Monthly Archives: June 2016

Hidden Jokes

I’m rewatching early Simpsons seasons again, and discovering new favorite jokes all the time.

When I was a child, I thought as a child, and my favorite gags were simple: Things like the snare Homer builds in the forest that just catapults the bunny into eternity.

Then I grew older, but no less obtuse, and my favorite gags were the stuff of memes: Stuff like “My eyes! The goggle’s do nothing!”

Then I thought myself grown, and began to appreciate the less direct bits: Gags like The Hammock District, where the joke is more of an implication that such a niche demand exists and thrives.

Only just now, as a man, am I even realizing the jokes hidden in bits that I wrote off as simple: The episode where Flanders is a child with anger problems and he runs around the daycare hitting the other kids and yelling “I’m Dick Tracy! Take that, Pruneface! Now I’m Pruneface! Take that, Dick Tracy! Now I’m Prune Tracy!” The doctor runs over and stops him before he can finish the logical conclusion of the chain: “Now I’m Dickface!”

Brilliant.

But the one that truly gets me is in the Krusty/Gabbo episode, where Krusty says he once owned a race horse with Bette Midler.

“We called it Krudler!”

I used to stop thinking right there, because my lazy brain was given no cues to dig deeper.

“Okay, that’s just a funny name,” I thought. “Joke registered. Moving on.”

But that’s not the joke at all – the real joke is only ever implied: That they chose such a terrible name over the perfect and obvious name for their horse. Because if you combine their two names in the other way, the horse’s name would have been “Misty.”

Layers and layers.

Problems with self and esteem

I’m always on the lookout for a good solid joke car: A make and model of automobile that can serve as its own punchline. This is more complicated than it seems. There are criteria.
 
First, it can’t be too common. A Kia Soul is an excellent joke car, but they’re everywhere. Their ubiquity takes away from the humor. But you also can’t go so obscure that nobody knows what you’re talking about. I’m sure foreign market only cars have some hilarious names, but nobody will laugh if they have to pause and think “what is that?”
 
Further, the car itself has to be a piece of shit. The Ferrari LaFerrari is a really stupid name, but it’s too fancy a car to net a laugh.
 
Now, back in the day, my go to was a Ford Fiesta. It hit all the right notes: Common but not everywhere, generally a piece of shit, and a hilarious name.
 
Fiesta!
 
You step into my Ford and every day is a fiesta!
 
No, it’s really not. The AC smells like dead rats and the reverse doesn’t work so you can only park on hills.
 
Perfect.
 
But then fucking Ford had to go and bring the Fiesta back, sell a ton of them, and to add insult to injury — apparently make them pretty good cars! You assholes.
 
And then, oh god, it finally happened. I found the perfect new joke car: The Suzuki Esteem. It was like angels parted the clouds just to shine the light of comedy on that horrible rattling deathtrap. I was so happy.
 
Last night, I started watching Better Call Saul. He drives a Suzuki Esteem. They beat me to it.
 
God damn everything.