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Superman Chests and Merkins of Hope: Liz Pops Drew's Bubble on "30 Rock"

It's funny how the handsome can sometimes literally get away with murder. Just look at 30 Rock's Dr. Drew Baird (guest star Jon Hamm): because he looks like a cartoon pilot, he can be a tennis pro, order off the menu items at restaurants, and convince surly traffic cops to tear up tickets with abandon.

For Liz Lemon, it's the gateway to another world she's never experienced, one in which she's treated with the respect and reflected glory of the truly beautiful... and she quickly learns that Drew's looks cover a multitude of sins. Including the fact that he's a doctor who doesn't know the Heimlich maneuver. (Probably a necessary skill when you're around Liz that often.)

On this week's episode of 30 Rock ("The Bubble"), written by Tina Fey, Liz saw the truth behind the gorgeous facade and learned that Drew was actually pretty bad at everything, from tennis to cooking (Gatorade and salmon, anyone?), and just about everything in between. But because he's so attractive, he manages to glide through life rather effortlessly, unaware of the bubble he's nestled in.

And if there's one person willing to pop anyone's bubble it's our beloved Liz Lemon.

I thought that the breakup between Liz and Drew was handled really well this week. I was worried that Jon Hamm's three-episode story arc would end amid some sort of misunderstanding between the two (more so than Liz drugging him and going through his mail in his first appearance) rather than in the hilarious realization that Hamm's Drew Baird is sort of a loser in sheep clothing.

Yes, he cared about Liz and she was able to take advantage of his good looks to, well, accomplish anything she wanted to. But it wasn't real and Liz couldn't go through life always letting Drew win at tennis and getting a table at Plunder or a seat at Barney Greengrass just because she was with some good-looking guy. Besides for the fact that Drew was a real sore loser when she kicked his butt in tennis. And he shook her to try to extract the food caught in her windpipe... as he reached for a fireplace match.

Shudder. Jack did warn Liz about popping the bubble, however, which could have disastrous consequences: "Be careful, Lemon. You wake a sleep walker, you risk getting urinated on." (Sage advice really for anyone.) Jack should know about The Bubble: he lived it in when he was much younger, showing Liz a laminated photograph of himself at age 25, with a "Superman" chest and eyes much bluer than they are today.

Meanwhile, Jack tried to renegotiate Tracy's contract and made the mistake of telling him that, due to the overwhelming success of his porn video game, he no longer needs to work... leading to a standoff between Jack and Tracy with Kenneth caught in the middle. I absolutely loved how Jack figured out that the one thing Tracy needed more than anything else was Kenneth and how Kenneth posed as British page Cranston in order to block Tracy's round-the-clock access to him.

And Jenna went on the Today Show to have her hair cut off as a publicity stunt. But, this being Jenna, she was turned down by Locks of Love and instead will donate her follicles to--guffaw--Merkins of Love. It was a small C-story but a funny one nonetheless, if only because it made me suddenly remember what a merkin was. (Thank you very much, Sex and the City.)

What worked for me this week? Liz's White Haven P.E. t-shirt; the cameo by faux NYC hotspot Plunder; Kenneth starting to dream as Cranston; Tracy's hilariously aggressive son Tracy Jr. (and the silent George Foreman); Kenneth asking Liz if her comment about going to "duck uptown and have lunch with my boyfriend" was really "code for some older woman medical procedure"; Tracy's definition of binky and his distracting thoughts about why we eat birds; Calvin Klein stopping Drew on the street and asking him to be his next underwear model; Liz's over the top eye roll; Jenna being on Page Six... of her publicist's emails and the Jenna vs. Miss Piggy side-by-side photos; Jack's Billy Dee Williams impression; Tracy Jr.'s lunch of mayonnaise and cigarettes; Drew careening off into traffic on his motorcycle.

Best line of the evening: "Tonight, I have to ride my bike over to his house in New Jersey to hold his hand during Lost." - Kenneth

All in all, a hysterical installment that brought the funny and ended Liz and Drew's relationship with flair and memorable wit. In fact, all that's left to say is "Ffffghgg csdlkf gekjl." Pardon my French.

Next week on 30 Rock ("Apollo, Apollo"), Jack plans the perfect 50th birthday party for himself and is inspired to recreate one of the happiest moments he had as a young boy after watching some home movies; Dennis (guest star Dean Winters) returns and comes clean to Liz about an addiction, which leads to some drama between Liz and Jenna; Kenneth and Pete team up to make Tracy's childhood dream come true.


Brandon Talbot said…
I think the best call back was Jack's glower at Dot Com for once again trying to be the smartest one in the room after his "Tracy is a visual/kinesthetic learner" comment.
Anonymous said…
The Liz/Drew storyline was funny but, this week, Tracy, Jack, and Kenneth stole the show. Like Tracy, I know that 30 Rock just wouldn't be the same without Kenneth. Not even Cranston could take his place!
Ally said…
I love that you, like me, paused the dvr to get the French just right....
Anonymous said…
It's funny to think of Jon Hamm's character in hindsight - his incompetent parenting, that he's a doctor, etc. Tracy has batted 1.000 this season.
The CineManiac said…
I personally loved that Tracy Jr. was played by Bobb'e J. Thompson, who few probably remember played Tracy's character's son on the short lived Tracy Morgan Show. It's nice to see them make a throwback reference to that.
Plus that kid's just hilarious (see Role Models)
All in all another great episode of 30 Rock.
And yes the Merkin joke was classic!

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