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'30 Rock' finale: The 'St. Elsewhere,' 'Newhart' connection

The cast of ?St. Elsewhere.? Snow globes have

The cast of “St. Elsewhere.” Snow globes have been an enduring TV metaphor ever since the end of that show. (Credit: L.I. News Daily/Newsday File )

As happily (or not) bewildered fans of "30 Rock” now know, it all ended as something of a “as told to” story -- the whole series as told to NBC president Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) by Liz Lemon's great-granddaughter -- who is black -- recalling the stories of the old lady, as Jetson-era space cars floated by the window. Not quite a dream, not quite a flashback, but . . . a memory.

So what did this all evoke? “St. Elsewhere” of course, and “Newhart,” two other classics that ended memorable runs playing with the viewers' heads. Last night, Kenneth was holding a snow globe -- home to the end of “Elsewhere,” which ended with the suggestion that it all took place inside an autistic boys' head, as he stared into a snow globe. “Newhart?" 'Twas but a dream . . . (Snow globes? An enduring TV metaphor ever since the end of “Elsewhere" -- recall the “Lost” episode “Stuck in a Snow Globe.”

Take a look at these clips for perspective. This fun cast reunion on “Good  Morning America” last year is a good place to start. Discussion of the globe arrives five minutes in, but the whole interview is fun and interesting; next, the final “Newhart” scene.

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