2396: Wonder Woman 1984

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Jump to: navigation, search
Wonder Woman 1984
'Wait, why would you think a movie set in 1984 would do drive-ins as a retro promotion?' 'You know, 80s stuff. Drive-in movies. Britney Spears doing the hustle. Elvis going on Ed Sullivan and showing off his pog collection.' 'What year were you born, again?'
Title text: 'Wait, why would you think a movie set in 1984 would do drive-ins as a retro promotion?' 'You know, 80s stuff. Drive-in movies. Britney Spears doing the hustle. Elvis going on Ed Sullivan and showing off his pog collection.' 'What year were you born, again?'

Explanation[edit]

This comic is another in a series of comics related to the 2020 pandemic of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

Ponytail, who was eager to see Wonder Woman 1984, the 2019 sequel to the acclaimed 2017 Wonder Woman film, decided to block all news media leading up to the film, to avoid spoilers. Avoiding spoilers is a common practice for people who do not wish to be "spoiled" by reading or hearing any plot points of the film, and want to experience it for the first time when watching it. Many early reviewers may inadvertently give away key parts of the film, which may ruin the experience for some watchers.

However, there have been many delays for release of the film, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. The film was originally delayed from November 1, 2019 to June 5, 2020 to allow more time for production, and then, after the pandemic struck, was pushed to August 14, 2020, then October 2, 2020, before it was finally moved to December 25, 2020. The film studio announced a simultaneous release of the film in theaters and also on streaming platform HBO Max.

Absurdly, Ponytail apparently continued to block news sites after the delays, and so has not read any news in over a year, even news unrelated to movies. Because of this, she is apparently totally unaware of the entire pandemic, as well as more predictable major news items like the 2020 United States presidential election. This is particularly absurd, because these events were influential enough that it would be difficult or impossible to avoid awareness, even with no media exposure. They have been common topics of conversation, not to mention face-masks and other public health-control measures have now become ubiquitous, and election campaign signs and bumper stickers were common sights in the lead-up to November.

How the release date being postponed (twice) did not convince Ponytail to find out why, therefore becoming aware of the pandemic with its associated lockdown and public health-control, is a question that is left unanswered. Also, if she stopped following the news in October 2019, she should have still been awaiting the outcome of the House of Representatives' motion to impeach President Trump, let alone the primaries and general election. Her confusion as to why her movie is now being shown at a drive-in theater is a sign that she's unaware of COVID-19. Drive-in theaters have been seen as a safer option than indoor movie theaters during the pandemic.

Cueball tries to warn her about the ongoing pandemic, but in an effort to avoid spoilers, she silences him. This may imply that in her wildly excessive effort to avoid spoilers, she's avoided leaving her home and talking to people, which could explain her exceptional level of disconnection from current events. Cueball then tells her to wear a mask, but she is still confused. Ponytail says that she will dress up in costume as Wonder Woman, who is traditionally shown wearing a tiara but not a mask (unlike Batman or many other comic characters, although efficiency of their masks still varies wildly in regards to COVID-19 protection).

The title text expands on Ponytail's speculation that the use of the drive-in theaters is a "retro promotion," presumably because drive-ins and the '80s setting of the movie are now both considered to be retro in 2020. However, they are not associated with the same period; drive-in theaters in America had their heyday in the 1950s and '60s, and were in rapid decline by the '80s. Ponytail further demonstrates her misunderstanding of history by mentioning several other things which she wrongly believes are from the '80s. Britney Spears is a singer who was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Hustle was a disco dance popular in the mid-1970s. Pogs under that name peaked in the mid-1990s. Elvis's appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show - a pivotal moment in American pop culture - occurred on September 9, 1956. (The Ed Sullivan Show went off the air in 1971, Ed Sullivan died in 1974, and Elvis Presley died in 1977.) This joke concerns the phenomenon of people lumping together all time periods before their birth, which results in "retro" or "period" representations combining elements from widely different time periods. (A similar behavior is seen in 771: Period Speech.) Cueball points this out by asking Ponytail when she was born, implying that, if she'd actually lived through any of those time periods, she'd realize that they were distinct. If Ponytail could not remember any of these events in her childhood, an age of about 20 years can be set as an approximate upper bound for this particular character's age.

This comic is similar to 2280: 2010 and 2020 and 2338: Faraday Tour, which also involve characters who are unaware of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transcript[edit]

[Ponytail sitting at a desk, chatting with Cueball (off-screen) on a laptop.]
Ponytail: Just two weeks until I see Wonder Woman 1984, learn who the Democratic nominee was, and find out how the election went.
Cueball: Huh?
[Close-up on Ponytail.]
Ponytail: To avoid spoilers, I blocked all news sites ahead of the November 2019 release.
Ponytail: But then they bumped the date on my ticket to June 2020, and now December 25th.
Ponytail: It also moved to a drive-in theater? Some retro promotion, maybe.
[Cueball on his laptop, chatting with Ponytail (off-screen) on a laptop.]
Cueball: Wait, you haven't seen any news?
Ponytail: Nope!
Cueball: So you don't know about -
Ponytail: No spoilers!
[Back to Ponytail sitting at a desk, chatting with Cueball (off-screen) on a laptop.]
Cueball: Okay. Just...
Cueball: Bring a mask, in case you need to get out of the car.
Ponytail: Oh, I'll have a full costume! But it's a tiara, not a mask.


comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!

Discussion

Is it really "common" as the explanation reads, to block "all news media" to avoid spoilers? Wouldn't most people just block the relevant keywords, or perhaps movie review sites and channels in particular? Blocking the entirety of news sources is rather absurd, in a fitting way for xkcd, but not a realistic way for real-world people to behave, as the explanation currently implies it is. PotatoGod (talk) 02:22, 10 December 2020 (UTC)

You are going to need two websites to answer your question. First, the PDP-11 emulator, and also, Fedora in jslinux. Good luck! 172.68.133.14 05:21, 10 December 2020 (UTC)
I don't understand. Are you referring to something PotatoGod did? Or is it a suggestion for recreating the 1984 Internet experience? These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 07:07, 13 December 2020 (UTC)
I'd also guess that you'd block, lets say imdb or rotten tomatoes. Maybe even social media, but going to a regular news site would normaly be fine. Unlike for example on a sports event. (Let's say, an american person is not able to follow the super bowl, or someone else not following the Football worldcup finals, and they want to review it the next day in the afternoon...) - To be honest: Me, being born in 1990, I'd also would have expected drive in cinemas to be a thing in the 1980s. Alternatively it also seems possible, that they are a central plot point or something similar to the movie, so that THAT is the reason why it is a promotion. This of course would again be a spoiler in itself. --Lupo (talk) 06:21, 10 December 2020 (UTC)
I think that there is a lot of excess in this "spoiler avoidance" thing, this urge to have a "fresh experience". --Tolueno (talk) 14:25, 10 December 2020 (UTC)
I'm not sure how to block keywords on news ... I would probably stop visiting news sites if I really wanted to avoid spoilers. It wouldn't be absurd if I did that for, say, week. I might even stop visiting comics which might post something related. However, avoiding anything related to covid would be much harder, even not counting I got something about it as an SMS. -- Hkmaly (talk) 00:47, 11 December 2020 (UTC)

Is this referring to the 2020 election or to the 1984 election, which might be a plot point in the film? 162.158.79.137 16:40, 10 December 2020 (UTC)

I thought it was the 1984 election at first, but 2020 makes more sense. Blocking news sites wouldn't get rid of history. It's not until you read the title text that you get the idea that she's also oblivious about previous decades, although how that came about is unclear. Barmar (talk) 18:48, 10 December 2020 (UTC)
I guess it is lampshade hanging on the fact that advertising for a 1984 film with drive in cinemas is a bit off. --Lupo (talk) 06:12, 11 December 2020 (UTC)
I suppose the obvious closest thing to a retro-1984 reference to Drive-In Cinemas is the 1985 film Back To The Future that itself harks back to 1955, maybe slightly before the upswing of popularity... Though they don't actually feature in that film (cinema does, even 3d glasses), so it's a poor comparison. ;) 141.101.98.132 16:24, 11 December 2020 (UTC)

I clicked on on link and managed to go from this page to Prop 8 in 6 clicks, I passed through startrek, I invite you to find your own way there. Infestedlie (talk) 02:39, 11 December 2020 (UTC)

What is “Prop 8”? I tried a Google search and all I got for results was about some kind of ballot initiative in California way back in 2008 about same-sex marriage.172.69.62.249 06:56, 11 December 2020 (UTC)
That is exactly what it is, which is why it surprised me so much Infestedlie (talk) 15:31, 11 December 2020 (UTC)
Which link did you start on? Wonder Woman 1984 on Wikipedia? It took me 3: Warner Bros -> California -> Prop 8 --Lupo (talk) 07:52, 14 December 2020 (UTC)

Need an explanation of "pogs" - online sources indicate it was a 1990s thing, and Elvis was last on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1957. 198.41.238.108 20:50, 23 December 2020 (UTC)