Sunday, April 29, 2012

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock

30 Rock: Season 6, Episode 19 “Live From Studio 6H” (B+)

I wasn’t too fond of this show last time it tried to pull off a live show, and I’m not big on the concept in general. Yet what’s most clear from this half-hour is that the cast is having fun, and there’s something to be said for that. This installment managed to send up the live show from last season in a major way by one-upping the cameo by Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Liz’s flashback self and inserting plenty of familiar friends and faces. Flashing back to invented old television shows with the cast playing the parts was quite hilarious, and I especially enjoyed seeing Jon Hamm opposite Tracy Morgan in the awful show that the producers decided to keep on the air despite the fact that there was no content. Amy Poehler as Liz’s younger self and Jimmy Fallon as Jack’s younger self were inspired choices, and I liked seeing Fred Armisen pop up there as well. Learning how everyone’s back stories were intertwined was terrific, and the best bit of flashback casting had to be Donald Glover from “Community” as Tracy, who managed to elicit quite the shocked applause as he danced his way to being ridiculous on television. Kenneth uniting everyone to save live television was a good way to incorporate the quirky, passionate character and to structure the episode. I enjoyed Nazi Doctor Leo Specimen’s past and present commercials. Who could disparage this episode, however, after hearing Tina Fey give a shout-out to her good friend Amy Poehler’s “Parks & Recreation,” telling all her viewers to tune in at 9:30pm to watch this show. Now, that’s just awesome.

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