As 30 Rock's final season draws to a close, I've been thinking a lot about how much I'm going to miss the gang at TGS. It's been one of the most gag-packed shows on TV for the last seven years, and its roster of funny supporting characters is second-to-none. Before the hour-long series finale on January 31, let's take a look at some characters who deserve their own spin-offs and what those shows might look like.
For the hilariously desperate and debauched Jenna Maroney's (Jane Krakowski) spin-off, I had to steal the horribly inappropriate name of her failed website. Now that TGS is getting cancelled, and she's married to Paul (Will Forte) aka Jenna Maroney (the kooky female impersonator took Jenna's first and last name), it would be easy enough to set them up in a house in the suburbs and watch the straightlaced neighbors deal with them. But it would be more fun to see Jenna appear on a series of embarrassing reality shows (Celebrity Apprentice, Dancing with the Stars, etc) the way real washed-up celebs do.
What's the Frequency, Kenneth?
Georgia native and Tennessee Mountain Bible College alum Kenneth "The Page" Parcell (Jack McBrayer) was the first breakout "minor" character on the show. Kenneth's boundless enthusiasm, his undying love of all things television and his loyalty to NBC have not served him particularly well in the corporate hierarchy, perhaps because he devotes so much of his workday to coddling Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan). But Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) has said they might all end up working for Kenneth one day, and now that Jack has become CEO, I'd like to see a spin-off where Kenneth takes over his old job.
The Dot Com Boom
Tracy Jordan is rarely seen without his two-man entourage, Grizz (Grizz Chapman) and Walter "Dot Com" Slattery (Kevin Brown). Here's a well-known fact: Actors Chapman and Slattery were actually Jordan's friends and had those nicknames before being cast on the show. They're two of my favorite characters, with their erudition, Grizz's fastidiousness, and Dot Com's artistic aspirations. So what if Dot Com made an independent film that was a sleeper success. How would they adjust to the less glamourous life of cinematic artists? Who would be in their entourage? And who's going to play Grizz's fiancee, Feyonce?
I can't be the only one who was excited to hear that Jack Donaghy's loving assistant Jonathan (Maulik Pancholy) was returning for the final season. I enjoyed Pancholy's work on Weeds before he turned up in his small but pivotal role on 30 Rock. He's a good example of a character who doesn't get much screen time, but makes an impact. His overprotective and unrequited passion for all things Jack, extending to his jealous hatred of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), is darkly comic. Jonathan without Jack is like Smithers without Mr. Burns, so I think the show would have to focus on his home life, maybe with an Indian family that aren't quite so assimilated and don't understand his devotion to his boss.
The Wrong Writers
One of my favorite all-time typical throwaway silly little moments on 30 Rock was when Liz called Harvard grad Toofer Spurlock (Keith Powell) "Chocolate Rain" (Season 2, Episode 1). The show has always been filled with those kind of fun, somewhat obscure cultural references, both highbrow and low. Toofer and his writing cohorts, the slovenly Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander) and the hapless J.D. Lutz (John Lutz), make TGS run, but what would their post-TGS careers be like? Who will they prank once Jenna is no longer around? I'd like to see them go on to another show, perhaps a more traditional sitcom where maybe Toofer and Frank's smarts and edginess are less appreciated, and Lutz becomes the star of the writers' room.
Surgeon General Malaise
Well, this one writes itself. Or, more accurately, the writers of 30 Rock already wrote it, as our last view of Dr. Leo Spaceman (Chris Parnell) was him being taken away by government authorities, not in the way we might hope, but to become the next Surgeon General of the United States. While the character and Parnell's acting always seemed a bit more SNL-sketchy than the more earthbound world of 30 Rock, I'd love to see what the Ho Chi-Minh Medical School grad, who believes that eating meat "straightens the spine" does as a member of the Obama administration. It might be more of an absurdist 15-minute episode Adult Swim-type show than a network sitcom, though.