This is it, Cheesy Blasterz. Get ready to grab your pal Meat Cat and ride away on your flying skateboard to the land of never-ending 30 Rock reruns (also known as Netflix), because after the Season 6 finale airs May 17, we’ll only have 13 new episodes of Liz Lemon left in our lives. And seeing as our heroine (we mean lady hero; we don’t want to inject her and listen to jazz) is embarking on her farewell tour in a few short months, what better time than now to explore her developmental journey forward (then backward, then forward again) using the model developed by the Bard himself? Shakespeare had the Seven Ages of Man, but Shakespeare didn’t understand the glory of putting a donut in the microwave or putting chips on a sandwich, so good ol’ LL gets her own version. We present: The Seven Ages of Liz Lemon.
Baby Liz: In the beginning, little Liz Lemon was happily running her flailing variety series The Girlie Show as she imagined she always would when she was awkward comic in Chicago. But when she meets the Ice Dragon himself, Mr. Jack Donaghy, she gets a rude awakening. Like a newborn baby who’s just crying and pouting out of sheer helplessness, Liz wanders hilariously through that first awkward stage of life. (You know, the one in which microwave executives take over your life and make you hire Tracy Jordan, who you may or may not have to chase down at a Harlem strip club while wearing a pink Jackie Onassis suit. Typical baby stuff.) It’s also the time in her life when she may or may not be dating Dennis Duffy, beeper salesman in a post-Blackberry world. It’s a cry for help that practically screams: I cannot take care of myself.
Lover Liz: After she realizes Dennis is the worst, dummy, Liz pursues a more handsome, more employed man: Floyd. She starts dressing better, avoiding her usual muppet walk, and she even considers escaping to the Cleve. Of course, with that upward swoop comes her crushing eating-ham-in-a-wedding-dress-for-no-one emotional turmoil. Just like Shakespeare’s “lover,” Lemon falls hard and crashes and burns even harder. Blerg!
Remedial Liz: What’s a sitcom heroine without a hilarious backslide? Remedial Liz starts hallucinating about meeting Oprah on a plane; she brings her crazy ex-roommate Jennifer Aniston out of the woodwork and into Jack’s unsuspecting lap; and she exploits a woman with a head injury in order to try to adopt a child. (Insert evil laugh with prerequisite corn stuck in teeth here.) And here we thought she was getting so much better when she built that Blerg table and propped it up with her ham dress. Of course, it’s not all bad: Bonus points for her backslide including a brief relationship with a dumb-as-a-rock hot doctor played by Jon Hamm. Blammo, suckers!
Boring Safe Security-Conscious Liz: In the wake of traumatic experiences like thinking she might have been pregnant with Dennis Duffy’s baby, her “weird underwear’s” affair with the new guy on TGS (Cheyenne Jackson), and a one-night stand with James Franco and his sex pillow, Liz needs to get real. Naturally, she meets someone while high on anesthesia at the dentist’s office and declares him her future husband, even though in real life she can’t stand him and he says things like “Gangway for footcycle.” Still, Wesley Snipes is technically a man, and Security-Conscious Liz needs a man… any straight, non-juggling, velvet-slipper-wearing (shudder) man.
Emotionally Stunted Liz: Despite meeting her perfect match in Carol, the Delta pilot, Liz has trouble with the intimacy part. (See: The laughter- and tear-inducing scene in which she comforts him with “Don’t be cry.”) With one fake, elicit affair with Paul Giamatti as the NBC video editor and a plane-bound screaming match of a breakup that would give any TSA worker hives, Liz delves into a series of Lemony, hilarious stunts that have little to do with anything other than sending us into lizzing fits (laughing and wizzing for the non-Lemonites). It was a strange, distant time during which we were served platter upon platter of senseless Lemonisms. Top prize goes to Liz pretending to be infused with the spirit of Gaya and lathering her distended belly with baby oil in her fake pregancy photo shoot; it remains one of the best moments in the history of the series.
Middle-Aged (Finally) Liz: In Season 6, Liz actually found a happy relationship. And this one might stick. After all, he lives in her apartment. Let’s also not forget he Soloed her, which is grounds for marriage. (Just ask any nerd.) Her biggest hurdle has been getting Office Dad’s approval and now that’s Jack’s on board with her beau, Criss practically has her hand in marriage. Plus, they’ve agreed to raise a plant together. This is huge. Liz Lemon is happy, and comfortable, and she doesn’t have food stains all over her clothes. Plus, she actually likes bedroom time (though we can assume the word “lovers” still bums her out) as long as it involved Criss referring to her as “Khaleesi.” She finally learned how to express emotions using her words (even if she has to wear Hulk hands to do so). It happened: Liz Lemon is finally an adult.
Sunset Liz: Season 7 hasn’t aired, but the final season is no time to throw any of the Dennis-shaped wrenches at Liz’s personal life like we’ve see in seasons past. Unless Floyd is back with a divorce and perhaps a lobotomy (and maybe some sort of memory eraser for Liz), it’s time for Lemon to settle down with Criss, their plant, a lifetime of sexy evenings in bed with new episodes of Dance Moms, and only the occasional trip down Sabor De Soledad lane.
What’s your favorite Age of Lemon? What will you miss most about 30 Rock when it’s gone?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler.