"Careful, Lemon. You wake a sleepwalker, you risk getting urinated on." -JackFinally! It took three episodes (plus a gap between the second and the third), but Tina Fey (who wrote this one) let Jon Hamm be funny on his way out the door.
The idea that attractive people get away with things that the more average-looking can't is an old joke, even on "30 Rock" (with Cerie), but the particular variations of that joke were well-conceived, and well-played by Hamm. In particular, I think I could spend all day today watching the scene where Drew shakes Liz to stop her from choking and it make me laugh every single time.
What made the whole bubble joke work was Drew's complete ignorance of it. He has no idea that the world is cutting him so much slack because of his appearance, which makes him confused when Liz tries to make him move outside the bubble, but which also makes him such a nice guy. Where Cerie has just enough awareness of her own bubble to make her awful, Drew just thinks the world is an extremely friendly and generous place, and tries to act in kind. So Liz is trying to "fix" Drew in a way that might only make him worse.
(One possible issue with the story: wouldn't Liz have noticed before now that Drew is bad in bed? And wouldn't that be enough to puncture the bubble for the other women he's been with?)
"30 Rock" stories don't always work in parallel to one another, but I did like the moment in the Tracy subplot where he didn't understand why no one was being in charge of his thirst. His is a different kind of bubble, but it's still a bubble, and working on "TGS" -- and with Kenneth -- makes the bubble even harder to pierce. Tracy stories often work well when he's acting relatively low-key but clearly operating on a different frequency than the other characters, so it was nice to see one where the laughs just came out of the way the world tends to bend itself to him without him noticing. (Even his new level of wealth comes from him randomly investing his video game money in "a company that dismantles bank signs.")
That subplot also was a nice Jack McBrayer showcase, as Kenneth struggled to contain his native accent (Cajun?) and eventually got so absorbed in the Cockney character that he started to "dream as Cranston."
The Jenna subplot was a miss -- that's a well they've gone to too often, without enough variation -- but outside of that, this was one of the funniest "30 Rock"s of the season.
Some other thoughts:
• Though I prefer episodes where Jack gets to be Jack, this week's brief role reversal with Liz did give Fey the opportunity to do her Alec Baldwin impression -- which, as she admitted, very easily morphed into a Christian Bale Batman impression. And while we're talking about impressions, rank these in order of best-to-worst: 1)Liz as Jack, 2)Rick from accounting as Bill Cosby, 3)Jack as Billy Dee Williams.
• Is there an actual alternate definition for "BFF"? And, if so, do I want to know it, or is it one of those things like "lemon party" that will forever scar me?
• I remember a "30 Rock" promo a few years back where Baldwin and Fey were looking at a photo of Baldwin in the '80s, but is this the first time the show itself acknowledged that he used to look like this? And why oh why couldn't they have included a photo? Or would it have turned into a chest hair joke?
• I always love opportunities for other characters to interact with Grizz and Dotcom, particularly when we get to see how much smarter Tracy's entourage is than him. "Tracy's is a tactile/kinesthetic learning style." Heh.
What did everybody else think?