Get your night cheese ready
In case you haven’t heard, the universe has decided to punish us for our wicked ways by removing 30 Rock (joke-for-joke, the best sitcom of all time, at least in this reporter’s opinion) from Netflix. You still have two weeks to complete a full seven season binge of the Tina Fey series about a fictional sketch show, but in case things like eating and sleeping get in your way, here’s a list of 15 of the series’ greatest episodes, presented in chronological order for your Neflixing ease
1. “Tracy Does Conan” (Season 1, Episode 7)
The first great episode of 30 Rock, and also the episode that introduces us to Jenna’s (Jane Krakowski) film The Rural Juror.
2. “Black Tie” (Season 1, Episode 12)
Jenna tries to become a modern Grace Kelly by seducing the severely inbred Prince Gerhardt Hapsburg (Paul Reubens), and Jack (Alec Baldwin) tries to convince his ex-wife (the brilliant Isabella Rosellini) that Liz is his live-in girlfriend. The episode perfectly defuses all would-be Liz/Jack romantic tension, and also gives us Jenna dancing for a decrepit European monarch.
3. “Up All Night” (Season 1, Episode 13)
“Dammit Johnny, you know I love my big beef and cheddar!”
4. “Succession” (Season 2, Episode 13)
Liz contemplates a job as an executive and decides to make the change with the most succinct exit speech ever: “Suck it monkeys, I’m going corporate.” But the real star of this episode is Tracy Jordan going full Amadeus in his quest to make a pornographic video game.
5. “The Bubble” (Season 3, Episode 15)
This episode features Jon Hamm as Liz’s way too handsome boyfriend, forced to come to terms with how the world treats him differently because of his good looks. Oh Drew…So handsome, so dumb.
6. “Mamma Mia” (Season 3, Episode 21)
Jack pulls a Mamma Mia! to try to discover who his real father his, and it turns out to be the quintessential liberal professor played by Alan Alda. Tracy Jordan plays dad to a lazy conman pretending to be his son (“What 21 year old wraps up half a muffin?”)
7. “Future Husband” (Season 4, Episode 14)
Liz comes home from the dentist’s office with a new contact she entered into her phone while high on laughing gas: Future Husband. He turns out to be possibly my favorite 30 Rock character, Wesley Snipes, portrayed by Michael Sheen. “If you were shown a picture of him and a picture of me, and were asked ‘who should be named Wesley Snipes,’ you’d pick the pale Englishman every time! Every time, Liz!”
8. “I Do Do” (Season 4, Episode 22)
Another brilliant Wesley Snipes episode, the Russ to Liz’s Rebecca. This is also the first appearance of Matt Damon as Carol, which was basically just some slam dunk celebrity casting on 30 Rock’s part.
9. “TGS Hates Women” (Season 5, Episode 16)
See a pre-Mother Cristin Milioti as the bubbly blonde writer Liz hires after a blog post criticizes TGS for being anti-woman.
10. “Queen of Jordan” (Season 5, Episode 17)
30 Rock took a big risk in giving us a full show-within-a-show spoofing Bravo-style reality shows, and it totally paid off. Bonus: a Tituss Burgess appearance.
11. “100” (Season 5, Episodes 20 and 21)
The show’s 100th episode is a two-parter, just as self-referential and meta as you’d hope, plus it features Michael Keaton, and some A+ Dennis Duffy content.
12. “The Tuxedo Begins” (Season 6, Episode 8)
Perhaps the most masterfully constructed 30 Rock episode, and maybe the best for my money, Liz’s slow descent into The Joker is a brilliant reveal and the only Joker origin story I’ll ever need.
13. “Leap Day” (Season 6, Episode 9)
This entire episode is worth it for a glimpse at the classic family movie in which Jim Carrey stars as an uptight dad who accidentally gets transformed into Leap Day William.
14. “Live From Studio 6H” (Season 6, Episode 19)
The show’s second and arguably stronger live episode is a self-aware celebration of TV. Keep your eyes out for former 30 Rock writer Donald Glover as a young Tracy Jordan.
15. “Mazel Tov, Dummies” (Season 7, Episode 7)
Liz and Criss (James Marsden) get married, and Liz gets to look like a princess. Exactly the princess she’d want to look like.