Goodbye, Liz Lemon! Who Are Your Favourite Sitcom Heroines?

By Anna | February 4 2013 | 14 Comments

As a not-very-tall, often grumpy, short-sighted 30-something with wavy brown hair and a love of v-necked jumpers, I have always felt a certain kinship with Liz Lemon of 30 Rock. And although over the years the many jokes about Liz being single/greedy/tragic grew a bit tired, I’m sad that 30 Rock is no more.

When the last episode aired in the US on Thursday, the American media was full of stories about what a groundbreaking show it was, and rightly so.  Because when Liz first appeared back in 2006, she was a breath of fresh air. She wasn’t the sitcom star’s wife or the token woman. Unlike lots of women in sitcoms, she doesn’t have to be the boring voice of reason all the time – she could be as dorky, as megalomaniacal, and as snarky as any of her demented peers.

Ever since I Love Lucy and the Mary Tyler Moore show, ladies have starred in sitcoms. But when you look back over the last few decades, the women have rarely been the central characters. Even in some of my favourite sitcoms, like Black Books and Seinfeld, there’s only one woman – and in many cases, such as Fawlty Towers, the hilarious female characters like Sybil are also horrible;  you’re not meant to identify with their problems.

Things have been better in ensemble sitcoms – the women in Friends are as funny as the men. But a show that’s totally based on a female lead has been a rarity.  There are signs that things may be looking up, on both sides of the Atlantic, even though Liz is saying goodbye. There have been a few female-centric sitcoms in recent years, and even though some of them are totally terrible (I’m looking at you, 2 Broke Girls, a show so awful that the first time I saw it, I thought it was a parody of a bad sitcom), there have been plenty of bright spots too.

People are watching these shows, proving everyone who claimed that audiences don’t like women being silly wrong – Miranda Hart’s eponymous sitcom has made the move from BBC2 to BBC1, and her Christmas special was one of the biggest hits of the season.

My favourite sitcom lady of all time has to be Leslie Knope, the heroine of the glorious Parks & Recreation. Whether she’s planning a memorial fountain for a miniature horse (RIP, Li’l Sebastian), driving around on a bin lorry or rapping Will Smith’s Parents Just Don’t Understand , the woman is a goddess. She’s goofy, but she’s not pathetic – she’s good at her job, people like her, and she gets things done.  And she’s just one of several very funny women in the show  – Tammy 2! Donna! And of course, my second favourite sitcom heroine, April Ludgate.

Basically, when it comes to awesome female characters (and indeed male ones), nothing beats Parks & Rec. So what fictional funny ladies do you love? And are you sad to say goodbye to Liz Lemon?

Books, Cinema & TV, Friends & Family , ,

14 Replies to "Goodbye, Liz Lemon! Who Are Your Favourite Sitcom Heroines?"

  • Shygirl says:

    I kinda like 2 broke girls!

  • Carky says:

    Love Donna and Janet in 2 Pints, have all the dvd’s!

  • sweetie says:

    Nessa from Gavin and Stacy. She’s some woman for one woman :D

  • Aw the last episodes of 30 Rock were fantastic. I’m sad to see it go but in another way it’s better that they go out on a high note.

    I love Liz Lemon but Jenna Maroney probably had some of the best lines in the show, Jane Krakowski was a total riot to watch. The scene in the first series where Jack grills her about her age and asks her a bunch of quickfire questions like what movie she lost her virginity at is total genius.

    Also a MASSIVE Leslie Knope fan. (And Ron Swanson too but for sexy reasons.) That clip of her rapping is so great.

  • Anna says:

    Ah, Kitty, who DOESN’T love Ron? He is a sitcom god.

  • EvieM says:

    Shygirl, you’re not alone…I love 2 Broke Girls, Kat Dennings is hilarious. And Sweetie, Nessa is hilarious, have you seen her in Stella? Also brilliant. Never really got into 30 Rock, I’d watch it if it was on, but I never went out of my way to find it either.

  • shiny says:

    I cannot stand Miranda Hart’s comedy. It gives me that whole second-hand embarrassment thing which is just uncomfortable, as well as me not finding it funny in the least.

    Liz Lemon is great, though. Also, Lena Durham definitely deserves a place on the list! She’s the wittiest and most talented young female comedy writer to come out of the woodwork in the last few years IMO.

  • Kitty In The City says:

    Karen from Will & Grace will always be my number one. I love April Ludgate, but (ahem) she’s very close to the bone. Aparantly I’m quite good at the dirty look.

  • Aisling *Aisling* says:

    Karen from Will and Grace – would never have remembered her, she was deadly! So evil

    Nessa too – maybe they’re so funny because they are totally selfish maneaters and buck the typical female “niceness” portrayal.

    I also can’t bear Miranda Hart, can’t believe she’s so popular. Jennifer Anniston is a pretty good comic actress, she got progressively better as Friends went on. I think Brad had to be giving her acting lessons!

  • Anna says:

    Kitty and Aisling, Megan Mullally, who played Karen, is in Parks and Recreation as the evil Tammy 2 and she is absolutely hilarious (she’s also married in real life to the actor who plays the wondrous Ron Swanson in the show).

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