“There ain’t no party like a Liz Lemon party cause a Liz Lemon party is mandatory.”
These are the immortal words of the heroine of “30 Rock,” Tina Fey’s hit show that has adapted the sketch comedy show format into a show-within-a-show with critical success. Now in its seventh and final season, “30 Rock” fans are left with only two more episodes in the beloved series.
Fey’s creation has spent the last 7 years satirizing the political and cultural moments of our time in ways that reach beyond the traditional sketch comedy format. “30 Rock” strikes a balance between a lovable cast of characters who work on the show-within-a-show, and appreciation for their commentary on the elements of our American lives that could use a little mockery.
These elements have created a cult-like following for the show, and any “30 Rock” viewer will tell you that a mandatory Liz Lemon party is guaranteed for laughs.
The champion of the show is Fey herself, playing an exaggerated version of her own persona as it manifests itself in Liz Lemon.
The show “30 Rock” is based loosely on Fey’s time as a head writer for Saturday Night Live, an element that is echoed in other SNL alumni that play characters on “30 Rock,” most notably Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan.
With an arsenal of personal experience at her disposal, Fey creates episodes built around the over-the-top personalities that populate the world of entertainment and the subsequent problems they create through their antics for those who work behind the scenes to bring television to life.
Fey’s character Liz Lemon has consistently been the standout of “30 Rock”—just a single New York gal trying to make her way in the big city and constantly being held back by the crazy people she works with. Liz Lemon resonates with viewers because Fey holds nothing back when it comes to making Liz relatable, whether it’s Liz’s obsession with off-brand junk food or the fact that she sometimes wears a bathing suit under her clothes because she hasn’t done laundry in a while.
Liz is lovable and just like many of us. She has flaws and quirks and pet peeves, all which make her not only enjoyable to watch, but to imagine as your friend or even yourself.
We can relate to Liz’s struggle to maintain control over her life, and laugh when she admits that it isn’t going too well when she says things like, “I don’t think you want to take advice from me on this. I ate a Three Musketeers bar for lunch and this bra is held together by tape.”
It is in this relatability that Fey has crafted a masterpiece. Liz’s own personal hang-ups make it known that it’s okay to be weird and different. Throughout the course of the show, we are treated to several flashbacks of an awkward adolescent Liz — flashbacks that remind viewers it’s okay to be strange and awkward, because so is our heroine.
One of Liz’s crowning moments is when she attempts to romantically chase her love interest through the airport before he boards his flight and she loses him forever. However, she is in possession of a delicious sandwich which she cannot take through airport security, and she is having a difficult time deciding which she values more—love, or her sandwich. In one of my favorite scenes of all time, Liz begins devouring her sandwich in front of the security guard, looking frantically around and yelling through a mouth full of food, “I can do it! I can have it all!”
“30 Rock” resonates because its underlying message, underneath the jokes about crazy celebrities and cultural phenomena, is that so much of adulthood is rooted in being immature.
Many of the characters that populate the show are executives, producers, actors, writers — all adults with important jobs, and yet their daily lives are riddled with trivial problems and immature (and at times, ridiculous) responses to those problems. However, it is often the characters’ immature behavior or inappropriate judgment calls that help to find the solution to the problems at hand.
Being an adult requires a healthy appreciation for what it means to be a kid, and the madcap adventures of the “30 Rock” gang reinforce this. The interactions between the regular characters, guest stars, and the city of New York itself create a blend of comedy that stands out among all of its peers.
I love Liz Lemon, and seeing her try to have it all every Thursday night will be a routine I know I’ll miss.
If you need me on the night of the finale, you’ll find me in a Snuggie, working on my night cheese and enjoying my last moments with Liz and the crew.
You’re never too old to laugh at yourself, and “30 Rock” will remind you of that time and time again.
Katie Murt is a junior majoring in English and is The Daily Collegian’s Tuesday columnist. Email her at email@example.com.