I have just watched the entire 7 seasons of 30 Rock on Netflix. It has confirmed my opinion that 30 Rock was the best TV comedy in a generation (or two).
One of the most surprising thing about the show, given its genealogy, was its general absence of ideological humor. The once-funny Saturday Night Live year after year found Republicans humorously evil and/or stupid, while Democrats where consistently smart and sexy. But 30 Rock was pretty fair and balanced in skewering its characters’ political foibles. Jack Donaghy’s stereotypical capitalist, starve-the-poor conservative faced off with Liz Lemon’s artsy, compassionate but uncontributing liberal.
In one episode, when a liberal Vermont Congresswoman is on a tryst with Jack, Congress legalizes whale torture for sport. Great stuff. That there’s funny, I don’t care who you are. (Larry the Cable Guy)
In Season 3 episode 15, Liz Lemon (show creator Tina Fey) has a new boyfriend Drew (played by Jon Hamm, Mad Men’s handsome Don Draper). She discovers that people give him preferential treatment because he is so attractive.
Liz’ boss and mentor Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) explains it to her. “Beautiful people are treated differently from…(looking at her)…moderately pleasant-looking people. They live in a Bubble.”
Liz marvels, “He’s a doctor who doesn’t know the Heimlich maneuver. He can’t play tennis. He can’t cook. He’s as bad at sex as I am. But he has no idea.”
Jack: “That’s the danger of being super-handsome. When you’re in the Bubble, no one tells you the truth. For years I thought I spoke excellent French…”
The portrayal is delightful. Drew is a clumsy klutz on the tennis court, but ladies ask him if he gives lessons. At crowded restaurants he never waits for a table and normally surly waitresses fall over themselves to please him. Police tear up parking tickets after one look at him.
Finally, Liz confronts Drew. “You live in a Bubble, where people do what you want and tell you what you want to hear.” She tries reality-shock therapy on him, and he doesn’t like it. Liz beats him at tennis, and he complains that “You made me feel like a loser.”
“That’s because you lost.”
As the show ends, Drew decides reality is no fun. “I didn’t like it outside the Bubble, Liz. It was very ironic.”
“No,” she corrects, “it wasn’t. That’s not how you use that word.”
“Stop it. I want to use ironic however I want. I want to stay in the Bubble.”
Well, who wouldn’t?
IN OTHER NEWS…
At the White House Easter Egg Roll, President Obama was able to sink only 2 out of 22 shots on a basketball court. (No stories mentioned why basketball was featured as an Easter activity.)
The media reported with great bemusement and surprise at discovering something “The One” was not good at.
If you review the career of Barack Obama, you will find…Drew. He was ushered into political seats ahead of others who had been waiting a long time, and he took it as his due. His legislative service was undistinguished, but he was unsurprised when people kept asking him to accept higher office.
He has lived in a media Bubble, where people report what he wants and tell him what he wants to hear.
I wonder if he thinks he speaks French. He probably thought he was good at basketball. He probably still does.
And I wonder if anyone working on that episode realized how accurately they were describing the Obama Bubble. I’d like to think they did.