’30 Rock’: The Unexpected Series Finale That Moved Tina Fey ‘To Tears’

30 Rock had a perfect final season. Some TV shows drag on for as long as the network will allow, rehashing old material and disappointing fans.

But 30 Rock went in the other direction. They ended the show with Season 7 when the writers felt that the story had come to a natural ending point. There were no more fresh jokes to write, so they gave their fans the ending they deserved.

But that ending came with careful planning, including watching old series finales for all kinds of shows. 

Tina Fey cried at the ‘iCarly’ series finale 

The 30 Rock writers wanted to make their series finale perfect. To learn about what makes a good series finale, they watched a lot of them. Fey put on the finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Frasier, and Cheers. 

Then the team looked to a different kind of series. Fey has young children, and has apparently seen a lot of iCarly episodes. She’s seen enough that she cried when she watched the iCarly finale with her writers. 

Not everyone had the same reaction to the iCarly series finale. Fey told Entertainment Weekly that “It didn’t hold up in the room because they didn’t know the characters like I did. But that was another one where they really let people say goodbye!”

It’s clear to see iCarly’s influence in 30 Rock’s series finale. The writers took a lot of time in crafting the final episode, and in fact the whole final season, to ensure it would end in a way that fans would appreciate. 

’30 Rock’ writers were very careful when crafting their final season 

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
Tina Fey as Liz Lemon | NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

RELATED: ’30 Rock’: Tina Fey Didn’t Want Liz Lemon’s Wedding to Be the Series Finale

The final season of 30 Rock was all a buildup to the series finale. Fey and the writers did something interesting with the last season. Instead of making it a normal season with one final, wrap-up episode, they started wrapping things up early. They knew they were going off the air, and instead of creating new storylines and conflicts just to wrap them up quickly in the series finale, they tied up loose ends throughout the final season. 

That means that Liz Lemon, the main character in the show, fulfilled her dream of getting married and having children in the middle of the final season, and the last episode was truly a goodbye, instead of a jumble of things getting checked off Liz’s bucket list.

Fey had good reason to put Liz’s wedding in the middle of the final series, instead of at the end. According to Fey, she wanted fans to see Liz get a happy ending, but she didn’t want a marriage and kids to be Liz’s end all, be all. Especially since Liz was so career driven. 

In the series finale, Liz Lemon finally has it all 

Throughout the series Liz Lemon strives to ‘have it all.’ She longs for a job, and a family, and to somehow be able to balance both. In the last season, Liz gets married, and finally has the opportunity to adopt two older children. She and her new husband welcome the kids into their home, but their arrival comes at the end of Liz’s show. TGS, the show within a show on 30 Rock, is over, meaning once again Liz can’t have it all. 

That allowed for some personal growth for Liz in the final episodes, as she dealt with what ‘having it all’ really meant. In the end, Liz ends up going back to NBC, but this time to make shows that aren’t necessarily her cup of tea. 30 Rock asserts that for Liz to have it all, she has to make some sacrifices.