30 Rock‘s characters are most fascinating and funniest when they’re at their most flawed. Do viewers want to see Lemon get what she wants?
We can’t read everyone’s minds, but we generally feel like what we want is what the people who watch the show want. [Though] there’s a section of people who want Jack and Liz to be together, and I don’t think they’re going to receive satisfaction in that regard. It’s entirely too much of an avuncular relationship. That would be like crossing the Rubicon.
We definitely want to keep our viewers happy, but as far as what that is, I don’t know. Is it Liz getting everything? If she got everything, it wouldn’t be in a straightforward way. On our little island of misfit toys, it has to get a laugh. We as writers find that more fun. These characters — as smart as they are or talented as they may be, and some of them are just flat-out crazy — are all flawed. That creates story and conflict, and that’s the fun of somebody doing something dumb and trying to get themselves out of it. Like Jack Donaghy…
With his couches.
Exactly — his stress position torture couches. It’s all well-intentioned, and it’s all because he can’t stop moving forward and is in a little bit of a box and is not about to not come up with what he thinks is a great idea. The next thing you know, you’re trying to sell couches that torture people. In other words, it always has to go to that place for us.
What are some of the things that the last season would not be 30 Rock if you did not have?
Dr. Spaceman [Chris Parnell] has to kill one of our cast members accidentally.
Or on purpose?
Or on purpose! As some sort of Dr. Frankenstein experiment. Otherwise, Devin Banks [Will Arnett] has to rear his ugly head again. Colleen [Jack’s mother, played by Elaine Stritch] has to come back, and we discover that she is never, ever going to die. I want to get Michael Sheen back as Wesley Snipes. I loved him so much. … We say every year that we’re going to get our buddy Tim Meadows on the show. This year we just have to figure that out.
He could be Paul’s brother.
We did talk about a storyline where Criss turns out to be adopted by an African-American family. We could get Tim for that. He could be Criss’s brother.
I know Paul and Jenna’s wedding is going to be major.
I would hope so. I guess we can’t bail on that and just say it happened over the summer. [Laughs] Well surely he’ll be dressed as her, right?
It could turn into a “Who wore it better?” dilemma. That might be the end of them, actually.
[Laughs] That’s great, yeah.
Well, Paul would take a step back and let Jenna wear the prettier dress.
Of course he would, yes. That why the relationship works. He understands it’s all about her.
What we can expect for Tracy?
More comedy. His new goal is to build an African-American business empire along the lines of Tyler Perry. It’s funny — he’s in some ways the most stable character. He has the most stable relationship and a family. In this weird way… it’s as close as we get to telling traditional sitcom stories.
You have one more opportunity for a live show. What are the chances?
There’s not a lot of runway for us to land the plane this year, and a live show is not really an opportunity for us to tell much story. It’s been fun doing them. That live experience is such a rush. It was a really fun change of pace for the actors and the audience. We haven’t really discussed it, and I think it’ll be tough — but that’s what we said back in 2006 about doing any of this.