30 Rock Review: "Mazel Tov, Dummies" (Episode 7.07)
Liz Lemon had the best wedding. You didn’t have to get dressed up to attend. You were spared having to dance to the Macarena or do the chicken dance. You didn’t even have to buy a gift—but if you wanted to, Liz and her fiancé Criss are registered at Popcorn Palace.
After getting negative pregnancy results, Liz and Criss run into Dennis (returning guest star Dean Winters) at a diner. Our favorite Beeper King is now married with an adopted African-American son whom he calls “Black Dennis.” “Twenty-first century family coming through. This is the new normal,” Dennis says in a reference to another NBC comedy.
Realizing that her chances of adopting a baby are better if she’s married, Liz and Criss decide to head to City Hall and make their relationship official. Liz is insistent that her nuptials are no big deal and that all the hoopla surrounding weddings is unnecessary and not for her. “I realized a long time ago that weddings aren’t about love. There just a giant industry that preys on gender stereotypes to make adult women spend a ton of money and act like selfish children,” she tells Jack.
She’s right, of course, but Liz doth protest too much. She wears a sweatshirt to City Hall and refuses to do anything to note the occasion. When she finally admits she does want the day to be special, she’s conflicted. “I’ve been sure for a long time that this was never going to happen and I was fine with it. Ergo it couldn’t matter,” she tells Criss. “It’s OK to be a human woman,” Criss tells her.
Liz Lemon has long been one of TV’s sole representations of a single woman over 35. What I’ve loved about her struggle to meet the right guy is that it never, ever defined her. It was merely one aspect of her complex life. Viewers knew Liz would be fine if she never got married.
Other TV series may have had their characters rush to a church, invite all their friends and suddenly have Liz in big ball gown. But not 30 Rock. Once Liz realizes that getting married is a big deal, she dons her Princess Leia costume complete with two side buns. “I’m a princess,” she beams to Jack. It was the perfect Liz Lemon wedding. Liz celebrated getting married while still being true to the character viewers know and love.
While Liz is struggling with the right way to acknowledge her big day, Tracy gets his insurance physical and learns he is in perfect health. This distresses him greatly as he has lived his life under the assumption that he’ll never get old. Now he has to worry about saving for retirement, wearing sunscreen and drinking water (which he refers to as “clear bathtub juice”). The plotline was merely OK, but I’m for anything that gives viewers more of Grizz and Dot Com.
In the episode’s weakest plot point, Jenna learns that a man won her in an obscure soda contest she was part of in the early ’90s. While Jenna may have been worth $800,000 in her heyday, Jack is able to buy Jenna’s owner out for $2,000. Jenna as an aging star is a note the show has hit one time too many times, and even though Jenna is self-centered, I thought it was a little strange that she wasn’t a part of Liz’s storyline at all. After all, she is supposed to be Liz’s best friend.
A few other thoughts on “Mazel Tov, Dummies”:
• Dennis is one of my favorite recurring characters on the show. I’m glad we got to see him again.
• “I told him you’re Italian so he might call you Tina,” Jack tells Liz about Tony Bennett. I love that the show kept in Alec Baldwin’s laugh at the end of that line.
• Liz references a show called Wedding Bitches on Bravo. 30 Rock consistently comes up with reality programs that are absolutely believable and not even as offensive as the shows that are actually on the air.