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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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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. Also, if the names are put in another wikitable, it will look much nicer.

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 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 (Misspelled Jeff Gordon, a racecar driver)
Jeff Bridges (Actor)

J* Daniels:

Jeff Daniels
Jack Daniels (Alcoholic beverage)

* 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)

Transcript

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 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


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