Lemon and Pete cue the tech guys to go to commercial. In the "commercial," we find Dr. Leo Spaceman, who has recorded an album to aid dysfunctional erections. Sample lyrics: "Hey baby, let's let the dog watch us. Do you think he understands the love that we have? Oops! I'm finished. Call yourself a cab." Wow, this is even worse than Saturday Night Live. It makes me miss the good ol' days of Schmidt's and Taco Town.
Out in the hallway, Danny intercepts Lemon on her way to Tracy and asks her to sign a birthday card for Yodwiga the cleaning lady, whom Frank claims is his friend with benefits. Lemon signs and stomps over to Tracy, telling him he should be ashamed of himself. He tells her, "I can't be. I'm missing that part of my brain." I believe it. She tells Tracy to stop laughing because he is ruining the show. He promises, "Kraut's honor."
Lemon gets a phone call from Carol, who is in a dire piloting situation, including an in-flight meal of a frittata. He also doesn't remember her birthday. If he doesn't make it out, he wants her to head to his house in Raleigh and clear out all the porn in case his mom visits. If he dies, he wants her to DVR Bones. Her frustration goes unheard as his phone cuts out, and his co-pilot (Bill Hader) confesses his undying love to Carol.
Back at 30 Rock, Jenna bitches to Lemon that she has never broken -- even when Irene Ryan died in the middle of a performance of Pippin. She threatens to have a wardrobe malfunction (nip slip) if Tracy pulls such a stunt again.
Lemon scurries away and finds Jack huffing fumes from a bucket of paint due to his alcohol deprivation. He says it's the worst day of his life. Lemon turns it on him that it's her 40th birthday, and no one has remembered. Screams Jack, "Damn you, she-beast!" He sets aside the can of paint and hands her a thousand dollars in apology. She doesn't think it covers her mental anguish but accepts it on principle. He tells her he spent his 40th birthday in his office -- flash back to a ripped 20-something partying with some hot girls in Jack's office. Lemon meta-jokes, "Wow. You were very fit back then." Jack responds, "Yes, but my penis was smaller." Not sure I get that. Lemon acknowledges that she's not the most fun member of the TGS crew, but she thought she'd have something better to mark the occasion than other people's bullshit when she turned 40. "40," says Jack, "I could really drink a 40 right now."
Jack is distracted by a monitor of the live show: Tracy plays Oprah, and Danny plays Dr. Oz. Tracy's wig "accidentally" falls off and breaks the fourth wall. Lemon runs off. Jenna appears, and Jack smells the bottle of wine on her breath. He asks (nay, begs) to smell her mouth. It's the moment she's been waiting for since she started at TGS! He plunges his formidable nose into her mouth. Twice. Jenna retreats when Tracy breaks again, revealing his (Oprah's?) falling mustache and his big ol' belly. "It's nipple time!" she declares. "Now I'm slipping a nip. The big one!'
"Commercial": Jon Hamm shills for a program in which convicts' hands are surgically fused on people who have had tragic mishaps. So it goes, "Thanks for an idea that started as an idea for a horror movie and grew into a charitable organization..." Unfortunately, it ends just as tragically as it began, with Hamm's burnt sienna hand hoisting in a Black Power symbol before taking grip of his neck, then his testicles, and so forth and so on.
Tracy's dressing room. Jack informs everyone that they've forgotten Lemon's birthday. Kenneth and Jonathan squabble over whose fault it was. Jack tells them to never mind, it's "water under bridge." Canadian Danny doesn't understand this supposedly American expression, thinking that it might mean "What happened can be used to power a lumber mill." Jack suppresses his exasperation and tells the gang they need to pull together something for Lemon on-air -- even if some of them are sober for the first time in 10 years (not Jenna, obvs, who just got her 10-Year Drunk Chip). Pete volunteers to cut the product placement for Capital One. Jack nixes that idea giving the hard sell (with a wink and a smile) for Capital One's Venture Card. Frank even has a shirt to back it up. It's synergy, bitch. Kenneth has an idea...
As Lemon walks into the studio, she receives a call from Carol, who has safely landed at the airport. He says his experience wasn't nearly as messed up as the time he went to a haunted house in Germany. Lemon finally breaks it to him that it's her birthday. He apologizes for not remembering. She says it's okay because she's known the guys at TGS much longer and none of them bothered. As she's speaking, she pauses to take notice of the whole staff gathered around a big "Happy Birthday" sign for her. Carol immediately tries to take credit for the surprise party, adding that he was "totally in on it. It was really expensive!"
Everyone hugs Lemon, who notices the polka band, the mariachi band, and Fonzie cake straightaway. She puts two and two together and realizes that they have actually stolen Happy Days-obsessed Yodwiga's birthday cake. Lemon appreciates the subterfuge, and the show goes back to air just as Yodwiga angrily flings herself on Pete and gouges out his eyes. Just another day at TGS!
Upstairs, Jack pours a drink and wishes Julia Louis-Lemon a happy birthday. Real Lemon cuts into this particular dance, finishing the sentence that this birthday was "the best of both worlds -- [she] got to feel martyred and indignant all day, then [she] got to eat cake off the floor." Her one remaining birthday wish is to have a celebratory drink with Jack. He agrees on the grounds that it's "dangerous to say 'no' to an old spinster." He cheers Lemon, who he says is "halfway to death." The harsh lights of live TV vaporize to the ambient coloring of the pre-recorded goodness we've come to know and love. Says Jack, "That's more like it."
Bonus! Tina Fey thanks everyone involved, SNL-style. Sadly, there are no jokes this week, guys. It seems live TV, like moms, just isn't that funny.