Brooklyn 99 — Cluttered Work Area

 

This clip deals with diminishing marginal productivity of labor. An influx of uniformed officers from another floor of the precinct has led the precinct to become a cramped pigsty, and there is not enough space for each of the workers (“too many cooks in the kitchen”). The detectives now have to spend time organizing the precinct instead of investigating their cases; due to overcrowding, the productivity of the precinct has declined from an additional unit of labor, rather than increased.

Submission and description submitted by Melissa Paton

John Mulaney– Salt and Pepper Diner

 

John Mulaney describes a memorable experience of trying to play Tom Jone’s What’s New Pussycat 21 times in a local diner. It doesn’t take long for diminishing returns to set in at the diner as everyone but the waitstaff loses their mind. This is a great opportunity to queu up a song on Spotify and play the same song on repeat before class. Some of your students won’t notice, but many of them will raise and eyebrow on the 3rd repeat.

Thanks to Katie Klinko for the clip reference!

Spongebob — More Drive Thrus

 

After accidentally creating a large hole in the wall of the Krusty Krab, a customer mistakes the hole for a drive thru window and places and order. Mr. Krabs, being a the savvy businesscrab that he is, quickly adds a menu and microphone system to facilitate the drive thru. It becomes so popular people are waiting in line and causing a huge traffic jam (could use this to talk about a negative externality too!) in Bikini Bottom. The police visit and threaten to issue Mr. Krabs with a ticket and then the mayor comes in to complain as well, but Mr. Krabs has a solution. Adding a second drive thru to reduce the line, but that doesn’t work out too well. Watch what happens as diminishing marginal returns sets in.

Thanks to Erin Yetter (Twitter) for both the clip and the description!

The Simpsons — No Diminishment for Homer

Homer and Marge head to the Frying Dutchman for the all-you-can-eat buffet. Heading late into the night, Homer doesn’t seem to be experiencing any diminishing returns even after eating all of the shrimp and two plastic lobsters. Even though he isn’t experiencing diminishing returns, Homer appears to be optimizing his utility since the marginal cost of each plate (and each plastic lobster) is $0.

Cool Hand Luke — 50 Egg Challenge

In Cool Hand Luke, Petty criminal Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is challenged to eat 50 eggs, but we can see the results of diminishing returns on the human body. Earlier in the film, they outline the rules of the game, but even with the help of some exercise and assistance chewing, Jackson barely makes it through the ordeal.

Parks & Recreation: Diminishing Returns of Shrimp

This great, short clip comes from one of my principle’s students, Caitlin, this year.

While at an engagement party for Leslie and Ben, Chris starts to experience extreme mood swings and sadness because he’s lonely. Anne tries to cheer him up by bringing him a platter of shrimp. Chris takes a bite of the shrimp and exclaims “That’s amazing” then after taking another bite he says “This one’s not as good.”

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