30 Rock S05E08: "College"


Liz becomes popular with the crew. Jack’s college days come back to visit.

Episode Details

S05E08 (508)
First aired
View full dialogue
Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan
Don Scardino
Frank's Hat
Full Tank, Speed Glue, Cream Sauce
Liz, women wearing men’s watches is so over. The new thing is to get an Adam’s apple.

Wikipedia’s a little crap on the origin of “Adam’s apple,” lazily saying it’s just from the Biblical story of Adam, but another version says it’s from the Hebrew “tappuach ha adam” which also means “male bump.” Either way, the “laryngeal prominence” is made of the cartilage of the larynx. Chondrolaryngoplasty is having it shaved down, which you may do if you have a sex change into a woman and don’t want a tell-tale “male bump” giving away your nifty surprise, but there doesn’t seem to be a procedure for increasing the size of your Adam’s apple. I sense an untapped market.

My mom just had this fixed for me. It was my grandfather’s. He worked for years at Union Station in DC. As a pickpocket.

Union Station was opened in 1907. Unrelated to this quote, but still cool, is the fact that a train’s brakes failed in 1953 and it smashed into the terminal, falling into a lower floor. On a similarly unrelated note, the station went into decline in the 70s, but has since become one of the busiest and best-known places, with 32 million visitors a year. Excellent for pickpockets. Of course the implication was that Liz’s grandfather was a train engineer or maybe a conductor, who both needed watches to ensure the trains ran on time.

Hey, hey, hey! Card game, guys. Twenty bucks per, pot’s a thousand forty. Who’s in?

Easy way to do a lottery! Deck of 52 cards, $20 to buy a card, 52 x $20 = $1040 in the pot after all 52 cards have been sold, and the winner takes all.

What is this, Jabba’s pleasure skiff?

Wicked;) She’s talking about Jabba’s the Hutt’s sail barge, from Star Wars – Return of the Jedi. Jabba was a gangster and a huge revolting slug-like creature, and the barge was basically his desert-going flying party boat.

It’s the crew lottery, Liz! You buy a card, if it gets picked you win a thousand bucks. Get a tub of new suits from the Suit Emporium, Kabletown guys notice, your hair grows back… Everything grows back!

There doesn’t seem to be a Suit Emporium in NYC. But I do hope Pete gets a thousand bucks. The man puts up with a lot. He deserves to have both his pride and balls grow back.

C’mon, my card only has a one in fifty-two chance of getting picked anyway.
How did you know that?! You’re like Rain Man. Quick, how many toothpicks are on the ground.
You need to go to Vegas.

They had another Rain Man reference in S01E03 “Blind Date,” when Jack was playing poker with the writers. I’m just going to copy & paste cuz I’m lazy: 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. At one point in the movie, someone drops a box to toothpicks and Raymond instantly counts them.

Oh, why is Toofer in the punishment corner?
I said “time to end the charade and adjust my schedule to buy a new vase.” [pronounced sha-RAHD, SHED-yool, and VAHZ]
Oh, you stay there. You stay there until you die.

Hey this is pretty cool! There’s a site that has pronunciations from all over the world, which tells us:

  • charade: sha-RAID is North American, sha-RAHD is British
  • schedule: SKED-yool is only in North American, SHED-yool is both British and North American
  • vase: VAHZ is from Britain and her colonies, VAYS and VAZE is North American

Look up the pronunciation for schedule on the Internet.
[looks it up on pronouncify.com]

Okay when I first looked this up just after the episode aired, pronouncify.com didn’t exist, but since then NBC has put up a mock pronouncify.com site with a selection of words from this episode.

On the real website you can’t actually get to the “Pronounce It” page, but in the episode it reads:

We now have the ability to correct your diction. Find out what words are your sore words. Let us know your first language. It may help us correct your speech.

It has two boxes, one to enter a single word, and one to enter text.

Wait, that computer. It’s- It’s Jack’s voice!
[types in more words]
Jack’s Voice
America. Whiskey. Liberal.

Fantastic! Perfect three-word summary of Jack.

No! That can’t be Jack! Why would his voice be on some random website? It’s impossible?
[types in more words]
Jack’s Voice
Lemon. Lesbian. Frankenstein. Wants her. Shoes back.

Long running 30 Rock joke of Liz being a lesbian. With proper lesbian shoes.

Come in, Lemon. Just revisiting some old GE quarterly reports. My first cover from my first year at the company in 1985.
Ha. Good times. Just out of frame is a wheelbarrow full of cocaine.

I can’t find the photo he’s holding up anywhere. If anyone knows where it’s from let me know!

In 1985, Alec Baldwin was acting in the TV movie Love on the Run and the TV shows Hotel and Knots Landing. And everyone consumed epic amounts of cocaine in the 80s.

Those bastards!
Who bastards?
Part of my Princeton scholarship included work for the linguistics department. They wanted me to record every word of the dictionary to preserve the perfect American accent in case of nuclear war. Well, the Cold War ended and Princeton began selling the recordings.

Princeton doesn’t have a Linguistics Department, but they do have a Program in Linguistics.  You can get… a certificate.

Ah, the American accent. How we must annoy the British. Check this out, I found a tiny sample guide to pronouncing American English. They have phonetic versions of English phrases, and you can’t even figure out what they’re supposed to be until you try to pronounce them out loud. I think we North American drop a lot of sounds and mash everything together.

I also found me a quiz on What American Accent Do You Have? My accent matches Jack’s which is The West, which is the most common American accent, so I’d have to say without hesitation that it is indeed the “perfect” American accent. Except I’m Canadian so apparently I say “aboot,” which is weird when we’re told that because we have no idea what you’re talking aboot.

So people can just buy your voice?
Oh, the things it’s been dragged into. Thomas the Tank Engine. Wu-Tang songs.
Jack’s Voice
[cut to music video] Uh. Yeah. Just. Like that. Make ’em clap. Make ’em make ’em clap.

Thomas the Tank Engine was based on a series of books starting in 1946 and grew in popularity to include toys, TV shows, and movies. The thing’s huge with the kids, and my nephew tells me they’re “the cat’s ass.” He’s two and a half. And Alec Baldwin is the US narrator for… Thomas the Tank Engine. Fantastic;)

Wu-Tang = Wu-Tang Clan, a musical group. No actual link to Alec Baldwin here.

And the music video? Hmmm.. Tougher. The best I could find is Eric B. and Rakin – Eric B. Is President, which sounds similar but has nothing to do with Wu Tang.

Huh, I always forget you used to be poor.
Thank you. But yes, I’ve had to work my entire life. It began when my father left and I started working on the Boston docks as a twelve year old stevedore. “Bales up, you micks! Bales up!”

Stevedores, aka dockworkers, dockers, dock labourers, wharfies and longshoreman, are people who load and unload ships. The term started in Portugal and literally means “a man who stuffs.” I say we start using it as slang for male porn stars, too.

Lemon, I really don’t have time for a long-
The fall of 1988. A young Liz Lemon enters the University of Maryland. Richard Marx haircut, pilonidal cyst under control. It was a magical time, Jack!

I’m pretty sure this is the Richard Marx hair she’s referring to. I always thought it was weird that 80s fashion came back but most of the hair styles really didn’t. Which is good. Anyway, Richard Marx was a singer who was big in the 80s, known especially for his ballads.

Aw sick! A pilonidal cyst is a… it’s a butt cyst. It forms in your ass crack. That’s nasty.

And the winning card is… the Queen of Spades!
All right.
Who’s got it?
Oh brother.
Queen of Spades? Uh?
[holds up Queen of Spades]

In Hearts, the Queen of Spade is known as “the Bitch,” which seems appropriate considering how the crew reacted to Liz’s win.

The back of the card reads “Sheinhardt Wig Company.” In 30 Rock, Sheinhardt is the parent company of NBC.

Guys! Guys, I’m not going to keep it. I’m going to take this money and open a tab for all of you after work at Hurley’s.
Wait, for real?

Looks like Hurley’s is a real place! It’s a “restaurant and saloon” about three blocks from 30 Rock and very old.

You know it, ARRIFLEX! [reading off his jacket]
[points to his name on the other side of his jacket]
Chris! Is this guy.

ARRIFLEX is actually the name of a film camera system from ARRI. 30 Rock uses ARRI cameras, as explained in an interview with Matthew Clark, cinematographer of 30 Rock [pdf]. Specifically, Matthew tells us 30 Rock is typically filmed using two ARRICAM Lites. That and the fact the back of Chris’ jacket reads “TGS Camera Crew” tells us Chris is probably… a cameraman. Or camera operator maybe. What’s the gender neutral version of cameraman?

[nods to Frank]
[types words in pronouncify.com]
Jack’s Voice
I. Love. Unicorns.

Who doesn’t?? They’re tasty.

Crew Guy
[goes to fist-bump Liz]
[grins] Never did this before. [fist bumps] Say hey, Willie Mays!

Willie Mays was a famous baseball player for the Giants and then the New York Mets. Willie Mays was knows as the “Say Hey Kid.” No one’s quite sure why.

[enters room] You know, usually everyone around here makes me feel like Hitler. But today I feel like… Hitler in Germany.

Supposedly Adolf Hitler was quite popular in Germany. At one point. Around.. oh… 1933 – 1945.

That’s me. For two weeks in college. I was popular for one glorious fortnight and then it went away. I don’t know what I did wrong.
You probably said fortnight.

Fortnight = fourteen nights = biweekly = two weeks.

Hang on, you know this charade can’t last. [pronounced sha-RAHD] Just like in college everyone here has their role. I’m the hot blonde.
And I’m the nerd who takes off his glasses and everyone realizes he’s handsome.
And you’re the RA.
Only if RA stands for Really Awesome. [leaves room]

RA = Resident Advisor, the nerdy over-keen floor monitor in dorms across the country.

This is why I hated my first two weeks at the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks. No one knew who was the sluttiest. But I showed them. Oh I showed them all! And when we graduated a week later-

First mentioned in S04E10 “Black Light Attack” where Jenna says she majored in playing prom queens and murdered runaways. And now we know you can graduate in a week.

I’ve worked here since 1985. I spearheaded the Trivection Oven.

First mentioned in S01E01 “Pilot.” It’s a real product.

Trivection? What is this, 2009? [laughs with coworkers] The future is the TK Four Twenty One.

This is a fantastically obscure Star Wars reference. TK-421 was the Stormtrooper that Luke Skywaker knocked out and impersonated when they infiltrated the Death Star.

A new model? How many vections does it have?

Hmmm… Well, the Trivection oven has radiant heat, convection, and microwaves. That’s three. We need another two?? Um… Grilling and… blowtorchery?

And “vection” isn’t actually the root word. Convection comes from the the Latin convectiō, convectiōn-, from convectus, past participle of convehere, to carry together.

Ah. What are you tinkering with, sir? You know my uncle was a tinkerer. Until the FBI shot him.

This sounds like it’s a reference to something, but I can’t find a thing.

Every GE product has to be no more than six sigmas from perfection.

Six Sigma is a very Jack-like management technique originally developed by Motorola in 1981. “Six sigmas from perfection” refers to a process whereby 99.99966% of the products are defect free, although I’m admittedly a little fuzzy on this whole topic. The Wikipedia article is thick with statistics.

Sometimes a place can be so special to you that it couldn’t possibly continue after you’re gone, but after I left Kentucky Mountain Bible College it still kept going. Until it was shut down. Because of the wolves. Maybe this is really about you… not being able to let go.

My, my. It’s a real college in Vancleve, Kentucky. Oh sweet Jesus, check out this photo. It’s like they’re parodying a squeaky clean religious school with their vacant smiles and their nerdy, well-groomed selves. I’m mocking children of God. I’m totally going to Heck.

Everyone enjoying the ice cream?

The sign on the ice cream table reads “Ice Cream for the Crew, Courtesy of the Lizard (Liz Lemon,” and the women serving the ice cream are wearing yellow “StoneCold Creamery” smocks (at least I think it says Creamery), which is a take off on the Cold Stone Creamery ice cream franchise. Probably unrelated, but last week’s episode (S05E07 “Brooklyn Without Limits”) featured a politician by the name of Steve Austin who tried to get people to think he was Stone Cold Steve Austin, the wrestler.

All right, Kenneth. Simulate a rain storm.
[pours water on microwave, which sputters]
Sir, I was wrong about the hypothermia. I don’t even feel cold anymore. I don’t feel anything.

People who experience moderate to severe hypothermia often start to feel warm again. This happens just before death.

Jack’s Voice
Goodbye. Potato. Goodbye.
But he’s right. It’s over. Congratulation on making… the finest microwave I’ve ever seen. [leaves]

This is pretty good. The microwave says “goodbye potato,” referring to Jack who is Irish, and the Irish are known as potato eaters.

[cracks beer and sighs] Sitting around, drinking beer while a guy in a poncho plays guitar… this is what I always pictured college being like.
I wouldn’t really know. I only had about two weeks of real college before Paula got pregnant. Twice. She had overlapping pregnancies five months apart.

Apparently overlapping pregnancies are possible! I don’t know about five months apart, though. That sounds a little extreme. Like they made it up to be funny or something.

[sighs] Hey, Pete. Do you know Aqualung?
[laughs and starts playing guitar] Baw baw baw baw baw.
[sings] Sitting on a park bench. I don’t know the words except park bench.

Aqualung is by Jethro Tull.

Did you give Tony your grandfather’s watch?
No. You can’t prove that?
Hmm. [hold up watch] Ah. [reads back of watch] “Not stolen property of Adolf Lemon.” Why would you do that? To get us to like you? Are you that desperate?

Two Hitler references in this episode: Earlier when Liz said she was as popular as Hitler in Germany, and now it turns out her grandfather’s name was Adolf.

You know who I am? I’m the RA. And do you know what the RA’s purview is? Rules. And guess what. According to the NBC Employee Handbook, your little card game-lottery constitutes gambling, so you’re not doing it anymore.

If this (PDF) document is correct, an NBC Employee Handbook actually exists. I can’t find a link to an actual handbook, though. Also, even if I did, I’m sure it would be boring as hell, so you’re welcome for not finding it for you.

Hey, Pete. How do I know that the colors you see are the same as the colors that I see? Maybe what I see as red you perceive as green.

This cognitive science conversation is a very similar conversation to one in the Matrix between Switch and Mouse:

Mouse: Do you know what it really reminds me of? Tasty Wheat. Did you ever eat Tasty Wheat?
Switch: No, but technically, neither did you.
Mouse: That’s exactly my point. Exactly. Because you have to wonder now. How did the machines really know what Tasty Wheat tasted like, huh? Maybe they got it wrong. Maybe what I think Tasty Wheat tasted like actually tasted like oatmeal or tuna fish. That makes you wonder about a lot of things. You take chicken for example, maybe they couldn’t figure out what to make chicken taste like, which is why chicken tastes like everything. Maybe they couldn’t figure out –
Apoc: Shut up, Mouse.

Join us. Pete and I are having a little college night.
Oh yeah? Wanna see me shotgun this?
Oh God, she means the pizza!
She’s unhinging her jaw!

Shotgunning is typically done with beer, where you puncture the bottom of the can, crack the can open, and suck all of the beer out in one go.

Liz shotgunning a pizza is a freaky image. Snakes unhinge their jaws to eat eggs and other things larger than their mouth hole.

[wearing dog collars and standing shirtless in an ice tub with Toofer and Lutz] C’mon! We were just pranking Pete. How long do we have to do this?
You wanted college to go on forever? You got it. [screen reads: Jack Donaghy had promised his pregnant girlfriend he wouldn’t drink. He spent the night on a couch that cost more than your car.]
[flashback to Liz fist bumping] [screen reads: Later that night, Liz Lemon’s pilonidal cyst returned. It is currently her best friend.]
[flashback to Kenneth on Jack’s balcony] [screen reads: Kenneth Parcell briefly died on Jack’s balcony. He came back with a message from God that he has forgotten.]
[flashback to Tracy wearing glasses] [screen reads: Ogbert ‘Tracy’ Jordan went on to invent a new kind of borkulator.]

Ahhh the ”Where Are They Now Epilogue” trope. This has to be based off Animal House, which not only has a very similar “where are they now” update of each character at the end, but is also college-based, much like this episode.

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