Move over Kate and William – Liz (Tina Fey) and Criss (James Marsden) host the wedding of the century, with appearances by Princess Leia and Black Dennis, getaway van driver and toddler son of Dennis Duffy (Dean Winters).
Let’s break it down…
Liz and Criss were never going to have a traditional wedding, considering one owns a hot dog van and the other’s last fiancee was Sol Rosenbear. So it isn’t all that surprising, albeit completely entertaining, that the ceremony features a “Tito” ring and a set of gold grills from a nearby police auction and the bride in her Princess Leia gown.
What is more interesting is Liz’s conflict over whether or not to treat the day as important. It’s a conflict that most female characters on TV aren’t allowed to consider, since weddings are supposed to be The Most Important Day EVER for all people with lady parts, so it’s refreshing to see Liz question that obsession.
Ultimately Liz compromises, admitting that her wedding is important, but clearly not as important as the day she got a sleeve of all pink Starburst, so she celebrates her special day with Jack (Alec Baldwin), Dennis, and a couple of homeless guys she found fighting/ making love in the park. It shows how much Liz has grown over the years that she does compromise, since it isn’t likely that Liz from one of the early seasons would’ve abandoned her stance. And more importantly, it shows what a good team she and Criss make, since it’s Criss who sees that the compromise is what she actually wants, and pushes her to finally open up.
The “B” and “C” stories aren’t quite as successful. Jenna (Jane Krakowski) is shoved into a weird and underdeveloped side plot about being owned by Terry (a cameo by John Hodgman) because he earned a million Surge points. This subplot is not only a waste of Hodgman’s comedy talent, but comes to a conclusion that seems out of place in this season of the show: Jenna is simply a washed up has been, and Jack, who comforts her, is even further past his prime than she is. At the very least, this story should be put into a different episode, which would freed Jenna up to be a part of Liz’s wedding. And Jenna as Liz’s bridesmaid is something I would love to see.
Likewise, Tracy’s (Tracy Morgan) story of learning that he’s healthy and should make better career decisions seems like pure filler, which is unfortunate because that time could be given to the A-story for more wedding shenanigans. The series has already explored Tracy being a Serious Adult, again and again, so this episode doesn’t really show us anything new. Although Tracy’s idea of Harriet Tubman, a woman with Jack Donaghy’s appearance from the year 18 who dares to dream a surfing journey around the world, is almost funny enough to make up for the whole subplot.
- Hitler jokes abound on NBC this week. On Parks and Recreation, April channels her inner Judy Hitler, and Kenneth pitches his Hitler biopic to Tracy: “In a world with too much freedom, one young man dared to be different. Hitler, colon, the Boy Who Dreamed of Stars.” Hmmm… Is a conspiracy brewing?
- Does anyone else now wish that The New Normal was actually a spin off series about Dennis Duffy, his wife Megan, and their son Black Dennis?
- “I remember when Bravo used to air operas.” Truer words, Jack, truer words.
- This episode has two of my favorite sight gags so far this season. Liz’s eyeroll is the best visual to accompany Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra” since the phone in Clueless. And the blink-and-you-miss-it joke that Jack whirls around and is instantly dressed in his tux is a subtle yet brilliant moment.
Your turn, dummies! Is this wedding everything you hoped for fro Liz and Criss? Is there any better place to be registered than at the Popcorn Palace? Sound off in the comments below!
30 Rock airs at 8 EST on Thursdays on NBC.