Amazon Contextual Product Ads

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Liz Lemon ties the knot

Halfway through the final season, NBC's 30 Rock does the unthinkable: marries off Liz Lemon (Tina Fey)! In the episode that aired this week, entitled "Mazel Tov, Dummies!" perpetually single and goofy Liz goes to City Hall and ties the knot with her soul mate, Criss (James Marsden).

It isn't a smooth ride, of course. Liz wants to do it in jeans and a t-shirt, with no fanfare. But the two men in her life, Criss and Jack (Alec Baldwin), know her better than that. Criss does everything he can to sabotage Plan A, and Jack waits on standby, ready to swoop in as soon as Liz admits that she'd really like to be a princess for a day. In the end she gets to be, walking down the aisle dressed as Princess Leia.

When Liz is first introduced to television audiences, she is completely inept with guys. Some series might seek to change their lead character until she becomes more "normal." 30 Rock goes in the opposite direction, keeping Liz true to herself for seven seasons, and only allowing her to get hitched when she finally found a guy who likes her the way she is. That is Criss, and their marriage will probably last, not just because the series is close to ending, but because he and Liz seem made for each other.

Many over the years have wondered about a possible Liz / Jack pairing. This is flirted with very early on, but ultimately backed away from, never to be revisited again. For many series, this decision would be unthinkable, as the current trend is to let the two main characters be a couple. But for 30 Rock, that would mean changing who the characters are, and that would have killed the show. Besides, 30 Rock has always marched to the beat of it's own drum. Why stop now? It's what makes the show special.

Besides the wedding, "Mazel Tov, Dummies!" like other episodes this season, feels like a bit of a victory lap. The returning guest this week is Dennis (Dean Winters), an ex-boyfriend of Liz's, and the spark for Liz's nuptials no. He shows up with an adopted African American son whom he has named "Black Dennis." This humor may be a little edgy, but it's also very funny, and it's gratifying to have the talented actor once more on screen, no matter how many problems his character has caused.

In one of the 'B' plots, Tracy (Tracy Morgan) worries that he has become too successful and too healthy, and feels like his life is over, having to give up the weird and wild things that he does because he will now have to deal with middle age and consequences.

The challenge for 30 Rock in its last year is to set up the characters to move on with their lives after the inevitable cancellation of TGS, the show within a show, but not to make them too soul-searching, as this clashes with the general tone. Not only does the outcome of Tracy's story do this brilliantly, it also allows Jack to play Harriet Tubman in a dream sequence that totally rocks.

This review is just skimming the tip of the iceberg. In twenty minutes, we get all of the above, plus John Hodgman playing a simpleton that trades Jenna (Jane Krakowski) for money, a reference to an old soda pop, some additional vaguely racist jokes that don't seem at all mean, and so much more. Fantastic!

In short, 30 Rock is having a great final season, and "Mazel Tov, Dummies!" satisfies in unexpected and hilarious ways. Going with the current trend, the series should go out the way that it wants to, staying true to itself, and rewarding those fans who have made the journey with them.

30 Rock airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

Want to read some of my fiction? It's on my website, JeromeWetzel.com! Also, for the latest updates and article links, as well as commentary on episodes I don't fully review, please follow me on Twitter!

Article first posted on TheTVKing

No comments:

Post a Comment