Friday, March 2, 2012

Liz Lemon

Elizabeth Miervaldis "Liz" Lemon is the main character of the American television series 30 Rock. She is portrayed by Tina Fey, who is also the creator of the series and its showrunner.

Liz Lemon was born on October 14, 1970. Raised in the town of White Haven, Pennsylvania, Liz is the daughter and second child to Dick Lemon and Margaret Lemon (née Freeman). Liz's parents are outwardly, very optimistic and supportive of her, but privately, they actually dislike many of their daughter's attributes and life decisions, as revealed during the climax of "Ludachristmas". Liz's elder brother, Mitch, was the victim of a skiing accident on Sunday, December 8, 1985, when he was a high school senior. Afterwards, he experienced anterograde amnesia, remaining "stuck" in the day before the accident, thinking for the next 22 years that he was still 17 and that the year was still 1985. In the episode "The Moms," her mother is said to have worked as a secretary at Sterling Cooper.

In the season 3 finale, "Kidney Now!", it is revealed that Liz attended elementary school with musician and actress Sheryl Crow, co-starring with her as one of a pair of kidneys in a 5th grade musical (although in reality, Crow grew up in Kennett, Missouri, and is eight years older than Liz). While Liz believes that the two were great friends, Crow only vaguely remembers her, and refers to Liz as a "loser".

Liz was inspired to become a writer by Rosemary Howard, the first female head writer of Laugh-In. She mentioned that she used to teach improv to senior citizens. In high school, Liz believed that she was an unpopular "nerd" that all of her classmates picked on, only to learn two decades later at her 20-year high school reunion that she was, in fact, the universally disliked class bully. At Bryn Mawr College, she studied theater tech, for which she still has an outstanding student loan, and attended the University of Maryland on a partial competitive jazz dance scholarship. She spent her junior year abroad in Frankfurt, Germany, and seems to speak fluent German as, in her opinion, it is "the most beautiful language in the world". However, it becomes apparent in "Episode 210", that she is not fluent, as she mixes up the verbs "to sell" and "to buy" (verkaufen and kaufen), and has difficulty understanding the German TV executives. In "Larry King", she sings "99 Luftballons".

In the episodes "Believe in the Stars" and "Cooter", Liz states that she did not lose her virginity until she was 25 (this would be in 1995 or 1996).

Liz met Jenna Maroney in 1993, when Jenna was studying voice at Northwestern University. By Liz's own words, Jenna was "slutting it up" to get car dealership owners to put her in their commercials. The two shared an apartment in a Chicago neighborhood called "Little Armenia", and together they dreamed of "making it big". While in Chicago, Liz reportedly tried to be an actress, but the only job she was able to book was a phone sex line commercial. Liz and Jenna began The Girlie Show at Second City. They worked for years to turn The Girlie Show into a television series, which NBC picked up (though only to quell the outrage of women's groups over the misogynistic show Bitch Hunter), resulting in the pair moving to New York City for it. Liz became the head writer for The Girlie Show, while Jenna became the show's main star.

In the pilot, it is announced that Liz's former boss Gary has died and Jack Donaghy takes his place. Jack immediately decides to retool the show to make it appeal to a larger demographic, starting by firing Liz's trusted producer Pete Hornberger and making her hire unpredictable actor Tracy Jordan as the show's new star. Liz manages to convince Jack to re-hire Pete, but Jack is insistent on making the show center around Tracy and, much to her chagrin, he renames the show TGS with Tracy Jordan.

Since 2005, Liz has lived in an apartment at 168 Riverside Drive (which is a real apartment complex in New York City); her apartment number is 3B.

Liz has also evidently won at least one Emmy Award.

After a mere glance at her in the pilot, Jack sums up Liz as a "New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, over-scheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says 'healthy body image' on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for...a week". This is confirmed by Pete to be accurate, commenting that the "knitting" part, in particular, was uncanny.

Liz is generally portrayed as something of a "geek". So, while she is an apparently skilled writer, she seems to have very few social skills (in "Rosemary's Baby", Jack describes her as "socially retarded"). For example, while she was trying to pick up men at a karaoke bar, a man asked her if the seat next to her was taken, leading her to ask him why she should have to move her coat just so he could sit there.

Liz has a rather sardonic sense of humor. She has frequently been shown to be a stress eater, a trait she shares with Jack. Despite the fact that she often ingests high-amounts of junk food on a daily basis, she seems to keep her weight under control, perhaps because she does not seem to have proper meals. According to Fey, the character is not bulimic; "she just likes to eat". Liz does have some knowledge of cooking, though she admits to only using her oven to warm her jeans in the morning. She is allergic to both dogs and cats, as well as "anything warm and adorable". However, she does believe her allergy to dogs is psychosomatic, as she mentions that a dog bit her during the time of her first period.

Like Fey, Liz is a big fan of the Star Wars film franchise, often using events from the original trilogy to explain her feelings and actions in daily life. For example, in the episode "Jack the Writer", she compares Jack to the Sith lord Darth Vader, and contemplates that entering his office is like "stepping onto the Death Star". In "The Source Awards", Liz mentions that for the four past Halloweens in a row, she has dressed up as Princess Leia. She has also dressed as the character during jury selection in order to be disqualified from serving. Liz considers Attack of the Clones to be the worst film of the series.
Tina Fey in character as Liz Lemon, filming an episode of 30 Rock.

She is also a fan of the television series Heroes, in which her favorite character is Hiro Nakamura, Lost, Little People, Big World, Ugly Betty, Top Chef, Designing Women and The Daily Show. Her drinks of choice are Pinot Grigio or white wine with ice cubes and Sprite. She is obsessed with men in green tights. As of "Cleveland", her ringtone is "Ride of the Valkyries", which she and Jenna consider a reference to What's Opera, Doc?. Her ringtone for "Future Husband", is "Fuck the Pain Away" by Peaches.

In the episode "The Fabian Strategy", Liz reveals that the three things she likes in the world are Ina Garten, "sweater weather", and when Muppets present at awards shows.

Liz appears to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan. In "Reaganing", it is mentioned that at nine-years old, she sported a Pete Rose inspired haircut and had posters of Mike Schmidt and Tug McGraw in her bedroom. These three players were active with the Phillies during this period. It is also noted that she uses a 'Phillies Sport Wallet' in "It's Never Too Late For Now".

By "Christmas Attack Zone", Liz has learned the meanings of body language through watching The Mentalist (due to her losing the remote control to her television, thus being unable to change the CBS channel it was on). Because of her newfound talent, she dubs herself "The MentaLiz".

In contrast with her friend and foil Jenna, Liz seems to have little interest in stereotypical female interests, such as fashion. In "Blind Date", her "bi-curious" shoes led Jack to erroneously believe she was gay, and set her up on a blind date with his friend Gretchen Thomas, the "brilliant plastics engineer/lesbian". Except when she is pressured to dress more femininely, Liz typically appears in casual, gender-neutral attire. In earlier episodes, she almost always wore plastic-rimmed glasses, though she has started to wear them less frequently over the course of the series. Flashbacks reveal that she has worn glasses since she was around four of five years of age. However, according to Jenna in "The Rural Juror", she does not actually need glasses. This is probably intended to parody the fact that plastic-rimmed glasses are considered to be Tina Fey's trademark in real life, despite the fact that she does not actually need glasses except to see far away.

Some of Liz's social problems stem from past slapstick events that left her with long-suppressed traumas and phobias. For instance, in "Reaganing", Liz reveals to Jack that she once ended up falling while wearing roller skates and ending up with her underwear around her ankles while covered by a Tom Jones poster (all while she was trying to find a bathroom to use in her house). When Jack learns she also freaked out when hearing a snippet of music in Las Vegas, she realizes that anything that reminds her of Tom Jones triggers her revulsion to sex. She was also unable to eat eggs for a long time, and Kenneth's impromptu therapy helped her understand why: her aunt's husband left her, causing the aunt to feed a pre-teen Liz unappetizing egg-based dishes while making bizarre requests for company.

Liz also has a tendency to say "blerg", "nerds", "What the what?", and "son of a mother" as replacements for curse words; she has also notably used the phrases "shut it down", "I want to go to there", "deal-breaker", "pwomp", and "by the hammer of Thor!".

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