1648: Famous Duos
Title text: The Romeo and Butt-Head film actually got two thumbs up from Siskel and Oates.
| This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: More on the reasons for why different alternative parings are made and what would the combos mean to people compared to the originals? Use the explanation column in the list of alternative duos table for these updates.|
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In popular culture (the term is loosely used in this case) there are many famous duos, such as Calvin & Hobbes (six-year-old boy and his toy tiger, from the cartoon strip with the same name) or David & Goliath (famous past King of Israel and giant, Biblical characters from the Book of Samuel in the 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). (In the title text of 1644: Stargazing from the week before this comic, there is an indirect reference to parallel universes/multiverse).
The humor of this comic comes from the ridiculousness of the pairings, and the reader's 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, with more detailed explanations.
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 been filmed many times; most recently in Romeo + Juliet from 1996 with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the leading roles. Butt-Head is the less stupid one (of the very stupid duo) from the animated TV series Beavis and Butt-Head (and a film). As Romeo and Juliet is one of the best known love stories and Butt-Head is one of the most disgusting teens ever depicted on the big screen (only overtaken by Beavis), the combination could create disturbing pictures in people's heads (especially in the heads of anyone who may identify themselves with Juliet).
In the alternative universe, when this movie was released, it got the best possible review of two thumbs up from the critics Siskel and Oates. Gene Siskel was 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, with their best combined review being Two Thumbs Up, one from each of them.
In the alternative universe Siskel and his partner gives the film a (surprising) two thumbs up, but Ebert has been replaced with Oates. This is a reference to John Oates of Hall & Oates, a famous American musical duo from Philadelphia.
There also exists a comedy duo named Garfunkel and Oates, formed by Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci, who chose the "Garfunkel and Oates" name by combining the second names from both Hall & Oates and Simon and Garfunkel (the latter duo is mentioned in the main comic). Although this exact combo would not be possible in the xkcd version, as the "real universe" combo takes the second names from two duos rather than the first name from one and the second name from another (as in this comic), 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
- See the list of alternative duos below.
|Name||pairing||Partner||Explanation||Name index||Partner index|
|Thelma||and||Louise||Thelma & Louise is a famous road trip film from 1991.||1||3|
|When Harry||Met||Sally||When Harry Met Sally... is a romantic comedy film from 1989.||2||16|
|Batman||and||Robin||Batman and Robin are comic book characters (first appearance for Batman was in 1939 Robin the year after). There have been several films including one called Batman & Robin from 1997. A new Batman film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has its release date three weeks after the release of this comic (2016-02-26).||3||4|
|Antony||and||Cleopatra||Antony and Cleopatra are historical figures who had an afair and three children together after the death of Julius Caesar up to Anthony's death 30 BC.||4||12|
|Romeo||and||Juliet||Romeo and Juliet are characters from Shakespeare's famous romantic tragedy, from 1597, made into several major films.||5||24|
|Bonnie||and||Clyde||Bonnie and Clyde were American criminals who traveled the central United States with their gang during the Great Depression until their death on May 23rd 1934. They are well known from the film Bonnie and Clyde.||6||7|
|Pinky||and||the Brain||Two mice from Pinky and the Brain, an American animated TV series from the nineties.||7||20|
|Simon||and||Garfunkel||Simon & Garfunkel is a very famous musical duo from the sixties. (See also explanation for the title text).||8||22|
|Beauty||and||the Beast||Beauty and the Beast are fairy tale characters from a French book from 1740, today best known from the Disney film from 1991.||9||10|
|Beavis||and||Butt-head||Beavis and Butt-Head is an animated TV series from the nineties shown on MTV.||10||5|
|Rocky||and||Bullwinkle||A flying squirrel and a moose known from the The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, an American animated TV series from the sixties.||11||2|
|Abbott||and||Costello||Abbott and Costello is a famous American comedy duo whose work in vaudeville and on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the forties.||12||17|
|Dr. Jekyll||and||Mr. Hyde||Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are well known characters from the book Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson in 1886. It has been adapted into several films.||13||15|
|Samson||and||Delilah||Samson and Delilah are Biblical characters from the Book of Judges (chapters 13-16). Samson was given supernatural strength by God in order to combat his enemies Samson had two vulnerabilities, however: his attraction to untrustworthy women and his hair, without which he was powerless. These vulnerabilities ultimately proved fatal for him when Delilah had him reveal the secret of his hair, which she subsequently cut of and handed him over to to be captured by the Philistines who gouges out his eyes and brought him to imprisonment in Gaza. He died when he got his hair back, Delilah had not explained why he was no longer strong so it had been allowed to grow out again, and then he used his power to tear down a temple he was led into, taking many enemies standing on the roof with him in death.||14||11|
|Butch Cassidy||and||the Sundance Kid||They are historical criminals who died in 1908. They were notorious American train and bank robbers with the Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang in 1899-1901. They were made famous by the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid from 1969.||15||23|
|Bill||and|| Ted’s Excellent Adventure
and Bogus Journey
|Bill & Ted are characters from the two films Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991). The two titles are spread out on the two new pairings for Bill and Ted, in recognition that this duo is mainly known for these two films, although there also is a spin-off animated series from 1990-1991.||16||6|
|David||and||Goliath||Biblical characters from best known from small David's defeat of giant Goliath in the story David and Goliath. Davis later became the second king of Israel (according to the Books of Samuel, and according to the New Testament, an ancestor of Jesus.||17||8|
|Sherlock Holmes||and||Dr. Watson||Characters from Arthur Conan Doyle famous books (from 1887-1927) which have been made into numerous films, recently (2009 and 2011) a new series of movies has been released with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as the two characters, and there have also been several TV series, most famously the 1984 TV series.||18||19|
|Jay||and||Silent Bob||Jay and Silent Bob is a strange duo from View Askew's film universe first seen in the film Clerks from 1994 but they now even have a film names after the duo with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back from 2001. The director of these movies, Kevin Smith plays Silent Bob, who of course rarely speaks, but when he finally does it often becomes a long defining monologue. Jay (played by Jason Mewes) talks all the time!||19||18|
|Anna||and||the King||Recently made famous by the film Anna and the King from 1999, based on the book Anna and the King of Siam from 1944 by Margaret Landon who again is based on two memoirs written by Anna Leonowens in 1870 and 1872 based on her experience as Royal governess for King Mongkut's children and also as language secretary for the king from 1862-1867.||20||21|
|Calvin||and||Hobbes||Calvin and Hobbes is a famous comic series by Bill Watterson that ran from 1985-1995. Calvin being a six year old boy and Hobbes is Calvin's stuffed tiger and best friend, who becomes animated in his private fantasy world. They have been featured regularly in xkcd most prominently in the "duo" comic: 409: Electric Skateboard (Double Comic).||21||1|
|Timon||and||Pumbaa||Timon and Pumbaa are characters from The Lion King film (1994) and they now also have their own film from 2004 and a TV series that ran from 1995-1999. There have been many references to The Lion King in xkcd, for instance the comment in the final panel of 1504: Opportunity, is from the original movie.||22||14|
|Mary Kate||and||Ashley Olsen||Known as the Olsen twins these fraternal twin actresses from 1986 has been on TV since they were infants (on Full House from 1987) and began starring together in TV, film, and video projects, which enabled them to join the ranks of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry at a young age. They have previously been the pun of the joke in 362: Blade Runner.||23||13|
|Mario||and||Luigi||Mario Bros. is a very famous video game from 1983 where Mario and his brother Luigi are the main characters. They have been referenced in several xkcd comics for instance 151: Mario or the entire category that references the Mario Kart video game series.||24||9|
List of alternative duos
- See the list of real duos above.
|Thelma and Hobbes|
|When Harry met Bullwinkle|
|Batman and Louise||This duos name comes rather close to the real duo Clark Kent and Lois Lane especially since the film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was set for release three weeks after the release of this comic in February 2016.|
|Antony and Robin|
|Romeo and Butthead||It would be quite a different story if either Butt-head should replace Juliet or if Romeo should replace Beavis... (Note Butt-Head is spelled with a hyphen, but has been misspelled in the comic.)|
|Bonnie and Ted's excellent adventure|
|Pinky and Clyde||Pinky and Clyde are the names of the pink and orange Pacman ghosts in real life. But they are not a duo as there are four ghosts (Blinky and Inky being the two others). As a result, the pinkyrefered to here is likeley the cartoon mouse who normally serves as minion to The Brain, another cartoon mouse featured elsewhere in this list. Clyde here refers to Clyde Chestnut Barrow, bank-robber and counterpart to Bonnie Elizabeth Parker also featured in this list.|
|Simon and Goliath||Goliath begins with G as Garfunkel. Simon was the shorter of the duo thus fitting as David vs. Goliath.|
|Beauty and Luigi|
|Beavis and the Beast||Beavis starts with the same three letters as Beauty, just like Beast does.|
|Rocky and Delilah|
|Abbot and Cleopatra||Abbot starts with an A as does Anthony. Cleopatra starts with a C as does Costello.|
|Dr. Jekyll and Ashley Olsen||Dr. Jekyll is the same as Mr. Hyde just like twins are (almost) the same persons (Although the Olsen twins are not identical twins!) There are only three switches in this cycle. Butch Cassidy takes Mr. Hyde and the other Olson twin takes The Sundance Kid. This means that both twins are paired with a man instead of as in real life with a woman.|
|Samson and Pumbaa||Samson has several letters in common with Timon but Samson is a huge man where Timon is a very small animal compared to the other main characters in The Lion King film. Samson and Goliath are the names of Belfast's two iconic cranes - it is only by knowing that Delilah and David is not a famous duo that the correct pairs can be determined.|
|Butch Cassidy and Mr. Hyde||See above explanation for Dr. Jekyll and Ashley Olsen.|
|Bill and Sally's Bogus Journey|
|David and Costello|
|Sherlock Holmes and Silent Bob||This is the only case of a direct switch between two duos. Dr. Watson usually listen to the musings of Sherlock Holmes and Silent Bob is, as his name indicates, mainly silent. Jay talks all the time|
|Jay and Dr. Watson||See explanation above for their respective real universe partners (the only case of a direct switch between two duos).|
|Anna and the Brain||The Brain desires to take over the world; the King is ruler of his domain.|
|Calvin and the King||Although it is Calvin's fantasy that decides what happens, it is Hobbes that behaves like the King in their relationship at least when it comes to displaying physical strength to determine who decides.|
|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||See above explanation for Dr. Jekyll and Ashley Olsen.|
|Mario and Juliet||Mario would have no issue with balconies. His name has some similarities with Romeo.|
- There are four cycles.
- The cycles listed below are sorted like explained this example from the longest cycle:
- It starts with "Thelma" (from Thelma and Louse), who is paired with "Hobbes". Hobbes is then shown diagonally down in the next entry below, Calvin and Hobbes, thus leading from "Hobbes" to "Calvin", who is similarly paired with "the King" leading to Anna and so on, until "Batman" is paired with "Louise", completing the cycle.
- 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
- 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 1 (= Thelma & Louise) to 24 (= Mario & Luigi), they can be written as:
(1, 21, 20, 7, 6, 16, 2, 11, 14, 22, 8, 17, 12, 4, 3) (5, 10, 9, 24) (13, 23, 15) (18, 19)
- [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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