Break out the Sabor de Soledad; 30 Rock ends tonight.
To everything, there is a season to shut it down. Through seven years, 138 episodes, 14 Emmy wins and what its writers estimate as 23,000 hard-won punch lines, 30 Rock and its frequently food-stained heroine, Liz Lemon, have taught us that much, at least. (Other key lessons: "Never go with a hippie to a second location," and beware of the white dudes who "inject AIDS into our chicken nuggets.")
The show's final episode will air January 31st, so for Jack, Liz, Tracy, Jenna and Kenneth, for Grizz and for Dotcom, too, these are the end times. But on a mid-November day at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, Queens, everything’s still in place. Since 2006, this warehouselike space, three miles and a borough away from NBC’s actual 30 Rockefeller Center headquarters, has been the cast and crew’s second home/airless-14-hour-a-day prison, and they still have a month left.
The creators of the just-concluded Gossip Girl, which shot next door, have already packed up their stuff. But 30 Rock’s universe is intact for the moment, from the ninja swords, lizard tank and “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” gold record in Tracy Jordan’s dressing room the no-doubt-fossilized licorice in The Girly Show writers’ room, to the majestic but fake views of the Manhattan skyline in Jack Donaghy’s office. They haven’t even gotten rid of the set for Elaine Stritch’s elegant Florida house, and her character is dead.
NBC wasn’t begging for an eighth season of a show that’s never had more than 8 million or so viewers, but ultimately, 30 Rock seems to be ending because Tina Fey is done with it. “There is no more,” says Fey, the show’s creator, star and showrunner (along with former Friends and Saturday Night Live writer Robert Carlock). “I love our crew dearly, and I hate being in the position of saying, ‘Sorry, we’re ending this nice workplace you’ve had for seven years.’ But, you know, the ratings continued to drop.”