On the scene: An evening with the '30 Rock' writers
What the what?! Sadly, 30 Rock ended its seven-season run in January. But that doesn’t mean we’re ready to stop talking about the beloved Tina Fey comedy. Thankfully, the Paley Center agrees. Last night, Fey, Robert Carlock (above), Colleen McGuinness, Josh Siegal, and Dylan Morgan were all on hand in NYC for the panel “Hey Dummies…An Evening with the 30 Rock writers.” I’m sad to report our favorite dummy, Dennis Duffy, was not there. But the good news is the writers did share some fun tidbits about their time working on the show. And just like my favorite pastime of picking out the best 30 Rock episode one-liners, I now share with you the best morsels from the panel:
++ Jack and Liz were never going to end up together. Carlock said he liked playing with the tension between the two characters, but that a Jack/Liz coupling was never on the table at any point during the series.
++ Liz Lemon was going to adopt a 12-year-old boy from Europe at the end of season 2. Season 3 would return with the child robbing Liz and then disappearing. NBC promised to promote the plot line over the summer. But that never happened, and the story was dropped.
++ Jenna and Pete were almost an item. A table read featured Jenna (Jane Krakowski) and Pete (Scott Adsit) having an affair. But Fey said the story tanked in writers’ room. People were creeped out by the pairing, and ultimately found it troublesome because Pete was married.
++ Moderator Emily Nussbaum asked if the writers were fueled by the competition from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the Aaron Sorkin-penned dramedy that debuted the same season 30 Rock did. Fey admitted that it was nice to be the underdog in that situation, and said anytime she was seen typing during the first season of 30 Rock, she was typing “Studio 60 is great!”
++ Two guest stars the writers wanted to get but couldn’t: Bob Ballard and Dr. Zizmor
In season 5, the fake version of famous oceanographer Bob Ballard appeared, but they were unable to get the real Ballard on the show.
Dr. Zismor, who’s famous to New York City subway riders, got name dropped a few times in the show. But when they asked him to appear, Dr. Zizmor’s wife turned the writers down. Blerg!
++ Jenna was supposed to rise to fame with the help of Kathy Geiss. In the show, Kathy’s character creates a machine that hugs old people. Fey said that they wanted Jenna to play Kathy in the movie version of her life, and it would be that role that won Jenna all of her awards. Then, Fey compared it to Claire Danes’ turn as Temple Grandin. “Jenna’s not as fully formed a person as Claire Danes, and probably would have gone mad.”
Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and Tracy Morgan star in the Emmy-winning comedy. You want to go to there.