30 Rock Reunion Recap: What Brought Liz Lemon & Co. Back Together?

30 Rock Reunion Liz Tina Fey

The cast of 30 Rock reunited for a one-time commercial special on Thursday, helping NBCUniversal present its upcoming programming slate to advertisers (while confusing the heck out of 30 Rock fans who didn’t know what this was going to be).

Speaking of NBCUniversal, the media company is now being run by none other than Kenneth Parcell, something Jack reminds Liz when he calls her out of the blue with an intriguing proposition: Kenneth wants to reboot TGS for Peacock, “NBC’s amazing new streaming platform.” Liz is initially hesitant to reboot the semi-beloved sketch comedy show (“Making TV just doesn’t seem important right now”), but her former mentor sells her on the idea that it’ll be good for the economy, so she agrees to do her part. As an American.

Her first call is to TGS‘ former writing staff, all of whom are still up to their usual weirdness. Frank recently left a consulting gig at Peppa Pig because they wouldn’t let him keep his porn collection at the office, Toofer is tired of cranking out Christmas TV movies (mostly because Hallmark pays him in ornaments), and Lutz… lives with Sue now, apparently. She also calls up her old producing partner Pete, who’s finally living his truth by doing things like attempting to Google “ayahuasca.”

Jenna has apparently been canceled ever since she pooped in Mandy Moore’s thermos, so Liz is forced to find a replacement. Neither America’s Got Talent judge Sofia Vergara nor Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kandi Burruss are up to the challenge, but Khloe Kardashian expresses interest. She even impresses Liz with her spot-on impression (we assume) of her dog’s business manager. But before anyone signs on the dotted line, Jenna Zoom-bombs the call with a desperate plea. “I am TGS!” she says, before informing Liz that quarantine has been the hardest on hot extroverts such as herself. (Finally, someone is looking out for the hot extroverts.)

After caving to Jenna’s demands, Liz FaceTimes the final missing piece of the TGS puzzle: Tracy Jordan, now a champion race-walker living in Canada for surprisingly normal reasons. But just when it seems like all systems are go, Kenneth drops a bomb of his own on Liz & Co.: There is no reboot. He’s hurt that no one attended any of his previous Zoom gatherings — including the 50th birthday party he threw for Liz — and he informs them that they’ve all tested negative. For friendship.

Liz is ready to throw in the towel, until Jack reminds her that handling power-hungry lunatics such as Kenneth is what she was born to do. (Or at least it’s a talent she developed during her days at TGS.) Either way, she’s inspired, enlisting Jenna to Zoom-bomb NBCUniversal’s virtual Upfront presentation for a performance so memorable, it might just get her un-blacklisted.

Kenneth is initially mortified when Jack, Jenna, Tracy and Liz crash the presentation to sing an apology inspired by the Brady Bunch theme song (“An ABC show!” he shrieks), but a follow-up chat in a private room changes everything. Kenneth comes to the (highly questionable) conclusion that “you all being mean to me is the friendship I’ve been missing.” He’s been surrounded by so many yes men — as well as his sexy look-alike assistant Vivica — that he forgot what it was like to get a dose of reality.

In the end, Tracy helps deliver Kenneth’s presentation, even managing to trick Mandy Moore into forgiving Jenna for pooping in her thermos. So Liz and Jack enjoy a celebratory — and safely distanced — toast to the new golden age of television. (“Take that, mid- to late-2000s!”)

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