This season, the cast and crew of NBC’s 30 Rock really hit the ground running. Building on all of the great publicity that Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impersonation has brought, the show has been boasting big guest stars. Oprah Winfrey made a rare TV appearance (outside of her own show) on last week’s episode. Last night, Jennifer Aniston (Friends) was the big guest — or was she? Though many tuned in to see Aniston return to NBC, many TV fans were surprised to see a mini-Night Court reunion.
Night Court follows the surreal courtroom of Judge Harry Stone, an eccentric young judge who presides over a crazy night court in the Big Apple. Self-obsessed Assistant D.A. Dan Fielding (John Larroquette) represents the state while public defenders like Liz Williams (Paula Kelly), Billie Young (Ellen Foley), and, for most of the series, Christine Sullivan (Markie Post) take the side of the accused. “Mac” Robinson (Charles Robinson) is the long-suffering court clerk while bailiffs like “Bull” Shannon (Richard Moll), Selma Hacker (Selma Diamond), Florence Kleiner (Florence Halop), and Roz Russell (Marsha Warfield) try to keep courtroom visitors under control.
The TV show debuted as an NBC midseason replacement on January 4, 1984. Though the series began as a run-of-the-mill sitcom, the tone evolved into one of bizarre and off-the-wall humor. Night Court was a top-rated show for most of its nine season run and said goodbye with a zany hour-long installment on May 31, 1992. In the episode, Harry considers different job offers and the other characters decide to make changes as well. In the end, Judge Stone decides to stay on the bench. It attracted lots of viewers but few felt satisfied by the finale. That fact helped to inspire this episode of 30 Rock.
While many in the cast have gone on to other series, they haven’t been on the small screen together in years. Last night three of the show’s castmembers — Anderson, Post, and Robinson — reunited on their old network and returned to one of their old timeslots. Take a look.