30 Rock Wiki
Not to be confused with Liz Lemler.

Elizabeth Miervaldis "Liz" Lemon is the fictional protagonist of the American situation comedy 30 Rock. She is portrayed by Tina Fey, who is also the creator of the series and its show runner.[1]

Like Fey, who was head writer of Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1999 to 2006, the character is head writer for a fictional SNL-esque show. For this reason, Liz Lemon is widely seen by critics as a fictionalized version of Fey herself, which Fey herself has confirmed as being her intention. In a video interview conducted with Fey prior to the airing of the pilot, she stated that Liz is herself "five or six years ago when I first started at my job and had to figure out how to deal with big, strong personalities and get through the day, being sort-of scared of everyone... but acting like you're not scared of everyone." [2]

Fey has reported incorporating some of her own quirks and history into the character, saying that she tries to "share as many of Liz's habits as possible so it feels truthful." Liz has been seen singing "Maybe"[1]. Both were once rejected by a man who later went to clown college and both were once referred to with the "c" word, which had a huge emotional impact on them.[3]

The character also shares her given name with Fey, whose full name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. However, Liz Lemon is only very rarely referred to as "Elizabeth" and the character's name is usually given as "Liz Lemon" in official contexts (example, the plaque on the door to her office). The character's last name, "Lemon", is apparently intended to imply an acerbic personality and possibly also to make her full name alliterative. Fey has stated that she wanted Liz to have a good last name since she knew the character would often be called by it.[4]

Personal history[]

Liz is from a town in Pennsylvania called "White Haven"[1]. Her optimistic family are introduced in season 2.[2] Liz's parents, Dick and Margaret Lemon, are very supportive of her, at least outwardly. Her brother Mitch had a skiing accident[3] on Sunday, December 8, 1985[2] when he was a high school senior. Afterward, he remained "stuck" in the day before the accident, thinking for the next twenty-two years that he was still seventeen and that it was still 1985 until his sister Liz Lemon forces him to remember at an Italian restaurant at Christmas-time.

Liz was inspired to become a writer by Rosemary Howard, the first female head writer of Laugh-In[4]. She mentioned that she used to teach improv to senior citizens.[5] In college, she majored in Theater Tech[6] with a minor in Movement for which she still has an outstanding student loan.[7]

Liz and Jenna Maroney shared an apartment in a Chicago neighborhood called "Little Armenia" and together dreamed of making it big.[3] They began The Girlie Show on Second City.[3] Liz and Jenna worked for years to turn The Girlie Show into a television series, the pair of them moving from Chicago to New York City for it. Liz became the head writer for The Girlie Show while Jenna became the show's main star. Liz lost her virginity when she was 25 in the makeup room of a clown academy.

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.[8]

Liz currently lives in an apartment at 168 Riverside Drive, which is a real apartment complex in New York City, her apartment number is 3B.[9]

According to episode 207, "Cougars", she is 37 years old, and as of season 7 she is 42.


Jack's overview[]

Jack, at a mere glance, described her, apparently accurately, as a "New York third-wave feminist, college-educated, single-and-pretending-to-be-happy-about-it, overscheduled, undersexed, you buy any magazine that says 'healthy body image' on the cover and every two years you take up knitting for...a week." Pete said the "knitting" part, in particular, was uncanny.[10]

Physical appearance and typical attire[]

In contrast with her friend and foil Jenna Maroney, Liz seems to have little interest in stereotypical female interests such as fashion. Her "bi-curious" shoes led Jack to erroneously think she was gay and set her up on a blind date with his friend Gretchen Thomas, the "brilliant plastics engineer/lesbian".[11] Jack does not find Liz attractive, as he repeatedly makes clear through backhanded compliments.

Except when she is pressured to dress more femininely, Liz typically appears in casual, gender-neutral attire. In earlier episodes, she almost always appeared wearing plastic-rimmed glasses, though she has started to wear the glasses less and less over the course of the show. Flashbacks reveal that she has worn glasses since she was about four or five.[11] However, according to Jenna she does not actually need glasses.[3] 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.[5]

Quirks and personality traits[]

Liz is generally portrayed as something of a geek, so, although apparently a skilled writer, she seems to have precious few social skills. For example, while she was trying to meet a date at a karaoke bar, a man asked her if the seat next to her was taken and she asked him why she should move her coat just so he could sit there.[9] Jack has described her as "socially retarded".[4] Liz wants to "have it all" -- meaning a family and a career -- but is a stubborn, strong-willed person who can't bring herself to settle for just anyone. She dates men throughout the first five seasons, using singles events and the dating service Match.com to find a boyfriend,[12] as well as K-Date, the personals section of the Kraft Foods website.[13]

Liz has a rather sardonic sense of humor. She has frequently been shown to be a stress eater, a trait she shares with Jack, and, although she is often seen eating junk food, she seems to keep her weight under control, perhaps because she doesn't seem to have proper meals. According to Fey, the character is not bulimic; "she just likes to eat."Live Blog She has evidently won at least one Emmy Award[11].

She can speak German[6] but sometimes confuses words (kaufen and verkaufen), and studied in Frankfurt, West Germany during her teens.[7]


Liz is a big fan of Star Wars, often using events from the original trilogy to explain her feelings and actions in daily life. Liz mentions that she recently dressed up as Princess Leia for four Halloweens in a row. Liz considers Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones to be the worst film of the series.


Ironically, her name is similar to the same one which Katey Sagal's character Turanga Leela used in order to enlist in Earth's Army in the 2000 Futurama episode "War Is The H-Word, "Lee Lemon."


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