Saying goodbye is never easy. It’s even harder when you’ve taken someone’s presence for granted. For the past seven years, I’ve looked forward to Thursday nights when I’d have a not-so-secret rendezvous with a certain special someone. And tonight, it will all come to an end; we’ll have to let go. Only memories will remain. Tonight when 30 Rock ends, I’m going to have to say goodbye to my television girlfriend/best friend – Liz Lemon.
Liz Lemon is a heroine for our times. Liz Lemon was a beacon of enlightenment and reason in the madcap, zany world that swirled around her. She was a career woman who was probably always the smartest woman in the room but still found ways to be self-deprecating (and sometimes even self-destructive.) She wore her nerdiness on the sleeve of her Princess Leia wedding dress. Liz Lemon turned feminism upside down by reveling in her choice to be as strange or pathetic as she wanted to be, precisely because that was her choice. In a word, she was relatable.
Think of all the lessons we learned from Liz Lemon. She taught us to never completely trust the best looking people because they’ve lived their entire lives “in the bubble” and can’t possibly relate to the problems of the dorky underclass. She taught us diets are the road to unhappiness, and that only sandwiches and cheesy blasters held the key to satisfaction. She feigned mental illness to get out of performing jury duty. She was charming enough to garner the respect of her crazy Republican boss just by being herself – no easy feat.
Maybe I enjoyed her company so much because I can see strains of Liz Lemonism in my own life. Her plague of awful boyfriends reminded me of my early dating life. I once went out with someone who stole a car, and the police contacted me when they found his cell phone. I’m pretty sure he had a beeper. Believe it or not, I was a huge nerd in high school who eventually found people around whom I could make jokes about geography and pop culture. I also have thick-framed glasses and high-five myself after saying inappropriate things. I, too, used to dream of Astronaut Mike Dexter.
My girl-crush on Liz Lemon may merely be a manifestation of the love I have for Tina Fey. She’s a local who made good, wrote the funniest television show of the last couple years, and could melt down her multiple Emmys to pave the roads of Upper Darby with gold. Bossypants is about the best audiobook you can get for your money. With all her success, she still seems like the coolest person to hang out with. If she were on Facebook, you know she’d be making fun of her kids, but in a loving way.
I’ll miss just about everything about 30 Rock. It picked up where Arrested Development left off with intelligent, ridiculous comedy. It packed more jokes into a half hour than any other show on television. It may not have been the warmest comedy on television – that would be Parks and Rec – but you could rewind the show over and over and catch things you missed the first time. With 30 Rock retiring, what remains of the formerly great The Office on its way out, and uncertain futures for Happy Endings, Community, and Parks and Rec, the network comedy world landscape is looking bleak. New Girl is not enough! (And the minstrel show we call Modern Family is something I’d need another 500 words to complain about.)
So, goodbye, 30 Rock. It’s you I wanted to rewatch when I came home drunk years ago, and it’s you whom I’ll turn to on Netflix when I am feeling down now. And when I face future problems, I shall roll my eyes, say something witty and ask myself “What would Liz Lemon do.”