Well that was weird. And a little bit painful? Everyone forgets Lemon's 40th birthday in the midst of a live show where Tracy has decided to laugh through all his lines and Jenna has threatened to slip a nip. Jack's no help because he is falling apart (emotionally) and sniffing paint (literally) since preggers Avery has forbidden him from drinking anymore. Eventually, Lemon spills to Jack that everyone has forgotten her birthday, so he and the TGS crew steal a cake from the cleaning lady (who also has a birthday that day) and throw an elaborate, last-minute surprise party for Lemon. And all is well with the world. Guest appearances: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rachel Dratch, Bill Hader, Cheyenne Jackson, Matt Damon, Chris Parnell and Jon Hamm.
Jack's office. Lemon enters, and he self-consciously meta-notes that things seem "weird," like a Mexican soap opera. Furthermore, he can see every pore in Lemon's face, which looks "like a YMCA climbing wall." She says her face cream was recalled because it was destroying lab rats' brains. Jack informs her that Avery has requested he give up drinking while she's pregnant. Lemon wonders if this is a good idea, flashing back to a time when she (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) gave up refined sugars and basically beat the crap out of everyone at 30 Rock. Jack wonders why she's better looking in her memories. Lemon jokes that her memory "has Seinfeld money." Jack tells her that drinking is more about ritual than addiction for him. To replace the ritual, Avery has bought him a tea set, some knitting needles and yarn, and a sleight of hand magic set. He does a sad little sleight of hand routine, which lasts about 10 seconds. That's about as far he's gotten.
Lemon heads outside to start her show, stopping along the way at Jonathan's desk to confirm that Jack knows it's her birthday. He's conveniently "forgotten" to include it in his master list of staff birthdays -- most likely because Lemon threw out a Slumdog Millionaire joke at his expense. Wow, Tina Fey, way to toss out a two-year-old reference that's also racially insensitive. Aces! Lemon insists Jack will remember her birthday because they're friends and because it's a big one. Jonathan scoffs she must be turning 1,000, so Lemon squirts a bottle of water in his face. As you do.
Credits, now with 100% more lyrics! Jane Krakowski sings, "Live show, it's a 30 Rock live show. It's 30 Rock live! Why go to a 30 Rock live show? Why is 30 Rock live? Because this is my gift to you, my audience!" Jeff Richmond actually got a paycheck for that. A big one.
Lemon rides the elevator with the cleaning lady Yodwiga (Rachel Dratch). Lemon tries to tell her that there might be a party -- and a consequent mess -- from her birthday party later that day, but all the cleaning lady can muster is some jibber-jabber about how she loves her some Fonzie. And who doesn't, really?
In the corridor, Kenneth gives Jenna messages from Brett Favre, the Chilean miners, and her pharmacy. You can't get a prescription for ecstasy, it turns out. "Thanks, Obamacare!" gripes Jenna. She walks off, and Lemon encounters Kenneth, who is giggling like a maniac. He sends her to Tracy's dressing, where Pete tells her, "Surprise, Liz! Tracy's come up with a new way to ruin the show!"
Pete explains that Tracy was inspired by vintage episodes of The Carol Burnett Show in which the actors were too busy cracking up at jokes to tell them to the audience. He thinks he should be able to do the same on TGS. Lemon pooh-poohs the idea, so Tracy says she never takes his creative suggestions. She shoots back that the only one she can remember was his idea to have two strippers dance behind him. Tracy retorts, "And you should have. Those two dudes were awesome!" Lemon explains that this situation is called "breaking," and that TGS doesn't rely on such cheap tricks. Cue a painting falling askew on the wall behind Tracy. Cue huge audience laugh. She makes Tracy promise that he won't resort to such tactics. He does. On his "mother's grape." Lemon and Pete leave, exasperated, and Tracy tells Grizz and Dot Com that he's going to take tonight's broadcast as an occasion to laugh "harder than he did at Dot Com's play." Dot Com shoots back, "It was Angels in America, Tra!" Cue painting behind them falling entirely. Wow, is this what we're in for?
Out in the hallway, Lemon runs back into a hysterically giggling Kenneth. He clarifies that it's because Lutz is wearing an "I'm With Stupid" shirt. The bit goes on for about four hours until Kenneth sends Lemon into Jack's office. Before she can head there, Pete tells her "Happy birthday.... the song" is not cleared by legal to use in the program. Instead, they can use "It's Your B'Day, Bitch" by Snooki's Mom. Jenna worries that this song might be eerily similar to the song she wrote last year called "It's Your Birthday, Slut." Pete walks away as Jenna is in mid-performance, leaving Kenneth to clap sycophantically, as a good Page does.
Upstairs, Jack is outfitted in a bright orange, fringed poncho he knit in the absence of alcohol. He has discovered in the last few hours that his drinking was not so much a ritual as a full-fledged alcoholic problem. Having said that, he appears to pull a six-foot streamer out of Lemon's mouth. "Did you finish the magic book?" she asks. He begs her to distract and entertain him, but a Cockney-inflected telling of a 19th century story set in Covent Garden only worsens his splitting headache. Lemon leaves. Along the way, a smug Jonathan asks if Jack remembers her birthday. She sweeps the meticulously organized papers off his desk.
Downstairs, Jenna and Tracy begin a sketch in which she is a Fox News anchor (chief characteristic: blonde), and he is Barack Obama (chief characteristic: black). Asks Anchor Jenna: "President Obama, why are you a terrorist who hates America?" Tracy-as-Obama, whose chyron reads "Exclusive Interview with Kenyan Liar," doesn't really answer because he immediately goes into Lemon-forbidden breaking: "Snort, hehe, giggle-giggle! The audience loves this!"