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Cornell's Image -- on NBC

One of the funniest (and sometimes, most painful) running gags on NBC's The Office is Andy Bernard's insistence on dropping Cornell references at every possible opportunity. Sure, to many of the employees at Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch, Cornell is the big Ivy League university an hour and a half's drive up Route 81. But they also must be wondering: If Cornell is so hot, what's he doing here?

That about sums up Andy's character: inflated self-regard combined with a raging inferiority complex. Sound familiar? To many of us, Andy Bernard is a little too much like a certain type of Cornellian. Which is why last week's episode, which featured a Cornell admissions interview run amok, was so priceless. Of course Andy volunteers for CAAAN interviews! And of course Dwight would make the perfect applicant to the Ag School! (For the record, none of my interviewees have turned the tables on me in quite the same way.)

Watch it all in its beet-biting glory here.

As Matt theorized, this is likely a case of the writing team (which did its homework for this episode -- Comstock Hall indeed) poking fun (or thumbing its nose) at its bigger, younger Ivy League cousin. My own attempt to cross-reference the show's writers and producers with the alumni directory yielded several Harvard grads and a Dartmouth grad, but no one from Cornell. I wouldn't be surprised if the Big Red sent over an intern or two, though.

Update by MPN: We're now told that Kevin Reilly '84, former President of Entertainment at NBC and now President of Entertainment at FOX, is actually the inspiration for Andy Bernard, as he was the one who kept The Office on the air after its low-rated first season. So the writers paid tribute to him. Here's an interesting interview with Reilly that the Sun ran last year:

Sun: Was Andy Bernard, the Cornellian on The Office, anything to do with you?

K.R.: I actually ó Greg Daniels who created the show, I donít know how much of that was coincidence or not but he was kind of making fun of me. I actually did a scene with [Andy Bernard]. I did a cameo on The Office last year. I was giving Greg a hard time because he cut my scene out with him. But I was laughing because we did a whole riff on Cornell that ended up on the cutting room floor.

Later Update: Here's the Cornell plot line of the Office episode in question:

Andy Guess | Posted on November 02, 2008 (#)

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