s gay jokes (leaving aside the insinuations that Liz is a lesbian) have generally been pretty funny.

But broadening the aperture of the show beyond a single program or a single network could reap huge creative payoffs. All of the writers could work on different shows, but still work together occasionally. Jack could make Kenneth his assistant, resurrecting Jack’s prophecy that “in five years, we’ll all be working for him—or dead by his hand,” which is funny, and on which the clock is ticking. Having Liz as a programming director could give her some victories and opportunities to prove her competence, restoring the multi-season arc about Jack’s influence as her mentor. And the show could cycle through some more actors, which given that they’ve run out of really good Tracy and Jenna shtick. Plus, Tina Fey is fantastic at writing alternate show ideas, ranging from Gold Box, to Are You Stronger Than a Dog, to the glories of MILF Island. I really, really want to watch America’s Next Top Pirate.

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