30 Rock Season 4, Episode 5: "The Problem Solvers" - Review

I love the fact that 30 Rock keeps rolling along with the new cast member storyline, and I doubly love the fact that they stuck with the hiring of the street performing robot. The rest of "The Problem Solvers" was just mildly amusing. Liz and Jack on opposing sides was not as much fun as seeing them working together. Jenna and Tracy spouting nonsense is funny most of the time, but very little clicked in this episode. Usually our living room is filled with guffaws Thursdays at 9:30. This week, there were a few audible chuckles and several silent smiles.

Perhaps it was the weaker overarching stories that prevented the bigger laughs. Jack had just returned from China where he had picked up a knockoff of Liz's Dealbreakers book: "Dealbreaker: The Book For You Man No Good, by Lesbian Yellow Sour Fruit." He then proposed to Liz that they team up and produce a Dealbreakers talk show with Liz as the host. The dinner scene with Jack and Liz was sweetly amusing as the two showed how well they know each other. And the idea of the pair working together on the talk show had me thinking this, too, would work its way through several episodes, offering up great opportunities for comedy. Instead, Liz was told by Jenna and Tracy to get an agent and go for a better deal.

This also had potential, but it was squandered with some dull entertainment industry stereotypes. First we got Simon, the junior agent whose only clients before Liz had been dogs. His oversized suit, squeaky voice and nervous hiccups were a little too expected to be funny. It almost felt like this character might have been an inside joke between the writer of the episode and the other people that have this writer's agent. Next came the cocky producer who "only cares about you" while taking calls from Brooke Hogan. 30 Rock has used stereotypes before -- of characters and even storylines -- but they always give it a fresh take and make you laugh at it in ways you didn't expect. But not this week.

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