Someone call Dennis Duffy.
Remember that episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon strolls out of the NBC studios, hops on the subway and goes home to her apartment where her cute-ish husband has prepared a meal not advertised by Lean Cuisine? Then they have some decent banter, maybe hug a bit, and go to bed?
No, me neither. That's because it hasn't happened yet. But it's not too far off. In a little more than a week, Liz Lemon will be married. 30 Rock has announced that Liz and her boyfriend Criss Chross will be tying the knot on November 29, before the end of the show's final season.
I don't think I'm alone in saying I'm not too happy about this. And it's not because I don't want my best fictional single gal getting herself tied down. ("Hey, Liz Lemon doesn't need a man! She's a strong independent woman!") Nor is it because I need her to be there fucking up romantically during my lonely times. I'm worried mainly about my own personal enjoyment of life, which correlates directly to the entertainment value of 30 Rock. I don't think this marriage is going to be funny.
Criss, an "entrepreneur" and sometime hot-dog-cart owner, is likeable enough, in a goofy doe-eyed sort of way. But his most defining characteristic seems to be that he "likes" Liz, or maybe even "gets her." And yet he doesn't seem to have that certain whatsit, and by "whatsit," I mean personality. He's boring, right? I think he must be, because to be honest I can't remember that much about him.
I have only one image of Criss in my mind, a mental screenshot in which he's sort of hunched over, like he's in the process of returning to a standing position, looking back at the camera confusedly. Maybe I dreamt this. But Chross should be confused — it's not really clear why he's on the show. Speaking purely in terms of comedy value, Liz's past boyfriends outshine him by a long shot. Dennis Duffy would be unbearable in real life, but on the show, his ignorance is golden, and his breakup letter to Liz is immortal. Liz's "settling soulmate" Wesley Snipes was a whiny sad sack, but his incessant couple-y interactions with Liz were cringe-y/funny and made an entertaining point about prematurely thinking a romance is destined to be. Likewise, Jon Hamm's Dr. Drew Baird was hilariously stupid and made an entertaining point about the way we treat good-looking people. What does Criss Chross have to offer? He's a stand-up guy, and maybe the writers feel Liz has earned that, but he brings nothing to the table in terms of comedy or insight.
A Lemon marriage could be a natural (albeit cliched) progression for the show, in which Liz grows into a person capable of sustaining a long-term relationship and discussing babies without cringing. Or it could be the result of the show's writers looking for an easy way to create hype and go out with a bang. But either way, when it comes to 30 Rock, I'm not looking for proof that dreams do come true. I'm looking for uncomplicated puns and punch lines nestled among a few moments of humanistic clarity and cultural commentary. I want to watch Liz Lemon "high-fiving a million angels" while nearly overdosing on Sabor de Soledad cheese puffs, and I'm worried the bonds of matrimony will keep her from considering overpriced prostitution as a career choice, wearing Duane Reade bags as underwear, and late-night drunk dialing stuffy real estate co-op boards. Given that the show ends in January, I'm assuming it has enough material to carry it through to a solid-enough ending even without Liz Lemon's dating mishaps. But who wants to stick around for a dinner party at the Lemon-Chross household when Dennis Duffy is down the block throwing back beers like it's 1999?