'30 Rock' finale: Liz Lemon and more characters we love

From left, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, Tina

From left, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, Tina Fey as Liz Lemon and Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan on "30 Rock." (Credit: AP, 2006)

Yeah (sure), love means never having to say you're sorry (blah blah), but still... we're sorry to see "30 Rock" gone after seven glorious seasons. So much love to go around, so little space to spread it.

As "30 Rock" wraps Thursday with a special one-hour episode (NBC/4 at 8 p.m.), here's our fond look back at what made the show's key characters so lovable:

LIZ LEMON (Tina Fey) "You've got Lemon! Make lemonade!" was one of Liz's favorite optimistic quips, although optimism was not the "TGS" producer's strong suit. Both maternal -- instinct extending to many boyfriends and to her show's stars -- and fiercely antimaternal, Liz has finally settled into connubial bliss with Criss (James Marsden), who (one suspects) is the baby she was always meant to have. She has had food issues (cupcakes) and body image issues (hips, feet, ears etc.) and relationship issues (too many to name) and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) issues (ditto). But through the maze of life, she never lost her ability to use sarcasm to deal with all of them: "I want to roll my eyes right now, but the doctor says that if I keep doing it, my ocular muscles might spasm and eject my eyeballs."


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JACK DONAGHY (Alec Baldwin) A roiling pot of complex countervailing emotions and impulses... no, never mind. He wasn't that at all. Cynical, manipulative, pragmatic, dynamic, powerful, aggressive (his book? "Jack Attack"), ambitious, Republican, impeccably bespoke (tuxes always after 6 p.m.) and scrupulous with company funds, though not always (he used GE helicopters to dry his tennis courts). But he does have one enduring insecurity -- his mother. He spent a lifetime seeking approval from her. Jack has had an unhealthy obsession with "TGS," now canceled. Why? Maybe because maternal Liz was the loving mother he never had.

TRACY JORDAN (Tracy Morgan) Infantile star of "TGS" who has psychotic ideas about the world and is himself almost certainly unbalanced. ("Who's crazier? Me or Ann Curry?") And even though he's won an Oscar (for "Hard to Watch"), he's a terrible actor who can't read cue cards -- or read anything. ("A book hasn't given me this much trouble since Waldo went to that barber pole factory.") But he has had success along the way, notably a best-selling sex doll molded in his image.

JENNA MARONEY (Jane Krakowski) Craven, narcissistic, self-delusional, flirtatious, libidinous and very hardworking. She's starred in dozens of B pictures on the side, including one where she "plays a scientist and -- spoiler alert! -- I turn into a werewolf." Also has a complicated personal history: "Shots? What am I, 12, and at my boyfriend's frat party?"

KENNETH PARCELL (Jack McBrayer) The world's most enthusiastic NBC page, who studied TV theory at Kentucky Bible College, and brings joy to work each day -- now, as president of NBC. Came from a hardscrabble background -- his family ate "their fair share of rock soup and squirrel tails, but they've also known lean times" -- yet that never dimmed his love for the tube. TV, he declaims, isn't a ruthless business, but "a magical ruth-filled" one.

FRANK ROSSITANO (Judah Friedlander) "TGS" head writer, profoundly sarcastic, post-prepubescent sex drive and wearer of trucker hats with different slogans for each episode. Some favorites? "Bahama Trapezoid"; "Speling Expirt"; "Plumber College"and "Space Karate."

PETE HORNBERGER (Scott Adsit) Sane, follically challenged producer bound by a dose of healthy realism ("Kenneth. If you're worried about disgracing the National Broadcasting Company, you're too late.")

DR. LEO SPACEMAN (Chris Parnell). World's worst doctor, recently named surgeon general. ("Now this is surgery, so don't eat anything before you come in. Because I'll have a big breakfast waiting for you.")