|Created by||Tina Fey|
|Portrayed by||Tina Fey
Michal Antonov (as a preteen in "The Head and the Hair" and "Seinfeld Vision")
Marcella Roy (as a preschooler in "Rosemary's Baby")
|Nickname(s)||"LL", "Dummy", "Liz Lemon Cool J"|
|Occupation||Head writer for TGS with Tracy Jordan, Host of Dealbreakers, author|
|Family||Dick Lemon (father)
Margaret Lemon (mother)
Mitch Lemon (brother)
"Nana" Lemon (grandmother)
Dolly Harlan (great-aunt)
Gray "The Hair" (third cousin)
Randy Lemon (cousin)
|Religion||Unspecified ("I pretty much do whatever Oprah tells me to.")|
Like Fey, who was head writer of Saturday Night Live (SNL) from 1999 to 2006, the character is head writer for a fictional sketch comedy 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 before 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."
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" and Fey has noted that she also enjoys singing songs from Annie. Both were once rejected by a man who later went to "clown college" which had a huge emotional impact on them.
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.
Liz is from the town of White Haven, Pennsylvania, although she was born on the border of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Her optimistic family are introduced in season 2. Liz's parents, Dick and Margaret Lemon, are very supportive of her, at least outwardly. She went to elementary school with Sheryl Crow (although in reality, Sheryl Crow grew up in Missouri and is eight years older than Liz), co-starring with Crow as one of a pair of kidneys in a 5th grade musical. Her brother Mitch had 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 it was still 1985.
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 she believed that she was just the unpopular nerd everyone picked on, only to learn years later at her high school reunion that she wasn't liked due to actually being the class bully, constantly insulting people. At Bryn Mawr College, she studied theater tech for which she still has an outstanding student loan. She spent her junior year abroad in Frankfurt, Germany. She did not lose her virginity until she was 25.
Liz and Jenna Maroney shared an apartment in a Chicago neighborhood called "Little Armenia" and together dreamed of making it big. While in Chicago, Liz reportedly tried to be an actress, but the only job she booked was a phone sex line commercial. Liz and Jenna began The Girlie Show on Second City. They 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.
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.
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. Liz is seen several times saying "Blerg!" the definition of which is subtly shown in another episode where a shot of Lemon's apartment reveals unopened box of Ikea-esque furniture made by the fictional company, blerg.
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".
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. However, according to Jenna 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.
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. Jack has described her as "socially retarded". Liz has tried using Match.com to find a boyfriend.
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." 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 dogs and, apparently, cats as well as "anything warm and adorable," though she believes her allergy to dogs is psychosomatic because a dog bit her the first time she got her period. She has evidently won at least one Emmy Award.
Liz studied in Germany during her teens. She seems to speak fluent German; though it becomes obvious in "Episode 210" that she isn't fluent because she mixes up the verbs to sell and to buy (verkaufen and kaufen) and has difficulty understanding the German TV executives.
Liz has a strong aversion to unfairness and breaking rules as demonstrated in the opening scene of the pilot, where a man cheats to get a hot dog from a hot dog stand more quickly by "creating" a new line which several people from the "original" line promptly join. She responds by buying all the hot dogs and giving them to the "good people" who stayed in the original line. Later, when Liz considered quitting over Jack's changes to the show, Pete told her that she had the best job in New York and that she shouldn't "buy all the hot dogs." This also displays the tendency she seems to have of acting rashly in a fit of anger.
She also seems to have a weakness when it comes to maternal instincts. The day after Liz told Jenna that she wanted to have children, she found herself bombarded with offers from people who wanted to be sperm donors or surrogates for her. Liz was also asked by a makeup artist to hold her baby daughter while she was doing touch ups on Jenna, but, after leaving Jenna's dressing room, Liz blacked out and found herself standing in her apartment, still holding the baby in her arms, thanks to the baby's hypnotic effect on her. Liz compares the effect to highway hypnosis.
While Liz is generally calm in nature, she is prone to violence when her food is stolen; she once knocked over a table when someone stole her macaroni and cheese and also threatened to cut her co-workers faces so bad they'd "all have chins" when she discovered someone had stolen her sandwich.
Like Fey, Liz is a big fan of Star Wars, 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 Donaghy to Darth Vader and that stepping into his office is like entering the Death Star. Liz mentions that she recently dressed up as Princess Leia for four Halloweens in a row and does so during jury selection in order to be disqualified from serving. Liz considers Attack of the Clones to be the worst film of the series.
She is also a fan of 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 drink of choice is Pinot Grigio and 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?.
As demonstrated in several encounters with Jack, she seems to have liberal political opinions, albeit ones that are less sincerely held than they are media trends - Oprah, in particular. For instance, she stated that she believes "gay dudes should be allowed to adopt kids and we should all have hybrid cars". Liz, however, has not been shown to own a car, hybrid or otherwise. She is frequently portrayed endorsing Barack Obama. Despite her vocal support of Obama, she said that there was an "eighty percent chance" that she would end up secretly voting for John McCain in the 2008 election.
She is shown to be somewhat afflicted with "white guilt," which Tracy uses to manipulate her in the episode "Jack-Tor." She later says that her white guilt "is to be used only for good, like overtipping and supporting Barack Obama". She is very concerned about not being seen as racist; for example, an African-American man she was dating played the "race card" when she tried to explain that they weren't a good match.
Liz and Jenna have known each other since 1993, when they met at an audition for a car dealership commercial in Chicago. Liz stated in the pilot that she and Jenna worked for years to get The Girlie Show, having formerly been roommates in a Chicago neighborhood called "Little Armenia" around 1996. Given Jenna's insecure nature, Liz is generally forced to act as her rock. This has caused Liz some annoyance, especially after Jack increased Jenna's stress level and paranoia by hiring Tracy Jordan and changing the show's name from The Girlie Show to TGS With Tracy Jordan.
Liz has been seen complaining about Jenna's erratic tendencies behind her back, usually with Pete. Jenna once got mad at Liz when she overheard Liz describe her to Tracy as being "paranoid" and "neurotic." Jenna once slept with Liz's brother Mitch and said he was disgusting in bed. Liz explains this by saying that Mitch hasn't been right since he was in some kind of skiing accident, because of which he thinks it's still 1985 and he's still a teenager. Nonetheless, Jenna attempts to seduce Mitch once more in the episode "Ludachristmas."
Liz and Pete have known each other since about 1996 and he's possibly the closest thing Liz has to a confidant besides Jack, especially since Jenna, her closest female friend, is far too anxious about her own life to function as such. Pete lived in Liz's apartment for an extended period while separated from his wife.
Liz has not really tried to pursue a relationship of any kind with Tracy, preferring to focus her energies on keeping his craziness in check. She is typically friendly towards him, though mainly to further this end. While Liz will refer to him as either "Tracy" or "Tray", Tracy will most often refer to Liz by her full name "Liz Lemon", or, less often, just "Lemon".
At the beginning of the show, Liz and Jack had an antagonistic relationship. As the series progressed, however, this original dislike all but disappeared, and they are now close friends. Though they still annoy each other at times.
Fans have shown an interest in "shipping" Jack and Liz together. Tina Fey had previously stated that there would not be a romantic relationship between the two, as it would be "too icky." More recently, however, she admitted there is sexual tension between Jack and Liz. There have been many episodes which hint at this. Jack passes Liz off as his girlfriend to make ex-wife Bianca jealous and Bianca tells Liz in one scene that "I can tell from the way he [Jack] looks at you that he's serious". Colleen Donaghy, Jack's mother, thinks that Liz is a perfect match for Jack. In "Do-Over", Jack and Liz attempt to win over temporary head of GE Kathy Geiss by pretending to have a soap opera-style real life relationship, escalating to the point where Geiss wants the two to kiss each other (her shouting "KISS!" marks the only time Kathy Geiss has spoken in the entire series); there is a pause, but Jack and Liz then refuse.
Liz has more recently declared that she and Jack "are friends" and seems to be welcome in Jack's office at any time of the day. The two joke often about their various personal and work-related problems, and increasingly offer each other advice. Jack has even surpassed Pete as Liz's most trusted confidant. This relationship culminated when Jack, after being told he was to be the next Chairman of General Electric, named Liz as his Vice President and successor. In essence, Liz and Jack have developed into each other's best sounding boards. For example, when Liz believed herself to be pregnant, her first reaction was to go to Jack's office (then occupied by the CEO of G.E.'s daughter) and, when ultimately she was unable to speak with him face to face, she left multiple messages on his phone. When Jack had made a fool out himself at a business retreat, Liz took the attention away from him by doing improvisation and eventually, danced and took off her top. Jack was clearly moved and appreciative of her actions.
Tina Fey has said that Liz's relationship with Jack is "somewhere between Mary Tyler Moore and Lou Grant, and Han Solo and Princess Leia."
According to Pete, Liz has had some "really terrible boyfriends" in the ten years that he's known her. It is implied that she once dated Conan O'Brien when there is obvious romantic tension between them. Conan has told Liz that he wants to forget their brief relationship. He is one of the few people to address her as Elizabeth. Liz was dating Dennis Duffy, her on-again-off-again boyfriend, until she learned that he was an online sexual predator after seeing him on Dateline NBC, where he was caught in one of their hidden camera investigations.
In one episode, Liz and Jenna consider hooking up with two men from the building who they've nicknamed "The Head" and "The Hair" (because one is boring and balding, and the other is interesting and handsome, with a full head of great hair). Liz and Jenna both assume, automatically, that the good-looking one (The Hair) will go for Jenna, so Liz, a little resignedly, decides to ask The Head out on a date. On the way there, however, she is stunned to be approached by "The Hair" (whose real name, it turns out, is Gray). After a rocky start, things start to look optimistic for their romantic potential - until Liz and Gray discover that they are actually third cousins.
Liz once received an anonymous Valentine that, in a true Charlie Brown twist, turned out to have been sent to her by accident by a man named Floyd who intended to send the gift to his girlfriend, Liz Lemler ("The Other Liz"). Later, Jack told her to fire the bottom ten percent of her staff and Liz realized that Liz Lemler actually worked for her. What followed was chaos as Liz ended up firing not only Liz Lemler but also the entire accounting staff and Pete. In the end, Jack rehired Liz Lemler but had her transferred to Connecticut. Although she did end up dating Floyd, they broke up when he moved to Cleveland and she decided to stay with her show in New York.
It is later shown that she is not over Floyd even though they have officially ended it. According to Liz, the last time they spoke was at 4:17 p.m. on August 9, 2007.
Liz also dated her neighbor Drew (played by Jon Hamm), but broke up with him after she realized he got whatever he wanted because he was attractive.
In "The Source Awards," Liz has a dinner date with Steven Black, Tracy's attorney (played by Wayne Brady). She quickly discovers that they have nothing in common and voices her doubts about furthering a relationship with him, but she backs down when he accuses her of being racist. Liz inadvertently gives herself an out, however; at the Source Awards she accidentally shoots Black in the buttocks.
At Kenneth's party, a drunk Liz apparently made out with Grizz. Kenneth later mentioned that apparently afterwards, she made Dot Com and Grizz cry.
Liz dated a 20-year-old named Jamie. His mother, Beth, was physically similar to Liz, causing Liz to end the relationship.
In the episode "Future Husband", Liz found a man she had in her contact list as "Future Husband". The two met in a dentist recovery room after getting root canals, and she discovers him the next day due to her heavy anesthesia. Wesley is British, and initially appeals to Liz, who asks him out for coffee, however, they get along poorly and seem to have little in common. The episode ends with him asking Liz out to dinner at Tex Mex, which she hates, after he returns Kenneth's lost wallet.
In the episodes "Believe in the Stars" and "Cooter," Liz states that she lost her virginity at the age of 25 (this would be in 1995 or 1996)