By Chuck Barney Contra Costa Times
After seven kooky, smart, high-energy and completely delirious seasons, Tina Fey’s “30 Rock” is signing off for good at 8 p.m. tonight on NBC, and, quite frankly, it doesn’t make us feel like “high-fiving one million angels.” In fact, it’s a total bummer.
But rather than mourn, we prefer to laugh. To help us do just that, we’ve delved into the vaults and come up with five of the funniest, most memorable moments produced by the three-time Emmy champ:
1. Therapy with Jack and Tracy: To help Tracy deal with his daddy issues, Jack summons the NBC therapist. But a family role-playing session goes crazily off track when Jack pretends to be, in quick succession, Tracy’s father, his “moms,” the “white dude” she left his father for, the Hispanic female neighbor and Tracy himself.
Mixed into the hilariously subversive bit are impressions of Redd Foxx and Jimmy “J.J.” Walker. Our one-word review? “DY-NO-MITE!” (“Rosemary’s Baby”; Season 2, Episode 4).
2. Liz Meets Oprah: In one of the show’s most hilarious guest appearances, Liz is ecstatic to meet Oprah on a plane flight. Unfortunately, she has taken a sleeping pill that provokes side effects like “dizziness, sexual nightmares and sleep crime.”
A dazed Liz bares her soul to Oprah, telling her how she didn’t lose her virginity until 25, how at summer camp she kissed a girl on a dare (and the girl later died) and how she once had a sex dream involving Nate Berkus and Dr. Oz. (“Believe in the Stars”; Season 3, Episode 2).
3. Tracy does Conan: Here we honor not just a moment, but an entire episode, one in which “30 Rock” truly began to hit its stride. A frantic Liz, as usual, is putting out lots of workplace fires while preparing Tracy to go on Conan O’Brien’s show, and, unfortunately, Tracy is off his meds.
In this episode, we get our first reference to Jenna’s movie, “The Rural Juror,” and the first appearance of Dr. Spaceman. It’s also notable for one of the first great Liz-Jack exchanges: She: “Why are you wearing a tux?” He: “It’s after 6. What am I, a farmer?” (“Tracy Does Conan”; Season 1, Episode 7).
4. Liz gets married: Liz and Criss (James Marsden) spontaneously decide to get married to enhance their adoption chances, but Liz claims she doesn’t want the fancy fairy-tale princess wedding many girls dream of. Instead, she’ll get hitched at City Hall “in a sweat shirt, no bra.”
But once there, she changes her mind and what ensues is one of the most chaotic and bizarre TV weddings ever, complete with an appearance by Tony Bennett. The capper: Liz is, indeed, a princess bride, donning her white “Star Wars” Princess Leia dress and those classic jumbo hair buns. (“Mazel Tov, Dummies!” Season 7, Episode 7).
5. Meat is the new bread: Tracy is strapped for cash, so Jack advises him to come up with a product that he can endorse and sell. The result is a bit of culinary genius called the Tracy Jordan Meat Machine. It’s a dual-press grill that melts various chunks of meat into one glorious “food ball.”
Raves Tracy, “You no longer have to suffer through the bread part of your sandwich.” We crack up just typing those words. (“The Rural Juror”; Season 1, Episode 7).