I know this is old news but I've just started catching up on the first few seasons....What was the official reason she was let go? Was her Jenna a difficult diva like Krakowski's too?
She was supposed to have the Jane Krakowski part (which was originally written for her) but the network decided they needed someone more genuinely attractive in the role. I hate to say it, but in the end it might have been a good idea--it's hard looking at Rachel's face for extended periods of time. A beauty she ain't.
She did have repeated cameos in the first few seasons--most memorably as Barbara Walters on "The View" interviewing Jenna ("Let's get personal--your father Werner was a burger server in suburban Santa Barbara, but he left your mother, Verna, for a curl-haired surfer named Roberta. Did that hurt her?"). After a while she left though--I don't know why. There were rumors of some sort of falling out with Tina Fey, but I'm not sure if they're true--they were best friends at least once.
She couldn't bear the fact that her ugly mug lost her work, and she took it out on Tina because the bitch assumed that their friendship would keep her in the job. The attitude finally got so bad that Tina had to let her go.
It did sort of disappoint me that Tina went along with it. Rachel quit SNL to do the show.
She looks like her name
Can't imagine anybody but Krakowski as Jenna.
Jenna in the original pilot was very different. Kind of a loser and sad sack. Basically she was Liz times 1,000. Having Jenna be the polar opposite of Liz was a much better creative decision.
As for Dratch leaving SNL for the show, that's true. But since Lorne Michaels is the producer on both I'd assume he'd have let her go back if she wanted to.
I could see Tina wanting the fuglier Rachel as a sidekick, to make her look prettier.
Rachel talked a bit about it in her bio, but she sort of talked around it- diplomatically. So much so that I still don't know what went down.
After watching the version of the pilot with Dratch in it, I could see why they let her go. At the time Fey wasn't looking that great. So I could understand why NBC didn't want to approve a show with two unattractive female leads.
Not saying it's fair, but that's how it goes in the business.
Where did you see the first pilot?
It's pretty easy to find on torrent sites, R9
Dratch appeared later on in the show as a prostitute and a cat trainer, I think.
Poor Rachel turns up from time to time on the red carpet at C list Broadway opening nights. She also sometimes appears on those Monday night UWS readings of celebrity biographies but doesn't seem to have lots of work.
There definitely was a falling out. The Carrie Fisher episode of 30 Rock had a very pointed dig at Rachel's direct to DVD movie, Spring Breakdown.
Tina did mention it early on in an article somewhere. The suits wanted a more attractive person in the role, after research probably, someone more "f*#«le." Tina asked to be the one to break the news to Rachel that she was being replaced.
Looks aside, the fact is that Rachel Dratch is a very limited talent. No sense of timing. All her "character voices" sound the same: Like Rachel Dratch.
She should be grateful Tina brought her onto SNL and gave her the level of fame and royalties she did.
I loved Rachel in all the cameos...I wish those had continued.
Its funny that they wanted someone more attractive and yet I don't think 30 Rock gained any viewers through Jane K's attractiveness alone. Is there a dumber subset of humanity than television executives?
That said, I also can't imagine anyone other than her in the role. But it works because of their talent, not their looks.
I don't think they were throwing stones at Spring Breakdown, since it also starred Tina's new BFF, Amy Poehler.
Dratch is AWFUL in those clips.
They made the right decision to get rid of her.
She's ugly and very community theater.
I got a DVD of one of the seasons for my brother for Christmas a few years back. He did not know Dratsch was originally going to play Jenna. He was horrified. "Are they insane? Jane Krakowski can do anything. She can sing, she can dance, she plays stupid, crazy, pathetic, horrible and sympathetic and you believe her. She's a well-rounded entertainer. Rachel Dratsch is just Rachel Dratsch."
I never would have watched that show. Not even for 10 minutes.
[quote]Its funny that they wanted someone more attractive and yet I don't think 30 Rock gained any viewers through Jane K's attractiveness alone. Is there a dumber subset of humanity than television executives?
It wasn't about gaining viewers by way of Jane's looks... it was about not losing viewers based on Dratch's looks and limited talent.
You say yourself:
[quote]That said, I also can't imagine anyone other than her in the role.
So apparently those TV Execs weren't so dumb.
At the end of the premiere episode Liz Lemon agrees to stay with TGS if Jack agrees to some of her terms. One of them was that Jenna would always have a job with the show.
While that works in the sense that Jack had already bumped Jenna from the lead role by adding Tracy and making him the marquee name, I think Liz being protective of her long-time friend would have been even more convincing if the toad-like Dratch was playing Jenna. She definitely would have needed a guardian angel.
I think it's hard to judge how well Dratch would have done from those clips. The entire pilot of 30 Rock is just sooo bad. It's a miracle it was ever picked up. However, Krakowski's Jenna ended up being the best character on the show, so I'd have to say they made a wise decision.
Thanks, r13. Now I understand why they hired Jane K..
I think they would have been really limited in keeping Dratch on as Jenna. As someone mentioned here, Jane is actually talented. She can act, sing, and she's attractive. All things they took advantage of during the run. With Rachel in the role they wouldn't have been able to get as much mileage and Jenna would have been a one-note character that faded into the background. She would have ended up being like the Josh character.
And I disagree that you can't tell from the clips what Dratch would have been like. Even in the few moments that were supposed to have her being sexual fell flat. For example, the scene where Kenneth brings her the gross medications... it works because Jack initially finds her attractive and her taking the medication is mortifying and gross. When Kenneth gives the stuff to Dratch it doesn't work because she's already gross and you just expect that she'd be taking disgusting meds.
Dratch is a comic, not an actor. They couldn't have both her & Tracey Morgan in lead roles or it would have been a "aim for the cheap seats" sketch show, not a sitcom.
Krakowski was fantastic as Jenna.
I could be misremembering, but I think someone (the Dratch avenger, maybe?) saying that while the two of them were at Second City together (and best friends), Dratch was a much more acclaimed performer than Fey (she actually got hired as a cast member at SNL and Fey got hired as a writer).
I think Dratch is/was a talented sketch comedy repertory player. She always more than held her own on SNL (amidst the best group of women that show ever had). But she's not an easy fit for sitcoms, and the idea of writing Jenna as an even bigger sad sack heffalump than Liz was supposed to be makes zero sense (Jenna as played by Krakowski was a genius comic creation). If it were up to me (and Dratch was my best fried and I was writing for her), I'd have given Dratch Frank's part and made her a slatternly writer who dislikes both LIz and Jenna but who occasionally joins forces with one of them under the auspices of feminist sisterhood or talent versus management in order to undermine the other.
Tracy as a marquee name? Oh,never. Karen Ziemba, maybe. But Tracy was a humorless blight
That's a good idea, R30 - never thought Frank added much and Dratch could have definitely worked as one of the writers.
Rachel could have taken Pete's role -- he was even more of a non entity in yhe show than Frank.
[quote]I could be misremembering, but I think someone (the Dratch avenger, maybe?) saying that while the two of them were at Second City together (and best friends), Dratch was a much more acclaimed performer than Fey (she actually got hired as a cast member at SNL and Fey got hired as a writer).
Tina was never that strong as a sketch performer. As she has said herself, she has no talent for disappearing into a character -- put a wig on her and she's just Tina Fey in a wig. She has to play someone close to herself.
Pete was originally supposed to be a much bigger character -- a confidant of Liz. But Jack stepped into that role. Too bad, too, because Adsit is a scream.
If Dratch was going to take the place of any of the writers it should have been Sue. That was a throw away character that Dratch could have done and probably done more with.
[quote]Pete was originally supposed to be a much bigger character -- a confidant of Liz.
Yeah, his role is much more prominent in the first season. But I never thought he was funny.
Sue was never originally intended to be a character. That woman was a writer for 30 Rock and just an extra to flesh out TGS's writing staff.
I like Rachel, but after watching her in the pilot I am so glad she got replaced with Jane... frankly she's so hard to look at and not at all believable as the star of a sketch show.
A lot of people think Sue was a writer on 30 Rock, but no, she is not a writer, she is an actress.
Sue was an SNL "contributor" and she's married to Lutz. They just had a baby, Daniel.
I actually had nightmares last night after viewing r13's link yesterday afternoon. When I woke up, I thought I had dreamed the whole Dratch-as-Jenna pilot but then i remembered that part was real.
I like Peter because other tv shows don't have many regular - guy characters. Pete's bald and has kids and is browbeaten. He was not a totally ridiculous character like George Costanza and he wasn't a schmoey-guy-married-to-a-goddess, either. His wife was fat and schlubby. He was a realistic character.
I think Dratch is funny there (too bad she didn't have her own show). The pilot looks funkier and darker- better than what it became, imo (despite the critical accolades).
"Rachel Dratch, Fey's longtime comedy partner and fellow SNL alumna, was originally cast to portray Jenna. Dratch played the role in the show's original pilot, but in August 2006, Jane Krakowski was announced as Dratch's replacement, with Dratch remaining involved in the show playing various characters. Fey explained the change by noting that Dratch was "better-suited to playing a variety of eccentric side characters", and that the role of Jenna was more of a straight-ahead acting part.
Although Fey went on to say that "Rachel and I were both very excited about this new direction", Dratch said that she was not happy with the media's depiction of the change as a demotion; however, she was also skeptical about the reasons she was given for the change, and was not happy with the reduction in the number of episodes in which she would appear. Following the first season, Dratch has only appeared in a handful of episodes."
Not true. Frank brought Patti and Susan to the show.
[quote] Sue was an SNL "contributor" and she's married to Lutz. They just had a baby, Daniel.
Stop calling me Daniel.
I wonder how awkward (if at all) it was filming scenes with Jane and Rachel, especially during the re-filmed Pilot.
Sort of interesting that Tina never just wrote in another character for Rachel to play permanently. Wonder if they just knew she didn't have what it takes or maybe they knew audiences just hated Rachel in increments of more than 30 seconds. There's got to be a reason...
[quote[ Following the first season, Dratch has only appeared in a handful of episodes."
I don't remember seeing her in any episodes after the first season. Which was fine with me; her characters weren't funny.
She made appearances in all seasons except the third, fourth, and last. Her appearance in the second to last season was a voice-over, so that might not count.
They also could have had Rachel play Hazel Whatsername (worst chracter on the show). NBC and the producers must have really hated Rachel to not even let her play that useless character.
The Hazel character had to be younger than Dratch to date Kenneth (although Parcell may be 100s of years old). Rachel could have played a psychotherapist for all seasons on the show. She got a raw deal.