Is this list of Paste Magazine's Top 30 Moments of 30 Rock premature? Perhaps -- but when a show is cranking out as many jokes as this show, I'm surprised there's not a list of 30 Moments for every episode. The list is great and includes some of my favorite moments (denoted by ***). I've posted some stand-outs below. One question, though: why the omission of Kenneth's line, "Son of a married couple!"?
28. You're going down, Jack
Jack's gay rival Devon Banks (played by Will Arnett) has long-devised to supplant Jack on the road to becoming CEO of the company, inspiring some witty insults between the two. Case in point: "You're going down, Jack." "No, Devon. I don't do that." Two claps for gay subtext. (Season 1, "Fireworks")
25. Do the worm! Do the worm!***
Liz gets upset at Josh after he uses an offer from The Daily Show as leverage in his contract renegotiation. Being the cool, level-headed boss that she is, she makes him do the worm, an act so degrading it must have originated in Nazi Germany. (Season 1, "Hard Ball")
23. Tuxedo man***
Jack is a classy guy. So classy, he waltzes around in tuxes after work. "Why are you wearing a tux?" Liz asks. "Lemon, it's after six. What am I, a farmer?" (Season 1, "Tracy Does Conan")
20. You must know Arsenio Billingham
Tracy needs $100,000, and Jack explains how a certain washed-up celebrity friend of his was able to make some quick cash. It leads to this brilliantly silly exchange:
Jack: Look, Tracy, I can't just give you money. But what I can do is show you how you can earn all the money you need. You must know Arsenio.16. Kenneth looks on the bright side of life
Tracy: Hall or Billingham?
Jack: You know someone named Arsenio Billingham?
(Season 1, "The Rural Juror")
Kenneth is a gold mine for hopelessly naive bits of advice, but this explanation on why he's always so chipper takes the cake: "My mother always told me that, even when things seem bad, there's someone else who's having a worse day. Like being stung by a bee, or getting a splinter, or being chained to a wall in someone's sex dungeon." (Season 1, "The Baby Show")
11. Tracy explains affirmative action
In the show's fledgling first episode, Tracy gets all metaphorical on us: "Affirmative action was designed to keep women and minorities in competition with each other to distract us while white dudes inject AIDS into our chicken nuggets. That's a metaphor!" (Season 1, "Pilot")
8. The Rural Juror (it's a Kevin Grisham novel)
The confusion over the title of Jenna's movie leads to one of the funniest running jokes in the series. The Roar Her Gem Her? The Oral Germ Whore? The Roaring Junior? Whatever the case, you can't go wrong with a Kevin Grisham adaptation (the slightly less famous brother of John). We can't wait for the sequel: Urban Fervor. (Season 1, "The Rural Juror")
7. Kenneth hates hot liquids
Country bumpkin Kenneth has a strange aversion to hot beverages: "I don't drink coffee, sir. I don't drink hot liquids of any kind. That's the devil's temperature!" (Season 2, "Episode 210")
2. Jack the therapist*** (funniest thing EVER)
Mere words cannot express how brilliant Baldwin is in this scene, easily his shining moment in the series thus far. OK, maybe one does: DY-NO-MITE! Tracy's daddy issues resurface after Jack berates him for dog fighting, prompting a therapy session. Things quickly go astray when Jack takes the role playing a bit too far ("a bit" being the understatement of the century). (Season 2, "Rosemary's Baby")
1. Tracy's novelty party song "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah"***
The clip of Tracy's gold-selling Halloween-meets-Jewish rite-of-passage song might have lasted mere seconds, but it was enough to steal a place in our hearts forever. "Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves." It's so genius, it's spooky scary. (Season 2, "Jack Gets in the Game")