Tina Fey as Liz Lemon rolling her eyes in '30 Rock' (NBC Universal Television, 2006)
30 Rock (NBC Universal Television, 2006)
Stories & Ideas

Sun 06 Dec 2020

Matt Millikan
Matt Millikan

Senior Writer & Editor

Google “eye-roll GIF” and the second search result is 30 Rock’s Liz Lemmon (Tina Fey).

This instantly shareable, meme-able moment comes up in episode seven ('Mazel Tov, Dummies!') of season seven, when Liz and Criss Chross (James Marsden) decide to start a family. Despite moving forwards on their plans for the future, Liz is still sceptical about a traditional marriage, recounting her very first eye-roll when she was the flower girl at her aunt’s wedding and it was announced the groom could kiss the bride.

“And today, I honour that little girl’s eye-roll with this masterpiece,” she exclaims, whipping off her glasses to enact this iconic and exaggerated eye roll.

While Liz rolls her eyes throughout 30 Rock, this moment is significant because of its absurd overstatement and its connection to the backstory of her signature gesture. This is evidenced by its proliferation on social media sites where it’s sent as memes and GIFs in reaction to people and moments deserving exasperation, disbelief or annoyance.

The moment has been written about in the Daily Mail and Business Insider, who again, noted that the scene acted as an origin story for Liz’s characteristic expression and featured Tina Fey’s young daughter’s TV debut, playing the flashback version of her mother.

Matt Millikan

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