’30 Rock’ 10th Anniversary: 19 Essential Episodes (Photos)

Reid Nakamura
’30 Rock’ 10th Anniversary: 19 Essential Episodes (Photos)

“The Rural Juror” (Season 1, Episode 10)

Perhaps not “30 Rock’s” greatest episode, but Jenna’s indecipherably titled movie stands as one of the show’s most memorable running gags, and the perfect example of the show’s off-kilter brand of humor.

“Black Tie” (Season 1, Episode 12)

In her book “Bossypants,” Fey called this episode, which features a bizarre storyline in which Jenna attempts to woo a European prince crippled by centuries of inbreeding, the moment “30 Rock” found it’s voice.

“Fireworks” (Season 1, Episode 18)

Will Arnett makes his first appearance as Jack’s scheming nemesis Devon Banks, one of the show’s greatest recurring characters.

“Rosemary’s Baby” (Season 2, Episode 4)

A delightfully bitter Carrie Fisher plays Liz’s childhood hero, and Alec Baldwin gets one of his funniest moments on the series, role-playing as Tracy’s family in a fake therapy session.

“Ludachristmas” (Season 2, Episode 9)

Jack’s relationship with his mother, played by Elaine Stritch, was always one of the highlights of “30 Rock,” and was only made better put up against Liz’s relationship with her own family.

“Sandwich Day” (Season 2, Episode 14)

Liz’s attempt to “have it all” culminates in a hilarious bit in which Liz is forced to eat an entire sandwich at airport security before she can confess her love for her ex-boyfriend.

“Believe in the Stars” (Season 3, Episode 2)

Between Tina Fey‘s Princess Leia impression, Tracy and Jenna’s attempt at a “social experiment” and an Oprah Winfrey guest spot, “Believe in the Stars” stands as one of the most memorable “30 Rock” episodes of all time.

“Gavin Volure” (Season 3, Episode 4)

Steve Martin proved a perfect fit for “30 Rock’s” wacky reality in this Season 3 episode, in which he plays a reclusive, Jay Gatsby-esque billionaire.

“Mamma Mia” (Season 3, Episode 21)

Jack’s attempt to “Mamma Mia” his mother’s former lovers in attempt to find his biological father demonstrates “30 Rock’s” uncanny ability to bring real emotion to laugh-out-loud humor.

“Dealbreakers Talkshow #0001” (Season 4, Episode 7)

The best episodes of “30 Rock” get crazier and crazier over the course of their half-hour runtimes, and “Dealbreakers Talkshow #0001” culminates in Liz locking herself in a dressing room, crying from her mouth.

“Anna Howard Shaw Day” (Season 4, Episode 13)

In one of the show’s best bits, “Anna Howard Shaw Day” sees Liz hallucinating her ex-boyfriends, played by Jon Hamm, Jason Sudeikis and Dean Winters, as Jamaican dental assistants.

“Khonani” (Season 4, Episode 18)

“30 Rock’s” comedy was never sharper than when it was mocking its home network, and the episode satirizing the drama between Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien over “The Tonight Show” is a perfect example.

“Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning” (Season 5, Episode 12)

The idea that Jack would attempt to pre-record a telethon for every possible natural disaster as a ratings grab is one of “30 Rock’s” most cynical — and inspired — moments.

“TGS Hates Women” (Season 5, Episode 16)

Tina Fey recently said she was “opting out” of addressing criticism of her work, but episodes like “TGS Hates Women” prove she’s listening.

“Queen of Jordan” (Season 5, Episode 17)

A pitch-perfect parody of the “Real Housewives” franchise and its ilk, “Queen of Jordan” features a star turn by Sherri Shepherd and a breakout performance by Titus Burgess.

“Idiots are People Two!” (Season 6, Episode 2)

The line between reality and fiction is blurred when “30 Rock” features a storyline about Tracy Jordan making offensive comments just months after Tracy Morgan goes on an anti-gay rant.

“Live From Studio 6H” (Season 6, Episode 18)

“30 Rock” did two live episodes throughout its seven-season run, but Season 6’s skewering of television history is the superior outing.

“Mazel Tov, Dummies” (Season 7, Episode 7)

Liz Lemon finally gets her happy ending with a sweetly strange wedding episode that came just as the show was heading into its final victory lap.

“Last Lunch” (Season 7, Episode 13)

“30 Rock” had seven seasons and 138 episodes’ worth of storylines to wrap up in its series finale, a task only made tougher by the show’s relentlessly arch brand of comedy. But the surprisingly sweet ending proved that the best comedies can blend both heart and humor.



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