Bullet points about last night’s 30 Rock after the jump:
* I like the casting of Jon Hamm as Liz’s love interest / obsession, but I hope he eventually gets fleshed out beyond the central-casting dreamboat. (Not that he’s miscast in that role.) He played well in the climactic scene, in which he turns into the telenovela heroine growing aware of Generalissimo Liz’s plot, so I’m hopeful.
* Speaking of which, I like the episodes in which Liz shows her assertive, slightly evil side. (See also, her class reunion, or MILF Island.) And one of the reasons I like them is that 30 Rock does an excellent job of showing how much work it is for her to be assertive and slightly evil, how she’s excited yet made nervous by the idea at the same time. Perfect example: the way in which she lays out her plot, declares, ”And then I will put my mouth on his mouth!,” then covers her mouth with her fists. (Like the repeated line, “I want to go to there,” which Fey cribbed from her toddler daughter, it shows us Liz still getting used to the idea of playing grownup.)
* Telenovela humor: never not funny. And while Salma Hayek and her character are still not bringing much to the show, I like that this episode at least used the circumstances around her—here, the culture clash between Jack and her family—to good effect. And we got the added payoffs of the Sabor de Soledad endorsement and ”After you scratch off these lottery tickets, can we go to McDonald’s and order only coffee?”
* It also allowed the show to work in a plug for NBC Universal’s Telemundo, creating a fantasy world in which old Latin grannies are watching its novelas and not (the far more popular) Univision’s.
* The bankers-as-pages storyline—”laid off in that economic crash that Nancy Pelosi caused”—was nicely topical, but I somehow felt they could have done even more with it. Maybe Lehman Brothers could fail again? On the other hand: ”Do you really want to see me play Arthur Ashe?” Oh God no, Tracy.