30 Rock—Season 3

30 rock season 3 review episode guide list
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Smart and funny, great cast and guest stars

Use of blackface and brownface in episodes

30 rock season 3 episode 3 the one with the cast of night court jennifer aniston alec baldwin

Your “friends” are here!

The gang of TGS is back, and Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) discovers his stint in Washington could have consequences.  Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) wants to be a mother and her quest to adopt might lead her down a strange path.  Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) continue to battle for control of TGS as Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) tries to keep the crew together.  Get ready to Rock!

30 Rock—Season 3 is a comedy which aired on NBC from October 30, 2008 to May 14, 2009.  The series continued to garner praise and fans but struggled with viewership.  The series won a Golden Globe for Alec Baldwin for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Comedy or Musical with a nomination for Tina Fey and Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Alec Baldwin), Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (Single or Multi-Camera) (“Apollo, Apollo”), and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (“Reunion”) with nominations for Outstanding Cinematography for a Half-Hour Series (“Apollo, Apollo”), Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (“Generalissimo”, “Reunion”, and “Apollo, Apollo”), Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Tina Fey), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Jack McBrayer and Tracy Morgan), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Alan Alada, Jon Hamm, and Steve Martin), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Jennifer Aniston and Elaine Stritch), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation (“Kidney Now!”), Outstanding Writing for a  Comedy Series (“Kidney Now!”, “Apollo, Apollo”, “Mamma Mia”).

30 rock season 3 episode 20 the natural order jenna gibbon jane krakowski

Gibbons are even funnier than monkeys…right?

I’ve said it before, but 30 Rock is too smart for its own good.  Like previous seasons, the series is already at full stride and the cast and jokes land continuously.  It is choked full of jokes and even more in-jokes…if you don’t watch 30 Rock, it isn’t the easiest series to jump on.

While each episode of 30 Rock is generally self-contained, the true humor is seeing the characters develop and the continuing storylines that exist through series.  This season has Jenna trying to be in her Janis Joplin movie which was competing with another Janis Joplin movie and Jenna’s movie rapidly devolves into Jackie Jormp Jomp due to rights issues.  Like a lot of 30 Rock stories, this happened in real life with Pink and Renee Zellweger making competing Janis Joplin movies…neither happened.  Tracy’s success with Gorgasm:  The Legend of Dong Slayer sets up a lot of his storylines in that he no longer needs TGS…allowing for more erratic behavior than even before.  Both Liz and Jack have big parental issues in this season with Liz wanting to be a mother, and Jack wanting to connect to his missing father.  If you saw the episodes individually, it is difficult to see how the season ties events together.

30 rock season 3 episode 22 kidney now donald glover cameo

I wish that this had been written into Community…

30 Rock’s cast has also completely gelled.  It doesn’t necessarily feels like it is just Tina Fey’s show.  Alec Baldwin and the rest of the cast often take up large points of the storyline (though Fey’s character provides a nice anchor to work around).  They work off each other or work against each other depending on what the story calls for…it feels like a true team effort.

In addition to the cast, the series brings in great guest stars.  This season has appearances by Will Arnett, Megan Mullally, Oprah Winfrey, the cast of Night Court (Harry Anderson, Markie Post, Charlie Robinson), Jennifer Aniston, John McEnroe, Steve Martin, Rip Torn, Elaine Stritch, Billy Bush, Peter Dinklage, Nancy O’Dell, Sherri Shepherd, Chris Parnell, Matt Lauer (pre-scandal), Larry King, Meredith Vieira, John Lithgow, Patti LuPone, Calvin Klein, Adam West, Dean Winters, Don Pardo, Brian Williams, Alan Alda, and Steve Buscemi with two blink-and-you’ll miss them early appearances by Amy Schumer and Donald Glover.  Plus, you have an extended guest star with Salma Hayek and Jon Hamm.  The season caps off with the “Kidney Now” song featuring Clay Aiken, Mary J. Blige, Elvis Costello, Sara Bareilles, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, Talib Kweli, Cyndi Lauper, Adam Levine, Michael McDonald, Rhett Miller, Moby, Robert Randolph, Rachael Yamagata, and Mike D and Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys.  The series’ set-up helps the guest appearances feel natural, but fun.

30 rock season 3 episode 9 retreat to move forward witch jane krakowski

Don’t look at me!!!

The show is also shot smart and quick.  Like Arrested Development, there is a lot of jumping, flashbacks, and imagery.  We get things like Kenneth’s view of the world and Jack’s view of the world, and the visuals mesh seamlessly.

The season raised controversy twelve years after its original airdate in regards to the episode “Believe in Stars” which featured Jane Krakowski in blackface and Tracy Morgan in whiteface to the horror of the other characters.  Many streaming agencies decided to pull the episode.  While it is offensive in the episode, it is pointed out that it is offensive and why blackface is offensive is explained (though it could have been dismantled more in a longer form show).  The ignorance of the characters do reflect a lot of the ignorance of many audience members, and I do feel that comes through in the episode…a screenshot stokes anger, but the storyline does explain it (plus, the episode had the great Oprah cameo which also is about race).  A later episode in the season “Generalissimo” features Alec Baldwin in brownface as a Mexican soap opera star…it feels a little hypocritical to pull one episode but not the other.

30 Rock—Season 3 continues in the great tradition of the show.  If nothing else, it is maintaining or getting stronger by this point.  It is too bad that it is the type of show that appeals to a very niche crowd because if you watched something like The Office, and you sat down and really watched 30 Rock (or something like Community), you might end up enjoying it.  The show must go on!

30 Rock—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:

30 rock season 3 episode 1 do over liz lemon adoption megan mullally tina fey


3.1       Do-Over Airdate:  10/30/08

Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) has returned, but Devon Banks (Will Arnett) has placed him in the mailroom.  Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) faces an evaluator (Megan Mullally) for her adoption, but learns that she intends to visit the TGS set.  Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) learns that Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) has become a success with his porno game Gorgasm:  The Legend of Dong Slayer.

30 rock season 3 episode 2 believe in stars oprah tina fey

“Believe in Stars”

3.2       Believe in the Stars Airdate:  11/06/08

Tracy and Jenna continue to feud over Tracy’s video game, and Tracy decides to experience life as a white woman while Jenna tries being a black man.  Called to Chicago for jury duty, Liz makes a great discovery when she finds herself sitting next to Oprah Winfrey on the plane.

30 rock season 3 episode 3 the one with the cast of night court harry anderson markie post charlie robinson

“The One with the Cast of Night Court”

3.3       The One with the Cast of “Night Court” Airdate:  11/13/08

Liz and Jenna’s friend Claire Harper (Jennifer Aniston) comes to visit and starts causing problems for Jack when she sleeps with him.  Tracy decides to give Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) his dream of a Night Court reunion when he is forced to give up his classic page coat.

30 rock season 3 episode 4 gavin volure steve martin

“Gavin Volure”

3.4       Gavin Volure Airdate:  11/20/08

Eccentric agoraphobic Gavin Volure (Steve Martin) invites Liz and Jack to his home for a dinner.  With a potential job for Jack and a romantic interest for Liz, Jack learns that Gavin might not be everything he claims he is.  Tracy worries that his children are going to kill him.

30 rock season 3 episode 5 reunion liz lemon tina fey


3.5       Reunion Airdate:  12/04/08

Jack finds his dreams might come true when Don Geiss (Rip Torn) comes out of his coma.  Liz learns her high school reunion is coming and Jack convinces her that she needs to return to face off against her bullies.  Tracy worries that Kenneth is stealing his thunder in the elevator.

30 rock season 3 episode 6 christmas special jack mother piano elaine stritch alec baldwin

“Christmas Special”

3.6       Christmas Special Airdate:  12/11/08

Liz learns her family isn’t throwing Christmas and decides to do something for underprivileged children writing to Santa.  Jack accidentally runs down his mother (Elaine Stritch) and worries that he did it intentionally.

30 rock season 3 episode 7 senor macho solo liz lemon peter dinklage tina fey

“Senor Macho Solo”

3.7       Señor Macho Solo Airdate:  01/08/09

Jack finds himself involved with his mother’s nurse Elisa Pedrera (Salma Hayek) when he suffers a potential health crisis.  Jenna finds herself cast as Janis Joplin in a big screen biopic.  Tracy’s spending is getting out of control, and Jack tries to broker a post-pre-nup with Tracy’s wife Angie (Sherri Shepherd).  Liz’s child obsession leads her to accidentally pick up Stewart LaGrange (Peter Dinklage) who she thought was a child and realizes he can’t learn the truth.

30 rock season 3 episode 8 flu shot dr leo spaceman chris parnell tina fey

“Flu Shot”

3.8       Flu Shot Airdate:  01/15/09

Liz has a trip planned to the islands but finds everyone is getting sick.  When she learns that she gets one of the rationed flu shots from Dr. Leo Spaceman (Chris Parnell), Liz takes a stand for the crew.  Tracy and Jenna try to find some way to give back to the crew.  Jack continues to see            but finds her job of watching a man with dementia (George Bartenieff) could get in the way of their dates.

30 rock season 3 episode 9 retreat to move forward liz lemon everybody dance now tina fey

“Retreat to Move Forward”

3.9       Retreat to Move Forward Airdate:  01/22/09

Jack is nervous about going on his Six Sigmas retreat after the incident in Washington, D.C. and invites Liz to be his wingman…but his relationship with Liz could cause a problem with the members of his level.  Kenneth learns that Tracy could get diabetes and tries to scare him into eating better.  Jenna’s decided to go method actor in her preparation for her Janis Joplin biopic, but when Frank Rossitano (Judah Friedlander) tricks her into basing it off the Wikipedia page, the result isn’t what he expected.

30 rock season 3 episode 10 generalissimo jack donaghy alec baldwin


3.10     Generalissimo Airdate:  02/05/09

Jack discovers he isn’t popular with Elisa’s grandmother (Teresa Yenque) and realizes it is because of his resemblance to the villain Generalissimo (Alec Baldwin) on her soap operas…and sets out to rectify this.  Tracy starts to party with Wall Street accountants hired as interns and discovers he can’t keep up.  Liz has a new neighbor named Dr. Drew Baird (Jon Hamm) that she’s enamored with, and is willing to go to any lengths to win.

30 rock season 3 episode 11 st valentines day church jack elsa alec baldwin salma hayek

“St. Valentine’s Day”

3.11     St. Valentine’s Day Airdate:  02/12/09

Liz and Drew set-up their “do-over” date, but Liz discovers it is on Valentine’s Day.  Kenneth meets a new blind employee named Jennifer (Maria Thayer) but turns to Tracy to help him win a date.  Jack is forced to go to church with Elisa if he hopes to have a romantic Valentine’s Day with her…and his confession might be too much.

30 rock season 3 episode 12 larry king tracy jordan

“Larry King”

3.12     Larry King Airdate:  02/26/09

Jack tries to make-up with Elisa by spending a week with her, but when the foreign stock market shows signs of a crash, Jack will have to choose.  Tracy is stuck on Larry King during the financial crisis and starts to make it worse with his advice to investors.  Liz and Kenneth journey to Queens to retrieve Liz’s lost phone…and it could test their relationship.

30 rock season 3 episode 13 goodbye my friend jack frank judah friedlander alec baldwin

“Goodbye, My Friend”

3.13     Goodbye, My Friend Airdate:  05/05/09

With Elisa out of the country, Jack and Frank bond over problems with their fathers which could mean a big change for Frank.  Kenneth learns Tracy doesn’t have a birthday and tries to make a co-birthday party with Jenna.  Liz befriends a pregnant teen named Becca (Phoebe Strole) and hopes that she could be the chance Liz needs to adopt.

30 rock season 3 episode 14 the funcooker liz lemon arsonist tina fey

“The Funcooker”

3.14     The Funcooker Airdate:  03/12/09

Liz is summoned for jury duty after Cerie Xerox (Katrina Bowden) updates her status which leaves the crew of TGS on their own.  Jack tries to find a name for the new GE pocket microwave by coopting the writing team while Jenna deals with exhaustion due to her movie role.  When Tracy realizes he has the money to pay the fines for swearing on air, TGS could lose their sponsors.

30 rock season 3 episode 15 the bubble calvin klein jon hamm tina fey

“The Bubble”

3.15     The Bubble Airdate:  03/19/09

Liz discovers that Drew’s looks have left him living in a bubble, and she considers the ramification of bursting that bubble.  Jenna tries to garner her own attention by setting out for a new hairstyle.  Jack’s accidentally submarines his own attempt to extend Tracy’s contract and has to try to get him back when he quits.

30 rock season 3 episode 16 apollo apollo tracy jordan moon mission

“Apollo, Apollo”

3.16     Apollo, Apollo Airdate:  03/26/09

Jack is turning fifty and realizing that he no longer has the joy he had a child.  Liz discovers Dennis (Dean Winters) is back and learns a secret about an event that occurred while they were dating.  Tracy decides he wants to go to space and it up to the crew of TGS to make it happen.  Liz’s secret acting past is exposed!

30 rock season 3 episode 17 cutbacks steve jobs presentation liz lemon tina fey


3.17     Cutbacks Airdate:  04/09/09

Liz learns the network is facing cutbacks, and Jack leaves her in charge of making the decisions in her department.  Jack fires Jonathan (Maulik Pancholy), and Kenneth finds himself assigned as Jack’s assistant.  Tracy and Jenna begin to suspect Kenneth is hiding something when Tracy takes care of Kenneth’s bird.  Liz learns Brad Halster (Roger Bart) intends to make drastic cuts…and decides she’ll have to make a sacrifice to stop him.

30 rock season 3 episode 18 jackie jormp jomp jenna memorial jane krakowski

“Jackie Jormp-Jomp”

3.18     Jackie Jormp-Jomp Airdate:  04/16/09

Liz is on suspension for sexual harassment following her encounter with Brad Halster and tries to adjust to life without work…which means a new circle of friends led by Emily (Elizabeth Marvel) who might have their own secret to relaxation.  Jenna and Jack’s attempt to get the Jackie Jormp-Jomp picture released forces Jenna to die.  Tracy causes a problem with the TGS dancers when he fires a dancer to keep Dot Com (Kevin Brown) and Kenneth from fighting.

30 rock season 3 episode 19 the one liz lemon eliza salma hayek tina fey

“The Ones”

3.19     The Ones Airdate:  04/23/09

Jack has decided that Eliza is the one, but when Eliza returns and reveals a secret to Liz, Jack finds his love tested.  Jenna encounters a paramedic (Josh Casaubon) who idolizes her when J.D. Lutz (John Lutz) is injured…but when she doesn’t get his number, Jenna tries to find a way to use Kenneth to get him back.  Tracy’s anniversary is coming up and Tracy debates his wife’s request for him to get a personalized tattoo.

30 rock season 3 episode 20 the natural order tracy morgan liz lemon tina fey

“The Natural Order”

3.20     The Natural Order Airdate:  04/30/09

Jack’s mother is back in town, but Jack realizes he has to hire Lenny Wosniak (Steve Buscemi) to investigate her new boyfriend Paul (John Cunningham).  Liz gets upset with Tracy’s continued lateness and is challenged by Tracy for equality between the sexes and races.  Jenna adopts a gibbon, but Kenneth warns her that the natural order is being threatened.

30 rock season 3 episode 21 mama mia jack father alan alda alec baldwin

“Mama Mia”

3.21     Mamma Mia Airdate:  05/07/09

Jack has learned that the man he thought was his father wasn’t really his father, and Liz sets up a meeting to help Jack determine the identity of his father.  Jenna has found a hit with “That’s a dealbreaker, ladies”, and Liz wants the credit for writing it.  Pete Hornberger (Scott Adsit) and Liz suspect that Tracy’s newly discovered son Donald (Michael Benjamin Washington) might be a con-artist.

30 rock season 3 episode 22 kidney now fundraiser

“Kidney Now!”

3.22     Kidney Now! Airdate:  05/14/09

Jack’s father Milton Greene (Alan Alda) needs a kidney, and Jack is trying to figure out what to do about it.  Tracy is invited back to his high school to give the commencement address but has reservations.  Liz finds she’s getting her own celebrity turn after appearing on The Vontella Show with “Dealbreaker” and questions where her future is headed.

Related Links:

30 Rock—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

30 Rock—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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