30 Rock comes to Toronto: what they got right, what they got wrong
Last night’s jaunt to Toronto by 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) and Avery Jessop (Elizabeth Banks) continued the long-standing tradition of American sitcoms making jokes about Canada, ranging from the obvious to the factually incorrect to the just plain weird. In the episode, a pregnant Avery goes into labour while the couple is visiting Toronto, raising the spectre that the child will be born Canadian.
We like to laugh at ourselves, so here are our favourite jokes at Canada’s expense. We like to laugh at Americans, too, though, so we’re throwing in a list of all the things 30 Rock got wrong.
30 Rock Needs More Emmys
• As we predicted yesterday, the first “about” pronunciation joke comes just minutes into the show, when the bellhop at Jack and Avery’s hotel asks “what’s so bad aboot being Canadian?” The well-thought-out response from Jack and Avery: “Your milk comes in bags, your pavilion at Epcot doesn’t have a ride and if Canada is so nice and friendly, why does most of our meth come from your Asian drug gangs?” Zing!
• When Jack and Avery contemplate running to Buffalo in order to avoid their baby being born in Canada, they can’t figure out how far it is because the check-in woman at Pearson tells them the distance in kilometres. Now they know the same conversion hell we face when we hear temperatures in Fahrenheit.
• Jack and Avery hitch a ride with a mobile meth lab (manned by John Cho from Harold and Kumar go to White Castle), with one member assuming Avery is hiding goods in a fake pregnancy belly. He asks if it’s “unpasteurized cheese, prescription pills or maple syrup from Winnipeg.” What, no poutine jokes? Maybe we’ll have to wait for Liz Lemon to go to Montreal for that joke—seems more apt.
• The meth maker informs Jack that there are only 700 words in the Canadian dictionary.
• When Jack and Avery finally do have their baby on Canadian soil, they fight with the hospital administrator over payment, with Jack saying “we will not be party to this socialist perversion.” It’s almost like Canada was the original Obamacare only, you know, better.
30 Rock Needs a Fact Checker
• Jack swoons over his hotel room’s view of the Metro Convention Centre, which he cites as “the site of the G8 conference” that they’re meant to attend. As we all know, the G8 was held in Huntsville. Memorably, it was the G20 was held in Toronto.
• Jack, presumably staying in the Prime Minister’s Suite at the InterContinental, can see the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, but since they’re almost attached and he’s looking out a window facing the wrong direction, he wouldn’t really be able to see it.
• It’s clearly winter, but the G8 and G20 summits were held in the summer.
• When Jack is pumping gas, the prices are at Canadian levels—about $1.20 per litre—but the way the price is written ($1.18 and 9/10 of a cent) is the American way.
• Jack says his G8 trip “is going to be very erotic.” This is Toronto, right?