Station/time: NBC, Thursdays, 7 p.m.
Premiere date: Season 7 premiere, “The Beginning of the End,” Oct. 4
Strong female characters: Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), Cerie (Katrina Bowden), Hazel Wassername (Kristen Schaal), and Angie Jordan (Sherri Shepherd)
Why feminist viewers should watch: Because we ladies love to laugh, and after watching for so many seasons, we’re curious about how Liz Lemon’s story will wrap up. In the early seasons of “30 Rock,” I loved watching the dynamic between Liz and her boss Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). Liz had no problem talking to Jack like he was an annoying suit who didn’t understand TV. Her confidence in the face of Jack’s unchecked privilege and arrogance provided a rich vein of comedic material and established an easy way to discuss feminist issues that never felt forced or medicinal.
However, over the course of the past few seasons, Liz has become a bit of a drip who has lost some of her competence at work. The dynamic between Liz and Jack has shifted from two peers in a reciprocal friendship established through helping one another with their bizarre-o problems to that of a superior teacher and bumbling student. It is a significant bummer.
Not to mention the fact that the show regularly tries to hinge jokes on the idea that Liz is unattractive. Um, no. We’re talking about the same Tina Fey right? The hot one? Knock it off, “30 Rock.” No one’s buying it. However, occasionally there will be a joke or story line that points so clearly to a writers’ room staffed up with women (“feminism promised us two things: fatter dolls and an end to traditional gender roles” or “Good god, Lemon! Your breath! When did you find time to eat a diaper that you found on the beach?”) that my feminist heart grows two sizes. Meanwhile, it’s always worth tuning in at the hopeful prospect that the episode will feature Angie Jordan (Sherri Shepherd) in some hilarious capacity.
What to expect this season: It’s the final season (and short at 13 or 14 episodes), so we can look forward to finding out if Liz learns how to “have it all” (barf) or continues fumbling through life like the rest of us. Will she have a baby? Will she find the right work/life balance? Will she and her current love interest stay together? All signs point to yes, but I’ll be watching just to make sure and hopefully cracking up along the way. And I don’t know about you, but I want some definitive answers about just exactly how old Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer) is and what the bedroom of his apartment looks like.