Weekend Fun: 30 Rock Mocks GE’s Manufacturing Reshoring


One of the things I love about the NBC show “30 Rock” is the way is skewers GE culture (such as its past mocking of Six Sigma – see here, here, and here). In the parallel universe of 30 Rock, GE has been acquired by KableTown, a company that's a parody of Comcast. In recent weeks, a subplot focuses on Alec Baldwin's character Jack Donaghey bringing couch manufacturing back to the U.S. (as GE is doing)… although Donaghey takes a swipe at them (I think) for “creating and solving the world's problems.”

In this week's episode, Jack learns that the factory has produced 10,000 painfully defective couches. The prototype – turns out that was purchased from a West Elm store. The American engineer says “I'm not really a math guy” and that all they learned how to engineer in college was “designing roller coasters and Survivor challenges.”

Here's a clip (probably only available in North America, not sure what the current Hulu restrictions are):


And the episode also parodied the Chrysler commercials from the Super Bowl that starred Clint Eastwood (something already spoofed on Saturday Night Live). From 30 Rock…. the third commercial refers to a running joke in the episode that Bazooka Joe gum was really pink rock harvested from a quarry…


Funny stuff, watch the whole episode here. On a more serious note, it seems that we're seeing headlines about bringing manufacturing back to America almost every day now. I hope this trend continues.

Learn more about the Future of American Manufacturing conference at MIT in May and read about The Reshoring Initiative here.


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Gary Blatt says

    BTW… CableTown is Comcast who bought NBC Universal from GE. And as a little bit of trivia, the folks that work at NBC, MSNBC, and Rockefeller Plaza do not like it when you ask when “GE” is going to be pulled from 30 Rock and replaced with the Comcast signage that was never put on their shiny new tower in Philly.

    1. Mark Graban says

      Thanks for the Comcast correction. I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet.

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