It's the end of an era.
Just like "Seinfeld" in its day and "The Sopranos" years later, some shows deserve to be taken apart postmortem, analyzed and re-experienced for the sheer enjoyment of it. These shows are so brilliant that their focus isn't ratings or stats -- it's that they're in our cultural bloodstream. Such was "30 Rock," which last night aired its last episode after seven seasons (point most eloquently made by Tracy Jordan: "Thank you America, that's our show! Not a lot of people watched it but the joke's on you, because we got paid anyway!”)
Granted, what made "30 Rock" was the superb combination of recurring talent: Tina Fey's Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy, Tracy Morgan's Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski's Jenna Maroney, and Jack McBrayer's Kenneth Parcell. But some of the best episodes owe it to the celebrity stars who waltzed through those NBC doors.
Let's look back at them:
Oprah: "I have so many wonderful favorite things this year: sweater capes, calypso music, paisley tops, Chinese checkers, high-heeled flip flops that lift your butt and give you a workout. And you, Liz Lemon. Too many women are wearing themselves thin these days and what suffers because of that?"
Liz Lemon: "Your bowel movements --"
Oprah: "Your personal life."
Liz Lemon: "Why is that here [to Franco's Kimiko body pillow]?"
James Franco: "Why? I mean, why is this table here? Why is that lamp here? Kimiko is... It is here like any other object. Objects are made by men and used for many purposes, but we never love objects."
Jack Donaghy: "All right, listen, Seinfeld, I'll give you one million dollars and five free commercials for your animated feature 'Bee Movie' and you let me run this for one week.
Jerry Seinfeld: "Two million dollars to the charity of my choice, 10 free commercials for 'Bee Movie' -- opening November 2nd -- and I do nothing!"
JD: "You let me run Seinfeld Vision for three nights, I give you 1.5 milion dollars for the charity of your choice. Unlimited free promotions on the 'Today' show. And you give me the name of that country you went to."
JS: "One night! 'Doctors Without Borders', Roker in a bee costume! Grenaria."
Octavia Spencer to Tracy Jordan, on set of her Harriet Tubman movie: "Mm... Yea, the whole cabin vibe wasn't working for me. And this movie cannot take place in Maryland because of my ongoing feud with Cal Ripken."
Kellan Lutz to Lutz: "Great uncle, mama's baby is out of marshMALLOWS."
Jim Carrey as Leap Day William: "Honey, I'm about to do something pretty crazy."
Andie MacDowell: "You should, it's Leap Day. Real life is for March."
JC: "No, just hear me out, because if this doesn't work..."
AM: "It doesn't matter. Nothing that happens on Leap Day counts."
JC: "Nothing that happens on Leap Day counts..."
Robert De Niro
De Niro: "I don't know Jack, this just doesn't feel like right."
Jack Donaghy: "Bob, it's for charity. And if you don't do it, I'll have MSNBC tell the world you grew up in England."
De Niro, in a British accent: "But I'm so identified with New York, you bloody tosser."
And who can forget those who flashed for a moment and those who stopped by for a while, like Betty White, "sex idiot" Ryan Lochte, Matt Damon, David Schwimmer's "Greenzo," Salma Hayek, Julianne Moore, Jon Hamm, and Conan O'Brien, who even appeared in last night's finale as Liz Lemon's virginal ex.
T'was good, 30 Rock.
Who was your favorite celebrity guest star on the show?
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