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Tonight NBC airs the series finale of 30 Rock. I love 30 Rock, and I will watch the final episode… some months from now when it is available on DVD. I’m not going to watch it tonight, primarily because it does not come in on my TV, but also because this is the show’s seventh season and I have only watched up to the middle of season five, and also because of Downton Abbey.

I was mostly unaware of Downton Abbey until its second season showed on PBS last year. Intrigued by the buzz, I promptly watched the first two seasons on DVD and have been eagerly anticipating the new season.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I am devoted to the few shows I do watch. Normally I don’t talk about them, though. Downton Abbey has suddenly made it cool to talk about TV in the nerdy circles in which I travel. Practically everyone I know is aware of it, and most who have seen it are obsessed with it. (TV Guide explains the obsession with this “classy” soap opera here—note the reference to 30 Rock!)

Back to the NBC sitcom: I watched most of the first two seasons of 30 Rock when they were first televised, but then the Digital Conversion happened.

I have never had cable TV because it just has never seemed worth it for the amount of TV I watch (or want myself to watch). So I got a converter box and tried multiple fancy antennae, but the digital signals around here are just too weak. If a station has any signal at all, the picture tends to get all Cubist at significant points in a program, although one Thanksgiving a few years ago, my parents and I managed to watch the National Dog Show by taking turns holding the tinfoil-enhanced antenna.

For a while my husband and I benefited from what I like to think of as a leak in the digital dam. Someone at Channel 50 forgot to unplug the analog transmitter for a couple of years, so we were able to watch the station without going through the digital converter. We got hooked on Monk and spent Friday nights watching reruns and the same low-budget local commercials every week. (We liked to speculate if the loud and oddly-proportioned spokesman from Car City ever got together with the creepily seductive LKQ Self-Service Auto Parts girl.) Eventually the signal went away.

Other than that, for the most part we subsist on videos from the library and Netflix. So when I recently read Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossypants, I decided to check out 30 Rock again, and we are still working our way through the series.

The local PBS station actually does come in on our TV, and I have been keeping up with the current season of Downton Abbey, even though I keep wanting to rewind or pause the show. My husband has not been staying up for it, and I can’t wait to be able to talk about it, so I got the first disk of the third season from Netflix yesterday, and that’s what we’ll be watching tonight.

I will be trying not to blurt out plot twists before they happen and getting my Dowager Countess fix. Liz Lemon will have to wait.

They have more in common than you think

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

Liz Lemon

Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley

Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Which of these cranky, opinionated women said, “I have plenty of friends I don’t like!”?

(The answer is here, but there are other good quotes here, too.)

 

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