Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
This comic deals with misdirection plays in American Football, which are feints, moves intended to misdirect or fool the opponents about what is really happening. A standard misdirection play involves the offence misdirecting the defence into thinking that the play being executed is actually a different play such as that a passing play is a running play, that a ball being run left is actually being run right, or that a field goal or punt end up being attempts to get a first down.
Occasionally, especially at the high school level, extreme misdirection plays are attempted where teams try to misdirect the opposing team into thinking that a play is not even being run. Good examples of that can be found on YouTube, such as this "wrong ball" trick, or that "five more yards" trick. These are considered to be dirty tricks and usually only work in little league football.
In this comic, a couple is about to get married, but the bride defects at the last minute, answering "no" to the ritual and mostly ceremonial question whether she agrees to it. It turns out that Cueball, the groom, has been tricked into thinking that he is at his own wedding rather than playing in a high school football game, in what must have been an extremely elaborate misdirection play designed to make him believe a succession of events leading him to wed "Amy;" but "Amy" turns out to be a player for the opposing team and runs the ball in for a touchdown. That clearly constitutes the greatest high school football misdirection play of all time.
Randall really takes here the deception in a misdirection play to the next level; and actually to an improbable one, in that it is unlikely that a relationship could develop to the point of marriage within the timeframe of a football game, with Cueball not noticing that Amy was in fact a football player, or that he was standing on the football field. See also The Matrix.
The title text is apparently what Cueball wants to say to "Amy", which could mean that he did not realize the complete trick, and amazed by "Amy" still wants to date "her". Or it could more simply be Cueball suggesting a drink to his opponent; or the opponent to Cueball. The title text could also imply that the deception efforts actually resulted in real feelings and thus while not ready to wed or give up the game, Amy could be inquiring if after all that he'd be willing to go for drinks. This could thus be a date or a no hard feelings gesture. The shy tone implies a dating type interest from whichever speaker it happens to be.
- [A bride and groom stand next to each other. Each has a hand outstretched toward the other.]
- Officiator (out of panel): Do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?
- Bride: ...no.
- [The groom steps back in surprise. The bride removes her wig to reveal she is a man.]
- Groom: What? Amy!?
- Bride: I'm not Amy. None of this was real. You're back in senior year. It's the big game.
- [The groom puts his hands to his head in confusion. The "bride" holds up a football, still holding the wig in his other hand.]
- Groom: What is this!?
- Bride: The greatest high school football misdirection play of all time.
- [The groom puts his hands to his mouth as the man in the wedding dress begins to run backwards, away from him.]
- [The groom remains frozen in horror as the "bride" turns and dashes toward the goalpost in the distance.]
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Somebody please explain what a "High School Misdirection Play" is. I did my best to explain American Gridiron, but I'm not a sports nut (far from it). lcarsos (talk) 16:38, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- How about now? TheOriginalSoni (talk) 16:52, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- I assume that a "Misdirection Play" is where the ball is made to look like it is passed/thrown/handed to one player who then proceeds to run as if they had the ball, attracting the defensive players away from the actual person holding the ball. Highschool football has a tendency to use more "tricky" plays than "higher" levels of play (college, professional) as there is more chance of success for a risky, surprise type of play compared to games with more experienced players. Similarly, there are more "surprise" plays in college ball than in the NFL - I think there are more "two point conversions" in college ball. J-beda (talk) 17:04, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- In American Football, the team on offense must move the ball down the field past the defending team (similar to most field sports, such as football (soccer), rugby, or hockey). In order to do this, sometimes the offensive team will try to trick the defensive team into thinking the ball is, or will be moved, somewhere where it's not. This is called a misdirection. One example of this (the one I'm most familiar with) is the Screen Pass. In the comic, the "bride" is a member of the offensive team and, it is implied, has courted and promised to wed cueball, who is playing on the defense, in an incredibly elaborate attempt to misdirect him about the intended football play. It is quite absurd. 188.8.131.52
- Boise State is a team known for their trick plays because they used 3 in a row in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl Joehammer79 (talk) 19:47, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- This is false. They used 3 trick plays in the fourth quarter & Overtime, but they were not 'in a row.' jjhuddle 19:06, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- I stand corrected. 5 years of college football made me forget all the little plays in between. Joehammer79 (talk) 19:47, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
Is anyone else struck by the fact that if there's continuity of stance in panels 1-3, then "Amy" is running backwards through the End Zone? --184.108.40.206 20:43, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
- I think in the last panel "Amy" actually has turned around and is running forward, because the veil is then trailing and the ball looks to be in the crook of the arm. lcarsos (talk) 20:50, 27 August 2012 (UTC)
"...the priest asks (for the sake of formality) if the bride takes the groom to be her husband..." No no no no no. Most of the dialogue during the ceremony is understood to be poetic or discretionary ("obey," anyone?) But, there are a few questions during a wedding ceremony which are legal essentials, NOT formalities. One is to ask each person whether they actually want to marry the other person, that one, there, calling him/herself "Rob" or "Amy." Another is to get each one to explicitly declare there is no legal impediment to them getting married to that there person.
The third essential is the officiant's duty to look at the pair and see if, in his best judgment, they are sober and sane. YMMV, but pronounced intoxication or delirium would make the wedding questionable and a serious officiant would not sign off on the license. The last essential involves the signing of the paperwork by five persons -- the officiant, the bride and groom, and two witnesses.
I've been doing weddings since 1999. Neither footballs nor parachutes have ever been involved, but one ceremony included a kilt and a freshly caught bigmouth bass.Noni Mausa (talk) 14:03, 28 August 2012 (UTC)
- Did anyone ever say no? Buggz (talk) 10:52, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
- I think Mausa is being overly prescriptive. The requirements to marry vary depending on the faith and the jurisdiction; for one thing, the ceremony and officiant, like the kilt and bass, are optional. As I recall, the marriage license was less work to get than my parking permit. Blood test, sign here, mazel tov. Dragonsaver (talk) 20:26, 29 September 2014 (UTC)
Let me state first that I am a big fan of xkcd. Yet this cartoon is not only totally unfunny but also the title text totally fails to add to the joke. Am I alone with this opinion, or is this typically American (with obsession towards A. football and highschool sports in general)???
220.127.116.11 22:12, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
- Stereotypes aside, I'm also one to say this isn't one of Randall's funnier pieces, though I see where he is going: in this case, extreme extrapolation of circumstances. But then again, there are those that thought that Waiting for Godot was wonderful while I thought it was dreadfully tedious, and there are those that enjoy dissonant music while I would rather hear fingernails down the chalkboard. There is a matter of taste -- some may find humor in the sheer absurdity of the circumstances portrayed, or enjoy absurdist theater, or revel in dysharmonious notes played together while others don't -- and there's a matter of, um, not every play resulting in a touchdown (to borrow the terminology from Football Américain.) Oh well. There's always the next one. -- IronyChef (talk) 00:19, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
You don't need to be American, an American football fan, a sports fan, or anything else to find this funny (I am none of those things). The joke here is simply about a misdirection - a common tactic in team sports - being carried to a ludicrous extreme, as examined above. The context of sports is just that, a framework for the joke. It could be any other situation just as easily. 18.104.22.168
11:23, 27 February 2014 (UTC)