Dear Liz Lemon,
True story. This afternoon I got an email from a friend. It began with a longish discussion about robots and then went, “Are you going to miss 30 Rock?”
Robots are cool but of course I’m going to miss 30 Rock. The show’s been an obsession of mine through all its 7 seasons and if I’d lived in your country, my multiple personalities & I would have bumped up your ratings big time.
To be honest, I’m going to miss you, most of all. You see, our lives have shared uncanny parallels over the years. Your episodic evolution in 22-minute instalments has preceded mine in a way that even Bejan Daruwala couldn’t have predicted in his sagging crystal balls.
Just like you in your thirties, I too am married to the job and not to an actual human. This is by choice and I am single & proud and not at all ashamed of the nights I bury my head into my pillow to dull the sounds of desperate pleading for a Hindu goddess to send me a good same-caste man.
Even I’m a writer for TV shows with poor ratings and films that no one- not even the folks who finance them -watches. Regardless, I love what I do. It gives me a profound sense of purpose and the freedom to come into office wearing the same curry-stained shirt I fell asleep in the previous night. You have Frank, Lutz and Toofer. I have Bad Mood Editor and Dyslexic Associate Producer. They’ve taught me it’s possible to hate and love at the same time. Nah, I’m kidding, there’s no love there. When I’m feeling generous, I liberally throw fits at them. These fits sound a lot like yours: how I’m the one doing all the work, how no one else gets it etcetr-ah, etcetr-ah.
You have Jack and I have my own personal mentor to whom I’m a mentee (granted, he didn’t choose that role and strictly speaking, he may not even be aware he’s my mentor). We share a work-love that can only be filed under the unique category you & Jack have invented.
Like you, my allegiance to my boss has made me do crazy things. Like going several months without pay. Like Jack, my boss too has looked out for my interests. Like that one time he tried to set me up with a gay man.
And sexual tension? What sexual tension? In the 12 years we’ve known each other, he’s yet to notice that I’m a girl.
There’s no Tracy Jordan in my life- not unless you count my ‘Award Winning’ cameraman, whom I simultaneously adore and want to strangle. He once famously stood in the middle of CERN and proclaimed: “I’m not leaving my camera in the car. Kya pataa koi chutiya scientist ismey proton ghussa lega.” He’s a delightful alcoholic-diabetic (which isn’t a disease but a lifestyle choice, stemming from the belief that ‘daaru ka sugar’ is the cure to hypoglycaemia). He has a toxically cynical take on life that is integral to success in the arts.
I have a Jenna Maroney too but she’s scary and I don’t want to talk about it okay?
Blergh! I wish 30 Rock would carry on for all eternity. Like the state of my penury.
I’m going to miss your romantic misadventures & sexual dysfunctions, although I’m glad you found Criss Chros. (Your almost-wedding by the way - the one at the Town Hall in your grungy sweatshirt before you changed your mind? That’s the dream. Your actual wedding wasn't bad either.)
I’m waiting for my Astronaut Mike Dexter, although I’m still stuck in a Dennis Duffy phase. My Duffy turns up at protest marches drunk on cheap rum and roots for the team I’m yelling slogans against. He likes meeting me when he’s broke & hungry and in the past has playfully suggested I share my ATM PIN with him ha ha ha. In light of these troubles, I want to thank you for educating me about the Romance-Industrial Complex. I promise not to be a slave to it (plus it’s so effective when answering Old Aunty questions about why I’m still single).
I’m proud to say I’m a feminist like you. Which means I’m often confused about what feminism means. So I try to live by your code: Know your heart and be faithful to whatever the fuck it tells you. Because no matter what happens, at the end of the day you always have the Real Housewives of New Jersey to come home to.
And hey, I have a gross foot disease too! (Fist bump, Nougat!)
I’m getting awful sentimental now so I’ll just say Thank You Liz Lemon. You’ve inspired a generation of women across the English-speaking world (but only where basic cable is available). You’ve allowed us to forget, if just for 22 minutes at a time, that we’re not in New York and might step out of our homes, get kid-car-jack-napped by a group of underage boys and be used as on-board sex slaves. You’ve shown us that a woman can claim her space, be funny (& farty), sexy (& sour-faced) and insightful (& irritable) - all in the same package.
I love that you’re not Superwoman. I’ve drawn comfort from your failings as much as from your successes. I’ve loved your idealistic speeches and speech impediments, which have grown into a language that demands its own country (‘I want to go to there’). When I grow up I want to be just like you and so what if our clothing choices make people question our sexuality?
Best of luck, Liz Lemon. You’ve done good here. You’ve turned me into a chick, who stays in on a Friday night, writing goodbye letters to an imaginary character from a TV show. So I’m going to take a page out of your book and, before this gets any worse, shut it down.