Looking Back On J.D. Lutz, The Perpetual Loser Of ‘30 Rock’

A common trope among sitcoms is to have theone character everybody else on the show has disdain for. On Family Guy, it’s Meg Griffin. On the recently departed Parks and Recreation, it was Jerry Gergich. And on 30 Rock, it was poor, miserable J.D. Lutz. Throughout the show’s seven-season run, he was the member of the TGS crew that everybody loved to pick on. He was woefully uncool, and when he tried to be cool, it only reminded everyone of just how uncool he was. Let’s take a look back at the perpetual misery of 30 Rock‘s most lovable loser.

One of Lutz’s most notable episodes was Season 1’s “The C-Word.” In this episode, he pitched a seemingly endless run of reality show-parodying, hobo-featuring sketches (who wouldn’t want to watch America’s Next Top Hobo?). Liz shot these ideas down thoroughly, leaving Lutz bitter, frustrated and angry. In a bit of rage, Lutz called Liz that one swear word that rhymes with Frank’s favorite Todd Rundgren album (no, not Hermit Of Mink Hollow). What he didn’t realize: Liz heard him say it, and after initially trying to be nicer, she owned her tough personality. It’s one of the show’s most directly feminist episodes, but for Lutz, it was just another day in his sad, pathetic life. He couldn’t come up with a funny sketch, and he had to resort to a sexist insult in anger. Liz didn’t fire him, but that was simply because she took pity on him.

Perhaps the defining “everybody hates Lutz” moment came when it was his turn to pick where the group would go for lunch. Everyone stared at him, just knowing it would be something terrible. When he finally made his decision — Subway — the group flipped out, and it looked like a microwave got thrown at him. Lutz was defiant, deciding that it was “worth it” to have Subway for lunch, even if everybody hated him just a bit more as a result. For the record, I don’t see what’s so bad about Subway, but when you live in a city that has some the finest delis in the world, it is kind of weird to want to eat there. But that’s Lutz for you. He doesn’t care what you think…

… or at least that was how it seemed. In one episode, tired of being the butt of everyone’s jokes, Lutz tried to make himself appear cool to the rest of the guys. In the Season 5 episode “Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning,” he found himself in a rare position of power. He was the only one with a car, and he could drive everyone to safety in case of an emergency. There was just one problem: He didn’t really have a car. He made it up to get people to like him. He compounded the problem by telling everyone how cool and awesome his car was. He decided to buy a car on the spot and show up to the studio in it. His plan failed miserably, as the writers instantly realized the car was just purchased, and their mockery of him rose to a new level. No matter how it happened, things always ended with poor Lutz making a fool of himself.

Eventually, Lutz would have his day, but he would have to wait until the very end. In the final episode of 30 Rock, Lutz was once again given the chance to pick lunch, and gave another pedestrian choice: Blimpie. After the same groans that greeted his selection of Subway, Liz agreed to have lunch from Blimpie. It was a minor victory for Lutz, but an important one nonetheless. With the series — both TGS and 30 Rock — coming to an end, it was finally time to relent and let Lutz, the group’s perpetual loser, have his small victory. There were many larger plot points in the series finale, but the ending for Lutz was a nice touch. The perpetual whipping boy of 30 Rock went out on a high note.