Happy tenniversary, 30 Rock. Hard to believe but the show debuted a decade ago, yikes, and now’s a nice time to peek back into its tawdry gay past. Here are a few of our very favorite very gay moments from the show that redefined blerg.
1. Gay Sports Center
We maybe need to have a little conversation about this one, because, ugh, stereotypes. Lots of gay guys know about sports or whatever. But on the other hand, don’t even pretend that you don’t know a ton of queers who behave exactly like this when the subject comes up.
2. The Gay Mom
Poor Liz — she can’t even call a florist without needing a witty rejoinder ready to go. In this case she was apparently caught off guard, but that’s okay — there’s not a single problem that a lesiban nonsequitur can’t solve.
3. Devon Banks
Oh, maybe we need to have a conversation about this one too? Will Arnet plays the gay predator here, an evil scheming adversary to Jack. There’s a bit of a creepy stereotype happening here as well — how many times has TV shown us this stock character? Particularly in PSAs from the 1950s. The character feels a bit out of time on the show.
4. Gay Juice
When Jack says something feelings-y, Avery is grossed out and accuses him of drinking gay juice. This is, again, maybe something we need to have a conversation about! It’s a joke that hinges on denigrating gays. Admittedly, it comes from some deeply flawed characters, but it isn’t exactly challenged by anyone.
5. Gay Bomb
The ideas of a gay bomb is of course very hot, though in the context of elderly generals perhaps not. Is there a bit of gay-panic eww-gross to this joke? Maybe kinda sorta.
6. Cousin Randy
Perhaps the brightest gay moment in 30 Rock’s history is the appearance of the wonderful Jeffery Self as Liz’s gay cousin Randy, who actually gets a whole storyline and a character arc and glitter. He decides to give Liz and makeover, which she calls “fierce,” and he replies “It would be if it was 2006.” Oh hey that’s when the show premiered!
Oh and then there’s the fabulous Tituss Burgess as D’Fwan, a walking reality-show disorder. He’s a terrible person, as are all reality show personalities, and yet again there’s a recurring gay-gross-out joke. But his appearance spawned a fabulous character on Kimmy Schmidt, a gay man in a stable loving low-drama relationship, and when’s the last time you saw that on network television? Probably never, because the show isn’t even on network television. But 30 Rock was, gay baiting and all!