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The Rebecca Howe-ing of Liz Lemon

The Rebecca Howe-ing of Liz Lemon

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Tina Fey and the 30 Rock writers are bound and determined NOT to go the typical "two leads get together in the end" TV show route and you know? I'm okay with that, if you do whatever you do well and make me believe it.

If you don't want to go the traditional route (which is tradition because it works, but you know, whatever), then you need to find a better way.

And, I don't think they have.

How is, randomly, throwing Liz with a guy in the middle of their relationship (with no Meet Cute) and rushing them into maybe having a baby together better than a long-term, earned relationship by the end of the series? HOW? It feels absolutely forced to me.

I don't even care if the guy is played by James Marsden.

The Liz/Criss relationship reminds me of the end of Cheers and what those writers did to Rebecca Howe (and I'll be honest) pretty much INFURIATES ME now just as much as it did when I was in the 6th grade.

Rebecca Howe came into Cheers as a potential love interest for Sam and replacement for Diane and she really worked. In fact, in a lot of ways, I loved her more than Diane (even though they were really apples and oranges). She was on the show for half of the show's run and became a main character. To have her marry a plumber she had met just the episode before (I had forgotten that it was literally the penultimate episode until I wiki'ed her...thanks Interweb) the series finale just so she'd be out of the way of the Sam/Diane relationship still angers me. Even as a 12-year-old, I knew that was some bull crap.

Did I expect that Rebecca would end up with Sam? No. He and Diane were THE couple of the show (full disclosure: I'm okay with the ending because Sam/Bar = OTP), for sure. But, did she deserve better as a character? HECK YES.

30 Rock is most likely going to end next year in their seventh season, so it seems reasonable that they would start to push towards their end point at the ending of this season so next season, they can actually resolve everything. But, as I'm writing this, Criss has been in SIX episodes. SIX. And, he has moved in with Liz, become her Han Solo, and is probably going to have a baby with him.

My 6th-grade self is crying on my 31-year-old self's good shoulder at how this has happened to another one of my beloved TV favorites.

I believe that we, as a TV-viewing audience, LIKE to watch "will-they-won't-they" couples. I know a lot of people like to say that we don't or that we're tired of it or that it's cliched...but do you really think people watch Castle for the amazing cases they have to solve? Is anyone really happy that Jim and Pam became boring and unlikeable once they got married? Why did an entire room full of people cheer like they had just won the Super Bowl when we heard "she got off the plane" at a Friends finale viewing party that I went to in 2004? Why was this scene from the LOST series finale most fans' favorite reunion?

Great TV romances have a starting point, a slow burn, and EARN their ending.

It's not that 30 Rock can't write a romance. Look at Jenna/Paul. I've seen the beginning of their romance, their weird relationship's ups and downs, and dang it, if I didn't smile like a crazy person when they reunited in "Murphy Brown Lied to Us". Sure, Will Forte is a guest-star and doesn't show up all the time (which is perfectly fine with me for Jenna because she is a supporting character), but I want them to end up together because they've been written really well.

I get that 30 Rock may want to do something different, but there's a method to the madness. There's a reason that great TV relationships aren't thrown together at the eleventh hour. I'm not watching fan videos of Rebecca Howe/Plumber on YouTube and following Tumblrs dedicated to them (I'd even be SHOCKED if those existed) because their cheap pairing was so forgettable (unless you continue to be angry about it to this day).

I think Liz Lemon deserves better. If she's not meant to end up with Jack Donaghy, fine. But, give her a romance worthy of her greatness.

  • I sigh resignedly and agree with all this. Even being a die-hard Sam and Diane fan, I take your point about Rebecca.

    I had no idea that they are planning for Liz to have a baby with Criss. I am watching barely watching now. Am I surprised by this? No. Am I glad I'm over this show? Completely. Me, I blame Tina Fey. In the end, that's who it comes down to. I get wanting to do something different. But IMO the show, the central relationship and esp the initial fantastic main character has suffered due to her own imposed limitations and her unwillingness to move beyond them.

    And that's all I have to say about that. Except that its a fucking waste.
    • "Even being a die-hard Sam and Diane fan, I take your point about Rebecca."

      It's just about respecting a main character who has been on your show a VERY long time. IMO, Cheers got their use out of Rebecca Howe and then (excuse my language) half-assed her ending because they needed to get her out of the way for Diane, who didn't even end up with Sam, anyway! It was ridiculous.

      "I had no idea that they are planning for Liz to have a baby with Criss."

      It happened at the end of last week. Criss found her old adoption stuff and it was sort of insinuated that they would start trying to have a baby. Jack told her that he didn't care who she had the baby with or how, as long as there were more Liz Lemons in the world (which as an idea, is actually really sweet).

      "Me, I blame Tina Fey."

      Well, she's always said that Liz would never end up with Jack and I've always thought it was weird because of the way she (and others) wrote them. But, even so, I respect that it's her show and she can do what she wants.

      I just want better writing for the character. Half-assed is seriously the only way I can describe it. It's like, they wanted to get Liz to that point, so they rushed everything leading up to it, with a guest start who never really interacts with anybody BUT her. It feels like the end of Season 4 where the romance stuff took over and it just felt wrong. Anytime 30 Rock singles out a character to concentrate on their love lives separately from everyone else, it just gets annoying. The show is at its best when it's about the TGS gang.

      "I get wanting to do something different."

      OH, totally! But, WRITE it well.

      I could be about Liz/Criss if it was written better to the point that it respected Liz as a character (to give her a really solid love story) and if I cared about Criss at ALL. None of those things have happened, IMO, so I have a hard time caring about any of it. Though, I guess you could say I DO care because I write LiveJournal posts about it. But, it's not the "good" kind of "caring".

      "And that's all I have to say about that. Except that its a fucking waste."

      It's just disappointing in a lot of ways to me because I think Liz Lemon is one of THE greatest female TV characters of all-time. She represents the Everywoman that is everything we are, but aren't allowed to talk about because there are expectations from society and all that.

      To write a crappy "love" story for her in a rushed way is no way to treat a character of that caliber. I want more for her.
      • It's just about respecting a main character who has been on your show a VERY long time.

        Absolutely. IA. But I'm no longer surprised by them not writing good love stories or even good basic storylines for Liz. The only love interest of hers that actually worked for me was Floyd. And that was a different show many, MANY years ago. The Wesley thing was funny. But depressing too, and kinda typified what I hated about the turn they took with LL.

        Well, she's always said that Liz would never end up with Jack and I've always thought it was weird because of the way she (and others) wrote them. But, even so, I respect that it's her show and she can do what she wants.

        It is slightly two-faced the whole J/L thing. They'll use it. They just won't use it kindly. I accepted that it would never happen, I got that from the get-go. I just hate HOW it's never happened. The way they've written that relationship into something it never was and HER into someone so pathetic and augh...why am I still goiing on about this? My point has always been the HOW of it. That's what I object to.

        Jack told her that he didn't care who she had the baby with or how, as long as there were more Liz Lemons in the world (which as an idea, is actually really sweet).

        I find this vomit-inducing. Excuse me while I shove my fingers down my throat....

        OH, totally! But, WRITE it well.

        WORD.

        I have always said this show would be different if it didn't have such access to stars. That's a huge part of why the Floyd storyline worked. Because they CAST FOR THE ROLE. Novel concept! They cast someone from New York, from the world of sketch comedy, someone who fit the actual character and suited Liz. They auditioned others but in the end cast the person who was best for the show. All these frickin guest stars just look like they're visiting, including Criss. It makes for a completely superficial experience.

        It's just disappointing in a lot of ways to me because I think Liz Lemon is one of THE greatest female TV characters of all-time. She represents the Everywoman that is everything we are

        I'd agree with this if it was in the past tense. She WAS all that.


        • (Anonymous)
          I can't even watch the last episode of Cheers. The fact that Rebecca had been on longer than Diane and then had to move over for the finale was awful. And for such a stupid plot line for sam/diane. And I call it stupid because that plot had been used many times before, and that's what they do for the finale? I FEEL INFURIATED JUST WRITING ABOUT THIS.
          • Well, I was okay with them going back to the Sam/Diane stuff since great TV shows end the way they start, but I just hated that they couldn't have done a better job with Rebecca's ending. Even when I was in sixth grade and saw it when it aired, I felt like it was such a throw-away thing.
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