I really don't know where to start with this one. I feel like this was a bigger event then it was made out to be. The live episode of 30 Rock was great in theory, a little off in overall feel, but pretty brilliant in execution.
The fact that the series has many actors and writers that used to work for Saturday Night Live made this a great idea from the jump. With Tina, Tracy and Alec as SNL alums/all-time great hosts, along Jane Krakowski's Broadway career, the main cast didn''t have had a problem getting back into the groove.
For the most part, everyone was spot on with their timing. The trick of spinning the camera to emulate dream sequences worked well, and the commercials to the live TGS show added a different element to the episode. What was best about it, though? Like the rest of this bounce-back season, there were a lot of funny jokes.
At the end of the day, that's all I'm really looking for out of 30 Rock.Where I was left feeling a little weirded out was with the overall feel. Obviously, editing is a major contributor to making 30 Rock what is, meaning that every second of this episode felt off. Yeah, sure, that would probably occur on every show, but as Jack said, "everything looked like a Mexican soap opera."
The constant laughing and clapping by the live studio audience didn't feel a thing like 30 Rock. It was lile watching a 90's sitcom... or a bad current sitcom. Just because you're going live, it doesn't mean you have to have a live audience ruining the flow of the show. You can have the characters acknowledging the live aspects, and have such a lack of editing, and everyone would still get the idea that it was live. The audience ruined it a bit.
Was this a great episode of 30 Rock? This jury is still out. Was it great given the task at hand? I think so. Was it better than almost everything Saturday Night Live has put on television since the early 1990s? Absolutely. If I'm going to compare it to other live shows, it succeeded immensely. I get that the gimmick is part of what makes this worthwhile, but I'd rather watch a normal episode of this great season. You add some editing to week's fantastic installment to - and bam! Instant classic.
So on we go to the actual action of the episode. Tracy killed once again. His "breaking" on TGS was funny on a couple of levels. First and foremost, the shear hilarity of Tracy cracking up during skits and pulling off his Oprah wig was brilliant. "Blahahahaha. Snort. Heehee. Giggle giggle. The audience loves this!" But I also had the underlying feeling of hating every time that happened to Jimmy Fallon on SNL in the early 2000s, so I laughed again.
Although Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jon Hamm and Chris Parnell were great, the award for best guest star goes to Matt Damon. Without a doubt. This guy is just fantastic. I mean this conversation alone gets him at the top of any of my lists:
Carol: Lizzy if something were to happen, I want you to know that I...I need you to go to Raleigh, to my apartment and just clear out all the porn before my mom gets there.
Liz: That's it?
Carol: I also need you to Tivo Bones for me in case I survive. | permalink
And finally, the up-to-the minute jokes that were achieved because it was live was a nice touch. The Brett Favre texts and the Chilean miners just happened. Did they write this episode within the week? Or just leave a space or two for super-current references?
It was a nice change up, but I'll be looking forward to my regular 30 Rock next week, aren't you? Browse through the best quotes from this unique episode now!
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.