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July 23, 2012

Why Liz Lemon is My Lady Hero

Tina Fey is hilarious and relatable as TV writer Liz Lemon on 30 Rock.
(image via Rolling Stone)
"You are my heroine. And by 'heroine,' I mean 'lady hero.' I don't want to inject you and listen to jazz." - Liz Lemon

I originally intended to write a post about five flawed fictional women to get inspired by, including Bridget Jones of Bridget Jones's Diary, Christine Campbell of The New Adventures of Old Christine, and Lucy Ricardo of I Love Lucy. However, after thinking about it, I realized that the ultimate unlikely heroine deserves a post of her own.

Saturday Night Live alum Tina Fey created the hit NBC sitcom 30 Rock in 2006, and with it a hilarious alter ego who happens to be my favorite fictional character, perhaps of all time. Liz Lemon, the head writer of late-night sketch show TGS (a position Fey herself held at SNL), is neurotic, nerdy, romantically challenged, and addicted to junk food. I think she's the most relatable female character on television.

Liz Lemon is a role model because, even though she heads a low-rated comedy show full of immature toilet humor and manages a table full of childish, irresponsible writers, she's devoted to her career and strives to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. In one episode, after trying to be more fun to prove to her employees that she's not just "the RA," she goes back to her responsible ways, because the show would fall apart without her.

Liz isn't a boring control freak, however. Her nerdy quirks and majorly embarrassing shenanigans make her hilarious to watch and relate to. Liz does things like wearing a Princess Leia costume to court to get out of jury duty and drunkenly singing Alanis Morissette on the phone to a co-op board when they don't let her buy an apartment.

Liz Lemon is also a refreshing representation of the everywoman struggle to juggle romance and career. She handles her desire to "have it all" in a much more relatable way than previous TV women like Carrie Bradshaw. Liz isn't a flirty fashion plate or a powerful career woman. She's a normal person handling a less-than-glamorous job while being unlucky in love.

To properly demonstrate Liz's new "modern woman" persona, I point to the episode where she chases her ex-boyfriend Floyd (Jason Sudeikis) through the airport in a grand romantic gesture and ends up scarfing down the sandwich she's carrying at security in order to avoid surrendering it. She proclaims through a full mouth, "I can have it all!" She's got her priorities straight.

The next time you find yourself depressed over your dissimilarity to the glamorous, well-spoken female protagonists who grace the television screen, remember Liz Lemon, who shows that messy, awkward women can be just as lovable and inspiring.

30 Rock returns to NBC for its seventh and final season this October, but in the meantime check your local listings for episodes in syndication.

Jill O'Rourke is an Entertainment Blogger for Ruffled Feathers. You can read her personal blog and follow her on Twitter.


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