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Emmys: ’30 Rock’ Faced Story, Storied Obstacles

Show leads comedy pack with 13 Emmy noms

“Dark times are these” (as Liz Lemon, quoting Yoda, put it best) now that “30 Rock” is off the air. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel — the show leads the comedy pack with 13 Emmy noms, including its seventh series nod in seven years.

As its final and shortest to date, this season was equal parts challenging and easy to wrap up for showrunners Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Long-awaited plot lines could finally be resolved, but they had to be done seamlessly so the character write-offs didn’t muffle the show’s voice.

“In some ways, it was like running down a hill — it’s easier than running up, but you have to be careful about falling,” Carlock says. “There’s a pressure you feel because it is the final landing place for each of the characters. … But it was a point of pride that we also did episodes that were not in the context or underlined by the fact that it was the last season.”

One of those characters could have landed in the already jacked New York City mayoral race. Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy, whose storyline was the hardest to wrap up for Fey and Carlock, was poised to throw his hat into the ring.

“Well, who knew the New York elections were going to be such a wonderful parade of semi-apologetic perverts?” Fey asks. “I guess we all could have guessed. Ending in January didn’t work for Jack to run for mayor, and it required too much of a time jump. So, we’ll never have that ‘Mayor Donaghy’ spinoff, but Jack inventing the clear dishwasher and returning to triumph at GE seemed happier.”

She’s kidding, by the way. There were never any plans for a spinoff.

And Lemon may be out, but Fey certainly isn’t. She’s nominated for seven Emmys — including lead actress in a comedy — bringing her career total to 31 noms since 2001. However, the show’s creator-producer-writer-star is quick to downplay her accomplishments.

“(Winning) would probably mean that there was some sort of accident, but it would be a happy accident,” she says. “It’s always an honor to be in that category, because there’s never any filler.”

Instead, she’s rooting for co-star Jane Krakowski, who’s nominated for supporting actress in a comedy. In turn, Krakowski credits Fey and the show’s writers for creating a wacky world of outrageous characters who were exhilarating to play.

“(‘Dance Like Nobody’s Watching’) was such a great title for one of the episodes because that’s what they allowed us to do,” Krakowski says. “Because they created the world that they did, we were able to go further than we could outside in the real world.”

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