Tina Fey’s 30 Rock character isn’t ashamed to eat whatever she wants
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/06/2012 (3756 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When you think of female food champions, a number of names come to mind: Julia Child, Rachael Ray, Ruth Reichl… but Liz Lemon?
Over the past six years, the hapless heroine of TV’s 30 Rock has become an unlikely torchbearer for women eating what they want. Even if what they want is a hotdog stuffed with jack cheese, folded in a pizza (a snack featured on the show called a “Cheesy Blaster” — Liz Lemon knows the TV ad’s song).
In fact, especially if that’s what they want.
At a time when health studies, diet fads and fashion magazines have turned eating into a joyless exercise in restraint, Tina Fey’s Lemon is an accidental icon for shameless indulgence. And when the show ends its run next season, many believe her legacy will be one of bringing fun back to food.
“It’s nice to poke fun at a food culture that takes itself a little too seriously,” says Chris Durso, creator of the website Foodiggity.com. “And to have a woman do it — not some gross guy but an attractive female character who isn’t afraid to be shown sitting on the couch stuffing her face — is a big deal.”
Of course, the portrayals of Lemon’s love of cheese, encyclopedic knowledge of cupcake shops, and tendency to have lettuce in her hair aren’t exactly flattering. But the character contentedly wears her eating quirks on her sleeve (often literally, via food stains).
In one episode, Lemon chooses a sandwich over romance, when she is unable to take her sub’s more-than-three-ounce container of dipping sauce through security at the airport, where she has come to chase down her ex-boyfriend Floyd.
Andrea Taylor, a single parent from central Alberta, identifies with what she dubs the “Fey-shui” mindset of being unapologetic about her choices.
“I love food but don’t always have time to plan what or when I’m going to eat, which means sometimes I end up eating what’s available hours after I should’ve eaten something sensible,” says Taylor. “I totally get the ravenous state that would lead to consuming a cheese-stuffed hotdog wrapped in pizza.”
In a recent online tribute, St. Louis writer Chrissy Wilmes described Lemon as a food institution, praising her for stripping the shame from “previously unspeakable moments of weakness involving fried breading.”
Canadian obesity researcher Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is skeptical, noting that Lemon’s binges are more a punchline than a source of empowerment. At the same time, however, he says there’s merit to the way she’s gnawed away at misconceptions about dieting.
“People who believe that success with healthy living or weight management necessitates never eating junk food are more likely to fail in their long-term efforts than folks who have a small amount of what they need to be happily satisfied,” says Freedhoff, a professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa.
“Now, Liz Lemon has an awful lot of that stuff. But at the same time, it’s not a bad thing that she’s not killing herself about it.”
— Postmedia News
Jenna: That guy wanted to buy you a drink.
Liz: Really? I already have a drink. Do you think he’d buy me mozzarella sticks?
Jack: We are lovers.
Liz: That word bums me out unless it’s between the words “meat” and “pizza.”
“I’m going to go talk to some food about this.”
“I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”
Drew: That was really good stew.
Liz: Thank you. It’s my own recipe, where I use cheddar cheese instead of water.
“I don’t know how, but you’re going to get me another sandwich or I’ll cut your face up so bad you’ll have a chin.”
“Working on my night cheese…” sung to the tune of Working on the Night Train while eating an enormous block of cheese and wrapped in a Snuggie.
Jack: Lemon, it’s eight o’clock in the morning. Are you eating those Mexican cheese curls?