(If this is your first time here I’d like to direct you to this page first so you can see where I’m coming from.)
I love Liz Lemon. Not in some creepy stalker way or some nerd-girl fantasy kind of way. I just love Liz Lemon. It’s the kind of love I have for apple pie or comfortable clothes or a chai latte on a cold day. Liz Lemon makes me feel safe and happy which I’m sure wasn’t really part of Tina Fey’s plan for the character but I’ll reap the unintended benefits.
I think I started watching 30 Rock during the show’s third season. I may have caught an episode or two while they were on and figured I might like it. I start watching from the first season and while I don’t think the show really hits its stride until season two or three, I was hooked early. There was just something about that offbeat combo platter of characters, of course led be Fey’s Liz Lemon and Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy. The humor was sharp, the gags were wacky and behind the fun there was an almost affecting story of a woman trying to get what she wanted out of life.
While I certainly enjoyed the show, it wasn’t until a couple season’s later that my enjoyment turned into adoring love. I had been working at my current position for almost two years. When I started at that job I really enjoyed it – the combination of the challenges of the position and the camaraderie among the staff was something I’d never experienced before and on top of that, I worked for great people. Then the two people I had reported to previously sought positions elsewhere and morale took a nosedive as the department slowly changed into something nigh unrecognizable to that of just a few years before.
How is this relevant? My one hour lunch break.
I had a whole hour to do whatever I wanted over lunch which is something I’d never had before. What did I do? I watched TV shows. My wife and I have rather differing TV and movie preferences so having an hour for lunch allowed me to keep up on our non-mutual shows but there’s only so many new episodes per week and I found myself with extra time. I ended up filling that extra time with 30 Rock. I watched multiple seasons and I watched those seasons multiple times. After a while, I was able to get through the sometimes depressing mornings because I knew Liz, Jack, Tracey and the rest of the TGS crew were waiting for me from approximately noon until 1 PM. It eventually became the bright spot in my work day which is something I’ll be grateful for years from now.
In the end though, my love for the show is not due to it being a comfort to me in a time of need but ultimately because that show was just incredibly smart and funny – reasons why I still watch the show over and over. I just love that mixture of quirky and oft times disturbing characters. I just love that Fey created a show that predominantly centered around a female and a male character without them having to be romantically involved. I just loved that they could make gags out of a black man playing Thomas Jefferson or Liz Lemon as a Muppet. Just thinking about the show brings a huge smile to my face.
Whenever I’m watching TV and I find a rerun of the show I have to at least stop and watch for a few minutes. It doesn’t matter if Liz is off to her high school reunion, Tracey is trying add a woman to his entourage or Pete is telling someone something uncomfortable about his marital life – I will stop and watch no matter what.
Sure, the show wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea if the Nielson ratings people are to be believed but I think for those of us who loved the show, it truly was something special and I’m still sad that it’s over. There’s a hole in my heart that still aches every Thursday night and it’s a pain that even Community (which I also love dearly) can only come close to soothing. I love the show and will likely continue to feel that way for years to come.
With that, I’ll leave you now with a few of my favorite lines and a scene from one of my favorite episodes. Blurgh.
Liz Lemon: Why are you wearing a tux?
Jack: It’s after 6 o’clock Lemon. What am I, a farmer?
Avery: [gasps] Are we not even making our own meth? What is happening to American manufacturing?!
Jack: Lemon, you look terrible, and I once watched you eat oysters while you had a cold.
Liz: Okay, very funny. You bought a pager from Dennis. Will you take it off now, please?
Jack: Oh, I can’t. I’m expecting a call from 1983.