1624: 2016

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:34, 5 November 2022 by (talk) (Transcript: Sending formatting across comic line-wraps, that aren't transcript newlines, slightly more efficiently and consistently. (There's an Oxford Comma I'd not include, except that another *is*. I hate Oxford Commas, but they're there, so...))
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This page refers to the comic named "2016". For comic #2016, see 2016: OEIS Submissions.
Want to feel old? Wait.
Title text: Want to feel old? Wait.


This New Year comic, the second in a row, is using a common genre of Internet humor, which Randall has used several times before, in an attempt at making people feel old. This is done by mentioning the ages of various things (often movies) which came into existence during their lifetime. Since many people tend to think of anything that they can remember a time before as "new", this often provokes a feeling of age and out-of-touchness.

In this comic, Cueball has crashed through the roof into the bedroom of a sleeping White Hat (note the white hat on the bed) on New Year's morning. This wakes White Hat up, and Cueball then asks him if he "want[s] to feel old". Without waiting for a reply he starts to make such a list of things that will turn 10 and 20 years old in 2016, before he is interrupted (as he was about to continue mentioning even older things).

White Hat is clearly less interested in Cueball's attempts to make him feel old than he is in the fact that Cueball has apparently crashed through his ceiling and woken him early in the morning on New Year's Day. To which Cueball just replies that 2016 is already hours old and that time is passing. As it is New Year's morning, White Hat has probably not been in bed too long and may even be drunk/hung-over, so he is acutely aware that the New Year is only a few hours old, and also that time is passing.

Night at the Museum and Cars are both children's films from December and June of 2006 respectively, Hips Don't Lie was an inescapable hit for Shakira released in February 2006, and the Wii is a Nintendo game console which was released in November 2006. If you were born in the early-to-mid nineties, these were probably cultural touchstones of your childhood - most people who enjoyed these are now adults.

The films Twister and Independence Day are both disaster movies that were huge box office hits from May and July 1996. Twister is also the name of a game introduced approximately 30 years earlier, so White Hat would feel young, but confused, if he misunderstood and thought he was being told that a game he remembers seeing as a small child is now only 20 years old. The Rock probably refers to the action film The Rock from June 1996, but it could also refer to the wrestler The Rock, who made his WWF/E debut in 1996 (he remains a celebrity to this day, although you may know him as Dwayne Johnson). The first games in the Pokémon series came out in Japan in February 1996 (though they would not come out in North America until 1998 and Europe until 1999). Wonderwall was perhaps the biggest hit for the band Oasis and remains a favorite of acoustic guitarists to this day. It was actually released in 1995 (mistake by Randall?) But it was probably first big in the US in 1996, and also an acoustic MTV Unplugged version was recorded in 1996.

Cueball entering a room hanging by a wire could also be a reference to an iconic scene in the film Mission: Impossible, also released in 1996.

This strip is a joke about how common such memes are; Cueball is so eager to note what cultural items have reached major benchmarks of age that he feels the need to break into White Hat's house and announce it mere hours after 2016 begins.

The title text adds a humorous alternative to suggested ways to feel old - by waiting, although one would have to wait for some time to experience noticeable results. It is only a couple of weeks ago that Beret Guy used this technique to travel forward in time in 1617: Time Capsule.

There have been two previous New Year's comics with only the year used as the title: 998: 2012 in 2012 and 1311: 2014 in 2014. For some reason, this trend only seems to happen with the even-numbered years, but that ended in 2017 with 1779: 2017, making this the first of at least two years in a row with New Years comics using the new year as the title.

A similar situation is seen in 225: Open Source where two ninjas smashes through a skylight window hanging down from a rope, waking a person in a bed. In that case they are actually threatening the sleeping guy.


[Cueball comes crashing through the ceiling suspended by a rope attached to a triangular contraption around his body. White Hat lies in his bed and appears to have been awoken by the noise, starting to sit up. At first glance it looks like Hairy, but White Hat's white hat can be seen hung on the back of the bed; he apparently doesn't sleep with it on.]
Cueball: Want to feel old?
Cueball: Night at the Museum, Cars, Hips Don't Lie, and the Wii all turn 10 this year.
Cueball: Twister, Independence Day, The Rock, Pokémon, and Wonderwall all turn 20.
Cueball: And-
White Hat: Oh my God, couldn't you at least have waited until morning?
Cueball: It's been 2016 for hours! Time is passing!
White Hat: I am acutely aware.

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This guy looks more like white hat, you can see it hanging off one of the bedposts ‎ (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

True, I have corrected this, mentioned it in explanation and transcript and also made a note in the wiki code so people who do not read the explanation won't change it without learning of their mistake ;-) --Kynde (talk) 16:12, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Isn't Wonderwall already 20 years old? Mudri (talk) 11:28, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes it was from 1995 a mistake by Randall. It was probably first big in the US in 1996 though? If the unpluged MTV version was more famous (?) then it was recorded in 1996. Mentioned now in the explanation. And happy new year to all on explain xkcd --Kynde (talk) 16:12, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

I feel old because all of those things mentioned (even the 20-year ones) are so much more recent than my own personal milestones and I know that the unsaid 30-year set, at least, would be even better.

Let's see, a sample list for 30 years could include, as one per month: The Challenger disaster; Halley's Comet; Microsoft's IPO; Chernobyl; Short Circuit; Mexico hosts the World Cup; Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson; Castle In The Sky from Studio Gibhli; Desmond Tutu is a Bishop; Reagan and Gorbachev meet (unsuccessfully) in Reykjavík; Iran-Contra; Rutan Voyager's non-stop non-refuelled circumnavigation of the Earth; and, precise date unknown... The Simpsons created!

And 40 years has its interesting points: the Cray-1 created; Apple Computers formed; Concorde flies; as does the (shuttle prototype) Enterprise; Vikings 1 and 2 land; Jimmy Carter nominated; Bob Marley killed; the Sex Pistols swear; the first Laser Printer; The Selfish Gene...

Anyway... Happy New Year, to all. Young and old. 20:10, 1 January 2016 (UTC)

Simpsons became it's own show on the 17th December 1989. Prior, it was featured on The Tracey Ulman show. The first Tracey Ulman short aired on April 19th 1987. It may have been CREATED in 1986, however. 01:50, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

I think Mr. Ford and others would dispute that Cars are only 10 years old. While _I_ may have walked to school (in the snow) (uphill (both ways)), I knew others driving back then. :p 04:41, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

The Cars may be 40 years old, but even if the FX are lousy by todays standard, "You Might Think" is brilliant as ever. :P 13:02, 6 January 2016 (UTC)

Oh man, this was a year ago already! Time really is passing quickly. -- LuigiBrick (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

(This comment thanks to the highlighting of a typographical error, in the main page, by another user. A pity I couldn't wait another four years to make this addition...) The (valid) speculation that Mission: Impossible inspired the wire-dangling entrance is tarnished by it being smashed through the ceiling and otherwise unsubtle. I'd have said it was more inspired by Minority Report, as the first example of a rope-descent intrusion that comes to mind, but that was 2002 (wow... 20 years ago... not actually sure if that feels longer ago or less so, the last couple of years may have done funny things to my sense of time passing... or that might just be me and my own advancing years). No doubt this otherwise fairly standard action-trope existed in the more violent form in plenty of other films from other years ending in a 6, and probably multiple notable instances. (However, the most obvious James Bond example, the earliest I could definitively recall myself, was released in 1967. Darnit.) Still, an interesting idea. 14:46, 5 November 2022 (UTC)