Outside of the constantly shuffled “Community” and “Parks and Recreation,” NBC hasn’t really had Must See television on Thursdays for quite a while now. “The Office” writer’s room has been on the metaphorical blue screen of death since before Michael Scott’s exit, and now, apparently, like a system-wide reboot might be required to save it, no matter how much everyone wants to just put it in the closet with the Walkman and the VCR. “Up All Night” has been perfectly fine if not exactly engaging, but it’s milquetoastiness is also its worst enemy. And it feels like “30 Rock” has been doing almost literally the same plots and jokes that haven’t been satisfying for two seasons now — save for that one episode where Billy Baldwin played an actor playing Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy in a TV movie about his wife’s kidnapping by North Korea.
So, it’s a good thing “Parks and Rec” is coming back this week to finish out the season behind “The Office” in the 9:30pm timeslot, giving comedy fans two solid bookends for the night with “Community” still doing better than it was before its initial Spring hiatus at 8. In what must be a cold, emotionless attempt to generate its own positive buzz, “30 Rock” has announced it will be doing its second live show on April 26, and like the mostly well-received first effort the show will feature of a few celebrity cameos. So far we know that fellow NBC star Donald Glover is set to appear in a flashback sequence playing a young Tracy Jordan, which means he’ll likely be called upon to do his fairly impressive impression of Tracy Morgan.
If you’ve never seen it, here’s a bit from Glover’s stand-up (mildly NSFW for mature language about immature subject matter; just keep your earbuds in):
Glover’s rendition of the “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” is probably even better, so we can only hope the flashback actually allows them to share the screen. Somehow. I would be pleasantly surprised if Glover’s appearance didn’t amount to more than a single cutaway gag, considering the cameos from the previous “30 Rock” live, bhe’s still reason enough to tune in. Well, reason enough to give the show a shot if you’ve already given up on it, which would be understandable. But, hey, that Billy Baldwin-as-Jack ep really was pretty great.
Rob Payne also writes the comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He’s pretty sure that “30 Rock” started its general downhill trajectory after Donald Glover left the writing staff to act in “Community.”