Community season 6 episode 9: Grifting 101

Jeff Winger says:

How was grifting class? Did you teach some advanced techniques; only you could understand? The Brown Betty, The Texas Well Baby, The Reverse Jim Gaffigan?

Are these references to real grifts/cons/scams?

What do they entail?

  • 2
    Quite doubtful they're real. (Although, the 2nd one could be a reference to Baby Jessica and hoaxes like the Balloon Boy)
    – Walt
    Jan 2, 2016 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


My instinct is that the "Brown Betty" is some kind of Food Contamination Hoax; where you place something unpalatable inside something you've bought in the hopes of getting compensation from the vendor. There have been some notable non-scam instances of this happening.

The "Texas Well Baby" would presumably be based on pretending someone is stuck down a well (the modern variation is that someone is stuck overseas) in order to solicit donations from concerned parties. There are, of course real instances of this occurring.


Texas Well Baby may be an attempt to gain charitable donations from a personal tragedy, much as Jessica McClure did after falling down a Texas well as a young child.

According to the Urban Dictionary, the Reverse Jim Gaffigan is the sale of individually wrapped Hot Pockets as a street vendor. Hot pockets are not normally packaged for individual sale.

Brown Betty is a type of cobbler dessert with fruit and sweetened crumbs. It also has a number of progressively more disgusting definitions in the Urban Dictionary. How any of these are connected to a grift or scam, I do not know, though mixing definitions could support User7812's theory that it is a food contamination hoax.

  • The Urban Dictionary entry was clearly written in response to Community episode. Oct 20, 2020 at 4:50
  • The entry cites the Community line as an example of the term being used in a sentence. All Urban Dictionary entries show the word used in a sentence, with examples taken from pop culture whenever possible. That does not mean the definition given in the entry is not the actual definition of the term in popular use.
    – ruffdove
    Oct 20, 2020 at 14:00
  • The purpose of providing a cite is to provide evidence, and a cite that is later than the episode has little evidentiary value. If it predated the episode, that would demonstrate that the show was referring to a pre-existing term. With the entry being later, all we have is someone on the internet claiming this is what it means, and likely inspired by the show to make up a definition. Oct 20, 2020 at 16:25
  • So if Shakespeare uses a term, I need to find a dictionary published before 1590 in order to find a valid definition? With all due respect, that's nonsense.
    – ruffdove
    Oct 20, 2020 at 17:40
  • If you want to address the question of whether Shakespeare was referring to a pre-existing definition versus coining a new meaning, then yes, you need a source prior to Shakespeare. I don't see what's so hard to understand about this. Oct 20, 2020 at 17:47

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