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30 Rock – Episode 7.09 – "Game Over"

     It’s beginning to feel like the end, folks. 30 Rock is a show that has never truly felt a dry spell in its seven seasons, which is a remarkable feat for any show spanning that long.  Sure, the ratings have gone down significantly since Tina Fey’s red-hot year in 2008 when she impersonated Sarah Palin, skyrocketing her to nationwide attention, but the show’s core audience never strayed, myself included.  The writers stay true to form in “Game Over”, an episode reminiscent of the show’s second and third seasons where guest stars were lining up to join the wackiness of Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon and the jokes were flying a mile a minute.  Listing all of this episode’s guest stars is truly incredible: Will Arnett, Steve Buscemi, Ken Howard, Chloe Grace Moretz, Megan Mullally, Chris Parnell, and last year’s Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.  Put these actors in the same episode in any other show and it becomes a jumbled, overstuffed mess, but here it works with the show’s zany nature.  Saying goodbye to Dr. Leo Spaceman (Chris Parnell) was sad as he was one of my favorite recurring characters, but his final line, “That’s a series wrap on Leo Spaceman, suckers!” may be one of the best exits of all time.

     This episode juggles three storylines with Jack waging war against 15-year-old Kaylie for the rights to her grandfather’s company, Tracy hiring Octavia Spencer as Harriet Tubman for his directorial debut, and Liz having doubts about motherhood and adoption.  When Jack enlists rival Devon Banks (the always perfect Will Arnett) to help him in his quest, to which Devon agrees, it’s obvious that things won’t be so simple. The double and triple crossing that ensues is brilliant storytelling, and somehow gets Steve Buscemi involved, going undercover as a woman.  Similarly, when Octavia Spencer is revealed to be just as crazy as Tracy, unleashing chaos on the set is brilliant, and makes a fun reference to the show’s very first episode: “I AM A JEDI!”.  Liz had the C-storyline this week, but her gradual realization that taking care of Tracy means she can face the adopting of an older child is a nice way of tying things together nicely.  Seven seasons later, this show still makes me laugh out loud, which is tough for most comedies to accomplish, and this final season is proving to be a fantastic capper to what I believe will be know as one of television’s truly great comedies in history.
Grade: A
MVP: The whole ensemble.

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