Her iconic character has always been more or less a fictionalized version of Fey herself, but the two aren't quite equal. To say farewell to 30 Rock, let's compare their highlights — with some very memorable video.
Well, good God, Lemon, it's time to say goodbye. Tonight 30 Rock will end, and with it will end the reign of one of the funniest characters television has ever known: the one and only Liz Lemon. It will also mean that we won't get to see Liz Lemon's creator, Tina Fey, on our television nearly every week. (At least until she returns with another show.)
Lemon has always been more or less a fictionalized version of Fey herself: a woman in charge of her own television show. But the two are not quite equal. Tina Fey is an award-winning writer, producer, and star who has appeared on magazine covers and has two young daughters with her husband. Liz Lemon is a harried head writer on a flailing show who desperately wants a child but has a series of boyfriends with debilitating quirks. Today in the New York Times Alessandra Stanley writes that the put-together Fey "was never fully convincing in the role of a loser." When Lemon's status as a feminist icon was criticized and defended, it also became a critique and defense of Fey herself. In an interview with TV Guide posted today Fey joked when asked what she learned from playing Lemon: "I have learned that every woman is responsible for being a feminist example. At. Every. Moment. Or not. [Laughs]I don't know. I still don't know, but I have had the pleasure of meeting a lot of women who identified with Liz, and that's been great."
While life for Lemon changed incrementally on the show — this season she got married! And she adopted kids! — these past seven years have been a whirlwind of successes for Fey. To say farewell, let's compare their trajectories, looking at some of the highlights of their respective lives.
Tina: Fey leaves her job as head writer of Saturday Night Live and anchor of its "Weekend Update" to develop 30 Rock, a show ostensibly based on SNL. With Lorne Michaels producing, she tells reporters of the task ahead: ''I do not understand the train that is about to hit me."
Liz: In the first season of 30 Rock Lemon also faces a daunting amount of work as NBC executive Jack Donaghy enters the picture to retool The Girlie Show and place her in control of volatile (read: crazy) movie star Tracy Jordan.
Liz: Jack offers Liz the job of Head of East Coast Television and Microwave-Oven Programming, which unfortunately doesn't work out. The following month she thinks she's pregnant with the baby of her ex-boyfriend, beeper salesman Dennis Duffy, but it turns out to be the side effects of eating Sabor de Soledad. As the third season begins, Liz tries to make headway in her adoption process.
Liz: By February, things are looking up for Lemon as she starts to date the extremely handsome (but kind of dumb) Dr. Drew Baird. By May she's signed a book dealbecause of her popular "Dealbreakers" sketches, and by December she has her own talk-show deal, which quickly turns sour.
Liz: Tracy goes AWOL. Lemon has to deal with Tracy's wife Angie, who says "ham" impeccably. The 100th episode of TGS (and 30 Rock) approaches in April, but there's a chance the show might be canceled — only to be saved by, well, a gas leak.
Liz: Lemon and Cross adopt two children who end up being mini versions of Tracy and Jenna, the two adult-children she's been taking care of on TGS, which succumbs to cancellation as everyone quits to honor her. Tonight we'll see where the series leaves our hero(es).
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.