The Tuxedo Begins

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"The Tuxedo Begins"
30 Rock episode
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 8
Directed byJohn Riggi
Written byDylan Morgan & Josh Siegal
Featured musicJeff Richmond
Production code608
Original air dateFebruary 16, 2012
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Hey, Baby, What's Wrong"
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30 Rock (season 6)
List of 30 Rock episodes

"The Tuxedo Begins" is the eighth episode of the sixth season of the American television comedy series 30 Rock, and the 111th overall episode of the series. It was directed by John Riggi, and written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan. The episode originally aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network in the United States on February 16, 2012. Guest stars in this episode include Will Forte and Steve Buscemi.

In this episode, Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) considers running for mayor of New York City after he is mugged on his way to work; Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) becomes frustrated by increasing disorderly behaviour on the subway and decides to get in on it by imitating a mentally ill elderly woman to scare people away; and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and boyfriend Paul (Will Forte) consider living normally as a couple as a potential new fetish, but become concerned that they are in fact simply settling down.


On her way to work, Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) is delayed by what she perceives to be the failure of other subway goers to observe basic social norms, which she generalizes to a breakdown of New York society. While she is complaining to Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) about this in a call, his cell phone is stolen at knifepoint in a construction tunnel. Jack responds to his mugging by hiding in his office for days and organizing the wealthy to protect themselves from the apparently angry lower classes.

Shortly, Liz comes down with a cold and dons an elderly woman costume from one of The Girlie Show with Tracy Jordan sketches, but discovers to her amazement that the getup causes people to avoid her on the subway, fearing that she is sick and potentially mentally ill. Liz concludes that society rewards rulebreaking and anti-social behavior, so she escalates her imitation of an insane old woman to get more personal space in her day-to-day errands. Meanwhile, Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) and her boyfriend Paul (Will Forte) consider that behaving like a normal couple may be a new fetish after the latter falls asleep instead of taking part in an evening of sexual adventure, and embrace their new way of living with gusto.

Fearing that he needs to exercise control over the lower classes, Jack considers a run for mayor, but eventually ventures out with the help of Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) to confront his fear of walking by the site of his mugging. Suddenly, Liz, in full costume, approaches him to borrow money and a startled Jack throws her in a pile of garbage bags. When the crowd reacts positively to his apparent conquest of the old woman that had been terrorizing the subway, both Jack and Liz come to realise that New Yorkers do cheer those that uphold order after all. Finally, Jenna and Paul reach the realisation that their normal behaviour is not a fetish so much as them beginning to settle down, and resolve to take a "sexual walkabout" for three months to make sure they are ready.

Cultural references[edit]

The relationship between Batman and the Joker is referenced, with Liz's anti-social and chaotic behavior reflecting the Joker (made apparent by her crazy-old-woman eye shadow and lipstick applied in a way that parodies the villain, as well as her purple coat and green sweater vest) and Jack's character reflecting the secluded superhero dressed in a tuxedo. Harsh blue and red lighting works to give some scenes a comic book feel. The episode title, "The Tuxedo Begins," is a reference to the movie Batman Begins while the superhero name, The Tuxedo, references "The Shadow", also played by Alec Baldwin. Jack also mentions that he was stuck under a rock for 128 Hours, a reference to the 2010 biographical drama film 127 Hours, starring James Franco.

The song "N.Y.C." from the musical Annie appears throughout the episode. Liz hears a young prostitute, in a parody of a starry-eyed actress, sing a line from the song after getting off a bus. The song's melody and harmony are also quoted in the episode's soundtrack, and a mariachi version plays over the closing credits.



According to the Nielsen Media Research, this episode of 30 Rock was watched by 3.59 million households in its original American broadcast.[1] It earned a 1.5 rating/4 share in the 18–49 demographic.[1] This means that it was seen by 1.5 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds, and 4 percent of all 18- to 49-year-olds watching television at the time of the broadcast.


Tina Fey submitted this episode for consideration due to her nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards.


  1. ^ a b Gorman, Bill (February 10, 2012). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'American Idol,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Big Bang Theory,' '30 Rock,' 'Office' Adjusted Up; 'Person Of Interest,' 'Mentalist,' 'Secret Circle' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Archived from the original on April 10, 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2012.

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