A debate between two characters on “30 Rock” Thursday night about the comedic abilities of monkeys could be interpreted as a commentary on another NBC sitcom that relied on a playful primate for laughs.
Unfortunately, that sitcom — the new fall series, “Animal Practice,” about a New York veterinary hospital — was cancelled earlier in the day on Thursday.
Of course, Tina Fey and the other writers and producers of “30 Rock” could not have had any idea when they produced the episode that “Animal Practice” — along with Crystal, its female capuchin monkey star — would be cancelled on the same day that “30 Rock” would have its own monkey storyline.
On “30 Rock,” Fey’s character, Liz Lemon, disagreed with Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) over the comical capabilities of monkeys. On “30 Rock,” Jordan wanted a monkey named “Prof. Wigglebottom” to be added to his show, “TGS,” and Liz, the show’s executive producer, refused.
“I’m not putting any monkeys on ‘TGS,’ because you know what? I don’t think monkeys are funny!” Liz declared in her argument with Tracy — a debate that began over his assertion that women aren’t funny.
“How dare you generalize so crassly!” Tracy replied.
Later in the episode, Prof. Wigglebottom does indeed appear on the “TGS” set and steals the show.
So, how did this monkey subplot evolve? No one from “30 Rock” has been quoted on the subject today (Friday), but we’re pretty sure that this monkey debate was at least inspired by the monkey from “Animal Practice” that stole every scene she was in (but nevertheless could not save the show).
The “30 Rock” episode also featured a guest appearance by Olympic swimming star Ryan Lochte as a rival with Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) for the same woman.
And “Animal Practice” wasn’t the only TV show to be ridiculed on the show. ABC’s “Castle” and Julie Bowen, star of “Modern Family” on ABC, were also mentioned. Bowen’s name came up when Jenna Mulroney (Jane Krakowski) declared that she refuses to compete with Bowen for movie roles. As for “Castle,” that show was named when Mulroney was making a statement about her maturing age. Said she, “I’m much too old to party, I watch ‘Castle,’ and my purse is filled with Sweet ‘n’ Lows!”