When 30 Rock made its TV debut in 2006, few expected it to leave a dent on the pop culture landscape or even outlast the similarly themed new drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
Now, as the sitcom mocking the backstage shenanigans of a late-night sketch show airs its final episode Thursday night, fans and cultural commenters have been paying tribute to the Tina Fey creation.
"It's exciting to have a show I love have enough space and time to actually do so many good things and go out on top. That's a pretty rare situation, so I can't feel that sad [about it ending]," New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum told CBC's Q cultural affairs show on Wednesday.
"It's been wonderful revisiting with everyone all of the great things about the show."
After 30 Rock premiered, the ratings were initially low and Saturday Night Live alum Fey's sitcom nearly cancelled. But the comedy eventually became a critical darling and outlived Studio 60, which debuted around the same time but was soon axed.
"Studio 60 was an esteemed drama by Aaron Sorkin and this was a weird, dirty little sitcom… People just assumed that it would be swept off the table and it ended up being the survivor," Nussbaum said.
"There is, I think, this tendency to over praise dramas ... and to underestimate comedies and 30 Rock is a prime example of a comedy that sort of contained the world, was very powerful [and] had this brilliant craftsmanship. Comedies in general have trouble being taken seriously."
Nussbaum talked to Q's Jian Ghomeshi about 30 Rock's legacy in TV history, why the oddball character Liz Lemon is "revolutionary" and Fey's place as a forerunner to other women in comedy today.