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  • Acceptable Ethnic Targets: "Saint Patrick's Day" has Liz make several derogatory jokes aimed at the Irish and Irish-Americans that would be borderline bigotry if they were about a different, more marginalized ethnic group.
  • Adorkable: Liz, particularly in "The Head and the Hair". She can't even begin to imagine why a guy like Gray would want to date her, she's charmingly out of place at a trendy party, and she gives a friendly greeting to a guest's lapdog before she talks to any other people.
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  • Ass Pull: Colleen being a late life lesbian seemed like a plot-driven Contrived Coincidence made for mild shock value and to set up a posthumous Heel–Face Turn.
  • Award Snub:
    • Many fans thought that Jane Krakowski's material really improved in the show's latter years, so it came as a disappointment to them that she was omitted from the final shortlist for Season 6, where she was seen as the highlight. She managed to pull off another nomination for the final season, but was unable to win.
    • Despite its popularity with the Emmys, the show could never win for Directing. This was very unfortunate for frequent nominee Beth McCarthy-Miller.
    • Many others also thought that the show's final season was among the series' best, and fully deserving of the Comedy Series prize.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Jenna may be Love to Hate for a lot of fans but there are other fans who genuinely hate her.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
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    • At the end of "Klaus and Greta" Liz has a threesome with James Franco and his Japanese love pillow.
    • At the end of "Live from Studio 6H" Alec Baldwin and Scott Adsit make out for no reason. This could possibly be interpreted as a Shoutout to "Greenhilly". An old SNL sketch where Alec Baldwin made out with anybody and everybody. Seen Here.
    • In the episode "Everything Sunny All The Time Always", Jack goes to plead for help from ex-girlfriend Condoleeza Rice. They get into a duel between Rice's piano and Jack on the flute (an obscure callback to a first-season throw-away gag, making this something of a BLAM inside a BLAM!), which has no impact on the plot and drags the show to a screeching halt.
  • Critical Research Failure: Jack and Avery are upset that their daughter can't be president since she was born in Canada which isn't true. There are only two types of American citizens: natural born and naturalized. The former can be president, the latter can't. Since both of Elizabeth's parents are American citizens, she would be a natural born citizen no matter where she was born which means she could be president. Neither John McCain nor Ted Cruz was born in America but were able to run for president because they were children of American citizens who just happened to be born in another country.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
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    • In an effort to help Jack tank the network, Liz says to her fellow writers that there's no bad ideas.
      Tracy: [in a Nazi costume] Yes, I got a reservation under Black Hitler.
    • The entire premise of the Show Within a Show MILF Island. It's so ridiculously inappropriate that it's hilarious.
      Announcer: 25 super hot moms. 50 eighth-grade boys. invoked No rules.
    • Then there's another show-within-a-show bluntly titled Bitch Hunter. We don't even know its exact premise, only that it involves Will Ferrell (or an actor played by Will Ferrell) kicking down doors of places usually occuped by women (such as a women's bathroom and a bachelorette party) while armed and ending his sentences with "...bitch!" Apparently even in-universe it got women's groups riled-up, but it's simply too out-of-there to not laugh.
      Will Ferrell: PUT THE MIMOSAS DOWN! ... BITCH!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Kenneth is a main-cast example.
    • Grizz and Dot Com are recurring cast examples.
    • Cerie is this also. For obvious reasons.
    • Dr. Leo Spaceman.
    • Criss Chros. Most of Liz's boyfriends get Die for Our Ship treatment, but Criss has, for the most part, gotten a free pass because the fandom really likes him.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Elisa to a lot of fans.
  • Fanfic Fuel: What happened between the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue and the Distant Finale?
  • Fanfic Magnet: For a character who only ever appeared in one episode, Gretchen Thomas shows up in quite a bit of fanfiction.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Jack/Liz. Oh goodness, Jack/Liz...
  • Foe Yay: Between Jack and Devon. Devon seems to genuinely be attracted to Jack, and Jack accuses him of denying his sexual orientation in order to be promoted to CEO of General Electric.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Parks and Recreation, definitely helped by the long lasting friendship between the respective leading ladies, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In "Jack Meets Dennis", when Liz and Pete are dreading the impending broadcast of a terrible episode of TGS, Pete speculates that a major news item will pre-empt the show, and then inquires about Gerald Ford's health. Ford died about a month later.
    • The following season on "Sandwich Day," one of the sketch ideas on the TGS whiteboard is "pervert Elmo."
    • A plotline of Tracy faking an inability to read after his actor's severe car accident caused him to require daily cognitive therapy.
    • Likewise, a gag in "The Moms" has Tracy proudly boasting about being in the Guinness Book of World Records for having been in the most car accidents in a single year.
    • In Season 3, Jack gets someone to pretend like he was Bill Cosby in order to get Tracy to come back to the show after he (temporarily) quit. Tracy goes on a tirade about how Cosby had done something unspeakable with his aunt in 1971. Fast forward to 2014, and it becomes clear that Cosby probably really is at least a harasser and very likely a serial rapist. Coincidentally, public opinion only turned against Cosby after he was mentioned in a standup bit by comedian Hannibal Buress. While he wasn't on the staff yet in Season 3, Buress wrote for the later seasons and had a recurring cameo.
    • Similarly, as mentioned below, Jenna made a joke about dodging sex with Harvey Weinstein before it was revealed in 2017 that he had raped or attempted to rape scores of actresses working for movies his company produced; of course, it was kind of an open Hollywood secret with others like Seth MacFarlane making jokes about it as well.
    • The unaired pilot has Jenna played by Rachel Dratch, making one particular moment more awkward than funny as she was the only main cast member to be replaced:
      Jenna DeCarlo: I'm psyched! I mean, I'm living in New York, I have my own TV-show... I mean, dreams do come true, right?
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Jack attended Princeton on the "Amory Blaine Handsomeness Scholarship." Blaine is the protagonist of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first novel, This Side of Paradise. Fitzgerald is famously a Princeton alumnus, and the novel is a fictionalized account of his time there.
  • Ham and Cheese/Narm Charm:
    Tracy Jordan: OUR BASKETBALL HOOP WAS A RIBCAGE! A RIBCAGE!
  • He's Just Hiding!: According to What Will Happen To the Gang Next Year?, Kim Jong-Il. (He's the best waiter ever.)
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "Cooter," which aired in 2008, Jack says "We have a chance to make this country great again." Made even more hilarious after Alec Baldwin's much praised Trump impersonations in Saturday Night Live during the election season.
    • In "The Collection", Jack learns he might be up for a promotion to CEO of GE and thus hires a detective to uncover anything potentially embarassing before GE does the same. During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump forbade his staff from researching his past (despite it being standard among candidates for higher office) which led to the uncovering of several scandals that heavily impacted Trump's popularity.
    • Season 3's "The Bubble" had Liz imitating Jack's voice before changing it into Batman's voice. In Season 6's "The Tuxedo Begins" (a parody of The Dark Knight Trilogy) Jack gets mugged and decides to clean up New York while Liz urges Jack to embrace anarchy.
    • Speaking of "The Tuxedo Begins", its premise (Jack as a Batman-esque hero and planning to run for New York City Mayor after being mugged on his way to work, while Liz becomes frustrated by increasing disorderly behaviour on the subway and decides to pretend to be a mentally ill elderly woman to scare people away, which ends up looking increasingly Joker-esque) is made even more hilarious in light of Joker; not only does the Joker turn into, well, the Joker in the subway like Liz does with her character, but Jack's actor Alec Baldwin was considered for a role in the film as Thomas Wayne... who in the film runs for Gotham City Mayor.
    • Tracy starring in a North Korean propaganda film and referring to Kim Jong-il as "my boy K.J." is much funnier after Dennis Rodman visited North Korea and called Kim Jong-un an "awesome guy".
    • If you're a fan of animated movies, then the line "I've got my hammer" coming out of Kenneth's mouth in a later episode should elicit at least a big smile.
    • The mouth-marbling title of the Show Within a Show The Rural Juror sounds like something no one (sane) would let pass, but a few years later, the original title for CBS's Unforgettable was The Rememberer, which underwent a switch after it elicited the same reaction in real life about how unwieldy the title was.
    • In early episodes, Jack Donaghy's big-screwed up family are a Running Gag. Shortly thereafter in real life, NBA ref Tim Donaghy (pronounced the same) was caught and prosecuted for fixing games and gambling on them. Jack even lampshades this in a later episode.
    • Tracy attempting to play Thomas Jefferson in a biopic. Hamilton has Jefferson (and several other founding fathers) played by people of colour.
    • In The Rural Juror, Tracy endorses the "Tracy Jordan Meat Machine", which burns three different types of meat together to replace bread in sandwiches. In 2009, the KFC Double Down (in which two pieces of fried chicken replace the bread roll) was created.
    • For a show with so many Star Wars references in its script, it seems only fitting that one of its writers, Donald Glover, would go on to to play a starring role in one of the franchise's films.
    • After Jack is asked why NBC has so few positive black characters, he tries to recommend watching Anthony Anderson on Law & Order before Jonathan hastily tells him it's been cancelled. A few years later, Anthony Anderson would take the lead on black•ish, a show which routinely addresses African-American subjects. Except it's not on NBC, but on ABC.
    • Tracy wants to become the first black male EGOT. He lost his chance when John Legend became one in 2018.
    • Considering all the crap he went through in the show, you'd probably want to give Pete Hornberger a hug. Then in 2013, he voiced an inflatable health-care robot who everybody likes to hug.
    • Jack's despair at General Electric selling NBC to the Bland-Name Product version of Comcast, "Kabletown," in 2010, became much funnier in the following years, when Comcast got to be worth much more than General Electric.
    • In "100", Tracy (at Jack's advice) loses all the respect he got after the EGOT simply by continuing to work in television. In the years since the show aired, the "Golden Age of Television" has only gotten more prestigious, which would make this sentiment rather puzzling today.
    • Jack and Liz being Platonic Life-Partners (with showrunner and Liz's actor Tina Fey explicitly stating that they would never hook up) can become hilarious after Jack's actor Alec Baldwin admitted in his autobiography that he became smitten with Fey in real life after he first saw her, to the point of considering asking her out (and was sorely disappointed upon being told that she was already married).
  • Hollywood Homely: Very much Depending on the Writer, Liz is stated to be rather plain most of the time, though sometimes she's treated as actually appears to the viewer. Occasional gags made her out to be ugly, like when she had skin deformities revealed by an HD camera. In "Black Light Attack!" the sight of Tina Fey bent over was meant to be unappealing. Yeah, right.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Salma Hayek kissing Tina Fey, anyone?
      Liz: [stunned] I can see why he likes it...
    • And just before that, when Elisa hints she has "a terrible secret":
      Liz: I won't — I don't want to know. [lowers her voice] Are you a man?
      Elisa: Really? That's your guess, a man? You wanna see me naked?
      Liz: [slight shrug, awkward smile] ...sort of.
  • Informed Attractiveness: Jack's first wife, Bianca, to some.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Jack takes a level in this towards the end of the series. Especially at the end of the series where the final episode has him try to find something that makes him genuinely happy instead of his percieved notion of happiness.
  • Les Yay: Jenna on seeing Liz in her Brooklyn Without Limits jeans.
    Jenna: (admiring) I'd hit that.
    Tracy: (critically) Too small.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Good God Lemon!"
    • "How do you do, fellow kids?". Steve Buscemi as an undercover cop in a High School saying the phrase to a bunch of teenagers, while wearing teenager-like clothing, ashirt that says "Music Band", while holding two skateboards. The absurdity of the scene has been used to mock companies who try too hard to be hip and "down with the kids", and also as a Snowclone Pretender Diss against people who in their eyes are transparently trying to pretend to be something for their own ends. It proved so popular a meme, it even has its own subreddit; /r/FellowKids, which documents shows and companies why try (and most often fail) at being hip towards youngsters.
    • "High-fiving a million angels right now!"
    • Recently "What a week, huh?" "Lemon, it's Wednesday," has begun gaining traction.
    • Kenneth's 'I Lie to Myself' speech, it gets animated with other characters.
  • Memetic Badass: His name is KELSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!
  • Moe: Kenneth, the most adorkable Humanoid Abomination in all of television.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Whenever Jack laughs.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Leap Day William, just Leap Day William.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • Jalisa, for Jack and Elisa.
    • Parodied when Jenna hooks up with James Franco. She claims that the media just calling them "James" is this.
    • Jack/Liz shippers have not done this. Understandable, considering their choices are "Jiz" and "Lack". Or "Lick". Or, if you use last names, "Demon".
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The bookstore worker in the window who beats up Liz's cutout in the cold open of "Into the Crevasse" is Councilman Jamm!
    • The real estate lady who busts into Liz's apartment and informs her that it's going condo is (depending on what you watch) either Fig or Wendy Parks.
    • One recurring cameo was an assistant played by Donald Glover, then a writer for the show and later known as Troy Barnes and Grammy award winner Childish Gambino.
    • Tituss Burgess definitely made an impact on Tina Fey and Robert Carlock with his role as Angie's gay friend D'Fwan. He would later star as Kimmy Schmidt's gay friend, Titus Andromedon.
    • Adrienne C. Moore, who plays two separate Sassy Black Woman characters in the final season, is now more recognizable as Black Cindy on Orange Is the New Black.
    • Comedian Hannibal Buress wrote for the show in its later seasons, before his standup career took off. He also had several bit parts: he's one of the recurring hobos, as well as Tracy's stand-in at the end of the first "Queen of Jordan" episode.
    • Aubrey Plaza cameos as an NBC page in a Season 1 episode.
    • William Jackson Harper, from The Good Place, had a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance as a protestor who disparages Liz's unfamiliarity with Los Angeles.
  • The Scrappy: Avery, at least to some of the more extreme Liz/Jack shippers. Many still felt sorry for her when she gets captured by Kim-Jong-Il. And was forcibly married to his son.
    • Hazel is basically Kenneth's Evil Counterpart with worse material and none of his charm. Unsurprisingly a large majority of the fandom greatly dislikes her.
    • In-Universe: Jenna was cast on Night Court as a werewolf lawyer, which caused the show to Jump the Shark (and Harry Anderson, Markie Post, and Charles Robinson are still mad at her about it).
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Season 4 (and to a lesser extent, some of Season 3) is widely considered to be the show's weakest, with an abundance of gags that had simply become tired by that point and an extreme amount of focus on Jack Donaghy's love life. It's also criticized for its harsh treatment of Liz Lemon as the writers started making her out to be much frumpier and more pathetic than she had been in past seasons. While it isn't exactly universally panned, it was certainly considered a step down from the show's incredibly strong first three seasons. Luckily, most fans agree Season 5 refreshed the series and brought it back to the strength of its earlier days, and that Seasons 6 and 7 have followed suit.
    • Season 7, while otherwise considered good, was criticized for its short length causing a lot of the show's arcs to be wrapped up in a rushed manner or given no resolution at all.
  • Squick: Jack has been imprinted to be aroused by the song "Merry Little Christmas" because of his mother's sultry annual performances of it as a child.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The songs for Jenna's feature film "inspired by, but, for legal reasons, not based on the life of Janis Joplin."
    "Synonym's just another word for the word you want to use..."
    "Come on and take it! Take a big ol' chunk of my lung now mister..."
  • Tear Jerker: Liz's fight with Floyd in season 4 where she accidentally gets him drunk.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • The show takes a lot of swings at the Bush Administration. Probably most direct when they made a Little League baseball team into an extended analogy for the Iraq War. All Played for Laughs.
    • "Brooklyn Without Limits" takes a pretty harsh potshot at Urban Outfitters.
    • Corporate executives are frequently portrayed as arrogant, elitist, and more than willing to hurt jobs and careers to make a quick buck. Even Jack started off as a significantly more bloodthirsty businessman and corporate shark.
    • One episode takes quite a lot of time to set up a joke that amounts to calling "birthers" and intelligent design believers idiots.
    • Mitt Romney, during that election season, is implied to be an android controlled by a society of wealthy corporate executives.
  • The Woobie:
    • Kenneth. The way he's so happy in a Crapsaccharine World and how he sees everyone as a potential friend (even though many of his friends couldn't care less about him) and gets physically assaulted at work repeatedly (even on his birthday).note 
    • Pete Hornberger. That is all.

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