There'll be no Pez dispensers, puffy shirts or Junior Mints in sight. Still, the Emmy-winning 30 Rock's Oct. 4 season premiere (8:30/ET) will seem like a trip back in time as Jerry Seinfeld returns to Must-See TV for a sidesplitting one-night stand. Fans have Seinfeld's upcoming animated feature, Bee Movie, to thank for the comedic legend's return to Thursday night. While Seinfeld was working on NBC promos for the flick, network cochairman Ben Silverman asked the comic if he'd be interested in appearing on 30 Rock. Jerry was all over the idea. "I like Tina Fey. I think she's very bright. I like the whole vibe," Seinfeld says. "So I thought, 'Yeah, I could see myself on that show.'"
But here's what really sealed the deal: "I'm a gigantic fan of Alec Baldwin," he says. "This is like a chance to be with one of your favorite actors in his prime." (Fun fact: Both Seinfeld and Baldwin hail from Massapequa, New York.) The episode, titled "Seinfeld Vision," revolves around a harebrained idea of Baldwin's Jack Donaghy to plunder the Seinfeld vaults and digitally insert Jerry into current NBC shows.
If the experience was a hoot for Seinfeld, it was downright awe-inspiring for Fey. "He's a prince among men," she says of Seinfeld. "The stuff between him and Alec is so funny." For her, one scene — in which Donaghy is pleading with Jerry to go along with his scheme — said it all: "There's Alec, fully committed, crazy, great, Oscar-winning acting. And then there's Jerry just cracking up at him."
Fey also got to play with the comedy legend, as the episode shows Liz Lemon breaking down during an unexpectedly personal moment with Jerry. The punch line? "It turns out that when she cries, she sounds a lot like Jerry. And he thinks maybe she's imitating him."
Knowing she'd be writing for and ribbing Seinfeld, she recalls, "I was very nervous the night before. I just thought, 'Oh, if the jokes aren't there, he's really going to know.'" But Seinfeld offered a few welcome tweaks, she says: "It was the exact level of collaboration you dream of. To be shooting scenes with him talking about relationships, pretending you're in the coffee shop with Jerry, it was like sitcom fantasy camp."
As for Seinfeld, he remains a 30 Rock fan but offers one suggestion regarding the show's starring trio of Baldwin, Fey and Tracy Morgan. "They need one more person," he says. "You need four people for a sitcom. Look at The Honeymooners or All in the Family or The Dick Van Dyke Show." Or, say… Seinfeld?
For 30 Rock clips, check out our Online Video Guide.
Check out the exclusive interview with Bionic Woman's Michelle Ryan in the Oct. 8 issue of TV Guide. Plus: Get the inside scoop on the Sex and the City movie. Try four risk-free issues now!
Send your comments on this Q&A to firstname.lastname@example.org.