To my best friend, Liz Lemon, on the fifth anniversary of “30 Rock” ending

Do you ever have someone come into your life and you just know you’re going to be together forever? That’s how I feel about the very fictional Liz Lemon. I am well aware that Liz Lemon is a character on television, but that doesn’t mean I love her any less. Liz Lemon strolled into my life at just the right time when I was trying to figure out who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do, and all those stupid, meaningful questions you ask yourself when you’re young. I met Liz Lemon during a formidable time in my youth, and even though I HATE TO ADMIT THIS, she’s shaped me more than I realize.

Because I realize I, too, can have it all like Liz Lemon — and by “have it all” I mean eat the sandwich and chase a guy to the airport, like Ross did on Friends and Liz Lemon did in real life (on 30 Rock).

If you can believe it, 30 Rock went off the air five years ago today — January 31st, 2013 — and while the world has changed, like, 10,000 times over at this point, Liz Lemon is still a beacon of hope for all young ladies out there who just want go home at night, eat cheese, watch Tootsie until they fall asleep during the wee hours of the morning, and also date James Marsden. Real talk, whenever I get upset about my sad dating life, I just remind myself that Liz Lemon got Cyclops. There is hope for me yet!

And while we’re here talking about dating, remember that speech she gives Steve Martin at the beginning of Season 2 about the kind of relationship she wants? Listen, I don’t even have to look it up because I know it off the top of my head — “I just wish I could start a relationship about twelve years in, when you really don’t have to try anymore, and you can just sit around together and goof on TV shows, and then go to bed without anybody trying any funny business.” That sounds wonderful.

And later, when Liz is playing singles dodgeball, and she gets up on her soapbox and demands “I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching LOST. And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks, as needed, like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince.”

Let’s not even try to deny that I don’t want those things, too, and is that so hard to ask? Liz taught me that it’s okay to have these lofty, far-fetched ideas — and not just for relationships! Liz is THE BOSS. Liz is a BOSS BOSS. Everything is crumbling around her, mostly all of the time, and she somehow keeps it on together and manages to put on a low-rated show every single week because she loves it. Believe in your dreams, kids, even when you have brown hair.

Also, watch all the television you want, because it’s good for you! Also eat junk food, and dress in layers, and don’t be ashamed about getting prescription shampoo. Liz was able to turn all of these things into jokes. Basically, what this means is that you shouldn’t take things too seriously, which is a nice mantra to live by. Go ahead and flip a table over mac and cheese every once and a while; it’s probably a warranted reaction to the situation.

And more so than just identifying with Liz Lemon, 30 Rock was just a damn great show with some pretty great jokes. I don’t even want to admit how many times I use 30 Rock jokes in everyday conversation, but I do — I also don’t want to admit how often I do this, so you all think I’m just as funny as Tina Fey and the writing staff on 30 Rock, which is something I aspire to. Please let me live.

Oftentimes I’ll find myself wondering what Liz Lemon is up to now, and if she’d like the new Star Wars movies (probably not, I’ve decided) and what new food she’s obsessed with (probably poke bowls, but just for the rice and the seasoning). Also I bet Liz once went to a spin class, hated it, but accidentally signed up for the mailing list so she keeps getting roped into signing up for more classes, but never actually goes to them, and now has a $300 dollar charge on her credit card every month because she’s too nervous to tell the skinny blonde behind the desk that she almost died mid-spin the one and only time she tried it. I imagine this is the life Liz is leading.

I miss her dearly, but I know she’ll always be with me, whether in spirit or in re-binging the series on Netflix Hulu. Liz Lemon is never really someone who leaves you, because her legacy and her badger face will live on forever. She is my best friend, and television is her best friend, and we’re all very happy together – thank you for asking. Also don’t forget to microwave your donuts.

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