What Will ’30 Rock’ Do Now That Kim Jong-Il Is Dead?


In the past seven days, the world has lost a great man (Vaclav Havel), a tyrant (Kim Jong-il), and a silver-tongued contrarian who many feel ambivalently about (Christopher Hitchens). Havel and Hitchens may be far more worthy of tribute than Kim, but he’s the one who figured prominently in one of our favorite sitcoms, so he’s the one who’s on our mind this morning.

As fans will remember, 30 Rock‘s Jack Donaghy lost his wife, Avery Jessup, to a North Korean kidnapping last season, and Margaret Cho appeared on the show as Kim Jong-il. It’s already clear from last week’s supersize preview that we’re going to see more of Avery behind enemy lines in Season 6. While the trailer doesn’t actually show Cho as Kim, it’s difficult to imagine that 30 Rock would return to the story line without revisiting such a popular (and hilarious) character.

So, how is the show going to handle Kim’s death, with less than a month to go before the season premiere? Will they have to (or even be able to) cut or re-shoot? Will they resign themselves to anachronism? Will we get to see Cho re-enact his final moments, or does even a dangerous dictator deserve better than having his demise mocked on primetime TV?

Elizabeth Banks, who plays Avery, has already tweeted her response to fans: “Appreciate all the concern over Avery Jessup’s fate now that Kim Jong Il has died. We’re at a pivotal moment in history.” So, if Banks knows anything, she’s certainly playing her cards close to the chest. It’s times like this that make us long for Alec Baldwin’s return to Twitter — because if there’s one thing we know about Baldwin, it’s that he can’t resist an opportunity to say more than he’s supposed to.