The most recent and prominent instance of a taped, scripted show, 30 Rock did a live episode during its fifth season run, which wasn’t much of a stretch, considering about half the cast were regular performers on SNL, or in the case of some, regular hosts.
The episode ran twice live, once each for each coast, and in addition to the regular 30 Rock cast, featured Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Matt Damon, Rachel Dratch, and Jon Hamm. As mentioned in the introduction, people liked it so much (it got them the highest ratings of the fifth season) that they’re doing it again on April 26th.
Here’s hoping this time around they get Jimmy Fallon in the background, constantly on the verge of laughing, if only to ratchet up the suspense.
Of course The West Wing did a live show. This show took itself so seriously that it would have collapsed in shame had it not lived up to the benchmarks set by ER. Unfortunately, by the time this season seven episode came around, all but the most die hard fans had given up on the show, raising the question, “If a show does a live episode (in the forest) and no one is around to watch it, does anyone really give a shit?”
I’m comfortable answering that with a “no.”
This episode didn’t feature a single original cast member, which perhaps also raises the question, “Was this even really a West Wing episode?”
You can go ahead and answer that one on your own.