I watched this episode of 30 Rock the other day that just reinforced my love for Liz Lemon. I’m about 10 years behind in the whole 30 Rock thing but (1) it’s still funny and (2) Liz’s message here is OH SO TRUE.
This particular episode is Episode 2 of Season 2. In this episode Jenna has put on some weight. She starts telling Liz about the Japanese porn star diet she is following to get back to her previous weight by the end of the week. She can only eat paper, but she can eat as much paper as she wants. Enter Liz Lemon’s voice of reason.
YAASSSSS. Liz Lemon comes right out with the body acceptance. I love it. Don’t fight your natural shape, especially not with deprivation diets – like eating paper – which are not sustainable. Honor your hunger and trust your body. Food should be enjoyable.
Jenna gets further heat from Jack Donaghy about the weight she has gained. Liz Lemon gives him the business.
So much yes. We DO need to get over the body image madness. Skinnier does not mean smarter or more talented or more worthy. Although the media and the diet industry would certainly tell you otherwise.
The writers of the variety show try to come up with “fat characters” that Jenna can play now. Liz Lemon says firmly that they will not be treating Jenna any differently, but rather they will showcase her talents.
Because your weight has no bearing on your talent or your worthiness in your job.
I loved this episode because it’s such a blunt criticism of the way we view weight. It’s also a wonderful satire of the fad diets and bogus advice that people follow in order to lose weight and try to meet impossible body standards. Besides Jenna’s paper diet, my favorite line in the episode comes from Dr. Spaceman as he counsels Jenna on losing weight: “Did you know, scientifically speaking, humans want food but don’t need it?” So absurd it’s funny.
So thank you Liz Lemon, for challenging America to change our attitudes about body image. It was applicable when this episode aired in 2007 and it’s applicable today. We need to stop shaming people for their body size and learn that there is no one perfect way to have a body. If we took the spotlight off our appearances and started showcasing our talents, the world would be a better place. The Liz Lemon dream that I can fully get behind.
Images from Carlock, R. (Writer), & Engler, M. (Director). (2007). Jack Gets in the Game [Television series episode]. In L. Michaels (Producer), 30 Rock, New York, NY: NBC Studios.