Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 12:14, 18 December 2013 by Davidy22 (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

<a href="" rel="publisher">Google+</a> Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1534 xkcd comics, and only 19 (1%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

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.


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" or it could be a reference to Dr. Who where Asylum of the Daleks the Dalek's memory of The Doctor is wiped implying that Randall is a Dalek. 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 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 the Doctor from 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 on screen 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:

Grouping Person/Entry Known for
* Armstrong Louis Armstrong Musician
Neil Armstrong First human on the moon
Lance Armstrong Cyclist
Stretch Armstrong Action figure
Jeff * Jeff Gordan (Misspelled Jeff Gordon) Race car driver
Jeff Bridges Actor
J* Daniels Jeff Daniels
Jack Daniels Alcoholic beverages
* Well*s Orson Welles Director of "Citizen Kane"
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 Actor
Russell Brand Comedian
Russell Crowe Actor
Russell Simmons
* Simmons Richard Simmons Host of exercise program
Gene Simmons Musician
*ckman Gene Hackman Actor
Hugh Jackman Actor
Alan Rickman Actor
Alan Par* Alan Parsons Musician
Alan Partridge Fictional radio character
* McCarthy/Eugene * Jenny McCarthy Anti-vaccination activist
Joseph McCarthy Senator known for anti-communist witchhunt
Eugene McCarthy Senator and Presidential candidate
Eugene V. Debs Labor leader
* Wilde* Gene Wilder Actor
Olivia Wilde Actress
Oscar Wilde Writer
Oscar De La * Oscar De La Renta Fashion Designer
Oscar De La Hoya Boxer
Jack Nic* Jack Nicklaus Golf player
Jack Nicholson Actor
*ickle* / *ickel* Phil Mickelson Golf player
Nicholas Nickelby Novel by Charles Dickens and name of main character
*ryan Adams Ryan Adams Singer
Bryan Adams Singer
Singers with Stage Names Referencing Weight/Games Chubby Checker Singer famous for "The Twist"
Fats Domino Rock and Roll Singer
Colin F* Colin Firth Actor, Pride and Predjudice, Love Actually
Colin Farrell Actor
F*rell* Will Ferrell Comic actor, Anchorman
The Farrelly Brothers Comedy film-makers
*evitt/*ewitt Joseph Gordon-Levitt Actor
Jennifer Love Hewitt Actress
D* Glover Danny Glover Actor, Lethal Weapon series
Donald Glover Actor, Community
* Wahlberg Donnie Wahlberg Singer, New Kids on the Block
Mark Wahlberg Actor
Mark * Mark Ruffalo Actor
Mark Shuttleworth Entrepreneur, founder of Ubuntu
* Pullman/Bill P* Philip Pullman Author
Bill Pullman Actor in Spaceballs, Independence Day
Bill Paxton Actor in Apollo 13, Aliens
Ghostbusters Bill Murray Actor
Dan Aykroyd Actor
* Rogers Ginger Rogers Woman known for dancing with Fred Astaire
Mister/Fred Astaire/Rogers Confusing reference to Fred Rogers (host of children's show, popularly known as "Mister Rogers") and to Fred Astaire (Dancer, actor, and singer)
* Spock/Doctor * Mister Spock Character on Star Trek
Doctor Spock Author of book on childcare
Doctor Octopus Villain in Spider-man comic books
Doctors Doctor Manhattan Character in Alan Moore's Watchmen
Doctor Strangelove Character in a movie about nuclear war
Doctor Strange Sorceror Supreme in Marvel Comics
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 - who has been in a number of xkcd comics
Jerry * Lewis Jerry Lee Lewis Rock and Roll Singer
Jerry Lewis Comedian and former chairman of charitable organization
Sounds like Jenny * Jenny Lewis Indie singer-songwriter
Xeni Jardin Digital commentator, Boing Boing co-editor
Chris * Chris Evans Actor
Chris Hemsworth Actor
Chris P* Chris Pine Actor
Chris Pratt Actor
Homophones of Shallots Shallots Small onions
Scallops Bivalve mollusks
Scallions Green onions
Suz* (Similar phonetics) Siouxie Sioux Rock singer
Suzanne Vega Folk rock singer-songwriter
* Arnold */A* Palmer Tom Arnold Ex-husband of Roseanne Barr
Arnold Palmer Golf player
Amanda Palmer Singer/songwriter
Wes * Wes Craven Film maker
Wes Anderson Movie Director
P* Anderson Paul Thomas Anderson Film maker
Poul Anderson Science fiction author
Sir Walter * Sir Walter Scott Scottish poet and writer
Sir Walter Raleigh British explorer of Virginia
F* Drake Sir Francis Drake British explorer, 2nd to circumnavigate the Earth
Frank Drake Astrophysicist, SETI pioneer
Van * Van Halen Rock band
Van Morrison Singer/songwriter
Van Wilder Comedy film
R* Van Winkle Robert Van Winkle AKA Vanilla Ice, rapper
Rip Van Winkle Fictional character
Rip/Torn Rip Torn Elmore Rual "Rip" Torn, actor on Cross Creek, Larry Sanders Show
Natalie Imbruglia Singer of "Torn"
Businesses with the word "Body" in their name The Body Shop Shop
Bath and Body Works Shop
Beyon* Bed Bath and Beyond Shop
Beyond Thunderdome Motion picture
Beyoncé Singer


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
[A tournament bracket. The matchups are the following, on left-hand side and right-hand side:]

(1) Louis Armstrong and Neil Armstrong
(2) Lance Armstrong and Stretch Armstrong

(3) Jeff Gordan and Jeff Bridges
(4) Jeff Daniels and Jack Daniels

(5) Orson Welles and H.G. Wells
(6) George Orwell and Wells Fargo

(7) Kurt Russell, Russell Brand, Russell Crowe and Russell Simmons
(8) Richard Simmons and Gene Simmons
(9) Gene Hackman, Hugh Jackman and Alan Rickman
(10) Alan Parsons and Alan Partridge

(11) Jenny McCarthy, Joseph McCarthy, Eugene McCarthy and Eugene V. Debs
(12) Gene Wilder, Olivia Wilde and Oscar Wilde
(13) Oscar De La Renta and Oscar De La Hoya

(14) Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicholson
(15) Phil Mickelson and Nicholas Nickelby

(16) Ryan Adams and Bryan Adams

(17) Chubby Checker and Fats Domino

(18) Colin Firth and Colin Farrell
(19) Will Ferrell and The Farrelly Brothers

(20) Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jennifer Love Hewitt

(21) Danny Glover and Donald Glover
(22) Donnie Wahlberg and Mark Wahlberg
(23) Mark Ruffalo and Mark Shuttleworth

(24) Philip Pullman, Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton
(25) Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd

(26) Ginger Rogers and Fred Rogers|Mister/Fred Astaire/Rogers
(27) Mister Spock, Doctor Spock and Doctor Octopus
(28) Doctor Manhattan, Doctor Strangelove and Doctor Strange
(29) Dr. No, The Doctor and Cory Doctorow

(30) Jerry Lee Lewis and Jerry Lewis
(31) Jenny Lewis and Xeni Jardin

(32) Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth
(33) Chris Pine and Chris Pratt

(34) Shallots, Scallops and Scallions

(35) Siouxie Sioux and Suzanne Vega

(36) Tom Arnold, Arnold Palmer and Amanda Palmer

(37) Wes Craven and Wes Anderson
(38) Paul Thomas Anderson and Poul Anderson

(39) Sir Walter Scott and Sir Walter Raleigh
(40) Sir Francis Drake and Frank Drake

(41) Van Halen, Van Morrison and Van Wilder
(42) Robert Van Winkle and Rip Van Winkle
(43) Rip Torn and Natalie Imbruglia

(44) The Body Shop and Bath and Body Works
(45) Bed Bath and Beyond and Beyond Thunderdome
(46) Winner of 44 and winner of 45
(47) Winner of 46 and Beyoncé

[Those are later interconnected:]

(48) Winner of 1 and winner of 2
(49) Winner of 3 and winner of 4
(50) Winner of 5 and winner of 6
(51) Winner of 7 and winner of 8
(52) Winner of 9 and winner of 10
(53) Winner of 12 and winner of 13
(54) Winner of 14 and winner of 15
(55) Winner of 16 and winner of 17
(56) Winner of 18 and winner of 19
(57) Winner of 21 and winner of 22

(58) Winner of 24 and winner of 25
(59) Winner of 26 and winner of 27
(60) Winner of 28 and winner of 29
(61) Winner of 30 and winner of 31
(62) Winner of 32 and winner of 33
(63) Winner of 34 and winner of 35
(64) Winner of 37 and winner of 38
(65) Winner of 39 and winner of 40
(66) Winner of 41 and winner of 42

(67) Winner of 49 and winner of 50
(68) Winner of 51 and winner of 52
(69) Winner of 11 and winner of 53
(70) Winner of 54 and winner of 55
(71) Winner of 56 and winner of 20
(72) Winner of 57 and winner of 23

(73) Winner of 59 and winner of 60
(74) Winner of 61 and winner of 62
(75) Winner of 63 and winner of 36
(76) Winner of 64 and winner of 65
(77) Winner of 66 and winner of 43

(78) Winner of 48 and winner of 67
(79) Winner of 68 and winner of 69
(80) Winner of 71 and winner of 72

(81) Winner of 58 and winner of 73
(82) Winner of 75 and winner of 76
(83) Winner of 77 and winner of 47

(84) Winner of 78 and winner of 79
(85) Winner of 70 and winner of 80

(86) Winner of 81 and winner of 74
(87) Winner of 82 and winner of 83

(88) Winner of 84 and winner of 85

(89) Winner of 86 and winner of 87

[The two sides finally join up in:]
(90) Winner of 88 and winner of 89

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?