Well, this is an end of an era of sorts for 30 Rock. Since practically the beginning of the series, one of the defining factors of Liz Lemon was her desire to find love, to make a family, and to…well, as the show points out MANY times, “have it all.” And well Liz doesn’t quite have it all by the end of “Mazel Tov, Dummies!”—she’s gone further in achieving her goal than she ever has before. After years of breakups, missed connection, and loves lost in 30 Rockefeller Center, Liz Lemon is finally getting married.
And it occurred EXACTLY as you would expect Liz’s wedding to go. I find Liz at her most interesting when she’s fighting social norms and gender expectations, as she’s prone to do throughout the entirety of 30 Rock. Hell, TGS in general is a way for Liz to fight back against the female stigma of female comedians (as is 30 Rock in real life, but that’s a conversation for another day.) So of course it makes sense that Liz wouldn’t want a traditional marriage ceremony that “every little girl dreams of.” Liz wants her marriage to be low key and utterly insignificant in the grand scheme of her life.
But throughout the entirety of the episode, we knew that Liz actually wanted the grand wedding that she was so ready to dismiss. I mean four years previously, she purchased and wore a wedding dress for the purposes of ham eating and general frolicking (the fate of which we learn later in the episode…poor ham napkin.) So in the final act when Liz makes her big speech about her conflicting emotions, we all saw it coming. But since we’ve been watching the comedic misadventures of Liz Lemon’s love life for literally years now, it doesn’t make the moment any less poignant. This is a moment the show has been leading up to, and boy did it deliver. Liz’s wedding was the essence of 30 Rock; frantic, strange, but ultimately heartwarming. It was a Liz Lemon wedding to a T…and it was perfect.
Wedding aside though, this episode was freaking hilarious. We get the return of fan favorite Dennis Duffy, and his newly adopted son Black Dennis (and yet another new career path working in “suicide insurance” which is just…perfect). We get to see Jack Donaghy sexually lick a corn on the cob well dressed as Harriet Tubman. And we even get the valiant return of Doctor Spacemen which, as always, was comic gold. Yes, Spacemen and Dennis in the span of one episode. Judging how this might be the last time we ever see these two characters again, I can’t imagine a better way for the pair to go out.
The only problem I had with this episode was honestly the two sideplots, which did nothing for me. Jenna being an indentured servant could have been hilarious, but the storyline is quickly dropped off in exchange for a throw away discussion between Jenna and Jack about their quickly decaying value (which we’ve seen WAY too often on this show). And though the Tracy plotline had some pretty hilarious moments (including the aforementioned Harriet Tubman and Doctor Spacemen gags), it really felt shoe horned into an episode in which Liz’s wedding should have been the prime focus. But then again…there is this:
Okay, this episode was great.
- “We get Disco Fries for breakfast, because we’re sad!” Disco fries, well I’ve never heard of them, look amazing. And seem like a good cure for crippling disappointment.
- “Yeah Liz, the guy with the black son is racist.”
- “Hitler, colon, The Boy Who Dreamed of Stars.”
- “Blamo, engaged!” Liz and Kriss really are perfect for each other, aren’t they?
- “I remember when Bravo used to air operas.”
- “The money I’ve made off of your health problems have put me almost all the way through medical school.” Goddamn it, anything that comes out of Spaceman’s mouth is gold.
- “I coined the phrase “You wish, pal.”
- “Ergo, Affleck’s finally going to get that Oscar.”
- “Really, is that what you think I did?!”
- “No my homie; I can say that because I’m you.”
- “Black Dennis start the car!”
- “Tito was a drug dealer the police shot in the face.”
- “Black Dennis got a cop’s gun!”