It’s been a few years since 30 Rock was available on Netflix. Since then, it’s been kicking around Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Peacock. But let’s be honest, Netflix is where you want this series to be. It’s the streaming service everyone has, and since it was situated in their library for so long, it almost feels wrong to watch the antics of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan), and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) anywhere else.
In honor of the show’s triumphant return to Netflix starting in August, we’ve handpicked some of our favorite episodes worth revisiting right away.
Tracy Does Conan (Season 1, Episode 7)
This is a bonafide classic from the early days of 30 Rock. Though the show’s first season can be a little rough as it gets into the fast-paced joke flow that we’d come to love, “Tracy Does Conan” is a bright spot. It has all the craziness that you want from Tracy Jordan (“I am a stabbing robot.”), Conan O’Brien going along with the madness, the debut of Chris Parnell as Dr. Leo Spaceman, and even an appearance by Aubrey Plaza, a few years before she would land a series regular role on Parks and Recreation.
Rosemary’s Baby (Season 2, Episode 4)
The second season of 30 Rock is when the series really started to shine, and early in the season we got one of the best guest stars you could ask for in “Rosemary’s Baby.” Carrie Fisher plays Liz Lemon’s girlhood idol, Rosemary Howard, a full-blown feminist comedy writer who suddenly inspires Liz in all the wrong ways. It’s one of the best roles Fisher had in the later years of her career, and yes, there are plenty of Star Wars references.
This episode also gets a perfect dose of hilarity when Jack and Tracy are forced to meet with an NBC therapist after a workplace dispute. Tracy is still holding onto grief from his parents divorce, prompting Jack to hilariously portray Tracy’s father, Tracy, Tracy’s mom, among several other people from Tracy’s childhood. Alec Baldwin was nominated for several Emmys for this series, and this episode easily has one of his best comedic performances.
Sandwich Day (Season 2, Episode 14)
Of course one of the best 30 Rock episodes has to involve Liz Lemon and food. In this case the writing staff ate Liz Lemon’s beloved sandwich that only comes around once a year from the teamsters. Hearing Liz Lemon scream, “Where’s my sandwich?!” as she brandishes an award as a weapon is enough to make this a great episode by itself. But then we also have Jason Sudeikis who returns as Liz’s ex-boyfriend Floyd (Jason Sudeikis), who uses Ghostbusters for evil. The icing on the cake is watching Liz hurriedly wolf down the tasty teamsters sandwich (and dipping sauce) in the airport security line as she tries to catch Floyd on his way back out of town. Liz Lemon can have it all!
Gavin Volure (Season 3, Episode 4)
30 Rock has a long list of outstanding guest stars, but perhaps the best is Steve Martin as Gavin Volure, one of the many men that Liz Lemon has unfortunately tried to date. But of course, Liz learns his agoraphobia is merely a front for being under house arrest for arson, fraud, embezzlement, and racketeering. Steve Martin is perfect at playing these unassuming yet eccentric characters with a little bit of madness underneath the surface.
Meanwhile, Tracy Jordan purchases a Japanese sex doll that looks like him so he can try to figure out why his kids (including Role Models co-star Bobb’e J. Thompson) want to spend so much time with him. How can you not love this show?
The Funcooker (Season 3, Episode 14)
Here’s one of the perfect examples of all-out-insanity on 30 Rock. Liz Lemon is forced to go to jury duty after her Princess Leia front doesn’t get her excused, the show is left in absolute chaos, which is made only worse by Jenna trying experimental medication to keep her awake as she balances the show and the Jackie Jormp-Jomp movie. Meanwhile, Jack is trying to come up with a name for a pocket microwave oven that is not offensive in any language, and Tracy Jordan decides he can say whatever he wants to on television since he can afford the FCC fines. This is exactly the kind of lunacy you want from 30 Rock.
Last Lunch (Season 7, Episode 13)
30 Rock came to a close with a shortened seventh season, and it’s one of those miraculous comedy finales that packs so much laughter and heart. For a show that is so absurd and wacky, the fact that 30 Rock manages to pull at your heartstrings is truly incredible. Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy have provided such ridiculous laughs throughout the series that it’s easy to forget that you’ve come to love these characters for more than their never-ending problems and witty banter. They’re the best kind of friends, and it makes rewatching 30 Rock a joy every time.
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