31. “We’ve replaced the Pacific Ocean with Folgers crystals. Let’s watch.”

The episode:Mighty Jack,” ep. 314

The riff: Spoken by Tom Servo in his TV announcer voice as a submarine-like vessel swims through a very weird-looking shot that looks kind of like crystalline confetti.

The explanation: This is a reference to a popular and long-running series of commercials for Folgers Coffee in the 1970s and 1980s. The gimmick was that hidden cameras would be put inside “four-star restaurants” and patrons would be served Folgers instant coffee crystals and told it was premium, “gourmet” coffee, before then having their opinion of it assessed. The commercial announcer would always begin by saying “We’ve replaced the coffee they usually serve with Folgers dark, sparkling crystals. Let’s see if they can tell the difference.” In “Mighty Jack,” the ocean the sub sails through looks both dark and sparkling. EDIT: This riff reappears in “Ring of Terror” as a guy drinks coffee.

Novelty factor: I’ve known of this one for years because it was parodied in one of my favorite SNL sketches of all time. In it, Chris Farley plays a diner who goes berserk after hearing he is drinking coffee crystals, attacking people in a restaurant until he is brought down by the collective efforts of the staff.


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