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Chris Harnick

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'30 Rock': 'Live From Studio 6H' Was Much Needed

Posted: 04/27/2012 9:47 am

"30 Rock" needed a live episode. No, not for the ratings boost it surely got, but for something completely different altogether. The "30 Rock" Season 6 live episode, appropriately titled "Live From Studio 6H," took all the press about the series being on its last legs and turned it into something exciting.

It all started with the sinking ratings. "30 Rock" replaced "Community" on NBC's Thursday schedule at 8 p.m. ET for a few months and sunk even lower in the Nielsen ratings than the struggling "Community." After a move to 8:30 p.m. ET, the show had even fewer viewers, pulling in series low ratings.

Then the tweets starting flying. While voicing frustration over NBC's "Today" having a crew outside his apartment to document a stalking story, series star Alec Baldwin tweeted, saying, "I think I'm leaving NBC just in time."

"30 Rock" star and creator Tina Fey was quick to put the fire out, telling the ladies of "The View" that if NBC orders "30 Rock" Season 7, Baldwin will be there; he just meant "that the end of the show is visible on the horizon."

Baldwin then clarified the tweet himself
and said he'll be in "30 Rock" Season 7, but that the show is slated to end next year.

With the plunging ratings and "End of '30 Rock'" headlines, it became somewhat hard to enjoy what was once NBC's brightest comedy. As a viewer and fan, I just felt bad watching the show limp along. If "30 Rock" has a good joke, but nobody is watching it to laugh, is it still funny?

That all changed with the April 26 live episode. The cast seemed so energized. After all the negative press and speculation, there they were, Fey, Baldwin, Jane Krakowski, Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, all ready to entertain. Everybody seemed so excited to be doing what they loved for an audience as enthusiastic as the performers were.

Even if the plot -- Baldwin's Jack Donaghy decides to stop doing the fictional "TGS With Tracy Jordan" sketch show live in order to save money, but McBrayer's Kenneth refuses to let the legacy of live TV die and tells the history of Studio 6H through flashbacks -- wasn't the strongest and didn't further the plot of the season along, the cast made it work. It was an excuse to play dress up and have fun -- and that's just what they did.

It's no secret that Baldwin is an ace at live TV; Fey and Morgan hail from "Saturday Night Live"; and Krakowski is a Broadway veteran. But the Season 6 live show really let Krakowski shine. From the theme song performance right down to the Prince Charles impersonation, Krakowski nailed it as Jenna Maroney. How she has not received an Emmy for her work is astounding. Do the Academy voters really have something against Mickey Rourke sex party jokes?

Along with the treat of seeing these supremely talented performers in their element, we finally got the coveted guest star. No, not Kim Kardashian or Paul McCartney: Amy Poehler. For years when asked about dream "30 Rock" guest stars, Fey would name her good friend, former "SNL" co-star and "Parks and Recreation" star Poehler. During both the East and West Coast versions of "Live From Studio 6H," Poehler appeared as a teenage Liz Lemon, chilling in a basement, making prank calls and eating a cheese steak. It finally happened and it was brilliant. Who would've thought the show could top Julia Louis-Dreyfus appearing as Liz Lemon?

Jon Hamm wasn't the only part of "30 Rock's" past to reappear. Old jokes "I want to go to there" and "Yaburnt!" made a comeback. Considering both of those phrases have made their way into my everyday conversation, it was thrilling to hear them booming from my TV set once again.

"30 Rock's" live show broke the tension surrounding the series and showed viewers this old show still has what it takes to crack smiles and achieve hearty laughs.

Loading Slideshow...
  • "Last Lunch"

    Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Last Lunch"

    Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell

  • "Last Lunch"

    Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Last Lunch"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

  • "Last Lunch"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan

  • "Last Lunch"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Grizz Chapman as Grizz, Kevin Brown as Dotcom

  • "Last LuncH"

    Sue Galloway as Sue, Katrina Bowden as Cerie, Judah Friedlander as Frank, Keith Powell as Toofer

  • "Last Lunch"

    Judah Friedlander as Frank, Keith Powell as Toofer

  • "Last Lunch"

    Scott Adsit as Pete, Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

  • "Hogcock!"

    Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Hogcock!"

    Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Last Lunch"

    Sue Galloway as Sue, Katrina Bowden as Cerie, Judah Friedlander as Frank, Keith Powell as Toofer

  • "Hogcock!"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "Hogcock!"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, James Marsden as Criss

  • "Hogcock!"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, James Marsden as Criss

  • "Hogcock!"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

  • "Hogcock!"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "Hogcock!"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "Hogcock!"

    Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Hogcock!"

    Ice-T as himself, Richard Belzer as himself, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Hogcock!"

    Ice-T as himself, Richard Belzer as himself, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Hogcock!"

    Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell

  • "Last Lunch"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney

  • "Last Lunch"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

  • "Last Lunch"

    John Lutz as Lutz, Judah Friedlander as Frank

  • "Last Lunch"

    Katrina Bowden as Cerie, Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Keith Powell as Toofer

  • "Last Lunch"

    Katrina Bowden as Cerie, Judah Friedlander as Frank

  • "Hogcock!"

    Julianne Moore as Nancy, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "Hogcock!"

    Julianne Moore as Nancy, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donagy

  • "Hogcock!"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "Hogcock!"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, Jim Downey as Downey

  • "Hogcock!"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon

  • "Hogcock!"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, Jim Downey as Downey

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Dante Hoagland as Terry, Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Marina Bond as Janet

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Dante Hoagland as Terry, Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Marina Bond as Janet, James Marsden as Criss

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, James Marsden as Criss Chross

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, James Marsden as Criss Chross

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Dante Hoagland as Terry and Marina Bond as Janet

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Jack McBrayer as Kenneth

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney.

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon.

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan and Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney.

  • "A Goon's Deed in a Weary World"

    Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan, Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney and Tina Fey as Liz Lemon.

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Andrea Martin as Bonnie

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Jack McBrayer as Kenneth Parcell, Tracy Morgan as Tracy Jordan

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy, Steve Whitmire as Kermit

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Tina Fey as Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy

  • "My Whole Life is Thunder"

    Alec Baldwin as jack Donaghy, Elaine Stritch as Colleen Donaghy

 

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