Jack stops drinking, Liz resents the cast and crew forgetting her 40th birthday, and Tracy vows to “break” on camera. The live episode of “30 Rock” airing October 14 was an ambitious, creative endeavor for team behind the hit NBC show. Although early reviews are harsh, calling the live episode a stunt, Thursday’s “30 Rock” was a typically hilarious performance with a few changes just to make the live episode something special:
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Liz Lemon’s Stand-In
The live episode didn’t omit the show’s trademark flashback device. But when the camera pans to the flashback, it features the former “Seinfeld” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine” star looking remarkably like Tina Fey in the part of Liz Lemon. Jack’s response to Liz: “Why do you look so much more attractive in your flashback?”
Dr. Spaceman’s Side Career
The live episode cut to two “commercials,” the first of which starred Dr. Spaceman debuting his new album for males suffering from erectile dysfunction, an ailment he believes exists because no one has recorded a good “doing-it song” in decades.
[Photos: the 30 Rock Cast]
The Re-Appearance of Liz Lemon’s Love Interests
Not only does Matt Damon appear in two scenes as pilot Carol, calling Liz during a mid-air emergency to make sure she removes all the porn from his apartment if he dies, but Jon Hamm also returns as Liz’s former boyfriend Dr. Drew Baird, who lost both of his hands in separate incidents, and appears in the second of the two commercials, an advertisement for a hand-replacement procedure using the hands of convicted criminals.
[Behind-The-Scenes: 30 Rock Live Performance]
A “Saturday Night Live” Feel
From the start, the live episode blended the two aspects of the “30 Rock” premise more than ever before: the crazy interactions of Liz Lemon with her co-workers, and the actual live show that they produce and perform each week, TGS with Tracy Jordan. The cast even says the typical Saturday Night Live “good nights” at the end, with Tina Fey addressing the audience and the cast all on stage as the credits roll.
[Video: Watch Both East and West Coast Versions of the 30 Rock Live Performance]
In the end, Jack falls off the wagon, and he and Liz share a drink in his office, prompting the normal, taped-version look of the show to return. The “30 Rock” live episode was a fun departure from the usual show, but all signs point to business as usual for the characters next week.