“When NBC asked us to write if we could write a reunion episode, to pinch hit for the upfronts this year so they could happen, it made sense to us because the world of 30 Rock always blended commerce and comedy,” Fey said of tonight's 30 Rock: A One Time-Special, which doubles as an upfront presentation for NBC Universal. “I would say we have a level of understanding of marketing and advertising that matches the level of medical knowledge that people have on doctors shows.” Fey added that “everything came together very quickly” and “everyone was very willing to jump right in." While most of the special was filmed remotely, Fey did shoot some scenes outside with a small crew that was tested for coronavirus. “It was very special and very heartwarming to be able to do what we used to do and to be safe doing it. I look forward to these baby steps for other people being able to get back to work soon,” she said. Meanwhile, Jake Krakowsky said the cast had to get used to filming remotely. "There was a big learning curve in terms of how we were going to make a quarantine episode," said Krakowski. "We all had to film everything according to regulations."
NBC's 30 Rock debacle is exactly what Tina Fey deserves: That tonight's special won't air on most NBC affiliates is somewhat of a comeuppance for Fey's professional sins, says Meghan O'Keefe. "As 30 Rock returns for a ridiculous corporate stunt, it’s worth noting that the show always mocked such craven displays of artistic talent cowering for their corporate overlords," says O'Keefe. "Fey’s involvement in this twist on the corporate upfront is almost the completion of 30 Rock. The fact that most viewers won’t be able to see this meta mugging from 30 Rock‘s stars because of corporate pettiness is absolutely perfect. Fey has always been committed to the punchline, no matter how brutal. Now 30 Rock, Fey’s baby, is seeing this devotion through to its most ridiculous end. The 30 Rock special tonight — and the affiliate blackout it has inspired — are an ironic tribute to Fey. Mean, petty, absurd, and satiric to the extreme, this whole situation fits Fey’s legacy to a tee."
Over time, 30 Rock became something like NBC’s ombudsman, or maybe its court jester: The Tina Fey comedy was a "neutral third party given carte blanche to bring inside baseball into the outside world," says Alison Herman. "It’s been sorely missed in the seven years it’s been off the air, as the sense we’re living inside an extended episode has creeped ever further outside midtown Manhattan. This year’s Macy’s fireworks display—presented by NBC!—featured 'unannounced displays' around a city already shaken by illness and widespread demonstrations, recalling the time when Jack accidentally re-created 9/11 with colorful explosives. John Slattery’s congressional candidate Steven Austin anticipated other incoherent populists bankrolled by elite interests. And what else is Quibi if not a giant joke at the expense of executives who spend billions chasing an audience they don’t understand?"