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