30 Rock Hates Graduate Students

Season premiere of 30 Rock, which I like a lot though sometimes find just a bit too antic & pleased with itself, this week.  A funny one overall; there was one line that somewhat mystified me, as Liz and Jack discuss the ethical dubiousness of their treatment of the inspector from the adoption agency:

Jack: “We may not be the best people.”

Liz: “But we’re not the worst.”

Both, in unison: “Graduate students are the worst.”

OK, I did find this kind of funny, but graduate students??  Why?  I think I may be so sheltered within my academic/college-town bubble that it’s difficult for me even to figure out what this reference means to most of America.  Is this, like, a Harvard B.A. writer’s joke about annoying T.As, and if so, isn’t that a little inside baseball? Anyone want to enlighten me?

Speaking of academia, The Office had an inconsistent but partly great episode all about Business Ethics that must represent the all-time apex of discussions of Ethics as a philosophical topic on a primetime sitcom.  High points included Michael and Holly (Amy Ryan from the Wire!) introducing a mandatory office meeting wearing headbands and singing, “Let’s get ethical!  Ethical!” a la Olivia Newton-John.  Also the doofus Ed Helms character’s comment:

“I’ll drop an ethics bomb on you: Would you steal bread to feed your family? Boom! . . . Yeah, I took Intro to Philosophy — twice.”

5 thoughts on “30 Rock Hates Graduate Students”

  1. Even the Simpsons think similarly about grad students. Being in my first year of graduate school, I often wonder what led me to make such a terrible life choice. Hopefully it will all pan out.

    1. Really, this makes me laugh being a graduate student myself and a year into it. I can see why they would say that. We are cranky tired people between working and school and no social life do you blame us?

  2. I believe you atleast partially answered your own question with the “sheltered…bubble” comment. But they’re most likely referring to the “never needed or had a real job, stay in school to live off the parents forever, and never really DO anything” variety. If that’s not you, I hope you sleep well after curing cancer. If that IS you, you are THE WORST; and I wish you much misery in your lifetime of teaching dullards to teach more dullards to teach more dullards to teach.

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