“Liz, it’s OK to be a human woman,” Criss (James Marsden), Liz Lemon’s boyfriend, told her in last night’s episode of 30 Rock after the two of them spontaneously decided to get married. “It’s not!” Liz moaned, faced with the prospect that she might actually want a wedding no matter how much she doth protest. “It’s the worst! Because of society!”
Liz, who decided to get married because adoption agencies favor married couples, insisted that she didn’t want anything fancy at her not-big-day, flashing back to her childhood fantasies of weddings that immediately ended in annulments. But Jack, as usual, shook up Liz’s “feminist” commitment. “It should be a very big whoop,” he told her. “Lemon, this is your special day! Plan a real wedding. I’ll get Tony Bennett to sing. I saved his life in an illegal pai gow game once.”
The question of how to discern what you actually want in a wedding and what society is telling you to want is not a new one. And Liz’s declaration that “Liz Lemon is getting married in a sweatshirt, no bra,” was vintage Liz. But there was something incredibly charming about the way the show resolved Liz’s dilemma. First, she faced all the other brides and grooms at city hall, who she assumed would be as blasé as she was. Wrong: There was the bride in full Mets gear, down to her coordinated blue-and-orange fingernail polish, because she and the groom met in the stands. There was a gay couple in top hats. And there was the bride who explained to Liz that, no, she didn’t spend a lot of money on a wedding dress—she was wearing her grandmother’s. “She made it of parachute silk while hiding from the Germans.”
So of course when Liz decided she did, in fact, want a special day, she turned to her version of the Mets jersey/family heirloom: the Princess Leia outfit that helped her get out of jury duty in an earlier episode. “It’s the only white dress I own,” she explained. “I’m a princess!” It was the perfect solution. For all of Liz’s posturing, both she and 30 Rock are ultimately most comfortable tweaking convention rather than blowing it up entirely. Jack may have told Liz that, “I haven’t seen anything in the news about attitudes about marriage changing forever because of one brave woman.” But the point of this episode was that we’ve already come a long way.