“Live Show”


Liz gets upset that no one at TGS has remembered her birthday while trying to put out fires during the live show.

Episode Details

S05E04 (504)
First aired
View full dialogue
Robert Carlock & Tina Fey
Beth McCarthy-Miller
Frank's Hat
Promotional Consideration, Aco- Den-

This episode was broadcast twice, first for the 8:30pm ET time slot, and again three hours later for the 8:30pm PT time slot.

There were a number of differences, but most of them were minor slip-ups or dialog tweaks. New York Magazine did an excellent write up on the major ones, and I’ll be detailing the smaller ones below. This write up’s pretty good, too. And it has pretty pictures.

Unless otherwise noted, the time indices are from the West Coast episode. Why? I dunno. I had to pick one.

00:00 West Coast
Ten minutes, ten minutes to air. Cast you should change for the cold open.

A “cold open” is when a show jumps right into the action, before the credits start.

00:08 West Coast
Hey, you wanted to see me?
Does it seem weird in here to you? Everything looks like a Mexican soap opera.

This is because Mexican soap operas are filmed on the cheap. They use regular video cameras, as opposed to high-quality film or HD video cameras, and use what’s called a multiple-camera setup.

Modern high-quality TV productions like 30 Rock use a single camera setup. Each new angle requires a new setup, new lighting, etc. This is more time consuming but gives a much better quality picture.

However, you can’t do this in live TV, otherwise you’d be limited to a single camera for the entire program. Live TV uses multiple cameras to capture various angles of the action, so the director can dynamically switch between the cameras to get the required shot. But a multiple camera setup comes at the cost of poorer lighting (everything needs to be lit the same way) and inferior sound (the boom microphone needs to be hidden from all cameras).

These 30 Rock Live episodes were filmed on video in Studio 8H, home of Saturday Night Live, and I assume they used the same cameras that SNL uses, which are all 1080p HD video cameras, so the lower quality look of the show probably came from the inferior lighting setups required for live broadcasts. 30 Rock is normally shot on film, as explained in an interview with Matthew Clark, cinematographer of 30 Rock [pdf].

00:20 West Coast
I dunno. Does it?
My God, I can see every line and pore in your face. You look like a YMCA climbing wall.

YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association, which was founded in 1844 in London, England. It’s now unisex and mostly known for its fitness facilities, which often include climbing walls, neither of which have much to do with Christianity.

00:55 West Coast
[flashback] Hey, looking good, Liz.
Thank you. Thank you. But you know what, our bodies, don’t want all that processed junk. I don’t know if you’re read Michael Pollan’s —
Who wants donuts?
I will KILL YOU!

Michael Pollan writes a series of books on healthy eating. Okay, you could have figured that out from context. Let’s see… Ah! Michael Pollan’s books postulate that modern agribusiness is a broken system, and food science’s view of food in terms of various nutrients is flawed. He suggests a more holistic, natural approach to food, and works to discredit various modern theories on food. He coined the advice “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”.

I also just found out that Judah Friedlander (Frank) makes all of his own hats every episode! Crazy. Good for him. Sadly I can’t make out what this first hat says. On both the West and East Coast episodes you only see half of it. Here’s all I can see:

DEN- (maybe DEM-)

If anyone knows what his hat says please let me know in the comments!

01:15 West Coast
How come you’re better looking in your memory?
Because my memory has Seinfeld money.

Liz, in Liz’s flashback, is played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who played Elaine Benes on the fantastic 90’s sitcom Seinfeld. This is clever casting, not only because Louis-Dreyfus looks similar enough to Fey to make a fantastic doppelganger and she did a great Fey impression, but because Fey credited Louis-Dreyfus as a huge inspiration when she accepted her Emmy.

I’ve always thought the evolution of sitcoms was weird. Most older sitcoms were stupid, mostly unfunny affairs until Seinfeld came along. It was easily ten times more clever and funny than anything on the air. It ran for ten years, as it was as if no other sitcom producers noticed the bar had been forever raised. The continued making their unfunny dreck. Seinfeld ended in 1998, and still, it took another five years for something as funny to come out: Arrested Development in 2003. Since then it’s gotten a bit better, but you still see the TV schedules filled with crap that isn’t as funny as Seinfeld. You know what? If you can’t make something as good as Seinfeld, a twenty-one year old show, just don’t make it. Please. Okay, rant over.

02:21 West Coast
[flashback] Jonathan, can I have a pen.
Yeah, and hurry up, Aladdin. Before Jasmine is forced marry Jafar! [laughs] Similarities… Lemon out!

Aladdin is an animated Disney movie based on an ancient Arabian story as told in The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night (Vol. 4). In the Disney version, the street rat hero Aladdin and the princess Jasmine fall in love, but are set upon by the sultan’s evil Grand Vizier, Jafar, who plots to marry Jasmine, then kill her and her father and take over the Kingdom. There’s also something in there about a magic lamp.

02:21 East Coast
[flashback] Jonathan, get me a pen.
Yeah, Chai Boy, get in here. You’ll never be.. a millin-aire! Ah ha ha, ha ha ha. Slumdog Millionaire ref. Blammo!

Chai Boy – some sort of weird Indian nickname, presumably because Indian people like to drink Chai tea. And Slumdog Millionaire is a movie about a young boy in the slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

03:00 West Coast
Live Show, it’s a 30 Rock Live Show, for Pacific Time.
Backup Singers
For our friends from L.A. to Nome, 30 Rock is live in your home.
Live Show, it’s a West Coast Live Show, let’s talk about sushi.
Backup Singers
Do do do do do do do do.
Portland, Vegas, Glendale, this is 30 Rock!

Lyrics! They put lyrics to the theme song! Very cool, 30 Rock. Love it.

Writing up this episode was a bitch in places, though. The sound on a live version (especially when the studio audience is laughing) is really hard to hear sometimes. Luckily one of my sharp-eared commenters figured it out. My best guess is “L.A. to Nome” as in “Nome, Alaska.”

03:02 East Coast
Live Show, it’s the 30 Rock Live Show, it’s 30 Rock Live.
Backup Singers
SOMETHING SOMETHING. There’s a chance that it might not burn.
Why though do a 30 Rock Live Show, why 30 Rock Live?
Backup Singers
Five, four, three, two, one.
Because this is my gift to you our audience!

So.. still can’t hear the first half of the first line. Weird.

03:20 West Coast
Ah, hi Jadwiga.
I haven’t seen you in a long time.

Jadwiga is being played by Rachel Dratch, who’s appeared in numerous weird little roles on 30 Rock and is a long-time collaborator of Tina Fey. Liz’s greeting is double — the last time Dratch was on 30 Rock was almost three and a half years previous, in S01E21 “Hiatus”. Dratch was actually cast as Jenna for the pilot, but the role was eventually given to Jane Krakowski, although I’ve never found out exactly why, or whether that had any effect on Fey and Dratch’s long-time friendship.

03:36 West Coast
Wow. I’m glad to see you back. Oh, I want to tell you, um, there’s probably going to be a party tonight because it’s my birthday.
Oooooo! Happy Days… is my favourite show.

Happy Days (1974-1984) was a sitcom set in the 50s/60s, starring Henry Winkler as Arthur “Fonzie” / “the Fonz” Fonzarelli.

04:10 West Coast
I like Fonzie! Ayyyyy! His office is bathroom, just like Jadwiga.
Okay. Good talk, Jadwiga.

The Fonz and his friends hung out at Arnold’s Drive-In, and Fonzie claimed the men’s washroom as his office, which was where the gang went to work out problems.

04:26 West Coast
Oh, Miss Maroney, heh, I have your messages. Uh, a Mr. Bret Fav-ray stopped by, and dropped off this picture of a hot dog.

Topical! On October 8, six days before this episode aired, Brett Favre (actually pronounced “farv”), an NFL quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, was investigated by the NFL for allegations he was harassing the Jet’s “gameday host” Jenn Sterger. There’s a reason for this. Anyway, apparently he’s after Jenna now. I don’t think it’s a picture of a hot dog.

04:40 West Coast
Heh. Uh, the Chilean miners are all out, and they’re really angry about what you’ve been saying about them.
So I guess they’re geniuses for getting stuck in a mine?

Also topical! On 5 August 2010, the San José copper-gold mine, near Copiapó, Chile, collapsed, leaving 33 men trapped underground. The event received huge worldwide media coverage. The miners were all eventually rescued alive on October 13, 2010, the day before this episode aired. I guess that’s part of the fun of doing a live show! You can do this sort of thing. And Jenna’s just mean!

04:50 West Coast
Uh… Also your pharmacy called — apparently you can’t get a prescription for Ecstasy.
Thanks, ObamaCare.

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is drug that has a tendency to induce euphoria, a sense of intimacy with others, and diminished anxiety and depression. An illegal drug. Which is why Jenna’s probably having trouble getting a hold of some, and less to do with Barrack Obama’s new health care plan, which is designed to extend health care coverage, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t cover illegal drugs. More’s the pity.

05:40 West Coast
Last night for the first time ever, Tracy watched the non-porn version of the Carol Burnett Show.

The Carol Burnett Show (1967-1978) was a variety show famous for its distinct lack of porn. I didn’t research too heavily, but I’m pretty sure no porn version was ever made.

6:21 West Coast
Okay, Tracy, what you’re talking about is called breaking, and, sure, audiences love it when something goes wrong. [wall poster tilts] Okay, but we don’t do that here. It’s cheap. So no breaking. Promise?
I promise. I swear on my mother’s grape.
Wait. Did you say “grave” or “grape”?
Yes, good bye.

It also known as “breaking character,” and is considered extremely unprofessional. Just about right for Tracy Jordan.

06:44 West Coast
Gentlemen, tonight I’m gonna laugh harder- tonight, at… than I did at Dotcom’s play.
It was Angels in America, Trey! [poster falls to the ground]

Tracy messes up his line a bit here. It’s the most obvious mistake in both the East and West coast airings, which is pretty good overall, I think!

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is a play set in 80s New York City centered around two troubled couples, one gay, one straight, and deals with issues like AIDS and drug addiction. Not really a laughy-type play.

07:07 West Coast
Ha ho, I’m sorry. It’s just that… Mr. Lutz is wearing a hilarious t-shirt, and every time I see him — just look! [points to Lutz wearing an “I’m With Stupid” t-shirt] [laughs] Whoever’s standing next to him is stupid! That guy is stupid. [Lutz starts walking] Now she is, and now they are. Now I were! [laughs] Anyway, Mr. Donaghy called while you were with Mr. Jordan. He needs to see you right away. [goes back to his Page desk, laughing]

These shirts are hilarious.  That is all.

07:37 West Coast
Liz. I almost forgot. Happy Birthday… the song. Legal says we can’t use it in the birthday sketch. But we can use “It’s Your B-Day, Bitch,” by Snooki’s mom.

Snooki, a.k.a. Nicole Polizzi, is a trashy chick on Jersey Shore, a similarly trashy reality show. If you watch it, please stop. I was going to link to the DVD of Season One on Amazon, so I’d make a bit of kickback if anyone buys anything, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Snooki’s mom recorded no such song, but it would fit if she did.

Coincidentally, South Park’s episode S14E10 “It’s A Jersey Thing” aired the day before 30 Rock and parodied Jersey Shore and Snooki, accurately portraying her as a feral oversexed rat creature.

As for “Happy Birthday To You,” it is actually copyrighted! It was written by sisters; two Kentucky spinster schoolteachers, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill in 1893. The rights to the song now belong to Summy-Birchard Music, part of AOL Time Warner media, and pulls in about $2 million in annual royalties.

07:50 West Coast
Wait. Did I just hear you correctly? Because last year I wrote a song called “It’s Your Birthday, Slut.” Does Mrs. Polizzi’s track sound anything like this? [sings] You say that it’s your birthday, time to skank it up hard. Choke a cop with your panties… No? No one?

In case you were wondering, I don’t think “choke a cop with your panties” is an actual reference. At least I can’t find one. And believe me, I wanted to.

08:10 West Coast
Hey. Did you just knit that? [referring to the knit poncho Jack’s wearing]
I need a drink, Lemon!
Already. O- okay, we can get through this.
It turns out that it’s not the ritual. According to a bunch of online questionnaires, I am a problem drinker. Oh God I have a splitting headache! Replace the ritual, replace the ritual. Would you come over here please? Yes, thank you. [puts his hands near Liz’s mouth] Thank you. [pulls paper streamer out of Liz’s mouth]

Want to try an online quiz yourself to see if you have a drinking problem? Do it. Apparently I don’t. Much to my surprise.

Ooo! Jack’s slight-of-hand is getting better. Want to buy your own mouth coils and try this on your friends and loves ones? While you’re at it, order up some X-Ray Glasses, Sea Monkeys, and a footlocker full of real toy soldiers!

08:51 West Coast
I cannot divulge my secrets. I don’t want to let Avery down, but this is so hard. Lemon, distract me. Entertain me.
Okay uh.. Open on: the Covent Garden Flower Market, the year 1892. [screechy Cockney accent] Flowers, flowers for sale.

Liz is quoting from the movie My Fair Lady, based on Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion, in which profession Henry Higgins makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess. Liz is that begraggled Cockney flower girl.

As an interesting side note (from my wife, the theatre nerd), while on Broadway, Eliza Doolittle was played by Julie Andrews, but when it was made into a movie, studio head Jack Warner insisted Audrey Hepburn be cast instead due to her name recognition. This was kind of insulting, as Julie Andrews was doing a fantastic job in the role and Hepburn can’t sing. Andrews ended up being cast in the title role in Mary Poppins, for which she won an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for Best Actress, and at the Golden Globe acceptance speech she thanked Mr. Jack Warner for making it all possible. Ha! In your face, casting directors!

09:28 East and West Coast
You’re the real stars! Not really.
Fox News. A division of Fox Nonsense Incorporated.
Welcome back to Fox News. I’m blonde. President Obama, in your own words, why are you a terrorist who hates America?
That’s an excellent question. Uh oh. I’m doing something called breaking! Bwa ha ha ha ha! Snort! Hee hee hee! Giggle giggle! This audience loves this! Chortle!

Ahhh shots at Fox News! And why not. It’s widely known to put a horrific slant on news, so much so it can barely be called news. And the bulk of their female reporters are blonde.

(East Coast Episode) The title below Obama/Jordan reads: Exclusive Interview With Kenyan Liar, referring to Barack Obama’s ethnic Kenyan heritage. Being Fox News, they would of course call him Kenyan, when in fact he’s half Kenyan on his father’s side. And not really a liar so much.

(West Coast Episode) The title below Obama/Jordan reads: Impartial Interview Barack Obammunist, referring to Fox’s painfully non-impartial interviews and implying Obama is a communist. Which he isn’t. I believe he’s a Democrat.

10:14 West Coast
Dr. Spaceman
Erectile dysfunction. It’s not just a dog problem anymore. It also affects millions of men. Hello, I’m “Doctor” Leo Spaceman. For too long, erectile dysfunction has been viewed as a physical problem, and it’s been treated with pills and ointments and contraptions whose straps break all too easily. But couldn’t the real cause of E.D. be that we haven’t produced a good “doing it” song since “Close The Door” by Teddy Pendergrass? That’s why I recorded an album.

Erectile Dysfunction, a.k.a. male impotence, is when a man can’t.. oh how to put this delicately? Bring wood to the fire. And there is actually a physical version as well as a psychological version.

Close The Door is an R&B song by the late Teddy Pendergrass. Listen to it. I dare you not to make love to this song.

On the West Coast episode, Dr. Spaceman has a pamphlet on his desk that reads “You Do The Meth!” which is a twisted version of the phrase “you do the math.” In S01E09 “The Baby Show,” Dr. Spaceman reveals that he is listed under fertility, meth addiction, and child psychiatry.

The East Coast episode had a different pamphlet, but it was difficult to make out.

10:48 West Coast
Dr. Spaceman
[singing] Baby, let’s take it slow. You know we’ve got all night, light some candles, draw a bath, and tie me to my radiator and put food just out of reach.

10:48 East Coast
Dr. Spaceman
[singing] Baby, let’s take it slow. You know we’ve got all night, light some candles, draw a bath, and start off with full-on intercourse.

11:13 West Coast
Dr. Spaceman
[singing] Girl, I been knowing you a long time, and I think tonight’s the night. This time you can be the man. Strap — [cut off by NBC Technical Difficulties card]

Let me finish this one. “Strap that strap-on with the straps and hold me close when you’re done.”

11:12 East Coast
Dr. Spaceman
[singing] Baby, let’s let the dog watch us. Do you think he understands the love that we have. Oops, I’m finished, call yourself a cab.

11:45 West Coast
Really? Jadwiga’s birthday?
I look out for her. We’re friends with benefits.

Frank… has a history of sleeping with cleaning women. I haven’t done up the trivia on enough episodes to provide a comprehensive list here, BUT MARK MY WORDS I WILL! One day… I will.

11:51 West Coast
Tracy. You should be ashamed of yourself.
I can’t be! I’m missing that part of my brain.
Why- Why are you doing this?
Why does anybody do anything? Because they’re rich and they have Attention Deficit Diso– look at Lutz’s t-shirt!

I’m certain there’s a real brain region for shame. On a related note, scientists have a new tool in their brain-examining arsenal. They can now temporarily turn off specific regions of the brain while a patient is conscious. That’s so cool. So they can figure out what each region is doing. Or make you forget the third grade. Or the letter Q.

Attention Deficit Disorder (now known as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is when you get distracted very, very easily. Especially by shiny or trivial things. Like little bits of tinfoil or Jersey Shore.

12:07 West Coast
You are ruining the show! No more laughing.
No more laughing, Kraut’s honor.
Wait, did you say “scout” or “kraut”?
Good bye!

Kraut is a racial slur for German, referring to the belief that they eat a lot of sauerkraut.

12:16 West Coast
[answers her phone] Oh! Carol I knew you wouldn’t forget about me today!
No non-essential chatter, Liz, I’m having the worst flight of my career! Wind shear, lightning, severe turbulence, the in-flight meal was a frittata.

A frittata?! It is indeed commonly served at lunch, thank you very much. Absurd.

12:33 West Coast
So Lizzie, look, if something were to happen I- I just want you to know I… I need you to go to… my apartment in Raleigh and clear out any porn before my mom gets there.
That’s it?
Well, I- I also need you to TiVo “Bones” for me in case I survive.

Raleigh is in North Carolina. You’re welcome.

A TiVo is a PVR (personal video recorder), the much more intelligent descendant of the common VCR. They record and play back television.

Bones is Fox crime drama TV series. Fox?? Why are they mentioning a Fox show if they’re not making fun of it? It’s what they DO! Weird. Oh wait, seems Damon keeps slipping references to Bones into shows he’s in, but nobody knows why yet! Ooooo!

12:50 West Coast
You know what, Carol? Y- Today is a very special day, and you should know that. Also, you should know that you can’t use cell phone on planes.
Nah, wait, nah that’s just something we tell the passengers, to keep — [weird plane sound, and cockpit lights go out] — Ah, h- hang on, gotta go. [lights go back on] Oh man, I think I just really screwed something up with my girlfriend.

Wow, there’s a lot of interest in this topic. Cell phones may interfere with older aircraft systems with missing/degraded shielding. It may also be a ploy by airlines to charge the hell out of you to use their in-craft phones. It also may cause multiple cell towers on the ground to pick up your signal, causing havoc on their network. It also may be that passengers don’t want some jackass talking way too loud six inches from their ear for an entire transcontinental flight. Maybe they should stay banned.

13:22 West Coast
I am a professional, Liz. I have never broken during a performance, ever. I was on stage in Pippin with Irene Ryan when she died and I kept going.
I know, and that is why you are so amazing!

Irene Ryan is best known for her role as Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies, and did create and star in the 1972 Broadway musical Pippin. She didn’t die while performing Pippin, but she did have a stroke while performing it in 1973 and died later that same month.

And as a side note, Jane Krakowski’s performance was pretty much flawless for both East and West Coast episodes. This is probably because she’s a theatre actor and has heaps of practice memorizing lines and performing in front of a live audience.

13:34 West Coast
Oh I have never broken, Liz, but if he tries to pull that stunt again, I will have a “wardrobe malfunction.” Oh, I will “slip a nip,” Liz. So help me, I will slip a nip!

Ahhh the infamous “wardrobe malfunction,” made famous by Janet Jackson’s 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show “Nipplegate”.

13:47 West Coast
Hi Jadwiga, how are you?
Sit on it! [laughs]

“Sit on it” is one of the Fonz’s catchphrases. Watch them all!

13:59 West Coast
Are you sniffing paint?
Of course I am, Lemon. Men need alcohol. It gives us the ability to hit on women and later, when we’re married, to tune them out. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. This is the worst day of my life.

13:57 East Coast
Are you sniffing paint?
Of course I am, Lemon. Men need alcohol. It’s the first thing every civilization makes along with weapons, and shelters to enjoy prostitutes. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. This is the worst day of my life.

14:17 West Coast
It’s my birthday, Jack. It is my fortieth birthday and no one remembered.
Damn ye, she-beasts!

Whoa. Jack’s sobriety has made him go medieval.

There is a 1967 The She-Beast movie, but I doubt that’s what he’s referring to.

14:43 West Coast
What can I tell you, this is what happens to people like you and me who put work before everything else. You know where I spent my fortieth birthday? In my office, all night long.
[flashback to a handsome, lean, muscular “Jack,” dancing and surrounded by three beautiful women]

Ha! I love these flashbacks. Brilliant.

Though Young Jack should have had chest hair. Check out young chest-hairy Alec Baldwin here and here. Young Jack was played by Garrett Neff, a Calvin Klein model.

15:09 West Coast
Look, Jack you know, uh… I don’t want to make you feel guilty, I mean, I know who I am. I know I’m not the funnest person in the group. I’m not the one you call when you want to go out clubbing on the town and party-dance all night.
Why are you speaking like a Persian immigrant?

More random 30 Rock semi-racist but baseless stereotypes. I think they just choose a weird thing and them randomly choose a nationality.

15:25 West Coast
But I thought at least these dummies would do something for me besides set a bunch of fires I have to put out. I thought that when I turned FORTY —
Forty… I could really drink a forty right now.

“A forty” = a 40 oz. bottle of liquor (often malt liquor).

15:39 West Coast
Oprah, this is what the inside of a child’s face looks like.
Oh no! My Oprah wig has fallen off! Exciting mishap! This is live!

They’re parodying The Oprah Winfrey Show, with Tracy playing Oprah. And breaking character again. Oh, Tracy, you’re so crazy.

16:54 West Coast
Hi. I’m Doctor Drew Baird. Every year dozens of people lose a hand to a helicopter or fireworks mishap. Or in my case both. But thanks to groundbreaking research at the Yale University Centre for Hand Frankensteining, hand transplants are a reality, making life better for people all over the world. People like me. [holds up right hand, which is a woman’s hand] Of course, donors are rare. As you can see I’ve had to accept a female hand. A number of which because available after a giant explosion at a Josh Groban concert. So please give. And give someone a hand. I’m sorry, I’m trying to do a thumbs up here. She- She doesn’t always listen. [hand starts stroking his face] Okay. No no no no. No. No. This is not the time. Please, we are in public. [hand starts moving downward] No. No! Stop it, Marjorie. No! Obey me! Ow! [hand moves down to crotch] Please, just.. I’m so tired. Oh God, please take of your rings!

My God I love Jon Hamm. In earlier episodes it was established that he’s very pretty and dumb as dirt, and lost his hands while waving from a helicopter, although there was no mention of a fireworks incident. His hand does look like it was stitched on by Dr. Frankenstein (common misconception — the monster doesn’t have a name; Frankenstein is the name of the Doctor who created the monster).

Josh Groban is a singer. And has a ton of female fans.

Once the hand starts getting… amorous, Baird claims he’s tired, the cliche response from a woman if she doesn’t want to have sex, but the hand doesn’t listen. The hand insists. The hand wants what the hand wants. Do not fight The Hand.

17:01 East Coast
Hi, I’m Doctor Drew Baird. Every year dozens of people lose a hand to a helicopter or fireworks mishap or in my case both. But now there’s hope. Thanks to an idea that started as a pitch for a horror movie and grew into a charitable organization, hands from executed criminals are now making life better for people all over the world. People like me. [holds up right hand, which is a black man’s hand] But we can’t do without your support, so give. And give someone a hand. [looks at hand] Sorry, I’m trying to do a thumbs up here, it doesn’t always listen. [hand raises in a first] Oh God no, that’s a Black Power thing, I- I really should.. [struggles with hand] Come here… No! [hand grabs his throat] No! Why are you doing– No! Bad hand! [hand punches him and knocks him back] Now it’s got my testicles.

Very similar to the other version, but with a violent black man’s hand. Black Power is a movement to advance black political and cultural institutions, and does use the upraised fist as a symbol.

I think I like this one better. The crazed hand reminds me of Evil Dead, where the inimitable Bruce Campbell’s hand becomes possessed by an evil spirit and attacks him.

They actually can do hand transplants now. And face transplants, for that matter.

18:03 West Coast
Listen up. We forgot Liz Lemon’s birthday. Her fortieth birthday!
Uhhh.. [to Jonathan] How? You gave me your list.
[screeches like a… chicken?]
Never mind how it happened, that’s water under the bridge.
I’m sorry. We don’t have that expression in Canada. Does that mean what happened can be used to power a lumber mill?

Yes, we know what that means in Canada;) It’s bad enough having most of the United States not know a thing about Canada without this kind of stuff. Still funny, though!

Here’s a quick primer on Canadians: we get 90% of our media from the States, so you can assume we know everything you do, and we’re basically the same in most ways. Except our education system’s better. Oh, and so is our health care. Oh, and we know how to manage our money better. And we’re way nicer;)

18:23 West Coast
It means we’re going to do something nice for our friend Liz Lemon, because she takes care of us we are going to take care of her, even if we are currently sober for the first time in ten years.
Not me. [holds up gold coin] I just got my “Ten Year Drunk” chip.

This is a play on the Alcoholic Anonymous medallions, given to members who pass certain milestones while remaining sober. Personally, I’d rather join Jenna’s group.

18:36 West Coast
Pete, what can you pull together? Is there time to do something on the air for Liz?
Not really, I mean I could cut the… product placement for Capital One.
Oh, no, you can’t do that. The Capital One Venture Card is amazing! They give double miles every day with every purchase.

Ahhh another in a long string of wink-at-the-camera 30 Rock product placements, this one for Capital One Financial Corporation hawking their Venture Travel Rewards Credit Card. NBC actually does get paid for these ads, which makes me love the writers even more. They do what they need to do and make it funny at the same time.

To top it off, Frank’s hat reads “Promotional Consideration,” and his shirt says “Furnished by Capital One.”

19:15 West Coast
[answers her phone] Did you crash?
No, but it was pretty scary, I mean, well not like the stuff I saw in the Air Force, of course. Like this one time me and a bunch of us pilots, we went to a haunted house in Germany. That was messed up!

So, the funny but less funny part here is Carol explaining how the “scary” stuff he saw in the Air Force consisted of a German haunted house, when you figure he meant near-death experiences in the air or something. The more funny part is what looks like a black bachelorette party walking by behind Carol. Sharp-brained fans will remember this from the first episode in this season, S05E01 “The Fabian Strategy”, where Carol mentioned he was flying black bachelorette parties from Newark to Atlantic City. Gotta love subtle fan rewards!

20:45 West Coast
Ukradlas mi urodziny! [plunges hands in cake, and gets dragged off by Pete]
On behalf of everyone here at TGS we just want to wish —
Good night!
Ahhh! Ahhh! Help! Her thumbs are in my eyes! [screams and runs by, Jadwiga wrapped around his head]

Update: Fabulous reader Chiyto filled me in on Jadwiga, saying her scream is in Polish (with a really good accent) and translates to “You stole my birthday!” which is exactly what Liz complains to the crew about when she says “This is supposed to be for Jadwiga! You stole an old cleaning lady’s birthday just to try to make me happy?” Jadwiga is a stereotypical “Polish old lady” name. It’s an old-fashioned name. It used to be popular shortly after WWII, so most women named Jadwiga are pushing sixty (I’m talking stereotypes), hence the “old Polish cleaning lady” bit.

Also from Chyto: The red and white balloons with the White Eagle on them emulate the Polish national flag, which is red at the bottom and white at the top; and the White Eagle is Poland’s national coat of arms. One of the country’s oldest national symbols. Now that’s paying attention to detail! Well done, show.

21:21 West Coast
You know but it was perfect. It was the best of both worlds. I got to feel martyred and indignant all day, and still got to eat the Fonz’s face. But I have one more birthday wish. I want you to have a drink with me.
Well I promised Avery I wouldn’t, but it’s dangerous to deny the wishes of a.. an old spinster. You may turn me into a crow. To Liz Lemon! You’re halfway to death. [lights go dim] That’s more like it.

Spinster = old unmarried woman. Actually, that’s what it means in North America. In Europe it seems to be the female equivalent of “bachelor.” The term comes from medieval times. Women who spun wool held one of the few professions where their income could allow them to live without the support of a man. They were also sometimes mistaken for witches, who did things like cause cattle to die, spoil milk, and turn people into crows.

When the lights dim and Jack says “That’s more like it,” he’s referring to the super bright lighting required for a multiple-camera filming setup. 30 Rock is normally filmed with a single camera setup, allowing much lower, softer light.

21:58 West Coast
Thank you Matt Damon, Rachel Dratch, Bill Hader, Jon Hamm, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Garrett Neff, Chris Parnell, and everyone at NBC. 30 Rock crew, I love you! SNL crew I love you!
[claps and cheers]
You’re watching The Office right now!

In the East Coast version Jane can be heard asking Tina “Are we still on the air?” just before Tina starts thanking everyone. When they’re thanking everyone are they Jenna and Liz or Jane and Tina??

In the crowd is a robot and a bear, first seen in S01E03 “Blind Date”, where Frank is directing the bears to attack the robot. Apparently they’re friends now. In the East Coast episode, Jack has a little dance party with the robot and the bear.

In the West Coast episode, Jack holds up a sign reading “I LOVE YOU,” with a shamrock drawn below, maybe as a nod to his Irish Roman Catholic roots.

Liz thanks all of the special guests: Matt Damon (Carol, her pilot boyfriend), Rachel Dratch (Jadwiga the cleaning lady), Bill Hader (Kevin, Carol’s co-pilot), Jon Hamm (Dr. Drew Baird), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (flashback Liz), Garrett Neff (Young Jack), and Chris Parnell (Dr. Leo Spaceman).

She then tells the audience they’re watching The Office, which is in the time slot right after 30 Rock.

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