1648: Famous Duos

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Famous Duos
The Romeo and Butt-Head film actually got two thumbs up from Siskel and Oates.
Title text: The Romeo and Butt-Head film actually got two thumbs up from Siskel and Oates.


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Needs to be expanded; Needs more for the main explanation and more info on what the combos would mean to people compared to the originals. It would be great if the cycles below was updated to fit with the table, so Thelma and Louise was 1 in both (and all the other numbers in the cycles thus also increased by one.) More wiki link in the first table.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

In popular culture (the term is loosely used in this case) there are many famous duos, such as Calvin & Hobbes (six years old boy and his toy tiger, from the cartoon strip with the same name) or David & Goliath (future King of Israel and giant, from the Book of Samuel, Old Testament). In this table, Randall describes a fictional parallel universe where the same names are used in different combinations -- instead of Calvin, it is now Thelma (from the movie Thelma & Louise) who is paired up with Hobbes, and Calvin is instead paired of with the King, from Anna and the King. In all cases the one mentioned first on the list, is also mentioned first in our universe, so it is always of the form Calvin and the King, never Calvin and Anna. There are 24 duos, and all 48 partners are mentioned (they go through four cycles).

The humor of this comic comes from the ridiculousness of the pairings, and the readers imagination of the stories that are created with the pairs. See the whole list of real duos as well as the list of alternative duos below.

In the title text alternative movie Romeo and Butt-Head is mentioned, the fifth entry on the list. This is a combination of the famous Shakespeare play "Romeo and Juliet", which has not been made into a big picture since Romeo + Juliet in 1996 with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the leading roles. Butt-Head is the less-stupid in the duo from the animated TV series Beavis and Butt-Head (and a film). As Romeo and Juliette is one of the best known love stories and Butt-Head is one of the most disgusting teens ever depicted on the big screen, the combination could create disturbing pictures in peoples head (especially of teenage girls).

In the alternative universe this movie has just been released, and here it gets the best possible review of two thumbs up from Siskel and Oates. Gene Siskel is usually always paired with Roger Ebert, when they reviewed movies as the famous duo Siskel and Ebert. They were widely known for the "thumbs up/thumbs down" review summaries, so much that their best review Two Thumbs Up are by many though to be the title of their their show At the Movies, (and their combined names also links to this show).

In the alternative universe Siskel still gives the film a thumbs up (although it would be almost impossible to believe that a movie with such a title would get this in our universe, this is definitely possible in an alternative.) But Ebert has been replaced with Oates, who also approves of the film. This is most likely a reference to Hall & Oates an American musical duo from Philadelphia. It is for instance the only duo with the name Oates mentioned in this list of almost top 300 of famous duos.

Another instance, however, where a duo is using the name Oates is called Garfunkel and Oates. This group has deliberately made their name by combining both the last name from Hall & Oates and the last name from Simon and Garfunkel (who are both mentioned in the main comic). Although their exact combo, would not be possible in this version, with only first and last names combined, there may definitely be a deliberate reference to this group as well which has taken the parallel universe idea into our universe.

List of real duos

Famous duos in this universe
Name pairing Partner From Name index Partner index Explanation
Thelma and Louise road trip film 1 3
When Harry Met Sally romantic comedy film 2 16
Batman and Robin comic book characters 3 4
Antony and Cleopatra historical figures 4 12
Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare characters 5 24
Bonnie and Clyde historical figures 6 7
Pinky and the Brain TV show 7 20
Simon and Garfunkel musical duo 8 22
Beauty and the Beast fairy tale characters 9 10
Beavis and Butthead TV show 10 5
Rocky and Bullwinkle TV show 11 2
Abbott and Costello comedy duo 12 17
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde book 13 15
Samson and Delilah Biblical characters 14 11
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid historical characters and famous movie 15 23
Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Bogus Journey movie series 16 6
David and Goliath Biblical characters 17 8
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson Arthur Conan Doyle characters 18 19
Jay and Silent Bob View Askewniverse characters (Clerks movies) 19 18
Anna and the King movie, based on Anna and the King of Siam 20 21
Calvin and Hobbes comic series 21 1
Timon and Pumbaa characters from the Lion King film series 22 14
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen twin actresses 23 13
Mario and Luigi video game characters 24 9

List of alternative duos

Famous Duos in a nearby parallel universe
Duo name Explanation
Thelma and Hobbes
When Harry met Bullwinkle
Batman and Louise
Antony and Robin
Romeo and Butthead
Bonnie and Ted's excellent adventure
Pinky and Clyde
Simon and Goliath
Beauty and Luigi
Beavis and the Beast Beavis starts with the same letters as Beauty
Rocky and Delilah
Abbot and Cleopatra
Dr. Jekyll and Ashley Olsen
Samson and Pumbaa
Butch Cassidy and Mr. Hyde
Bill and Sally's Bogus Journey
David and Costello
Sherlock Holmes and Silent Bob
Jay and Dr. Watson
Anna and the Brain
Calvin and the King
Timon and Garfunkel Timon is put together with Garfunkel, which makes it a close match to Simon and Garfunkel.
Mary-Kate and the Sundance Kid
Mario and Juliet


There are four cycles. The longest starts with "Thelma" and ends with "Louise" as follows:

  • First cycle: length 15
   Thelma & Louise
   Calvin & Hobbes
   Anna   & the King
   Pinky  & the Brain
   Bonnie & Clyde
   Bill   & Ted
   Harry  & Sally
   Rocky  & Bullwinkle
   Samson & Delilah
   Timon  & Pumbaa
   Simon  & Garfunkel
   David  & Goliath
   Abbot  & Costello
   Antony & Cleopatra
   Batman & Robin

This means, it starts with "Thelma", paired with "Hobbes" diagonally down, from "Hobbes" to "Calvin", who is paired with "the King" and so on, until "Batman" is paired with "Louise", completing the cycle.

  • Second cycle: length 4
   Romeo  & Juliet
   Beavis & Butthead
   Beauty & the Beast
   Mario  & Luigi
  • Third cycle: length 3
   Dr. Jekyll    & Mr. Hyde
   Mary-Kate     & Ashley Olsen
   Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
  • Fourth cycle: length 2
   Sherlock Holmes & Dr. Watson
   Jay             & Silent Bob

Assigning an index starting with 0 (= Thelma & Louise) to 23 (= Mario & Luigi), they can be written as:

   (0, 20, 19, 6, 5, 15, 1, 10, 13, 21, 7, 16, 11, 3, 2)
   (4, 9, 8, 23)
   (12, 22, 14) 
   (17, 18)


[Caption above the panel:]
Famous Duos in a nearby parallel universe
[A list with 24 duos with a gray “and" between the two names (in one case it is a “met") and three times there is a gray word before (once) or after (twice) the names. The list is centered with the “and" in the middle disregarding the length of the names on each side:]
Thelma and Hobbes
When Harry met Bullwinkle
Batman and Louise
Antony and Robin
Romeo and Butthead
Bonnie and Ted's excellent adventure
Pinky and Clyde
Simon and Goliath
Beauty and Luigi
Beavis and the Beast
Rocky and Delilah
Abbot and Cleopatra
Dr. Jekyll and Ashley Olsen
Samson and Pumbaa
Butch Cassidy and Mr. Hyde
Bill and Sally's Bogus Journey
David and Costello
Sherlock Holmes and Silent Bob
Jay and Dr. Watson
Anna and the Brain
Calvin and the King
Timon and Garfunkel
Mary-Kate and the Sundance Kid
Mario and Juliet

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No rhyme nor reason to these pairings?

It appears the pairings are completely random. I was looking for some deeper meaning to them but it seems this is one of those comics to be taken entirely at face value. 14:18, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Aren't "Pinky and Clyde" also the names of the pink and orange Pacman ghosts? 11:48, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, this is true. Are there any other sensible pairings? 17:10, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
I noticed an interesting pun with "Timon and Garfunkel" in that "Timon" is the same as "Simon" just with a different first letter. And "Mario" rhymes with "Romeo" 20:25, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
I added this to the explanation. Mikemk (talk) 05:45, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
There seems to be many sensible pairings... --Kynde (talk) 16:19, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

You've already posted the correct pairs, but of course I wanted to draw them with lines, nursery school style:

http://i.imgur.com/tWTJAYC.gif 15:33, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Possible inspiration

Possible inspiration: the comedy music duo calling themselves Garfunkel and Oates 15:45, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes, that was my first thought as well. Never heard of Hall. 16:08, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
If you're from the U.S. and over 35, you probably should have. Hall & Oates are the best-selling musical duo of all time. Fryhole (talk) 20:47, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
"Never heard of Hall", this statement saddens me greatly, LOL! It's up there with Kanye fans thinking he discovered Paul McCartney. :) Wow. I myself had barely heard of Garfunkel & Oates until I looked up and watched their show, they're the obscure ones here. I, however, agree that they probably inspired this comic, or at least contributed. - NiceGuy1 00:54, 27 February 2016 (UTC)
I was thinking of (Captains) Scott and Oates , I must admit, but then I'm British. (Needs more emphasis... "...but then I'm British!!" That's better. We do love our glorious failures, at least our historic ones.) 10:22, 29 February 2016 (UTC)

As currently described, the cycles thing does not make any sense to me. The order seems wrong. For example, the way the first cycle makes sense is to start with Thelma and Louise, Batman and Robin; and end with Anna and the King,Calvin and Hobbes. That way you've arrived back at the top and would only repeat if you continued. Can anyone justify the current order? Trlkly (talk) 19:01, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Yeah, you can do it that way and will arrive at the same cycle lengths, each cycle just backwards. The way I did it was to go from "Thelma" to "Hobbes", then go to "Calvin" because that's who "Hobbes" belongs to, then go from "Calvin" to "The King" and so on. If the first name is the order of couples, then the second name basically just tells you the index where to jump next, that's usually how permutations are written. Your way considers the second names to be in the right order and uses the first as an index to jump to next. I also doubt it's an important part of the meaning, but I was curious how long the cycles would be. or (talk) 19:38, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

The rating system for "At the Movies", at least during Siskel and Ebert's term, was that each reviewer would give a thumbs up or thumbs down. "Two thumbs up" referred to the aggregate rating when both reviewers liked the film. The explanation said that Siskel gave Romeo and Butthead two thumbs up, which wouldn't make sense if we assume that the show's rules were the same. Fryhole (talk) 20:47, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

Haven't there been some similar comics? I cannot remember which... The style reminds of 1625: Substitutions 2 and 1288: Substitutions. But they are not like this in theme. --Kynde (talk) 23:08, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

I thought it was interesting how there's only one "Bill" and one "Ted", but both their movies are represented, I thought it indicated that there was some mismatch, like an incomplete pair somewhere... But sorting it out, I realize now that's it's only that "Bill" got one complete title, "Ted" the other. Oh well. Usually view these on my iPad, I needed a computer to truly analyze. Turns out I nerd-sniped myself, LOL! - NiceGuy1 00:47, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

Seems to me that Harry/Sally are outliers here. Every other pair is exclusively, or by far most commonly, known by the same regular pairing format of "A&B," but Harry/Sally are not most often named as a duo, as 'Harry & Sally,' but through the movie's title, "When Harry Met Sally." When I saw 'Sally' in my first read-through, I instantly wondered "Who's the X in 'X & Sally?" (Having already managed to forget 'When Harry Met' above.) The only 'A&B format' pairing which I could casually dredge up with a 'Sally' was "Sally Rand And Her Magic Fan," a risqué 1930's-40's burlesque performance in which a seemingly near-nude Ms. Rand held & used large ostrich feather fans as strategic cover, thereby teasing the audience. However, in that instance not only was Sally's A&B 'partner' an inanimate object (& thus not quite a "duo"), Sally was the pair's 'A,' while the comic's pattern requires her to be the second, 'B' name. Miamiclay (talk) 18:09, 27 February 2016 (UTC)

"Mario and Joliet" is the title of an episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show that retells Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. --Tepples (talk) 02:30, 1 March 2016 (UTC)