On January 31, we’ll say goodbye to our friends Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy and the rest of the TGS staff for the last time. 30 Rock has become a cultural touchstone over the years, and since its debut in 2006, has garnered a record breaking amount of Emmy nominations, has revitalized much of its cast’s careers, and has become known for its sometimes meta, always outlandish commentary on NBC, television, and America.

In an effort to ease the pain of losing 30 Rock – at least, in primetime, as it has recently gone into syndication – let’s look back at what made the show what it was: a weird mishmash of stuff that could’ve been terrible but was so cleverly executed and it helped the show earn its place in television history.

This article originally had a section for guest stars, but we soon realized there were simply too many names to mention and we had to dedicate a whole article to it. So we did. Even still, there are so many elements that make up the unique and quirky thing that this show is, so please understand when we say that, while we were all over the place trying to highlight the biggest aspects of 30 Rock we might not have caught them all. With that being said, on to the memories!

Liz Lemonisms:

“I want to go to there.”

A term that first appeared in season 3, this is essentially a term of desire. Whether she’s talking about food, a place, or Jon Hamm (watch the clip) the phrase is applicable to just about any instance. More eloquent than saying “I want that,” “I want to go to there” is the perfect way to express your desire for something.

“Blerg!” & “Nerds!”

The equivalent of cursing, these two words are simple terms of expressing frustration. They’ve handily replaced more vulgar vernacular, as FCC law states you cannot curse on television, and because Liz I-Wore-a-Princess-Leia-Costume-To-My-Wedding Lemon doesn’t seem like the cursing type, “blerg” is one of the better (and family-friendly!) colloquialisms to come from the show.

If you find yourself exclaiming either of these terms on a daily basis, you might want to consider investing in a shirt with the phrase on it, just to save you the time.

Honorable mention: “Yes to love, yes to life, yes to staying in more!”

We feel you, Liz. And while we’re staying in, we’re probably eating cheesy blasters and watching some 30 Rock on Netflix. Thank goodness for auto-play, no need to touch the computer with our cheesy hands.

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Jackisms:

“Good God, Lemon!”

Usually spoken in a hushed undertone or in a quick breath, this quickly became Jack’s go-to expression of disbelief whenever his mentee/friend did something ridiculous – which was often. It would make more sense if it were followed with a “pull yourself together,” as Liz often comes to Jack with her life in shambles. The clip below isn’t even Jack saying it, but the way Liz delivers the line at the end pretty much hits the nail on the head.

“Shut it down.”

Does what it says on the label. Immediately stop whatever you are doing, mostly referred to in the show when someone is producing a particularly terrible show or sketch. This is a fantastic compilation video, showing how the term started with Jack, but its use slowly spread to the rest of the characters.

Honorable mention: “It’s after 6 p.m., what am I, a farmer?”

He only says it once but there’s something about this line – the comedic timing of it, the way it’s so quintessentially Jack Donaghy, makes it one of the most quotable among fans. Even if it’s completely out of the context of your conversation, it’s still fun to say.

Meta

The show was generally always aware of itself, and the constant breaking of the fourth wall never ceased to be entertaining, even if we were being told to go buy a Verizon phone.

A show within a show is not exactly a new concept, but never as well executed as TGS was on 30 Rock. This could be perhaps because as much as it was about producing and making TGS, 30 Rock was never wholly centered around the airing of an episode of TGS itself. There are, of course, exceptions, like when Hazel slowly sabotaged Liz the week leading up to an airing in an attempt to take over and become the star, but it was mostly about the antics like in any old workplace comedy.

100th episode

30 Rock‘s pilot is also the start of TGS, and while the show doesn’t follow real-time 24 style, it does on a season-to-season basis. So it would stand to reasn that when TGS celebrates its 100th show, 30 Rock celebrates the milestone achievement as well. The show’s characters express their surprise, and who can blame them? Just go back to 2005 when Studio 60 was supposed to be the smash hit and 30 Rock was maybe going to get a full-season order.

Nibbling at the hand that feeds

For a show that’s aired on NBC and was once owned by GE, 30 Rock goes to great lengths to parody just about every aspect of it. At one point even promoting Jack to VP of East Coast & Microwave Oven Programming – what? Let’s not forget that GE is also originally just a subsidiary for Sheinhardt Wigs. And then season 4 brought the buyout from Kabletown, whose logo looked suspiciously like Comcast’s – which bought NBCUniversal around the same time. Then there was the time the head of NBC was reincarnated as an actual peacock…

Recently, GE released a commercial, thanking 30 Rock for seven years of laughs, and at the same time letting the audience know that it was in on the joke the whole time. In fact, many of the show sponsors have been parodied on the show, but advertising is advertising. GE has curated a list of clips and gathered them here, titled “GE’s Favorite Moments.”

Live episodes

A feat most shows would never dare attempt, and 30 Rock pulled it off twice. Major props have to go to the crews that coordinated the quick set and costume changes. In a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey explains the shows were done on the SNL stage and the crew was a mix of 30 Rock and SNL staff. The appearance of guest stars such as Jimmy Fallon as a young Jack or Julia Louis-Dryefus as a stand-in Liz is nothing short of pure genius and cleverly executed. And of course, no show preformed on the SNL stage is complete without Fred Armisen doing something strange in the background.

Quotables

30 Rock may have been the best thing to ever happen to the one-liner type of comedy that seemed on the outs in the modern age of irony. If you poured all of 30 Rock’s scripts into a database that just fired sentences out randomly, you’d probably laugh at at least 70% of them. Choosing the best one is a tough decision but it’s truly hard to top “never follow a hippie to a second location.”

Because we live in a modern era, this has translated into thousands of reaction gifs spread out across the Internet, from “high-fiving a million angels” to express happiness and glee, to the always-applicable gif about Liz Lemon’s food addiction (which could be another post itself).

30 Rock Gif

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New Holidays

30 Rock had its typical Christmas-themed episodes like most other sitcoms, but not since Seinfeld has a show attempted to so brazenly create new holidays for us all to enjoy. If you’re not pouring over post-feminist theory on Anna Howard Shaw Day or trading your children’s tears to Leap Day William for candy on Leap Day, then you’re just not living right.

30 Rock is a lot of things, but normal isn’t one of them. This show grew from a middle-of-the-road NBC comedy into one of the most culturally relevant, funny, and entertaining shows of the decade.

Tags: 30 Rock, Finale, TV

Glee alum Lea Michele has found a new comedy project, this time on ABC, which leaves her Scream Queens fate undecided.

Daveed Diggs will be producing the untitled project for ABC, which was written and created by Jeremy Bronson.

Deadline is now reporting that Lea Michele has joined the project, stating, “The role that she was offered originally was conceived as Valentina Flores, Courtney’s Chief of Staff and reliable foil.”

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Glee alum Lea Michele has found a new comedy project, this time on ABC, which leaves her Scream Queens fate undecided.

Daveed Diggs will be producing the untitled project for ABC, which was written and created by Jeremy Bronson.

Deadline is now reporting that Lea Michele has joined the project, stating, “The role that she was offered originally was conceived as Valentina Flores, Courtney’s Chief of Staff and reliable foil.”

Now, it sounds like ABC will be tailoring the character specifically to Michele and could even showcase her musical talents along the way.

As previously reported, the show is about “an outspoken, idealistic rapper [who] runs for office as a publicity stunt and actually gets elected, then surprising everyone, including himself, when he has a natural knack for the job and slowly transforms City Hall.”

Interestingly, Ryan Murphy has let Michele out of her contract for Scream Queens in order to join this project. Apparently a season 3 renewal is unlikely anyway, and this sounds like another nail in the coffin for the show. However, the series could live on without Michele’s character, so fans will certainly be keeping an eye out for any news.

Will you be tuning into Lea Michele’s latest project?

Experiencing Star Wars in its original, unaltered format has been a distant hope for most fans. But now, according to new rumors, it could be set to become reality.

Ask any Star Wars fan about their opinions over the Special Edition releases, and you’ll typically hear the same thing: That the changes implemented by George Lucas, on the whole, either altered the story and character development for the worse, or added unnecessary and cumbersome CGI elements out of step with the movies’ aesthetic.

And so, for as long as the Special Editions have existed, so too have the persistent rumors that the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy would eventually be released. They wane in the years between significant milestones in the franchise’s lifespan, but become ever more abundant when an anniversary is on the horizon.

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Experiencing Star Wars in its original, unaltered format has been a distant hope for most fans. But now, according to new rumors, it could be set to become reality.

Ask any Star Wars fan about their opinions over the Special Edition releases, and you’ll typically hear the same thing: That the changes implemented by George Lucas, on the whole, either altered the story and character development for the worse, or added unnecessary and cumbersome CGI elements out of step with the movies’ aesthetic.

And so, for as long as the Special Editions have existed, so too have the persistent rumors that the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy would eventually be released. They wane in the years between significant milestones in the franchise’s lifespan, but become ever more abundant when an anniversary is on the horizon.

With the 40th Anniversary of the release of A New Hope coming up in May of 2017, it was only a matter of time before the rumors surfaced once more — so, what makes them different this time around?

That would come down to the source. Making Star Wars boasts a pretty solid track record when it comes to reporting rumors. Not only that, but they typically don’t give much, if any, attention to the rumblings about a re-release of the theatrical versions of Star Wars.

Per their report, however, Making Star Wars’ Editor in Chief Jason Ward states that “over the last month the evidence and tips have been piling up that the unaltered original trilogy will be re-released this year for the 40th anniversary in various formats. Several sources have let us know it was coming and it appears to actually be on the way this time.”

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, with a 40th Anniversary panel recently announced for the upcoming Star Wars Celebration — the opening panel of the convention, no less. Big things are, unsurprisingly, expected to arise from that panel and, for fans, nothing could be a bigger than a confirmation of this rumor.

But why are the theatrical releases of the Original Trilogy such an important commodity for fans of the franchise?

The complicated history of Star Wars and the Special Editions

Whether you love, hate or are indifferent to Star Wars on the whole, there’s certainly no denying the significant cultural impact the franchise has had on the world. A New Hope — or just Star Wars, as it was known back in 1977 — won several Academy Awards, including Best Visual Effects, Production Design and Original Music Score.

It left its mark on the film industry in pretty spectacular style, and influenced movies in its wake, but there was no knowing then that the version of Star Wars so decorated by the Academy, and beloved by fans and critics alike, would be unceremoniously hidden away from the world — as though it was George Lucas’ secret shame.

Many fans of Star Wars have never experienced a version of the film where Han really did shoot first, where John Williams’ score isn’t drowned out by sound effects, and Luke and Obi-Wan’s arrival at Mos Eisley isn’t obscured by CGI creatures.

George Lucas has spoken out in defense of these changes, which debuted in a re-release of the Original Trilogy in 1997, saying that the Special Editions are the films as they were “meant to be.”

That Lucas could return to the trilogy years after its release, with more advanced technologies at his fingertips, in order to complete the film with his original vision in mind is something that most of us — as creators — would yearn to do. There is, as Lucas mentioned in his interview, always more you feel that you could have done. Nothing ever truly feels perfect, or complete.

But, in returning to the films to “correct” his mistakes, Lucas did more than alter them to more closely fit his ideal vision — he erased an important part of film history.

Setting aside the complicated feelings most fans have with the significant adjustments to the story and visuals, the 1997 release of A New Hope stripped the film of every aspect that it had won its Academy Awards for. Gone were the incredible sound effects and mixing, replaced with more cumbersome versions. So too were the costume and production design, overwritten by CGI creatures. And John Williams’ beautiful score was drowned out by the rush of X-Wings.

Each year, the American National Film Registry, a branch of the Library of Congress, archives 25 American films to preserve them. Star Wars, the 1977 release, was one of the first films chosen for preservation — but Lucasfilm refused to deliver the original archival print.

The 1997 release of A New Hope has been offered in its stead, but legislation dictates that the first published must be archived, so the Registry had no choice but to refuse to accept it.

Preserving the original version of Star Wars became a hugely important project for many fans, who felt as though future generations deserved to experience the film as they had. And so, with each subsequent release, and re-release, of Star Wars, several restoration attempts have been made.

The scope of these fan projects is nothing short of breathtaking, and the results in themselves are incredible, particularly with Harmy’s Despecialized Editions. They painstakingly restored the sound balance, breathing life back into John Williams’ score, and corrected the coloring, removed the additional scenes and CGI, and ensured the original sound effects were in place.

There is no denying that these projects are a labor of love. It is a true respect for the cultural impact of Star Wars and its part in film history that continues to drive fans to restore the trilogy to its original state.

But now, perhaps, those versions of the film will no longer need to be hidden in the shadows, skirting around the edge of legality under fair-use.

With the potential of an official release of the theatrical editions of the Original Trilogy, at a level of quality that Star Wars truly deserves, perhaps it can finally take its rightful place as a documented part of American film history.

Legion is FX’s mysterious new show loosely set in the X-Men universe that begs plenty of questions, one of which is who is Sydney Barrett?

Sydney Barrett is one of the more interesting characters on Legion, and that is certainly saying something. The show is nothing if not intriguing, but Syd stands out as a character who poses as many questions as our hero, David.

Sydney was first introduced at Clockworks Mental Hospital, the psychiatric institution where David was being treated for schizophrenia. The first thing we learn about her is that she doesn’t like to be touched. She’s a bit distant (physically and emotionally), speaks her mind, and immediately agrees to be David’s girlfriend. And let’s not forget she’s named after the founding member of Pink Floyd, who is rumored to have suffered from schizophrenia himself.

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Legion is FX’s mysterious new show loosely set in the X-Men universe that begs plenty of questions, one of which is who is Sydney Barrett?

Sydney Barrett is one of the more interesting characters on Legion, and that is certainly saying something. The show is nothing if not intriguing, but Syd stands out as a character who poses as many questions as our hero, David.

Sydney was first introduced at Clockworks Mental Hospital, the psychiatric institution where David was being treated for schizophrenia. The first thing we learn about her is that she doesn’t like to be touched. She’s a bit distant (physically and emotionally), speaks her mind, and immediately agrees to be David’s girlfriend. And let’s not forget she’s named after the founding member of Pink Floyd, who is rumored to have suffered from schizophrenia himself.

Right from the start, something is different about Sydney. She challenges the idea that they’re all crazy. Just because David hears voices doesn’t mean he’s insane. Since we know these two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive, this immediately sends up a red flag. What does Sydney know that David doesn’t?

For one, she knows more about her powers than he does. Despite their emotional intimacy, there can never be any physical touching. Sydney knows what will happen if there is, but David does not. On the day she is set to leave Clockworks, David rushes over to kiss her, and we find out for the first time what exactly Sydney can do.

Her ability is to switch bodies with whomever she touches with her bare skin. David ends up as Sydney, confused and more than a little concerned he now has breasts, and Sydney ends up as David, distraught, afraid, and unable to control his immense power. She destroys Clockworks and kills Lenny (Aubrey Plaza). Eventually, David ends up in Division’s hands, while Sydney joins Melanie Bird’s team of fellow mutants.

It’s at this point where I’d like to pause and emphasize how unreliable of a narrator David truly is. Yes, he really does have powers, but if you have any knowledge about the comics, you’ll know that he’s also mentally ill (he even continues to question his own sanity in episode 3 despite now knowing about his powers). David has a variety of abilities, which are traditionally associated with each one of his personalities.

At least five times an episode I question whether or not Sydney is real. As of this writing, I’m convinced that she is, but that could change next week. Since David is so powerful, we really don’t know what he’s able to do, and it’s clear that he and Sydney have a surprising and mysterious connection.

Sydney is often seen alone with David. She’ll find him in a room or down by the docks. When they’re in a room with other people, she stands off the the side. She doesn’t always participate in the activities. This last point isn’t too surprising, however, because we know that even being close to people makes her skin crawl. She avoids direct contact with most individuals because she doesn’t want to risk triggering her powers.

The lack of interaction does make you scratch your head, but it’s important to note that the other characters can see and talk with Sydney. In this episode in particular, we watch Kerry track Sydney as she leaves the room before David is to be tested. We also see her go into and come out of David’s mindscape, and then interact with other characters while he’s unconscious. If she were a figment of his imagination, she would have little to no impact on the real world, but she does.

Lenny, on the other hand, is just in David’s head. The real Lenny is definitely dead, and so every time we see her pop up on our screens, we know she’s not really there. The interesting part of this is that David’s speech center is working even when he’s not outwardly talking to her (just inwardly having a conversation with his friend). No one else can see Lenny and no one else can hear him talk to her, but she’s real enough to David that she causes his brain to function as if she were there.

People with schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder assume what they see and hear is real, and therefore they (and their bodies) interact with their hallucinations as if they are corporeal. But what happens when you have someone with these disorders who also happens to be an extremely powerful mutant? Would they be able to manifest one of their personalities into the real world?

We cannot deny that David and Sydney have a strong connection. In episode 3, David talks about still being able to feel her from the time they switched bodies. His center of gravity is sometimes off and he feels as though he has to brush her long hair out of his face. This could absolutely be a side effect of Sydney’s powers, but what if it’s something more significant?

After all, no one but David and Sydney can see the yellow-eyed demon. When the demon attacked, Melanie and Ptonomy couldn’t see him, nor could they see the way he ripped apart the world in David’s mindscape.

But guess who could see the yellow-eyed demon? Sydney saw him when she was in David’s body back at Clockworks, but she could also see him when inside David’s mind. Again, this could be some sort of residual ability left over from sharing David’s mind, but it’s still worth pointing out that out of everyone, Sydney is the one who can back up David’s claims that the creature in his mind is real.

Legion is meant to test you mentally, and so far they are doing an incredible job at just that. Sydney’s existence continues to baffle me, and I hope we don’t get an easy answer here. I would love if David were somehow able to manifest one of his personalities (though this story line would be a bit narcissistic, no?), or, on the flip-side, if he were able to absorb her mind into his thanks to Sydney’s unique abilities, providing them with a connection unlike anything David has experienced before.

If neither one of these options is the case, I’d love for Sydney to be the one person to truly begin to understand how David’s mind operates. Melanie is at a loss, and considering she seems like the most experienced mutant at their facility, that is certainly disconcerting.

Whether or not Sydney is real, I hope she’s able to help David understand what he can do.

How are you enjoying ‘Legion‘ so far?