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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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We have collaboratively explained Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". xkcd comics, and only Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". (Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",".%) remain. Add yours while there's a chance!

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Bracket
I'm staring at the "doctor" section, and I can't help but feel like I've forgotten someone.
Title text: I'm staring at the "doctor" section, and I can't help but feel like I've forgotten someone.


Explanation

Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Explain the specific groupings.

A tournament bracket shows the planned series of matchups in a tournament. In this comic Randall has shown a plan for a tournament between a wide range of cultural icons, both real and fictional, based mostly on similarities in their names. Various internet groups have speculated on who would win in a fight between characters from different films. It may be relevant that the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is soon to be released where the two namesake superheros, Batman and Superman, fight against each other.

The individual starting pairings are generally based on common or similar given or surnames. Some adjacent brackets are "segued" by someone like Jeff Daniels who segues from a bracket of "Jeff"s into a bracket of "Daniels"es. The bracket itself is fairly arbitrary. Most initial matchups are pairs, although several are trios and there's a quadruplet in the Russels group, while a single entry, Beyoncé, is given a first- and second-round bye. Most of the participants in the tournament are people with a few exceptions: Shallots (small onions), scallops (bivalve mollusks), and scallions (green onions) are similar sounding foods, therefore may be confusing for some individuals (perhaps including Randall). The final grouping on the lower right of the bracket features a several retail stores and a film.

The title text may be referring to Dr. Dre, particularly as a reference to his 2001 song "Forgot About Dre". Alternatively, the title text could simply be a reference to the large number of pop culture personas that include the word "Doctor", such as Doctor Who, Doctor House, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Dr. Watson, "Doc" Brown, Dr. Seuss, Dr Pepper, Doctor Doom, and many others (or, in fact, why not Dr. Zoidberg?). Another possibility is that the title text is supposed to make the readers ask themselves "Doctor who?" Though "The Doctor" is already listed, this could refer to either Doctor Who or the Star Trek: Voyager character. Notably, while the Doctor in "Doctor Who" is technically one character, the Doctor has currently been played by 13 different actors. The mythos of the Doctor Who even includes individual incarnations of the Doctor interacting with each other; knowing they are the same person, yet often expressing annoyance when grouped together. So perhaps Randall is implying that to just include the Doctor as one individual is not an accurate representation of this character.

The names and other entries in the bracket are:

* Armstrong:

Louis Armstrong (musician)
Neil Armstrong (first human on the moon)
Lance Armstrong (bicyclist)
Stretch Armstrong (action figure)

Jeff *:

Jeff Gordan
Jeff Bridges (Actor)

J* Daniels:

Jeff Daniels
Jack Daniels (Alcoholic beverage)

Mr. Well*s:

Orson Welles
H.G. Wells (Known for "The War of the Worlds" and "The Time Machine")

*well*:

George Orwell (Author of "1984" and "Animal Farm")
Wells Fargo (Bank and stage coach company)

* Russell *:

Kurt Russell
Russell Brand
Russell Crowe
Russell Simmons

* Simmons:

Richard Simmons
Gene Simmons

*ckman:

Gene Hackman
Hugh Jackman
Alan Rickman

Alan Par*:

Alan Parsons
Alan Partridge

McCarthy/Eugene:

Jenny McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy (Senator known for anti-communist witchhunt)
Eugene McCarthy
Eugene V. Debs (labor leader)

* Wilde*

Gene Wilder
Olivia Wilde
Oscar Wilde

Oscar De La *:

Oscar De La Renta
Oscar De La Hoya

Jack *:

Jack Nicklaus (Golf player)
Jack Nicholson (Actor)

*ickle* / *ickel*:

Phil Mickelson
Nicholas Nickelby

*ryan Adams:

Ryan Adams
Bryan Adams

Popular Games:

Chubby Checker (Checkers is a board game)
Fats Domino (Dominoes [or dominos] is a game. Domino's is a pizza chain.)

Colin *:

Colin Firth
Colin Farrell

F*rell:

Will Ferrell
The Farrelly Brothers

*itt:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt

* Glover:

Danny Glover
Donald Glover

* Wahlberg:

Donnie Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg

Mark *:

Mark Ruffalo
Mark Shuttleworth

Bill */* Pullman:

Philip Pullman
Bill Pullman
Bill Paxton

Ghostbusters:

Bill Murray
Dan Aykroyd

* Rogers:

Ginger Rogers (Woman known for dancing with Fred Astaire)
Mister/Fred Astaire/Rogers (Confusing reference to Fred Rogers (popularly known as "Mister Rogers") and to Fred Astaire)

Doctor */* Spock:

Mister Spock (Character on Star Trek)
Doctor Spock (Author of book on childcare)
Doctor Octopus

Doctors:

Doctor Manhattan
Doctor Strangelove (Character based on Henry Kissinger in movie about nuclear war)
Doctor Strange

More doctors:

Dr. No (Main villain in the first James Bond movie)
The Doctor (Main protagonist of the science fiction series Doctor Who)
Cory Doctorow (Real person)

* Jerry Lewis:

Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lewis

Others with initial J:

Jenny Lewis
Xeni Jardin

Chris *:

Chris Evans
Chris Hemsworth

Chris P*:

Chris Pine
Chris Pratt

Homophones of Shallots:

Shallots (small onions)
Scallops (bivalve mollusks)
Scallions (green onions)

S* (Similar phonetics):

Siouxie Sioux
Suzanne Vega

Arnold */* Palmer:

Tom Arnold (ex-husband of Roseanne Barr)
Arnold Palmer
Amanda Palmer

Wes *:

Wes Craven
Wes Anderson

P* Anderson:

Paul Thomas Anderson
Poul Anderson

Sir Walter *:

Sir Walter Scott
Sir Walter Raleigh

F* Drake:

Sir Francis Drake
Frank Drake

Van *:

Van Halen
Van Morrison
Van Wilder

* Van Winkle:

Robert Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle (fictional character)

Connects the "Rip"s with Natalie Imbruglia - her most famous hit was the song "Torn":

Rip Torn
Natalie Imbruglia

Businesses with the word "Body" in their name:

The Body Shop
Bath and Body Works

Things with the word "Beyond" in their name:

Bed Bath and Beyond
Beyond Thunderdome

Beyoncé

Beyoncé

Transcript

Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[A tournament bracket with the following:]
Louis Armstrong
Neil Armstrong
Lance Armstrong
Stretch Armstrong
Jeff Gordan
Jeff Bridges
Jeff Daniels
Jack Daniels
Orson Welles
H.G. Wells
George Orwell
Wells Fargo
Kurt Russell
Russell Brand
Russell Crowe
Russell Simmons
Richard Simmons
Gene Simmons
Gene Hackman
Hugh Jackman
Alan Rickman
Alan Parsons
Alan Partridge
Jenny McCarthy
Joseph McCarthy
Eugene McCarthy
Eugene V. Debs
Gene Wilder
Olivia Wilde
Oscar Wilde
Oscar De La Renta
Oscar De La Hoya
Jack Nicklaus
Jack Nicholson
Phil Mickelson
Nicholas Nickelby
Ryan Adams
Bryan Adams
Chubby Checker
Fats Domino
Colin Firth
Colin Farrell
Will Ferrell
The Farrelly Brothers
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Danny Glover
Donald Glover
Donnie Wahlberg
Mark Wahlberg
Mark Ruffalo
Mark Shuttleworth
Philip Pullman
Bill Pullman
Bill Paxton
Bill Murray
Dan Aykroyd
Ginger Rogers
Mister/Fred Astaire/Rogers
Mister Spock
Doctor Spock
Doctor Octopus
Doctor Manhatten
Doctor Strangelove
Doctor Strange
Dr. No
The Doctor
Cory Doctorow
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lewis
Jenny Lewis
Xeni Jardin
Chris Evans
Chris Hemsworth
Chris Pine
Chris Pratt
Shallots
Scallops
Scallions
Siouxie Sioux
Suzanne Vega
Tom Arnold
Arnold Palmer
Amanda Palmer
Wes Craven
Wes Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson
Poul Anderson
Sir Walter Scott
Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Francis Drake
Frank Drake
Van Halen
Van Morrison
Van Wilder
Robert Van Winkle
Rip Van Winkle
Rip Torn
Natalie Imbruglia
The Body Shop
Bath and Body Works
Bed Bath and Beyond
Beyond Thunderdome
Beyoncé


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