30 Rock S01E03: "Blind Date"

Synopsis

Jack sets Liz up on a blind date with his friend "Thomas." Also, Poker ensues.

Episode Details

Episode
S01E03 (103)
First aired
25-Oct-2006
Transcript
View full dialogue
Writer
John Riggi
Director
Adam Bernstein
Frank's Hat
Extra Sausage, Joystick Master, Double Cheese
00:00
Frank
[watching four bears attack a robot] Robot, kick him in the knees. Bears have weak knees.

Not as far as I can tell. If anyone wants to take a run at a bear and give me a definitive answer on this one I’ll post it here and give you credit.

00:39
Liz
[in a bitchy mood] Who did my sudoku puzzle? I have been looking forward to this puzzle all morning!

An updated riff on the classic gripe of someone finishing the crossword puzzle in the paper. Sudoku was popularized in Japan in the 1980′s and is a widely played game where you fill numbers in on a grid to completion. Sudoku is an abbreviated form of the Japanese phrase Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru (数字は独身に限る), which can be translated as “the digits must be single” or “the digits are limited to one occurrence.” In Japanese,” dokushin” means an “unmarried person”, confirming my suspicion that Sudoku is the game of choice for the aspiring crazy cat lady.

00:55
Jack
Are you familiar with the Japanese art of Reiki?
Liz
No.
Jack
It is the laying on of hands in order to improve one’s life.

Reiki was developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. Jack’s quite correct. Reiki practitioners aim to heal their patients through a technique called palm healing.

03:13
Pete
So who is this “Thomas” guy?
Liz
Oh, I don’t know, he’s one of Jack’s friends. Oh my god, isn’t Jack friends with Tom DeLay? Am I going on a date with Tom Delay??

Tom DeLay was a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives who represented Texas’s 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006, and was forced to step down, due to a number of scandals, on June 9, 2006 — a little over four months before this episode was aired. (yawn) Not much here. Although Dickipedia tells us Tom did go on to compete in the ninth season of Dancing With The Stars in 2009, making him the first national politician to appear on a reality show, and the first contestant to compete on a reality show while currently out on bail.

03:49
Stagehand
Guys, we just need to try the green screen stuff one more time.

Green screen, or chroma keying, is a widely used technique where actors are filmed against a coloured (usually blue or green) background, that’s later removed in post-production and replaced with another scene, making it look like the actors are in a different location. You can see this in action a moment later as Tracy and Josh are superimposed on a ski hill.

03:53
Tracy
Poker night?! I love poker! I used to play all kinds of poker with my aunts. Crazy Seven, Albuquerque Freak Out, One Card Stud.
Josh
Yeah.. I don’t think those are real games.

Josh is wise. There ARE no poker games by these names. Crazy Seven is the name of a slot machine game, but probably a messed up reference to Crazy Eights, which IS a game. There’s nothing similar to Albuquerque Freak Out. And One Card Stud is a take off on Five or Seven Card Stud.

04:30
Jack
Hey, Lemon. You’re on for eight o’clock for dinner at Cafe des Artistes.

An opulent restaurant at One West 67th Street in Manhattan, which closed in 2009.

04:58
Tracy
[playing poker with a blinged-out PLAYA necklace on] Remind me what’s better

If Tracy has all four aces, he’s holding the best Four of a Kind hand in poker, beaten only by a Straight Flush.

05:03
Liz
[exits her office in her new, fancy, low-cut dress] You guys, I’m leaving.

[Everyone hoots and calls after her New Hotness]

Liz
All right, all right.
Pete
Hey, look at you! You look like a fancy prostitute!
Liz
[laughs and leaves]

Probably referring to Julia Robert’s prostitute-turned-socialite in the movie Pretty Woman.

05:33
Tracy
This round, Texas Doozy — face cards are wild, three’s a jinx, fives are twos.

Definitely not a real game. There are “wild card” poker games, the most popular being “deuces wild.” A wild card typically means it can take the place of any other card, however, the more wild cards you play with, the more chance is involved, removing some of the element of skill. Pretty sure there’s no such thing as a “jinx” card in poker, and only the criminally insane would make fives into twos.

05:44
Pete
Oh, Jack, we usually just play for quarters.
Jack
Well, then you best go home and put on your daddy’s shoes, boy. This is a man’s game.

Okay this sounds like it’s some sort of famous line they’ve lifted, but it’s 100% original 30 Rock writing. Nice work, kids. Nice work. It’s so damn good they should wrap a movie around that quote.

06:05
Liz
[chokes on a mint in the elevator]

Liz Lemon is choking on one of the variety of Altoids mints that exist today, each nestled tastily in their tin containers. This particular curiously strong throat-blocker is classic peppermint, given away by the tin’s red edges. For the second time today, she gives herself the Heimlich maneuver to save herself. This time it works. The first time she had to use a chair. A chair!

06:37
Jack
[playing poker] I call.
Pete
Pair of jacks.
Frank
Ace high.
Jack
Three cowboys.

“Cowboys” in poker refers to being dealt two Kings in your starting hand. Jack has three. Jack wins.

07:24
Tracy
Ok, Rain Man, tell me what I got.
Jack
Well, you have two of your cards backwards actually.
Tracy
I’m out.

Rain Man was a movie with Dustin Hoffman who played Raymond, a character with autism. Raymond’s brother, played by Tom Cruise, at one point took him to Las Vegas to count cards in poker. Tracy’s implying both that Jack isn’t that smart, he just has some freakish savant ability with cards and that he’s possibly cheating at cards in some way.

Tracy appears to be holding the Ace of Clubs, 4 of Hearts, Queen of Spades, and the 7 of Spades. Not a good hand, especially seeing as that’s only four cards. This looks like a continuity error. When the camera is behind Tracy, you can see he’s only holding four cards, and two are facing him. When the camera is facing Tracy, we clearly see five cards, but only two are facing the camera.

07:45
Toofer
This is beyond the pale. [referring to Jack kicking everyone’s ass at poker]

I’ve always wondered where this expression came from. Apparently “pale” is an old English term for a sharpened stake driven into the ground, and also the name for a barrier around a fortification made of pales. So “beyond the pale” came to mean “beyond what is acceptable”.

08:15
Jack
Okay, what do you got?
Kenneth
I think I have what they refer to as a Royal Flush. Looks like I’m the big winner.

Kenneth’s Royal Flush is the highest possible hand in poker. Kenneth Ellen wins.

08:51
Liz
Why would Jack just assume that we’re lesbians?
Gretchen
I am a lesbian.
Liz
Mmm, that’s awesome.
Gretchen
Is this the first time somebody’s made that assumption about you?
Gym Teacher
[flashback] Lemon, don’t let these girls give you a hard time about who you are.

Liz’s phys ed shirt reads “WHITE HAVEN H.S. PHYS. ED.” There is a White Haven, Pennsylvania, where Liz Lemon is said to have grown up. It’s too small to have a high school, but close enough to be less than two hours from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, where Tina Fey grew up. There is also a Whitehaven High School, but it’s in Memphis, Tennessee. I’m sure it’s supposed to be the other one.

09:31
Liz
Jack.. is ridiculous!
Gretchen
Oh! I worked with Jack in plastics. He tends to approach everything the same way
Liz
That’s a pretty good joke for somebody from plastics.
Gretchen
Well, I wasn’t always in plastics. I used to work in Water Process Technologies, working mainly in primary metals.
Liz
Oh, so you have a comedy background?

General Electric actually DOES have a plastics division! Well, they did. They sold it to SABIC in 2007, a little over six months after this episode aired. In this case, SABIC is the lesbian.

General Electric acutally has a Water Process Technologies division, too. As far as I can tell, it has no official connection to lesbians.

09:53
Jack
How was your evening with Thomas?
Liz
You mean Gretchen Thomas, the brilliant plastics engineer/lesbian? What made you think I was gay?
Jack
Your shoes.
Liz
Well I’m straight.
Jack
Those shoes are definitely bi-curious.

Liz’s “bi-curious” shoes look suspiciously similar to Ellen’s shoes shown at the end of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In fact her entire foot looks suspiciously Ellen-like, who is a noted lesbian. NOTED.

10:19
Jack
Good. What do you know about Kenneth the page?
Liz
I don’t know, he’s a sweet kid.
Jack
Yes, and a surprisingly good poker player. Did you know that his middle name is Ellen?
Liz
No, that’s weird.
Jack
And that his Myers-Briggs psychological testing shows a rare combination of extroverted, intuitive, and aggressive?
Liz
Really?
Jack
It’s the same as mine. He could be trouble down the line.
Liz
Kenneth?
Jack
Kenneth Ellen.

Hmmm, another Ellen reference. Almost in the same breath. Strong correlation. Curiously strong.

Myers-Briggs has no “aggressive” category.

10:38
Jack
All right then, you’re not a lesbian. Duly noted. I’ll correct that on your file. It’s too bad though, Thomas thought you were great.
Liz
She did?
Jack
Yes. She said she thought you looked like Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Liz
Really? She said that?
Jack
Yes, I made her repeat it. I was sure she meant Jason Lee.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is an actress who, oddly enough, played a prostitute in the movie Miami Blues across from a sociopathic Alec Baldwin.

Jason Lee is an actor. A male actor.

11:43
Liz
Hey, um, what famous person would you say I look like?
Pete
Uh, present day Linda Ronstadt.
Toofer
No, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Frank
Tootsie.
Liz
Ugh, never mind.

Decidedly unflattering comparisons. Present day Linda Ronstadt: could be worse. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: damn! couldn’t be worse. Tootsie: ooo.. toss up.

12:48
Liz
Look this is gonna sound really weird, but, um… do you ever worry about choking to death alone in your apartment?
Gretchen
Oh it’s so weird that you would say that. I think about it all the time. I mean you’d die, and they wouldn’t find you until your neighbor’s dog smelled you from the hallway.
Liz
Oh, yes, and they’d show a picture of you on New York One.

NY1 is a 24-hour cable show focusing on the five boroughs of New York City.

13:13
Liz
Yes! Oh! Everything’s the worst! Do you want to get some dinner?
Gretchen
Sure. I’ll see you in 20 at Neptune.
Liz
Yeah, okay. Perfect. Yeah.

“Neptune” probably refers to The Neptune Room, a Mediterranean-inspired seafood restaurant in the Upper West Side. It closed in December of 2008. So far being mentioned on 30 Rock is NOT a good thing. They may also mean The Neptune Diner, a Greek restaurant in Astoria. Considering Liz is supposed to live in central Manhattan, they probably meant the former.

14:23
Liz
Hey everybody, this is Gretchen.
Pete
Oh hey.
Jack
Thomas!
Gretchen
Jack.
Jack
How’s everybody up there in Pittsfield?
Gretchen
We miss you!

Pittsfield is, in fact, the home of GE Plastics (now owned by SABIC-Innovative Plastics). That’s just awesome. I mean, there’s no need for the writers to keep dropping these obscure yet accurate references to General Electric. But they do.

14:47
Jack
I call. What have you got, Kenneth?
Kenneth
All Clovers. I win!
Jack
Very clever boy, Kenneth, but the curtain has been drawn back now, and I know the real you.

“The curtain has been drawn back” may be a reference to The Wizard of Oz, when Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal The Great And Powerful Wizard of Oz as a fraud.

15:10
Frank
Liz, are you sure you’re not gay, because that chick is hot. [referring to Gretchen]
Liz
We’re just friends. Like Oprah and Gayle. Why is that so hard for everybody to believe?

Gayle King is Oprah Winfrey’s BFF.

15:23
Pete
She’s great. You should marry that girl. [referring to Gretchen]
Liz
Yeah, one problem. I’m not gay.
Pete
Oh Lemon… in the 10 years that I’ve known you you’ve had some really terrible boyfriends.
Liz
I have.
Pete
There was the guy who was obsessed with Charlie Chapman.
Liz
Neil.
Pete
There was the guy who played Halo under the name “slutbanger.”
Liz
Dennis.
Pete
There was the tall gangly red haired guy who played guitar all the time.
Liz
Conan.

I can’t find any reference to “Neil” and Charlie Chaplin, except that Chaplin married a woman named Oona O’Neil, which is a massive Neil-coloured smokescreen on the internet. It’s like naming your child “The.” You want your child to have anonymity in the internet age? Name him “The.”

“Dennis” probably refers to Dennis Duffy, an ex-boyfriend of Liz’s, who is hilarious. You’ll see.

“Conan” probably refers to Conan O’Brien, a late night talk show host, who in, in fact, an avid guitarist. And is tall and gangly and red-haired.

16:18
Jack
I raise you $200.
Kenneth
And I see your $200 and raise you $300.
Jack
Will ya, little Kenneth Ellen Parcell From Stone Mountain, Georgia. Growing up in your mama’s tract house. Dreaming of working on a TV show. Dreaming of making all the way to the NBC?
Kenneth
You’re scaring me Mr. Donaghy.
Jack
You’ve come a long way, haven’t you, Kenneth Ellen, with your cheap loafers and your page jacket? But you’ll always be a pig farmer’s son, boy, cause I smell fried baloney all over you. [Kenneth smells his fingers]

Jack’s doing a fantastic impression of Dr. Hannibal Lector (played by Sir Anthony Hopkins), tormenting Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster) in the movie The The Silence of the Lambs, and although the words are different, the sentences are almost identical. Again, bravo writers!

And Stone Mountain, Georgia is a real place of around 8,000 people, and the birthplace of the second Klu Klux Klan. It’s also the birthplace of Donald Glover, one of the writers of 30 Rock, and the name was used because it sounded like a hick town. Curiously, Donald Glover isn’t listed as a writer on this episode.

18:44
Liz
Well, it was nice of you to let him keep his job. [referring to Kenneth]
Jack
The Italians have a saying, Lemon

There is debate over where this saying originated. Some claim Sun Tzu, the great and ancient Chinese military strategist said this, others attribute it to Machiavelli or Petrarch, but the first recorded use is actually in the The Godfather Part II by Michael Corleone.

Never winning war sounds about right, but mass producing a decent car? Are you kidding me?

19:09
Liz
[to Gretchen] Hey after IKEA tomorrow, you want to go see Margaret Cho at the Beacon?

Liz and Gretchen are back at the Cafe des Artistes, where they first met.

IKEA seeks to dominate the world with inexpensive and blandly attractive flat-pack furniture. I don’t hate them.

Margaret Cho is an American comedian, fashion designer, actress, author, and recording artist, and they were probably talking about seeing her stand up show at the Beacon Theatre.

19:12
Gretchen
Oh, boy, uh, Oprah?
Liz
Yes Gayle?
Gretchen
I think we need to take a break.
Liz
Is this because I wanted to submit us for The Amazing Race? Cause I was 80% joking about that.

The Amazing Race is a reality television show where two people who know each other well race around the world against other teams.

19:22
Gretchen
[breaking up with Liz] No it’s… you know I said I’m not into chasing straight girls, and I kind of think that’s what’s starting to happen here. So, unless you’re ready to make a big life change, I need to move on. Find my Stedman.
Liz
I thought I was Oprah in this metaphor. Also you’re gay so that’s a little confusing. You should say like, my “lady Stedman.”

Stedman Graham is Oprah’s husband, well they never got married so… life partner? They had a “spiritual union”, so they’re.. dead? and mashed into a single ghost? I don’t know. They really like each other. That’s all you need to know to get the joke.

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  2. Anna K. says:

    18:44
    He's actually right about the Italians never MASS producing a decent car. It wasn't until 2011-2012 that Fiat came back on the market in North America. Prior to that, the running joke was that Fiat stood for 'Fix it again, Tony.' (I'm from the early 90s. We know this intrinsically.) I believe Lancia withdrew from the North American market around the same time. At the time this episode aired (2006?), he would have been correct. Also, I don't see many people driving around a Maserati, Ferrari, or Alfa Romeo. Most likely because the price tag must be out of the general public's reach.

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