“Double-Edged Sword”


Liz declares spinsterhood, Pete and Frank form a band, and Jack learns a new and deadly negotiating tactic.

Episode Details

S05E015 (515)
First aired
View full dialogue
Vali Chandrasekaran
John Riggi
Frank's Hat
Regional Dishonor Society, Snake Biter
Listen up, everyone. I have an announcement to make. As you may have heard, Carol and I broke up last week.

They sure did. They had a huge fight on a plane. There were guns and hostages.

Hang on. Why do you have a cat? And a fanny pack? And your ponytail… it’s being held up by a chip clip!

Ah, the end signs for a woman entering spinsterhood.

  • Cat: The start of the Crazy Cat Lady phase. There is an action figure.
  • Fanny Pack: For when convenience wins out over caring what you look like. Also note that Liz’s fanny pack reads “Orlando,” as in “Orlando, Florida,” one of the big US retirement destinations.
  • Pony Tail: The most efficient hair style. Short hair requires too much work to look good, and long hair can look scraggly without enough attention. Solution: pony tail. Extra points for using a plastic chip clip to hold it up, and Liz’ chip clip so deliciously evokes the 80s banana clip. Chip clips are, of course, normally used to hold opened bags of chips closed so they don’t go stale. I can’t find Liz’s exact “Chip Clip” brand, but these would make an excellent substitute.

Because I’m giving up, Jenna. I did the math. How many times does a woman meet Mr. Right? I’ve had three chances: Floyd, then Carol, and I was once in an elevator with Tom Brokaw. And I blew all three. Opportunities! So I am making my graceful transition into spinsterhood. I have adopted this cat, named her Emily Dickinson. [writers groan] Named her Emily Dickinson!

  • Floyd DeBarber: They met in S01E13 “Up All Night” when he accidentally sends her flowers. She fires his girlfriend from accounting, pretends to be an alcoholic to get closer to him at an AA meeting, and eventually decides they can’t do a long distance relationship after he moves to Cleveland. She later tries to sabotage his wedding only to end up in his wedding party.
  • Carol Burnett: Pilot and all-around good guy, if a bit emotional. They met in S04E22 “I Do I Do” and broke up last episode.
  • Tom Brokaw: Lead anchor of NBC Nightly News from 1982-2004. I can’t remember if her meeting him in an elevator was actually in an episode or not.
  • Emily Dickinson: (1830-1886) Was an American poet and a known introvert and recluse, a.k.a. spinster.

Also hilarious: Liz saying she “blew all three,” which she quickly corrects, but not quickly enough that you don’t imagine her giving Tom Brokaw a blow job.

[enters] Lemon, a word? Hang on. Recent breakup. Fanny pack. Cat. Quick, who’s the lead character on NCIS?
Special agent Jethro Gibbs.
In your office, now.

NCIS, formerly known as NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is a CBS TV series that started in 2003 and revolves around special agents from said service involved in criminal investigations within the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. I’m not really sure what the joke is here, except NCIS has been slowly climbing up the ratings charts since its debut and was in the #1 spot on February 1, 2011, so maybe they’re taking shots at it because it’s on CBS, NBC’s arch-rival!

[update:] Reader C Jenkins points out that “people who watch NCIS” is 30 Rock’s shorthand for “holy crap you’re old,” like in S03E21 “Mamma Mia” where Pete is talking about Tracy and says “He can’t rap, he has diabetes, all his friends are dead, he can’t use a computer, he yells at the TV, his favorite show is ‘NCIS’. Maybe Tracy is 70?”

What’s the point, Jack? I’m done. I took the money I was saving for my honeymoon and I bought a cemetery plot. I also joined a book club at the senior’s center near my home. We’re reading Murder on the Orient Express.
You know there’s a movie of that, right?
I did not. [throws book in garbage]

I love that the book is the large print edition. You know, for the elderly. You can actually buy it from Amazon (with a different cover). Of course she tosses it as soon as she finds out there’s a movie. She may have declared herself a spinster, but she’s still lazy.

I want to help you, Lemon, but this is not the week. Avery’s maternity was cut short so she could go cover the collapse of Greece’s banking system. Since inventing democracy those guys have been… coasting.

That really is cutting the maternity leave short. She just had the baby last episode!

I love this line;) The Greeks did indeed invent democracy (from the Greek: δημοκρατία – (dÄ“mokratía) “rule of the people”,[2] which was coined from δῆμος (dêmos) “people” and κράτος (Kratos) “power”) in the 5th-4th century BC, and started going downhill from then. They were conquered by the Romans, who ruthlessly copied all of their art and architecture and then.. coasted for around 2000 years.

So you’re all alone with baby Liz?
We’re calling her Liddy. After Liddy Dole, G. Gordon Liddy, and my martial arts instructor Lid E. In addition I have a huge presentation coming up. Meeting Magazine is already calling it “The First Great Meeting of the Decade.” I have to be at my best. I am negotiating NBC’s licensing fees with Kabletown.

  • Elizabeth “Liddy” Dole: An American politician who served in both the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidential administrations. Elizabeth Dole is also Bob Dole’s wife. Bob Dole loves his wife. Bob Dole wishes he had two more just like her! Bob Dole wears boxers and pees standing up! Bob Dole! Bob Dole!
  • G. Gordon Liddy: Sentenced to four years in prison for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
  • Lid E: Random Asian name?

There is no “Meeting Magazine,” but Lord help me, there is a “Meetings & Conventions Magazine,” which “since 1965 … has been helping meeting and event planners in corporations, associations, incentive houses and independent planning companies excel at their jobs and effectively manage their careers since 1965.” Gripping, gripping stuff.

Kabletown buying NBC is a proxy for the real-life purchase of NBC by Comcast, finalized earlier this year.

But aren’t NBC and Kabletown the same company now? That seems like a pretty big conflict of interest. Why would the government even allow that merger?
It’s okay. Don’t worry. You just keep watching Bridalplasty.
Alisinna died last week.

There was a very lengthy thirteen month regulatory review by the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department before they would allow the Comcast/NBC deal to go through.

Bridalplasty is a real show! Sweet Jesus… Wikipedia tells us “12 women compete to win a dream wedding and plastic surgery procedures.” That’s sick! Sick, reality TV, sick! The shame! Alisinna wasn’t a real contestant, but they did have an Allyson and a Jenessa, which sound like if they were Human Centipede’d just right could end up being an Alisinna.

There’s nothing to take care of, Jack. Watch this. I can fit Emily Dickinson’s whole head in my mouth.

There’s a Facebook group for this. And people are worried the Internet is destroying culture.

It was cut off before you saw Liz actually attempt it, so maybe this YouTube video of a dude trying the same thing will slake your thirst for this new sport.

Oh, hey Pete. What’s up?
Well, nobody told the musical guest that Tracy’s in Africa so all their instruments got delivered even though there’s no show.

Tracy faked going to Africa last episode after trying to escape the world’s desire for him to do something meaningful with his new EGOT status.

Rock stars, man. People screaming your name, hot women throwing themselves at you…
Living on a bus.
Ha. I had all that once. For three months back in the early 80s.
Really? What band were you in?
[flashback to Pete playing guitar in a band in a band] Everybody’s working for the weekend!
Yeah, I was in Loverboy. But then I had to choose between staying in the band or taking that college scholarship to study TV budgeting. I made my choice. That part of my life is over.

I remember that song! Good song. Loverboy was an 80s band formed in CALGARY, ALBERTA! Which is where I live. Trivia about the trivia meister. Lucky you! Their other big hit was “Turn Me Loose.” In 1988 they broke up but reunited in 1992, released two new albums, and have been touring ever since. The music video they put Pete into was this one.

Hey, it’s never too late.
What did you just say? [starts playing guitar and singing] It’s never too late. It’s never too late for now. [Frank joins him on keyboard] Yesterday’s dreams are gone, but today I’m singing this song. [joined by Frank] Cuz it’s never too late, it’s never too late for now.

There are a ton of songs titled “It’s Never Too Late,” the most famous of which is by Steppenwolf, which doesn’t sound much like this song.

[writing a check] I’m sorry you had to wait for this, Sherry. I hope there was enough shark meat in the refrigerator for one of your sandwiches.
[looks unimpressed]

That’s actually a real thing! It’s a Trinidad & Tobago street food called “Bake and Shark.”

Shark Sandwich was also a 1980 album by Spinal Tap.

Hercule Poirot
[Murder on the Orient Express on TV] A repulsive murderer has been murdered.
[picks up photo of her and Carol then puts it face down]
Hercule Poirot
[on TV] But in which of the two ways that I have suggested? In the simpler way, by the Mafioso disguised as a wagon-lit conductor?
[picks up photo of her and Emily Dickinson and shows it to her]
Hercule Poirot
[on TV] Or in the more complex way that I have just-

The movie playing is, of course, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, and the man speaking is the star, Hercule Poirot, appearing in 33 novels and 51 short stories published by Agatha Christie between 1920 and 1975 and set in the same era.

[bursts in] Liz, enough! [turns off TV] I am not going to just sit and watch you plummet into spinsterhood!
Why are you talking so fast?
Because I’m upset! Also I’ve been taking these new Czechoslovakian organ-slimming pills. They contain a little bit of meth. Which is something my body needs anyway!

I thought this was funny because Jenna wasn’t talking unusually fast. All the characters on the show speak quickly. I think it’s a statement on Liz’s spinsterhood, where she’s becoming old and unable to keep up.

Apparently hydroxycitric acid allegedly does slim your organs. I’m a little skeptical, and hesitant to link to this, but here you go. Do not use this. I don’t want a bunch of lawsuits from parents of teenagers who went on hydroxycitric acid binges to get a more shapely liver. Oh wait, I’m in Canada. We don’t sue each other for stupid crap like that up here;)

Does not actually contain meth. But two episodes ago we did find out that Tracy’s meth-addicted nephew lost his virginity to Jenna. Maybe that’s where she got the bit of wisdom that a body needs meth.

“Which is something my body needs anyway” sounds so familiar. Like a commercial from… out of my past. Anyone?

Well, thank you for that… disgusting offer, but I will be in editing all night putting together the Best of Tracy Jordan to replace this week’s show, so can’t go out, too bad.
Well I’m not giving up. I didn’t give up when Eric Roberts abandoned me in the desert and I won’t now.
[gives her a quizzical look]
No judgement, Liz. Mr. Roberts thought I was dead.

Eric Roberts is an actor and brother of Julia Roberts, and the abuse angle may stem from him shoving his wife into a wall in 1995. If so it’s a weird, very out of date reference.

We’re recording a song called “It’s Never Too Late For Now.” It’s about that delicious little mystery I call “life.”
Oh my God that sucks. Come on, we’ve got to go to editing.
No, I’m not going to editing. I’m in here shredding away like a righteous axe-master! And my arthritis is acting up. Do you have any ibuprofen?

Axe-master: One skilled in the art of shredding on the electric guitar.

Och, my fanny pack is in my office. In my mini-fridge.
[quizzical look]
I like my tampons to be cold! I’ll be downstairs. [leaves]

WEIRD. Totally not a thing. In fact, this website advocates boiling your tampon and inserting it while still as hot as you can manage. I don’t really want to know more about it either way.

[on editing monitor] Welcome to Brokeblack Mountain.
[on editing monitor] You need to go black, Marty!

Reader Blake finally figured out what was said here. I’m pretty sure it was made up for this episode and not really a bit of a previous episode, and seems to be referring to a Blaxploitation version of Brokeback Mountain from the 2005 movie of the same name.

The second line sounds like Jenna, and I’m pretty sure she said “You need to go black, Marty!” which, although it fits with the first line, also mimics a line said by Doc Brown from Back to the Future. I really hope that’s what it was;)

[answers phone] This is Loz. Liz. This is Liz.

I think she says Loz. Not really sure what the joke here is.

Lemon, I am supposed to represent NBC in a negotiation that Rex Belcher of the American Journal of Meetings rated “four chairs.” Four!
I’m sorry, is that another magazine about meetings?

Again, totally made up, both Rex Belcher and the American Journal of Meetings. Man I’m happy these things don’t exist. I can’t live in the same world as a Rex Belcher.

Donna Straunk
Uh oh. I don’t feel so good. I think maybe I have food poisoning.
Really? Cuz I’ve never had a problem ordering from American Sub Restaurant Very Clean Come In.

Ahhh Donna Straunk! She was introduced in S05E02 “When It Rains, It Pours” as a love interest to Ritchie, another editor. She’s still rockin’ the awesome unicorn sweatshirts that we fell in love with.

The hilariously named “American Sub Restaurant Very Clean Come In” is a poke at the American-style restaurants opened by the Chinese, whose names tend to be blunt and to the point. See engrish.com for similar hilarities.

I guess this means you’re free tonight after all.
Och! Where did you come from?
It’s a trick I developed to catch people talking about me behind my back. Did you know everyone thinks I’m insane? Now you have no excuse to stay in.

Jenna’s started doing this recently. This weird ninja appear-out-of-nowhere trick. Last episode she appeared suddenly, seconds after Tracy decided to go to Africa, demanding Kenneth move her things into Tracy’s dressing room. This would be a good super power.

Och, come on! No! Jenna, you know how much I hate clubs and dance halls and odeons. They’re all malarkey.

Liz’s spinsterisms coming through once more. “Dance halls” is a term that hasn’t been used in awhile, and “odeons,” the way I’m sure Liz is using it, is a small covered theatre used for musical performances. And “malarky”?? First used in 1929, it means “insincere or silly talk,” but no one uses it anymore.

And if I don’t like it I can leave?
Yes. If you don’t like it you can leave. This isn’t Eric Roberts’ teepee.

Back to the Eric Roberts thing. I still can’t find any real reference for this.

Sherry! Excellent. I’ve been thinking about our conversation earlier. It occurs to me that you are laboring under a fatal misapprehension. You think you have leverage over me, but you don’t. I don’t care about the baby. I’ve only known her for a few weeks and other than a fondness for Avery’s breasts, Liddy and I have nothing in common. She is one of two people ever to have thrown up on me and I haven’t spoken to Joe Namath since that Mardi Gras. What’s more, I don’t think Liddy looks like me, so evolutionarily that makes me want to eat her. In other words, either you take a pay cut or go and look for another job. Who has the leverage now, Sherry? Your move.

Joe Namath played football for the New York Jets (starting in 1965) and his final year (1977) with the Los Angeles Rams. I can only assume the joke is that football legend Joe Namath throwing up on someone is pretty funny. Funny in the same way this 70s ad with him being shaved by then-unknown Farrah Fawcett is awesome.

No, you are not leaving because of the name. [to bartender] Excuse me, can I order two diet Cranberry Beach Bangs please?

I figured this would be a real drink. Can’t find anything! Someone make one up and I’ll post it.

How about this for ID? I participated in Hands Across America. [searches wallet] Nerds, where is it? Okay. My license is missing which is my cue to go home.

Hands Across America was a 1986 benefit event to help fight hunger, homelessness, and poverty. As reader Blake points out, Liz turned 40 in S05E04 “Live Show” which would have made Liz seventeen during Hands Across America.

Excuse me, is this yours? [holding up license]
Oh, yeah, thanks.
I recognized your hair from across the room. What is that? Is that chestnut?
Oh the color is actually called “Grandfather’s Shoe.”

Wow. That’s extra spinsteriffic. Who would buy a hair colour called “Grandfather’s Shoe”??

So, did they make your droids wait outside too?
Seriously! Why can’t droid go into the cantina? I mean, Ponda Baba can try to shoot Luke-
But a protocol droid is somehow a problem.
[smiles and takes off coat]

Fantastic Star Wars reference and definitely one of Liz’s turn ons. This one’s from Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope, Luke Skywalker’s first stint away from home in the famous cantina. At the door an alarm goes off as Luke’s two droids, R2-D2 and C3-PO (a protocol droid) try to enter. The bartender yells out “We don’t serve their kind here!” and Luke tells them to wait outside. Minutes later, Ponda Baba (“walrus head”) takes exception to Luke’s face and tries to shoot him. He loses his arm for his trouble. I did all of that from memory. You’re impressed. I know.

I love Robot Chicken’s version of the cantina scene. Dammit, every time I watch Star Wars now I keep seeing scenes from Robot Chicken’s Star Wars at the same time. I hate/love them.

[from recording] Castles fall into the sand, could this really be God’s plan, or is it never too late, it’s never too late for now!
[stops playback]
Why can’t I hear my vocals?
I just mixed them down a little. I think it sounds better.
Oh really? Do YOU think that, or does SHE? [points to Yuki]
This has nothing to do with Yuki! This is about making MY song-

This is a reference to Yoko Ono, wife of John Lennon, and accused of being the reason The Beatles broke up. I like that they randomly threw her in for half a scene, seeing as she’s never mentioned in any previous episode and I doubt we’ll see her again.

I’m having a really nice time with you, Liz.
Me too, Anders. I like how you don’t have one weird little tooth.

I figured this was an actual reference to a previous episode, but I can’t find anything. It’s just funny. We’ll have to settle for just funny.

Thank you. Look, I was going to going to go back to my hotel room, get Eat Pray Love on SpectraVision and make fun of it…
Ugh, Julia Roberts in a movie about eating? Give me Kirstie Alley, somebody who knows what she’s doing.

Eat Pray Love (2010) is a movie starring, yes, Julia Roberts, about a woman trying to find herself. It did very poorly. Like 37% on Rotten Tomatoes bad.

Julia Roberts has always been a very trim, lean actress, while Kirstie Alley has been on a weight roller coaster for years. I’m not sure which point on this “weight roller coaster” equates to “fat,” but she’s there.

SpectraVision is owned by the On Command Corporation, and runs many hotels’ in-room video systems. Bizarrely, this company doesn’t seem to have a website and there’s almost no info out there on SpectraVision.

[to the sounds of fighting] A fight? Typical night club malarkey. [a chair flies by] Whoa! [grabs Liz and leaves]

Malarkey again! Look who is Liz’s type.

Look, broadcast networks receiving licensing fees is unprecedented, Jack. But we’re willing to offer NBC ten percent of what we pay cable.
[looks unimpressed and starts eating orange]
I mean, okay, uh, not to negotiate against myself, but… I get where you guys are coming from.
Mmm hmm.
Look, NBC’s part of the Kabletown family now. It’s our baby, and we want it to thrive. But your offer is.. it’s unreasonable!
[continues eating orange] So. What you wanna do?

I love this scene. He’s playing the scene the exact same way, beat for beat, that his night nurse Sherry did to him earlier in the episode. I laughed my ass off.

[arrives wearing same clothes as the night before]
Oh, way to go Liz! [starts clapping and everyone else joins in]
Atta girl! Walk of shame!
You bow-legged bitch! [high fives Liz]

Ahhh the walk of shame. That’s where, after you hook up to someone, you end up coming home in the same, rumpled clothes you wore the night before. Dead giveaway. And Liz would be bow legged because… okay I’m not explaining this one. Just picture it. You’re picturing it now, aren’t you?

[walks into her office] Ah, I see you opened the scotch NBC sent us that week we came in third. I’m guessing your meeting went well.
Home run, Lemon. And speaking of baseball metaphors I see that someone got to first base which is what I consider sex with a stranger.

NBC’s been down in the ratings for some time, so I guess hitting third would be a high water mark for them. ABC is beating them soundly.

I love Jack’s version of first base. Of course, first base is normally kissing. I’d like to hear Jack’s versions of second base through home.

Okay fine, I had a one night stand, and it was not the worst. And maybe you’re right. I shouldn’t give up just yet.

I like this line. It’s the flipside of Liz’s trademark line “everything is just the worst!”

Still, I can’t believe I did that. And I wouldn’t have if everything hadn’t gone so perfectly. I mean what if I had been stuck in the edit room all night or I hated the club and left, or what if Anders – yeah, “Anders” – hadn’t found my license.
Don’t over-think it, Lemon. Stranger things happen every day. I once saw an Internet video of a mouse and a bird… that are friends. Don’t over-think it. [leaves]

I swear I’ve seen this video. You’ll have to settle for this super cute picture of the same.

Last night a repulsive act occurred at a hotel in mid-town. There are two possible explanations as to how this… event came to be. A simple one and a complex one. The simple explanation is that I went to a discotheque and a handsome, interesting man fell for me. In the wake of my breakup I allowed myself to have an experience that gave me reason to be hopeful about the future again. Very simple.
Uh, great, I think we’re done here.
Please, monsieur! There remains, of course, the complex explanation. A vast conspiracy involving multiple agents and precise coordinated efforts. A conspiracy that begins with the timely food poisoning of Donna Straunk. And who here has access to Donna’s food.

Again, Liz is mimicking Hercule Poirot at the end of Murder on the Orient Express. I was going to put the original lines in here but it’s very long. You can see the script here if you like.

[flashback to Kenneth poisoning Donna’s food with a green powder out of a false ring]

I love that Kenneth had the poison in a hollow ring, which is a classic move from old movies. If anyone can think of an example I’d be happy to put it in here. I like to think this anachronistic poisoning is further proof that Kenneth is actually extremely old.

The second peculiar event: I lose my license, allowing it to be found by a handsome stranger. Serendipity? Perhaps. But how does one lose one’s license out of a malfunction-proof Velco Philly Sport wallet? Someone must have had access to my fanny pack.

I can’t find this exact wallet, but I did find the Philadelphia Phillies Nylon Trifold Wallet which is almost identical. You definitely want one of these.

Even the club was strange. Almost it had been designed specifically for me, but who has the resources and the connections to create a Liz Lemon-themed club in one day? [flips over white board with CANAL YARDS PROJECT in magnetic letter, which she rearranges to spell TRACY JORDANS PLACE]
You had to sign your crime, didn’t you?
You’re the one who gave me those Monk DVDs.

An anagram! How clever.

Monk was a 2002-2009 TV series starring Tony Shalhoub as Adrian Monk, an OCD detective who works as a private detective.

There’s only one question I can’t answer: Who was Anders? An old Harvard chum of Toofer’s? The son of one of Jack’s senator friends?
He certainly wasn’t a Swiss prostitute that Martha Stewart recommended to me.

Martha Stewart is a media magnate made famous by her shows, books, and magazines on… homey… stuff. Like baking and decorating and things. Although she served five months in a West Virginia prison camp, it was for a stock-related issue and nothing to do with prostitutes. Honestly.

Cuz she’s a weekend lady, she’s got that weekend style. Temperature’s rising, she’s gonna make you smile. [with Frank] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, uh uh uh. Friday, Saturday, kind of Sunday and holiday Mondays, uh huh huh! Cuz she’s a weekend woman! Gonna make her mine! Gonna make it the weekend all the time! Weekend woman! [song credits: Sound Mound, ‘Weekend Woman’, Parents Suck (2011), Dir: Walter ‘Dotcom’ Slattery, Super Speedy Records (No Refunds)]

Okay, this isn’t a real song but I love that it’s a derivation on the weekend theme of the song from earlier in the episode: Loverboy’s Working For The Weekend.

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