I don’t think anyone would argue that 30 Rock’s leading lady, Liz Lemon, isn’t absolutely hilarious. Tina Fey’s television alter ego has charmed viewers with her antics and her nerdy ways, but if you talk to anyone I know, she’s more than that. Liz Lemon is a modern day heroine of sorts. Any given happy hour or Sunday brunch or even afternoon text exchange generally includes a shout out to good ol’ LL because she’s done what no famous TV character has done for us ladies before; she’s made it okay, and even sort of cool, to be our normal junk food loving, closeted nerdy, baggy pajama pants wearing selves on a daily basis.
“I’m sorry I’m a real woman and not some over-sexed nympho like those sluts on Everybody Loves Raymond” – Lemon
She makes up for the fact that famous TV characters like Rachel from Friends and Carrie Bradshaw made us feel inferior for not wearing Dior and Jimmy Choos to work in the morning or to the grocery store. Most of us don’t know someone who knows someone who has a key to some members-only club in Manhattan. For most of us ladies, the closest we’ll get to feeling like a member of some secret, exclusive club is that moment when the sushi place we order dinner from automatically remembers to make the spicy salmon roll crunchy because they recognize our phone number (and we order the same thing every week). Most of us have cute, flattering clothes, but we’d never be seen running to the office in $500 strappy sandals while dressed to the nines.
“I haven’t seen your brow that furrowed since you saw that picture of Helen Mirren in a bikini.”-Jack
“How is that possible? Is she a wizard?” –Lemon
As a New York woman, I’ve often found the Rachels and the Carries of pop culture infuriating instead of inspiring. We can’t all be that woman and we don’t all necessarily want to be that woman. In fact I don’t know that I’ve ever met someone who truly is, but Liz Lemon is someone my friends and I can see in ourselves day in and day out. We’ve all got jobs we love and we’re making it in the city, but thanks to Lemon that doesn’t mean we should be spending our hard earned cash on a designer dress to wear to some fancy event. We’ve even started tweeting at each other with the hashtag #iamlizlemon for those times when Lemon’s wisdom truly seems to be in effect. It’s those times when you might forgo a Saturday night out because you’d rather wear sweats, order way too much Chinese food and see how many Star Wars movies you can get through for the evening, and that’s okay. It’s those times when you would kill someone for a doughnut or a bag of crappy cheese puffs, and that’s okay too. It’s those times when you hop on the train or stand in line at the store and some annoyingly perfect woman makes you feel like a bum just by sheer proximity to her immaculate outfit, but that’s okay too. It happens to all of us. We are all a little Lemony.
“Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” –Lemon
Liz Lemon lets us laugh at our flaws instead of focusing on how to get rid of them. She makes it okay to keep trying that diet, but allowing ourselves to break down here and there for something really awful like a plate of tater tots or in her case, ham. She knows and shows us that no one wakes up looking like they just came out of the salon – we all wake up with weird pillow marks and our hair going a million different directions. These normal – not “oh dear, what is that girl thinking?” – moments and realizations were often reserved for the odd best friend to the immaculate leading lady; the friend who is perpetually single and perpetually complaining and probably not so attractive. Lemon embodies those goofy, single lady supporting character traits, but instead of making them look shameful, she brings them front and center and says, “Yep, we do that, but look who’s writing the paychecks and running her own show.” We can be that goofy, weird friend and still be functioning and successful people. Suck on that Sex and the City.
“My mom used to send me articles about how older virgins are considered good luck in Mexico.” –Lemon
But what about the Lemony love life? She makes it okay to be a single lady who’s not constantly chased by handsome suitors or caught in complicated and outlandish love triangles – because let’s face it, that’s not something that happens to most women. Even so, Lemon isn’t sexless. She has her moments and she’s snagged some serious hotties too (James Franco, Jason Sudekis, John Hamm and Matt Damon) and the fact that I literally just had the urge to “you go girl” Liz Lemon as I typed that proves my point.
“You are my heroine! And by heroine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and listen to jazz.” – Lemon
Lemon is the role model for successful normalcy. Sure, she takes it to a whole new comedic level – I’m pretty sure most of us would never touch something similar to her beloved Cheesy Blasters and we never asked for a Pete Rose haircut as a little girl – but ultimately she just makes the normalcy that we all know far better than the 5th Avenue stylings of the Carries and Rachels and she makes the realization livable by turning it into something we can all laugh at week in and week out.
And on that note, Liz Lemon I thank you and salute you.