Monday, August 18, 2008

Two jokes I was thinking about today

[A slight post, but I had trouble getting to a computer today, and have little time with it.]

One of my favorite lines on 30 Rock is when Tracy Jordan says that he loves a sandwich so much, he is going to "take it out back behind the middle school and get it pregnant."

What's brilliant about that is how compacted the broken logic of Tracy Jordan is here. First, the "love" in "I love this sandwich" becomes the love in "make love" -- which for any other sitcom would be the end of it. But here, the absurdity of the "love" = "sex" displacement is highlighted with the idea that the sex could lead to pregnancy, and that pregnancy is the marker of how much love you have. And the whole thing is tossed in a really offensive context as the players -- likely middle schoolers -- are making their love as public as Jordan's declaration, a bit like saying you will cry from the rooftops how great something is so everyone knows.

And I was thinking of the little detail on Arrested Development, that the model home community is called "Sudden Valley." On the one hand this suggests the sink-hole that is virtually synonymous with a bad real estate investment, while also sounding like an idilic place, like the "hidden valley" of the salad dressing. But the best thing about it is that it is a bit like a puzzle, where you can intuit the missing, and inappropriate, word, Death: Sudden Death, Death Valley.

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