In the last 3 years, the NBC series 30 Rock has not only become one of the most critically acclaimed comedies on television, but it has also managed to pump out an unusually high number of Star Wars references. Head writer and star Tina Fey obviously loves displaying her Star Wars love and we love her for it! As this is a favorite show for my wife and me, I figured it was high time to sit down, watch every episode and chronicle all the references in a bit of a TFN exclusive feature.
"Hailed by Entertainment Weekly as not only "the best comedy on TV this year" but "simply the best TV," the Emmy Award-winning comedy "30 Rock" is told through the comedic voice of Golden Globe winner Tina Fey ("Liz Lemon") and features Golden Globe winner Alec Baldwin ("Jack Donaghy") as a top network executive and Tracy Morgan ("Tracy Jordan") as the unpredictable star of Lemon's hit variety show, "TGS with Tracy Jordan." Lemon constantly has her hands full, juggling corporate interference from Donaghy and off-the-handle star antics from Jordan, all while attempting to salvage her own personal life.
Also rounding out the cast are Jane Krakowski ("Jenna Maroney") as the co-star of "TGS"; Scott Adsit ("Pete Hornberger") as the variety show's producer; Jack McBrayer ("Kenneth the Page") as the over-eager and effortlessly endearing NBC page; Judah Friedlander ("Frank") as the sardonic slacker on the writing staff; Katrina Bowden ("Cerie") as Lemon's young, flighty assistant; and Keith Powell ("Toofer") as the sophisticated, yet sarcastic Harvard-alum writer.
Throughout the seasons, "30 Rock" has welcomed an impressive array of guest stars, including Elaine Stritch, who garnered a 2007 Emmy Award and a 2008 Emmy nomination for her performance, as well as 2008 Emmy nominees Will Arnett, Steve Buscemi, Tim Conway, Edie Falco, Carrie Fisher and Rip Torn. Other guest stars have included Jerry Seinfeld, former Vice President Al Gore, David Schwimmer, Andy Richter, Dean Winters, Gladys Knight, Meredith Vieira, Paul Reubens, Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, John McEnroe, Maury Povich, Ghostface Killah, LL Cool J, Sean Hayes, Nathan Lane, Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis."
As there are numerous Star Wars references to list from 30 Rock, we'll be bringing them to you by season. We begin with the season that came first and started it all, coincidentally called Season 1. Each entry to the list is preceded by the time (in bold) that you can find the reference in the noted episode. If you know of a reference I missed, be sure to let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
30 Rock Season 1
Episode 1 – Pilot
(7:55) Tracey Jordan (Tracy Morgan) is running down the street in his underwear and wielding a red lightsaber while yelling: “I am a Jedi!” repeatedly.
Episode 2 – The Aftermath
(6:15) As Liz Lemon and TGS actress Jenna Maroney walk out into the hallway, someone is carrying a life-size stand-up of Darth Vader into another room.
(Video: Episode 1 and Episode 11 Star Wars references)
Episode 4 – Jack the Writer
(12:41) Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is walking towards the elevator while talking with her producer Pete (Scott Adsit) about dreading having to go up to Jack Donaghy’s office (Alec Baldwin):
Liz: “Uh, even when it’s something normal, I hate going up to Jack’s office. I always feel like I’m entering the Death Star. I expect to see stormtroopers. I’m telling you, if Donaghy does this at me (Liz makes a Force choke gesture) I will run.
Pete: "You’ll be fine, Captain Needa"
Liz: "No! Captain Needa dies! He dies!" (As the elevator doors close)
(16:23) Liz Lemon and her producer Pete are walking and discussing how weird it is for Jack Donaghy to be friendly with them:
Pete: “…Look, having Jack on your side can only make life easier for everybody if he wants to be friends.
Liz: “I know, but it’s so weird. It’s like that scene where you see the back of Darth Vader’s head, with his helmet off, and your like (gasp), he’s a human being. I gotta get some new DVDs.”
Episode 5 – Jack-Tor
(4:52) While messing around with TGS actress Jenna Maroney, writers Frank and Toofer convince her that Jack is looking to cut costs and fire one of the actors. Frank refers to his friend Lando Calrissian in accounting as the source of the rumor.
Episode 7 – Tracy Does Conan
(14:44) Tracy is freaking out due to being on new medication and prior to going on Conan O’Brien. While in mid freak-out, Tracy makes Chewbacca noises while Liz Lemon asks Chewbacca if she can talk to Tracy.
Episode 9 - The Baby Show
(5:28) This one may be a bit of a stretch, but I’m going with it anyway: TGS actor Josh Girard (Lonny Ross) refers to himself as a “young Alec Guiness” when imitating Tracy Jordan.
(Video: "The Best of Liz Lemon" from Season 1 - includes the Ackbar reference from Episode 21)
Episode 11 – The Head and the Hair
(6:23) Liz Lemon talks with Jenna about being asked out by the good looking guy that works for MSNBC upstairs, whom they refer to as “The Hair”:
Liz: “I had to say yes. I mean, he looked at me with those crazy handsome guy eyes. It was like the Death Star tractor beam when the Falcon…”
Jenna: (cutting off Liz mid-sentence) “No Liz, do not talk about stuff like that on your date. Guys like that do not like Star Trek.”
Episode 16 – The Source Awards
( 7:34) Liz Lemon is out on a date with Tracy’s business manager, Stephen Black (guest star Wayne Brady), and is struggling to find some common ground…
Stephen: “I have hobbies. I participate in Vietnam Wars reenactments and I take pictures of interesting doors. And I spend a lot of free time blogging about Star Wars.”
Liz: “Oh really you like Star Wars?”
Stephen: “I love it”
Liz: “I was Princess Leia like four Halloweens in a row, recently”
Stephen: “No, no, no…Not the fantasy movie with the, uh, monsters. I’m talking about the Strategic Defense Initiative.”
Liz: “Yeah, we should probably go ahead and order.”
Episode 18 – Fireworks
(15:22) While upset at learning that he is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson, Tracy Jordan has a dream in which he’s on Maury Povich with Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, in the dream, is played by Jack Donaghy who ends the segment with the following monologue:
Jefferson/Jack: “…I rode a horse from Heaven to tell you something important. America, which I invented, (the crowd boos loudly while Jefferson gives them the double middle finger salute) WHICH I INVENTED, is a great country in which we are not burdened by our pasts. Embrace who you are Tracy Jordan. May the Force be with you always.”
(16:08) Liz is walking down the street at night with Floyd, who she has a crush on, and invites him over to watch a movie:
Liz: “Hey do you want to come over. My friend Pete is staying with me and we’ve decided we’re going to do this thing where every night we watch one of the AFI top 100 movies.
Floyd: “How many are you going through?”
Liz: “Well I only have Star Wars and Tootsie so we just keep watching those two over and over.”
(22:00) This one you really have to be paying attention to catch for it’s not a direct reference, but any Star Wars fan would pick it up. Toofer and Frank are talking about Toofer’s heritage and Toofer is especially upset after learning that his ancestors fought for the South during the civil war. It should be noted that Toofer is black which is why this bothers him so much. Then Tracy walks in…
Tracy: “Yo Toof, how you doing?”
Toofer: “Not good. The barn that John Wilkes Booth hid in belonged to Tobias Spurloch (Toofer’s great-great-great grandfather).”
Tracy: “Well listen, dream Jefferson told me some amazing stuff. He said its not about who you were. Its about who you are right now.”
Frank: “No Toofer. Give in to your heritage. Kill Tracy.”
Episode 19 – Corporate Crush
(8:25) Liz takes (now boyfriend) Floyd out to dinner to meet Jack Donaghy for the first time:
Floyd: “Sorry. I’m just nervous to meet the head of east coast television and microwave oven programming.”
Jack: “I just got the word from Geiss that they’re taking me off microwaves.”
Liz: “Oh, no. Really?”
Floyd: “Mr. Donaghy. With all due respect to Mr. Geis, I gotta say he’s making a terrible mistake. This company’s stability in the small appliance market is in large part your doing. The dedicated popcorn setting on your microwave was the imagination breakthrough of 1995. In 2002 you increased corporate earnings by 3% while the country suffered through a recession.”
Liz: “And Attack of the Clones, which was seriously the worst of the Star Wars…” (Then Floyd cuts her off to suck up to Jack some more)
Episode 21 – Hiatus (Season 1 Finale)
(3:05) Tracy Jordan has gone missing as he’s on the run from the “Black Crusaders.” (Don’t ask, just find and watch the episode) NBC page, Kenneth, is the only one who knows where he is and he won’t give up the information to Jack Donaghy or Liz Lemon. As they are on either side of him threatening him if he doesn’t fess up, Liz threatens to cut him open like a Tauntaun.
(11:52) Liz is talking to her boyfriend Floyd via video conferencing on the computer where she can see him and herself and doesn’t like how she looks…
Liz: “Ughh! Is that how far apart my eyes are? I look like Admiral Ackbar.”
Stay tuned to TFN for future updates with references added from seasons 2 and 3 as well as future pop-culture reference guides from other members of our TFN team!
In the meantime, visit the 30 Rock NBC site or the 30 Rock Wikipedia page for clips and to learn more about the show. Additionally, full episodes (typically 5 at a time on a rotating basis) are available to view at Hulu for free.
30 Rock's 4th season premiere is this Thursday (10-15-09) at 9:30 on NBC.