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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?

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    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 '16 at 16:23
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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.

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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.

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  • The Urban Dictionary entry was clearly written in response to Community episode. – Acccumulation Oct 20 '20 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 '20 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. – Acccumulation Oct 20 '20 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 '20 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. – Acccumulation Oct 20 '20 at 17:47

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