30 Rock S05E18: "Plan B"

Synopsis

The staff searches for work when the show goes on hiatus and Jack attempts to salvage a disastrous network acquisition. Aaron Sorkin and Will Arnett guest star.

Episode Details

Episode
S05E018 (518)
First aired
24-Mar-2011
Transcript
View full dialogue
Writer
Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan
Director
Jeff Richmond
Frank's Hat
Food Coma, Tandem Alert
0:16
Liz
As of this morning he was still saving lives in Africa.
Tracy
[flashback to Tracy on web cam] I’m doing God’s work here in Africa. Why just yesterday I kicked two naked people out of a garden.
Liz
[flashback] But Tracy we need you here.
Tracy
[flashback] Simba Rafiki click click click. Yeah that’s right. I just put you in your place in African.

Nice one;) God’s work: referring back to (supposedly) the first story ever told, when Adam and Eve sinned and God kicked them out of the Garden of Eden. Of course this was before clothes (i.e.: modesty) was invented, thus the naked.

“Simba Rafiki click click click” is Tracy’s sad attempt at an African language. He also called the language “African” as if there is only one. There are about 1500.Simba” and “Rafiki” are two main characters from Disney’s 1994 movie The Lion King, being a lion who’s the son of the ruler of the land and a baboon wise man respectively. There are a few languages with clicks in them, including  Xhosa and Zulu, but all probably adopted the clicks from the Khoisan languages. I found a YouTube video giving a bit a basic language lesson in Nama, one of the Khoisan languages.

0:33
Jack
“TGS with Tracy Jordan” without Tracy Jordan is an oxymoron, like Liberal Government or female scientists…
Liz
Or Princeton football.
Jack
We were four and three in Ivy League play last year. Our quarterback Henry Chang… It doesn’t matter. The point is that without Tracy, TGS is going on… a forced hiatus.

Ahhh trotting out the ol’ “oxymoron” jokes this early, huh? I’ll just leave those alone. It’s not like they’re original enough to need explanation.

The Ivy League is actually an athletic conference and is made up of Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. I always thought it was just a generic name for really high-end US universities. And the implication here is that a Chinese guy can’t possibly be a good football player.

1:00
Liz
But you’re looking out for us, right? Pounding on desks and [wags finger] doing whatever this is called.
Jack
“Power wagging.” And I’m doing what I can but I spent a lot of political capital buying a new network for Kabletown.
Liz
Is it TNT? Are Rizzoli and Isles friends in real life?

I just love this. Power wagging?? Jack’s version does look far more powerful than Liz’s. He’s an old hand at this power wagging, you can just tell. You get a strong impression he’s wagged down the likes of Donald Trump and maybe some sour, disapproving old women.

TNT is a competing network and it runs the show Rizzoli & Isles which I have never even heard of before. Granted, I’m a little insulated in my exposure to new TV, which I hear about only though word-of-mouth or some online recommendation. I’ve just now sort of convinced myself I’m not actually the best person to be running this site;) ANYWAY. Rizzoli & Isles is about a police detective (Jane Rizzoli) and a medical examiner (Dr. Maura Isles).

1:14
Jack
It’s a small cable network targeted towards gay male viewers. It’s called “TWINKS.”
Liz
That’s the name of your network? Isn’t “twink” a term for a young hairless gay man?
Jack
Nonsense. TWINKS is an acronym designed to project a positive gay image. [reading] “TWINKS: Television With Individuals… Naive Kinky Shaved.” Okay. If the network were thriving it would be one thing, but my programming has yet to find it’s footing.

Named after the Twinkie (golden, of little substance, and full of cream), a twink is indeed “a young or young-looking gay man (in his late teens or early twenties) with a slender build, little or no body hair, and no facial hair.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.) They’re the opposite of the bear.

Apparently gays have an entire set of codes they use online to describe themselves (like NKS: Naive Kinky Shaved). Check this out (also from Wikipedia):

An example bear code is:

B4 s- m g++ w d+c t+ f+ k+ r e+(+?)

The translation (in no particular order) is:

Reasonably thick beard, cub tendencies, definite Daddy, (endowment) gets attention, above average fur, loves groping/pawing/touching, (Kinkiness) loves most things, (Muscle) some definition/Blue collar, spends some time outdoors, (sex) plays under special circumstances, tall, bear with a tummy


Fantastic.

1:39
Anchor
[cutaway to Gay SportsCenter] [reading upcoming stories] Och, no. Next. Boring. Who?

The list of stories shown on “Gay SportsCenter: The Countdown” are:

  • Quest for the Final Four
  • Ted Williams Melts
  • NHL Divisional Breakdown
  • Celtics-Spurs Finals
  • AL Central Preview
  • NHL Mock Draft Results
  • Albert Pujols’ Contract

Yeah I’m not so good with sports. I’ll just leave these lying here for you.

[Update:] Reader Blake pointed out Albert Pujols was actually mentioned before. This season. Shows how good my memory is;) In S05E05 “Reaganing,” Jack mentioned that Liz was “the Albert Pujols of having problems.” Different episode writer, though.

1:56
Liz
Okay well don’t worry about TGS. I’ll take care of this “hiatus” thing myself.
Jack
Thank you, Lemon. I’d like to help but I’m afraid My Hands Are Tied… is the only show anyone’s watching on TWINKS.

Implying the TWINKS network has a bondage-themed show. I’m going to go ahead and suggest another one: “Will It Fit”?

2:29
Liz
The important thing is this “forced hiatus” is only temporary. We’ll be back before you know it.
Frank
[on phone] Sydney! It’s Frank. TGS is dead. Start booking me stand up gigs. How many black women’s colleges are there in the country?
Liz
What are you doing?
Frank
You just said we’re going on a forced hiatus. I know what that means. Time for plan B. [on phone] Harriet Tubman School or Nursing? Yes and yes!

There aren’t a lot black women’s colleges. Wikipedia says eight, but the list is probably incomplete/out of date.

Harriet Tubman School or Nursing: Not a thing, but Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) was real: an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the American Civil War.

2:49
Pete
Well good thing I kept my teaching certificate so I can still sub. Last time I taught I was like Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, by which I mean I got fired.
Liz
No, Pete, this is only temporary.
Pete
[laughs and pats Liz on the shoulder on the way out]

Pete’s jokes sound a little forced this episode. Dead Poet’s Society was a 1989 movie starring Robin Williams where he played a teacher who “inspires his students to change their lives of conformity through his teaching of poetry and literature,” and subsequently gets fired for his unorthodox approach.

3:02
Jenna
Thanks for telling me, Liz. We’ll get through this.
Liz
Oh, thank you! Finally someone with some faith.
Jenna
No, I meant my Jenna Babies and I will get through this. [shows Liz set of Jenna Baby dolls] I’ve been selling these on QVC for years. It’s my plan B. This is Asian Jenna Baby. [presses button on doll]
Asian Jenna Baby
Excuse me G.I., do you miss your girlfriend? I’m good at math.
Jenna
So it’s not offensive.

So weird. I love it. Looks like she has a Jailbird Jenna Baby, a Clown Jenna Baby, and the “non offensive” racial stereotype Asian Jenna Baby. I suppose it could have been a little more racist if the doll had huge thick glasses, buck teeth, a conical Asian hat, and a single long pigtail, but not by much. Plus Jenna would have never gone for the face being less than “beautiful with a slight hint of Asian.”

The version of that line I’m more familiar with is “Hey, G.I., sucky sucky five dollar,” which probably didn’t make the network censor cut.

[Update:] Reader Deb points out: QVC shopping channel – it’s the same place that Joan Rivers flogs her costume jewellery tat.

3:25
Liz
Where are you going? It’s just until Tracy comes back.
Sue
I’m going to back tot he job I had in Holland: Police Psychic. A Dutch TV show is based on me.
Dutch Actress
[cutaway to show] Ik zie een hand te verhogen dit mes op. Het is heel donker. Is er een klomp en een windmolen… [gasps] De moordenaar was de Eerste Minister! [subtitles: I see a hand raising this blade. It is very dark. There is a wooden shoe, and a windmill… The murderer was the Prime Minster!] [title: Van Der Hoot: Psychische (De Mentaalist)]

Okay I used Google Translate on the subtitles to get the Dutch, and I think I got most of it but I think a few words were different. Oh, by the way, I don’t speak Dutch. Just so you know.

[Update:] Whoa! We have Dutch readers;) Jasper wrote in:

My native language is Dutch and this is what the actice says: “Ik zie een hand die deze mes opheft… het is heel donker, er is een houten klomp en een windmolen! De moordenaar is de eerste minister!”

language police:
the person who wrote this isn’t dutch, “deze mes” should be “dit mes” (~these knife / this knife)
the girl who acted isn’t dutch, she has a great accent but some words like minister are off
and the dutch translation of mentalist is… mentalist 🙂

Looks like a take-off on CBS’ The Mentalist TV show. I know, and I said I didn’t speak Dutch, yet somehow figured that out from the Dutch “De Mentaalist” title. What can I say, I’m a quick study.

And the Dutch are stereotypically known for wooden shoes (clogs), windmills, and tulips. What, no mention of tulips? [Spoiler: Wait for it.]

3:47
Liz
Come on, Sue. You can’t just leave me here with Toofer.
Toofer
[comes up behind Liz] Actually I’m off, Liz. With my degree I can always go into architecture or medical nanotechnology…
Liz
Wait, what did you major in?
Toofer
Sorry, I don’t understand. Oh I see. Uh, at Harvard we call them “concentrations.”

Ooo nanotechnology! One of my favourite topics. Within 30 years we should have endless free nanobots that can self-replicate and make us anything we can imagine from (basically) free raw materials. It’s pretty much the end of scarcity and poverty. I’m not kidding, it’s going to be amazing. If you’re rich please fund some of this research as 30 years is too long to wait. For an excellent (and entertaining) primer, check out K. Eric Drexler’s (free online) book Engines of Creation.

As for “concentrations,” it’s true. Harvard actually calls them that.

4:22
Simon
You said “forced hiatus?” Oh man. That’s bad.
Liz
Simon, you’re my agent. You’re not supposed to panic, you’re supposed to help me.
Simon
Like how Fredward helps iCarly.

What the hell? How did this reference get into 30 Rock?? iCarly is a kid’s show running on Nickelodeon about “a girl named Carly Shay who creates her own web show called iCarly with her best friends Sam and Freddie,” a.k.a. Fredward. Fine. It’s a reference. But totally the wrong demographic! How would anyone who watches 30 Rock have watched iCarly?? Just bizarre.

4:33
Liz
No! Listen, everyone here has a plan B. If there’s a real chance that TGS could go away what is my backup?
Simon
Maybe something with vampires, cuz everything has vampires nowadays. Have you seen the Twilight movies or Vampire Diaries? I’m not allowed to.

I remember Simon from a previous episode but I can’t remember which one. Anyone? [Update:] Reader Jasper comes to the rescue: Simon’s first appearance was in S04E05 The Problem Solvers. Jack offers Liz the chance to star in a new television pilot based on her “Dealbreakers” sketch and Liz signs with a talent agent to explore other options before agreeing to work with Jack.

And everything does have vampires. I walked by Chapters the other day. They had a “Vampires” table.

4:58
Hank
So, Jack. How’s the baby?
Jack
Baby. Ah, yes BABY: Black Asian Bisexual Youths. Uh, those are viewers we want, and TWINKS is going to bring them in.

Not a thing.

5:08
Hank
It’s not a business question, Jack. I mean your baby. Your daughters.
Jack
Oh! [laughs] Of course. Liddy, she is adorable. My night nurse swears she calls me “coschelle,” which is Trinidadian creole means “stranger.”

My Trinidiadian creole’s about as good as my Dutch. Anyone knows if I spelled that even close to correctly? I can’t find a reference to this anywhere.

5:22
Hank
Don’t let work be everything, Jack. Family’s just as important as fixing that fellas that like fellas network you talked me into buying.
Jack
I’m on top of that.
Hank
Are you? Jack, there’s lots of things I like. Fishing, marches by John Philip Sousa, telephones that look like footballs, but there’s one thing I don’t like: losing money. Now I don’t know if my tone is conveying the fury I feel about this, but I am, pardon my French, “bonjour.” [laughs]

John Philip Sousa wrote 136 marches! No surprise he was known as the “march king.” A few I recognize are:

Okay I went through some more but there are so many. And you pretty much recognize all of them because they’ve all been used in old movies or cartoons or something.

Ahhh the football phone. Such an 80s standby, alongside the always classic Garfield phone, huge lips phone, “car” phone, and all manner of other novelty phones.  I don’t know if you can really get them anymore since the death of the land line, except maybe on eBay. The modern replacement would be the football cell phone case.

And the usual expression is something like “pardon my French, but you’re an asshole!

5:50
Hank
Now that’s a joke, but I am really really mad.
Jack
Look, Hank, I’m already working on fixing TWINKS. I’m remaking Knight Rider with the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.  

Knight Rider! Man I loved that show as a kid. Once when I was eight I took photos of the screen and typed up a “report” on Knight Rider. This was before I’d ever done a report in school. That’s how much I loved it. I think I just fatally dated myself. Anyway, I also watched a bunch of the original TV series a while back. Don’t do this. Just let your fond 80s memories of Knight Rider and Michael Knight remain intact and unmolested.

The original Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was created in 1936 to promote, yes, Oscar Meyer weiners. The 1952 version was awesome, but the first one in 1936 was basically just a giant wiener on a wheeled chassis, and had a band that read “Oscar Mayer’s german wieners.” Hmm, I wonder what happened after 1936 for them to drop the “German wieners” from their label?

6:00
Hank
It’s okay, Jack. You made a bad decision and bought something you didn’t understand, like when I bought tickets for Black Swan. Remember when a movie was just a fella with a hat running away from a fella with no hair?
Jack
No.

Black Swan is a 2010 movie starring Natalie Portman. Not sure what Hank thought this would be, but it’s a ballet-based psychological thriller.

Hmmm, tricky. My best guess is Hank, being a traditionalist, is talking about an old western, and “fella with no hair” has to be Yul Brynner, so I’m guessing the movie is maybe the 1960 Magnificent Seven. He was in a few more westerns, but that was the most famous.

6:26
Jack
Hank. There is a gay Jack Donaghy. His name is Devin Banks.
Devin
[cutaway] [sits up in bed]
Cashmere
[cutaway] Are you okay?
Devin
[cutaway] I sense something. A presence I’ve not felt since…

Nice! 30 Rock loves them their Star Wars references and so do I. This one’s from Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope, when the Death Star captures the Millennium Falcon with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader senses Obi-Wan’s presense. Devin even gets the cape right.

6:46
Jack
Lemon. I’ve decided to hire Devin Banks.
Liz
Banks? But he’s your nemesis. That would be like me hiring that mouse that keeps pooping in my slippers.
Jack
Devin is the perfect man to fix TWINKS. He’s a gay shark, like the actor who played Jaws.

That’s just hilarious. The actor who played Jaws?? Oh, writers who wrote this episode… You so funny! Jaws was released in 1975. 1975!! My Lord that’s a long time ago.

7:00
Liz
But he’s going to come in and try to ruin everything and everything is already ruining itself.
Jack
Not this time. Banks put all of his eggs in the Obama basket. When the administration started to falter because of our conspiracy- I mean Obama’s ineptitude, he tried to distance himself publicly from uh… your president.
Obama
[cutaway to podium speech] The recession we’re emerging from was primarily caused by a lack of responsibility and accountability…
Devin
[cutaway] [silently making fun of Obama]

Ah the old political jokes. Jack, the staunch conservative, would never support Obama. The speech shown was made by Obama shortly after the May 20, 2010 vote by the senate “for legislation designed to reshape U.S. financial regulation and create a new consumer-protection agency to prevent abuses in mortgage, automobile and credit card lending.” Here’s the video from the White House of that speech (from a different angle). You can see there’s actually no one at all next to the president, so all four people including Banks were composited into the shot.

7:25
Jack
Then he tried to rejoin us capitalists. Showed up at John Paulson’s sweet sixteen billion party. Nobody would talk to him. Not even Ira. And he was all “oh I’ll just look at these books” then pretended to get a text and left. And we were all like “whatever, we’ll go to IHOP. And not tell him.” [snickers]

John Paulson is the president of the Paulson & Co. hedge fund. He’s a big financial muckity muck, but I’m sure you gleaned that from the dialogue. Let’s see… anything else interesting in the Wikipedia article? He’s the world’s 45th richest man, worth $12.4 billion by the end of 2010. Oh and he made a tidy profit during the big 2007/2008 crash, so he’s brilliant, evil, or both. And normally it’s just a “sweet sixteen” party for when a girl turns sixteen.

IHOP = International House of Pancakes. I don’t think I’ve ever been there despite the fact I love pancakes. Who doesn’t love friggin pancackes??

Jack was hilarious in this scene! His subtle shift into a catty, gossipy girl and the his derisive snicker at the end were awesome.

7:39
Liz
Where is he now?
Jack
I tracked him down to an address in Brooklyn. He’s on LinkedIn, Lemon. He might as well be dead. [laughs] So I throw him a lifeline: if he comes crawling back like a gay, uh… crab, I guess? What else crawls, Lemon.
Liz
Babies, Jack. You have one.

Hehe… LinkedIn.com is a social network that concentrates on professional relationships. You usually list what you do for a career, the previous jobs you’ve had, your skills, etc, and you make relationships with other professionals you know or have worked with. It’s like an online resume and a businessman’s Facebook all in one. Although the implication here is if you’re unsuccessful enough to need to be on LinkedIn, you’re career’s already dead.

This episode was a little weird on the Jack’s daughter angle. It constantly pointed out Jack wasn’t with his daughter, wasn’t paying enough attention to her, or was never home. But even closer to the end where he did an about face there was still no Avery and no Liddy.

7:55
Jack
Hank Hooper is a traditionalist. He had his first heart attack when he saw pineapple on a pizza. He’ll hate Banks and his hairless nostrils. A man should have nose hairs.

Mmmm Hawaiian pizza! Seems to me you either love it or hate it. “Fruit!? On pizza?! It’s an abomination!” Not true! It’s delicious. It’s the most popular pizza in Australia. The origins are actually either German or Canadian, but it arose in the 60s.

[Update:] Reader Blake has a good point: They’re a bit weird sometimes with continuity, like here Hank had a heart attack because he saw pineapple on a pizza but in S05E13 “¡Qué Sorpresa!” he was happy he went to an Indian restaurant and tried naan bread.

8:38
Jack
And you have no plan B? I’ve been telling you to prepare for the end of TGS for the last two years.
Liz
Well there have been a lot of Amazing Races on since then and I had to watch them and go online and comment on them.

I’ve still never seen an Amazing Race. It’s a CBS TV show pitting teams of two against each other in a race around the world. It’s been running since 2001 and there are lots of international variants.

The “commenting” thing refers to these certain websites on the Internet that are devoted to specific shows. People find them online, read up on trivia or additional information on the show, characters, and episodes, and gather together in a community to discuss aspects of the show. Like you’re doing. Right. Now.

8:48
Jack
Here are your options: you can go to LA…
Liz
Nuhhh… I’ve been to LA once.
Liz
[flashback] [reading map as rioters attack her car] Olive just turns into Bartham?
Rioter
[flashback] Justice for Rodney King!
Liz
[flashback] How do I get to 10?
Rioter
[flashback] It’s THE 10.
Liz
[flashback] [rolls eyes]

Took me awhile to find the Olive she’s talking about, but it’s West Olive Avenue in Los Angeles, specifically Burbank. And yes, it just turns into Bartham Road as it goes past Griffith Park.

The Rodney King reference is from March 3, 1991, when he (an African-American) was beaten by (white) police officers and the entire thing was caught on tape. The officers were brought up on charges but acquitted, leading to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which Liz seemed to have stumbled into some time during it’s six-day span.

9:00
Jack
You can’t afford to be selective. Opportunities for writers are fewer are farther between.
Liz
What about opportunities for storytellers? Beginning with the cave paintings Lascaux, mankind-

The Lascaux cave paintings in France were discovered in 1940 by four teenagers, and are thought to be over 17,000 years old. The paintings depict stunning images of more than 2000 animals, figures, and abstract signs, and has been added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

9:09
Jack
I can get you a meeting with Nick Lachey for The Sing-Off.
Liz
I’ll take it!

The Sing-Off is an NBC television singing competition featuring a cappella groups and hosted by, yes, Nick Lachey, formerly of the boy band 98 Degrees.

9:12
Liz
You’re here for The Sing-Off gig?
Aaron Sorkin
Yeah.
Liz
Do I know you?
Aaron Sorkin
You know my work. Walk with me. I’m Aaron Sorkin. The West Wing, A Few Good Men, The Social Network.
Liz
Studio 60?
Aaron Sorkin
Shut up.

Aaron Sorkin, American screenwriter, producer and playwright, did indeed write the 1992 movie A Few Good Men, wrote for the 1999-2006 TV series The West Wing, and wrote the 2011 movie The Social Network. He also wrote the 2006 TV series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which was cancelled after a single season.

I’m guessing the “walk with me” bit is something they do on West Wing all the time. Never seen it, but it seems… presidential.

[Update:] Reader Blake mentions: That is certainly a presidential walk and apparently a Sorkin trademark, they made fun of it in like the first season, I think episode S01E04 “Jack The Writer,” Liz and Pete walk in a circle ending up where they began like they did here, they did it a lot in the West Wing apparently.

Reader CBH also points out: Oh, also, Studio 60 was, in some ways, a competitor to 30 Rock, as their subject material was virtually identical (30 Rock: sitcom about an SNL-like show, Studio 60: dramedy about an SNL-like show), and were picked up in the same season. Before they aired, many thought that one would be picked up but not another.

That would explain why Sorkin was so annoyed by Liz’s jab;) Delicious!

9:27
Aaron Sorkin
Do you know Nick Lachey? I hear he doesn’t even let you sit in the meeting, he just screams at you to see how you react.

Okay I’ve never seen this show. Someone’s going to have to help me out here. Does Nick Lachey have a penchant for screaming at the contestants?

9:32
Liz
Wait, you’re not really applying for this job, are you?
Aaron Sorkin
Course I am. You’ve got to take work where you find it, especially now. Our craft is dying while people are playing Angry Birds and poking each other on Facebook. What is poking anyway? Why won’t anybody do it to me? I’m cool.

Ahhh Angry Birds! How many hours have I lost to you, you insidious little App. For the 3% of you out there who haven’t played it, Angry Birds is a simple physics game. You lob various kinds of birds at structures in order to destroy them. Simple, right? But OH how it sucks up time into a black, black void.

And Facebook poking? I forgot about that. Do people still do that? Facebook even has a page explaining poking. You go on someone’s profile and click the Poke button and it shows up on their wall. Telling them that someone poked them. It’s retarded. If you still do this, just stop it.

9:43
Liz
So it’s really that bad out there. I mean, you’re Aaron Sorkin. Speaking of Angry Birds, do you know how to beat 11-4? It’s just a red guy and a green guy.
Aaron Sorkin
The key is do not use the green guy as a boomerang.

11-4 is Theme 11 Level 4 of Angry Birds. If you’re truly interested here’s a writeup and a walkthrough. The green guys, after you launch them to the right of the screen will boomerang back to the left side when you tap.

10:05
Assistant
Mr. Sorkin? Mr. Lachey will see you now.
Aaron Sorkin
[walks into office] Mr. Lachey. Huge fan! Huge fan. I have all your albums.
Liz
[sighs]

Nick Lachey used to be a member of the boy band 98 Degrees, who released 12 albums. Lachey, since leaving the band, has released two albums on his own.

10:32
Frank
If you want to save this dumb show you gotta get the fans involved. You know, like sometimes people mail stuff to networks to show how passionate they are. They sent light bulbs to save Friday Night Lights, hot sauce to save Roswell, and douche bags to save Entourage.

Friday Night Lights was a 2006-2011 TV series which, during the 2007-2008 writer’s strike, it was speculated it would be cancelled, leading fans to send in light bulbs to “keep the lights on.” It wasn’t cancelled for another 3 years.

Roswell was a 1999-2002 TV series fans tried to save by sending in bottles of Tabasco sauce, a favourite of the show’s aliens. They failed.

Entourage started in 2004 and is still running. It’s a poorly written show targeted at douchebags. No one’s ever tried to save it.

11:09
Jack
Banks. What’s become of you?
Devin
Nothing! [flips music player playing babies’ music to the floor to turn it off] These aren’t babies. They’re organ farms.
Jack
[stares at Devin]
Devin
Don’t look at me!

Delicious! Devin’s poor attempts at saving face. “Organ farms” is pretty awesome, though. Evokes Matrix-like images of human battery fields.

11:22
Jack
[chuckles] Devin. Explain the gaybies.
Devin
I’m a house husband now. Happy? I married a shiny black dancer named Cashmere. We mixed our sperm together so no one would know whose baby is whose.
Jack
[Jack looks at the three black babies]

“Gaybies”?? Totally a thing, but first I’d heard of it. Brilliant. Though mixing your sperm together with a black man kind of kills the mystery of whose baby it is, no?

11:46
Devin
[laughs] You came all the way out here – to Brooklyn – to offer me – Banks – a job. You must be desperate, Jack. TWINKS must be exploding and not in a good way. You thought that I would lick your boots, but you need me. So now I’m going to make you let me lick your boots.
Jack
I’ll keep you on a very tight leash.
Devin
Fantastic. Continue.
Jack
I will not gay set you up again, so I’ll be very clear: You’ll be under me and if there’s one slip up your ass is mine. Damn!

Ahhh more gay set ups. Jack is really hilariously terrible at this.

12:16
Devin
[unzips sweatsuit revealing business suit and tie] You couldn’t resist coming to see how far I’d fallen, but that was your mistake. Down came the rain and washed the spider out.
Jack
No. You are the spider. I am the sun. I dry up all the rain.
Devin
Yes! Freeing me, the spider, to climb up the spout again!
Jack
You bastard.
Devin
Now… who wants some num nums?

I love this bizarre powerful-titans-of-industry with all of their bravado and scheming filtered through baby talk. It’s a hilarious theme all throughout this episode.

13:03
Simon
Liz, I’m going to tell you what I tell my dog clients when I drop them. [makes odd noises to Liz]
Liz
Simon!
Simon
[continues making odd noises to Liz] [leaves]

This was just weird. Granted, I’m not a dog owner but I’ve been around enough to know this isn’t a thing. If you did this to a dog I’m pretty sure it would bite you. I’d definitely bite someone if they tried this on me.

13:17
Hank
Jack, we’ve been waiting almost an hour for this Banks fella. The only explanation I can think of is that he keeps stopping to perform good deeds.

I love Hank. Big, goofy, naive, one-note bastion of positivity. There was an implication from an earlier episode that he may be related to Kenneth in some way, and it really comes out now and then. Take Kenneth, age him 30 years (if that’s even possible), give him 30 years of business experience, and you end up with Hank.

13:58
Devin
[comes in holding baby] Oh, my apologizes gentlemen. I tried to call but [to baby] somebody spilled milky all over daddy’s phoney, didn’t you little Mykonos?
Hank
[simultaneously with Jack] [happy] You brought a baby to a business meeting!
Jack
[simultaneously with Hank] [incredulous] You brought a baby to a business meeting!

Mykonos?? Like the Greek island?

And brilliant writing, this: having Hank and Jack saying the same line at the same time but with completely different meaning was great.

14:30
Jack
Uh, Hank, could Devin and I just have a moment please.
Hank
Of course! I’ll just entertain this little bundle of joy with one of my uncle Hank stories. [to baby] The VC was everywhere! Yes they were. Yes there were!
Jack
This is a new low even for you, Banks. Using your own baby to get in with Hooper.
Devin
I brought the sexiest one, too. His cheekbones are like granite. You know Hank the family man fell right into my trap. [laughs] This isn’t even baby vomit on my jacket. It’s mine! All mine!
Jack
This is not over.
Devin
Oh look how much just loves his uncle Hank!
Hank
[to baby] Woosh went the flamethrower. Medic! Medic! cried the widdow boy.

I just love Hank’s baby-friendly versions of Vietnam war stories.

VC = Viet Cong = USA’s enemies in Vietnam.

15:13
Kenneth
How’s substitute teaching, sir?
Pete
Oh, just like Lean on Me. In that a guy who looks like Morgan Freeman swung a bat at me.

The movie Lean on Me came out in 1989 and starred Morgan Freeman as a high school principal whose school would be taken over by the government if he didn’t improve the students’ test scores. It was based on a real-life story, and the principal (Joe Clark) got the nick name of “Crazy Joe” Clark by using a bullhorn and a baseball bat within his school to terrorize and intimidate the students as well as the faculty.

15:22
Pete
What are you doing with those sugar cubes.
Kenneth
Starting a fan mailing campaign to save the show. People will send sugar cubes to Hank Hooper to show that they’re sweet on TGS. I’ve already sent about a hundred of these even though licking an envelope is a sin. Unless you’re married to it. So I had to marry each envelope and then divorce it, which brings me to my ninth point-
Pete
So you’re putting a sugar cube in an envelope and then mailing it to Hank Hooper. But then when he opens it, it will have been crushed into a fine white powder.
Kenneth
Oh I suppose so, sir.
Pete
Kenneth, do you know what anthrax looks like?? [as police burst in] I’m not with him! God bless America!

In 2001, a week after the September 11 attacks, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and two Democratic U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others. The anthrax was delivered in letters as a fine powder. Just… don’t mail anything that even remotely resembles that.

15:59
Kenneth
[gets tackled by police] My thorax!
Detective
We never could have found him so quickly without your help. Thank you, Mentaalist.
Sue
It is a gift and a curse. In the TV show you bang me in a tulip field on the credits.

Thorax?? The thorax is basically the ribcage area, not including the limbs. But it’s usually a term for an animal body part.

And oh look they rounded out their Dutch stereotype by mentioning tulips!

16:16
Liz
[looks at poster for Transformers 5: Planet of the Earth, written by No One]

This was hilarious. Personally I like the Transformers movies, but I’m a nerd so giant robots always garner a certain number of points, but objectively they were pretty poor. Michael Bay, the director, is known for loud and fairly plot-free movies, culminating in Transformers 2, which Bay even admits the writing was crap (but promises number 3 will be better). They still make assloads of money, though, so expect endless sequels.

16:24
Child
Mommy, what’s that? [pointing at newspaper box]
Bum
It’s a toilet. Or a woman. It’s whatever you need it to be.

This really reminds me of Over Sexed Rugsuckers from Mars. Whaaa? You’ve never heard of Over Sexed Rugsuckers from Mars?! How can this happen? How sad for you! What you should do is go out right now and find a copy of this movie. Here. Here’s a link to it on Amazon. It’s only six bucks. If you like cult-classic, super-cheezy, so bad they’re good movies this one’s perfect.

16:46
Woman
It’s over!
Liz
Who’s there? Show yourselves!
Woman
You’re one of us now.
Liz
[gasps] Who are you?
Woman
Better to ask who we used to be. People whose professions are no longer a thing. Once I was called Travel Agent.
Blue Collar Guy
I was an American auto worker.
Sax Man
And I played dynamite saxophone solos in rock and roll songs.
Woman
Come. We live under the subways with the CEO of Friendster.
Liz
No! TGS isn’t dead yet! [runs]

Funny;) Travel agents are all but dead thanks to the like of Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, and Kayak.com. Why pay someone a commission when you can probably find a better deal yourself? Unless you have lots of spare money and are planning a particularly meandering trip and you have a really good travel agent. Then okay. Go ahead.

American auto workers used to be the last name in quality. Until the Japanese came in with their oh-so-fancy robots and kaizen philosophies and, despite high trade tariffs designed to keep their imports out, still kicked everyone’s ass. To make up for it they moved a bunch of manufacturing plants to the US and Canada. But if you’re still sore about the whole thing, watch in the next few years as the Korean manufacturers do the same thing to them.

And the saxophone solo! Mainstay of 80s rock. Oh how I miss you, saxophone solo. Some dude actually put up an entire site devoted to the 80s saxophone solo and it’s progression through the ages. Worth a visit.

[Update:] Reader Blake pointed out I forgot to mention Friendster,com! It was an early competitor to Facebook. It’s not quite dead, but not quite alive, either. Kind of the walking dead of social networks.

17:43
Jack
But Europe is my purview. I was supposed to go there next week. I was going to take a picture where it looked like I was holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Devin
Now I’ll be taking that picture. Do you have any idea how strong I’ll look? I’ve vanquished you in one day! I was trapped in a world of wet wipes and rectal thermometers, then the babies came and life changed. But you set me free, Jack! Now it’s weekends in New York then jet setting around the world in Economy Plus. I’ll be thousands of miles away from the chaos of Brooklyn. Do you know what it’s like to have triplets. It’s just everything times three. Three pairs of grubby little hands smearing food all over your brand new chihuahua outfits, three pairs of feet in their weird soft little shoes, three pairs of eyes, brown… like my husband’s. Three perfect little mouths that smile every time I walk through the door. Three tummies that just want their num nums and zerberts. [sobbing] Oh God I just love my gaybies too much, I can’t leave!

Man Will Arnet (Devin Banks) can deliver a line;) “Do you have any idea how strong I’ll look?” with that victorious twinkle in his eye. Love it! He was brilliant in Arrested Development, too.

18:43
Jack
That’s it? You’re just going to talk yourself out of it?
Devin
I’m sorry, Jack.
Jack
But I had stuff planned. I was going to Trading Places you.
Bum
[in doorway] Hey I was bailed out of prison and told to come up here?
Jack
[waves him off]

Trading Places is a 1983 comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy as an upper class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler respectively who are forced to… trade places. Thus the bum.

18:58
Jack
That was weak, Banks.
Devin
I don’t expect you to understand. You don’t know what it’s like to have kids.
Jack
Actually, Devin, I do. I have a baby daughter, Liddy.
Devin
And yet you still managed to be here all night, trying to figure out how to bring me down. Damn, Jack. You are strong. You’re like Dora’s friend, [simultaneously with Jack] Benny the Bull.
Jack
[simultaneously with Devin] …Benny the Bull. Thank you.

Dora the Explorer is a children’s character with a TV show, clothing, toys, kid’s furniture… well really they’ve whored her out and there are very few things you can’t buy with Dora’s face (and creepily almost-missing nose) on. Dora is to girls what Thomas the Tank Engine is to boys, and Benny the Bull is her friend. Though, considering how little I can find on the Internet, not a very popular friend.

19:48
Liz
Here. [hands Kenneth pizza] I’m actually not that hungry.
Kenneth
That’s funny; this is the same place Mr. Jordan gets pizza from in Africa.
Liz
I’m sorry, what?

Liz? Not hungry? This may be the first time in recorded 30 Rock history. Mark this day!

20:01
Tracy
[flashback to web cam] [eating pizza] Africa’s great. We have juju monsters, gum gum trees, and horsicorns, which is a unicorn with a horse’s head.

So, clearly Tracy knows nothing about Africa. He’s just making crap up. I can’t find any reference to them on the Internet, but I swear some books I had as a kid had juju monsters and gum gum trees in them. The horsicorn is awesome, though. Plenty enough awesome for everyone.

20:12
Liz
Kenneth, you beautiful goon! He’s not in Africa! He’s somewhere in the delivery zone of Federici’s Pizza! We can find him and bring him back here and no more forced hiatus!
Kenneth
[laughs] I did it! I saved the show! I won’t have to go work at news.
Liz
And I won’t have to be the world’s worst hooker!
Kenneth
[cutaway] You wanna party? It’s five hundred for kissing, ten thousands for snuggling. End of list.

Real place! Federici’s Pizza is in New Jersey. Though I don’t know if it’s the one they were talking about considering they’re an hour drive from 30 Rock.

I love Liz’s version of a hooker. It’s perfect and incredibly hilarious.

[Update:] Reader Blake points out they love using the word goon in 30 Rock;) Check out some previous favourites.

Blake also mentions that “when Kenneth freeze-frames at the end, that’s a reference to Night Court. In S03E03 “The One with the Cast of Night Court,” he reveals he was a huge fan of Night Court and when his storyline wraps up (about 19:24) he does the same pose and freeze frames and Tracy worries if he is okay. I think at the end of the show they’d just freeze frame everyone but not like Kenneth who is just holding still while the camera rolls.”

20:46
Kenneth
[on web cam] Have you made friends in Africa?
Tracy
Oh sure! Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Paul Simon, Invictus.

More random things Tracy knows that are vaguely African:

20:59
Kenneth
Well, sir, I had a very interesting morning-
Tracy
Uh oh. It’s night time. Gotta go to bed or I’ll anger the Gods. They must be crazy! Africa!
Kenneth
[to Liz] I probably should have realized he was in New York sooner.
Liz
[leaves]
Kenneth
Bird Internet…

The Gods Must Be Crazy is a 1980 movie set in Botswana and South Africa about a bushman whose band knows nothing of the world beyond and his encounters with the world beyond. Tracy truly is a credit to his African-American heritage.

Bird Internet!

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31 Responses to 30 Rock S05E18: "Plan B"

  1. Jasper says:

    My native language is Dutch and this is what the actice says: "Ik zie een hand die deze mes opheft… het is heel donker, er is een houten klomp en een windmolen! De moordenaar is de eerste minister!"

    language police:
    the person who wrote this isn't dutch, "deze mes" should be "dit mes" (~these knife / this knife)
    the girl who acted isn't dutch, she has a great accent but some words like minister are off
    and the dutch translation of mentalist is… mentalist 🙂

    and thanks for the trivia!

  2. Jasper says:

    Simon's first appearance was in S04E05 The Problem Solvers
    Jack offers Liz the chance to star in a new television pilot based on her "Dealbreakers" sketch and Liz signs with a talent agent to explore other options before agreeing to work with Jack.

  3. Debs says:

    Jenna said she sold her dolls on QVC shopping channel – it's the same place that Joan Rivers flogs her costume jewellery tat

  4. Blake says:

    1:59 – Not sure if it is worth mentioning or not but Jack brought up Albert Pujols before in 505 -Reaganing. He referred to Liz as the Albert Pujols of having problems.

    7:55 – They're a bit weird sometimes with continuity, like here Hank had a heart attack because he saw pineapple on a pizza but in 513 – ¡Qué Sorpresa! he was happy he went to an Indian restaurant and tried Naan bread.

    9:12 – That is certainly a presidential walk and apparently a Sorkin trademark, they made fun of it in like the first season, I think episode 104 – Jack The Writer, Liz and Pete walk in a circle ending up where they began like they did here, they did it a lot in the West Wing apparently.

    16:46 – Friendster is a real thing http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friendster Though that article makes it sound like its successful not dead.

    20:12 – They've called Kenneth a Goon quite a lot before but I have no chance of finding them all, I can recall Pete doing it but Ill be damned if I know what episode.

    Good write up, thanks.

    • Cam says:

      Nice one! I missed tons of stuff in this episode. It was packed! Thanks! Trivia updated.

      • Blake says:

        Oh I forgot to mention, when Kenneth freeze-frames at the end, thats a reference to Night Court. In 303 – The One With The Cast Of Night Court he reveals he was a huge fan of Night Court and when his storyline wraps up he does the same pose and freeze frames and Tracy worries if he is ok. I think at the end of the show they'd just freeze frame everyone but not like Kenneth who is just holding still while the camera rolls.

        • Cam says:

          You have a crazy good memory. If I made more than $1 per month off this site I'd hire you! Trivia updated.

          • Blake says:

            Don't mind helping, I considered going through the mid episodes to find trivia for you nad let you add your own trademark commentary but I just can't afford the time right now sadly.

          • Cam says:

            Trademark commentary? I have such a thing?;)

            Well, next I was going to work on making this thing a little more wiki-like and opening up all of the other episodes so anyone can add stuff. I move a little slowly, though.

  5. CBH says:

    The 20:12 part has the transcript messed up, you switched Liz and Kenneth for the first three lines. Also, in the bit before, Tracy says that, not Kenneth.

  6. CBH says:

    Oh, also, Studio 60 was, in some ways, a competitor to 30 Rock, as their subject material was virtually identical (30 rock: sitcom about an SNL-like show, Studio 60: dramedy about an SNL-like show), and were picked up in the same season. Before they aired, many thought that one would be picked up but not another.

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  17. Chuck says:

    The reason at 8:48 Liz is told 'It's THE 10.' is because in California we put a 'the' in front of the names of highways. I've heard that it's only done in Southern California, though I could swear they do it in Northern California as well.

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