Friday, July 17, 2020

What I’m Watching: 30 Rock: A One-Time Special

30 Rock: A One-Time Special (B+)

I like the idea of reunion specials because it creates an opportunity for revisiting nostalgia without necessarily rebooting a show fully. Obviously, such a situation did lead to “Will and Grace” being revived back in 2016, but I’ll take this for what it is. I’m someone who enjoys trailers and montages, and so it was nice to have those substitute for other commercials, making this a fully immersive one-hour experience. Following up on the “Parks and Recreation” special that aired back in April (hard to believe it was that long ago), the plot here made a lot of sense, showing where the characters would be if they existed in real life and filming the story in high quality rather than just on computer or phone screens. I enjoyed the opening, with Liz confronting someone on the street for not wearing a mask and then revealing a second mouthlike mask under the one she was already wearing. There were subtle references to how times have changed, like Twofer no longer accepting his problematic nickname and Jenna being persona non grata because she pooped in Mandy Moore’s thermos. Jenna opening her window every night and pretending that everyone was clapping for her was funny and so on-point, and I really liked that Tracy had his own blacklist, which consisted just of things that were black. The guest appearances by NBC faces like Al Roker, Andy Samberg, and Ted Danson were all worthwhile and well wrapped up in the antics of the presentation Kenneth was trying to make while he was fretting about who his friends really were. His female clone assistant was just weird, while Tracy reading the entire dictionary in front of a green screen so they can make movies without him was just as peculiar but considerably more effective. I don’t think this show needs to be rebooted, especially since, as we saw at the very end, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock do have a new show with Ted Danson coming up, but I’d very much be up for another reunion of this cast or any other like this in the future.

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