151: Mario

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Why would anyone ever, ever say that? Please, nobody ever say that.
Title text: Why would anyone ever, ever say that? Please, nobody ever say that.


One-upmanship is the act of surpassing another person. In this case, one female character is one-upping her friend's claim of being taken on a mountain hike with a claim that she was proposed to.

Mario is the major figure in the Super Mario series. In the games, completing specific conditions causes a "1-up" (but the marks are chevrons («»), used in some languages like French or Russian instead of quotation marks) to appear on screen, referring to an additional life. The comic relies on the homonym of the action of one-upmanship and the event of one-ups in Mario.

In the title text, Randall says that this is a pretty bad joke and he doesn't wish to hear it.


Megan: For our anniversary, my boyfriend took me hiking in the mountains.
Ponytail: My boyfriend proposed to me.
Ponytail: They should call you Mario, 'cause you just got <<1 up'd.>>

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Mario is not the star, Mario's the plumber. Muahaha. --Kronf (talk) 12:24, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Am I the only person intrigued by the fact that he used European quotes («»)? 22:21, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

     Those aren't European; they're French.  And I don't think he meant them to be quotation marks, they remind me of how the work "1-up" flashes on the screen in early mario games.  That's a hard thing to represent with text, so maybe that's what he was going for. 19:07, 27 September 2017 (UTC)
iirc chevrons are also used in Russian. 17:47, 13 February 2022 (UTC)Bumpf

Bowser is definitely better! And the trash talk is ON POINT! Nice work, Ponytail! 19:30, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

Aren't we all missing the "For our anniversary" part? I feel this drastically changes the joke. 10:51, 29 May 2024 (UTC)

Not really... Both have boyfriends (who observe a "dating anniversary" milestone), and both arrange 'something special' to enhance their relationship (presuming that both arrangements are to the liking of the respective girls, as they seem to be). But one of the girls gets a markedly more major 'something special' than the other (again, depends upon relative feelings). What more is there to that? Apart from the subsequent attitude and phraseology of the 'winner' between the two. 13:38, 29 May 2024 (UTC)
Ah, dating anniversary... It was funnier when I understood it as a marriage anniversary. 09:18, 31 May 2024 (UTC)