30 Rock, “The Bubble” Review

I feel like the longer I write these weekly blurbs, the less I have to say about any given episode. Tonight’s episode, for example, was funny.  Insightful!

No, there’s more to say than that at least.  Jenna continues to be the weakest character to regularly get a plotline of her own, for example.  Her bit tonight had a couple good moments but was clearly padding the gaps left in the running time by the superior “Tracy quits” and “Doctor Drew is dumb” plotlines.  On the other hand (I never used the first hand, did I?) Pete was around!  On the other hand (there we go!), he didn’t really say anything…

The primary thing to talk about is of course the end of Jon Hamm’s guest run, where he continued to bring good funny.  Ultimately I think his arc felt a little too compartmentalized– not from the rest of the show, but from itself.  If each of the three episodes he’d been in took place with three different love interests instead of Jon Hamm in an arc, each one would’ve worked as a stand-alone plotline in the annals of Liz Lemon’s lackluster love life.

This was somewhat apparent in his second episode, where his personal drama and secret family history were raised for a laugh and then dispensed with as quickly as possible.  In “The Bubble” this was even more apparent– we know that Liz and Drew were already hooking up (the dirty picture on her phone) and spending time together, but in the course of this episode Drew’s bubble is suddenly super-apparent and Liz realizes that he’s “as bad at sex as I am.”  Contrast this to the way Floyd, CC, or Elisa were all handled as love interests for the main characters, and it makes the writers’ handling of Jon Hamm feel a little clunky.  That said, those other characters had more than 3 episodes (actually Edie Falco’s run was only three, but she appeared later that season in “Cooter”), it wasn’t not funny, and I would still like to live Jon Hamm’s life please.

Also, there is no way that Tracy Jr. doesn’t become a recurring character. That kid walked away with that scene so fast I felt sorry for the other kid who didn’t get any lines at all.  That and Tracy’s song about girls with fat necks were episode highlights.  Now let’s all brainstorm better plotlines for Jenna (play her vanity off Cerie more often and give the ‘Tracy jealousy” a break, for example).

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