Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Importance of Being Liz Lemon

Liz Lemon is no dummy. Sure, she works with an amusing array of them. But she, she was never one. And her smarts, and her celebration of her smarts, is important. She remains one of the precious few female sitcom stars whose status as the smartest person in the room has been her primary definition from the start. You’ve got your Mary Tyler Moores and your Maudes and your Murphy Browns. But most other shows built around a sole female character have allowed some other attribute to shine brighter: strength, beauty, cunning, sassiness, lovelorness, et al. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But to be the smart girl in the room, the nerd at the beautiful people party, well, that matters.

I will miss “30 Rock” for so many reasons. Its humor, intellect, zaniness, nerdiness, metaness, catchphrasecoiningness. (BLERG FOREVER!) But probably most of all I will miss it for allowing Liz Lemon to be so smart, unabashedly so. And despite her flaws and foibles, her capability – to run the show and trust her intellect – was never in question.

The show, like its star, just never played dumb. Zany, absurd, klutzy, awkward and even sometimes muppety? Yes. But stupid, never. And along the way it delivered slyly insightful commentary on the things TV shows rarely provide slyly insightful commentary – liberalism, conservatism, feminism, racism, broadcast TV, white guilt, corporate personhood, product placement, night cheese.

So saying goodbye tonight is hard. Because, while it wasn’t for everyone, “30 Rock” was always for me. I’ve in fact never written this blog without it on the air. I started this blog in April 2006 and Tina Fey started “30 Rock” in October 2006. But I’ll keep going, and I know Tina will keep going. So thanks for seven years of making a place on our TVs for the smartest nerd girls in the room. No, it OK. Don't be cry. We'll always have gone to there together.

p.p.s. Hey, sometimes smart nerd girls get frustrated.


Gika said...

Don't leave me, Liz Lemon, you're my only hope!

egghead said...

I think she went to there so many times on that show (30 rocks) and SNL. She is brilliant. Of course she will continue. This is not the last of the tini-tiny hooker. :D

Amanda Morrell said...

"Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore and Roseanne Barr may have blazed the trail, but Fey made it to the mountaintop where she can rightly claim to be the most important woman in TV comedy history."--Chicago Tribune

And I couldn't agree more.
Never forget the rural juror.