Thursday, March 8, 2012
"My name is the return address, you senseless dunderpate!"
This quote comes from Mr. Burns as he gets mad at Homer for bringing Burns a letter which he sent. This comes from the episode "Who Shot Mr. Burns? Pt. 1" from the sixth season. This is a great episode, one that I remember quite fondly because the whole summer was filled with speculation on who could have shot him, only to find out that it was Maggie, which I correctly guessed. Go me.
Anyway, I have always thought Mr. Burns is a great character on the show due to his miserly character and contempt for human life while living with so many very human inhabitants of Springfield. What I love about him the most, however, is his archaic and old-timey vocabulary, as evidenced by the quote above. When's the last time you were called a dunderpate?
Even the way he answers the phone, "ahoy, hoy," is a reference to how Alexander Graham Bell first thought people should answer the phone, like the nautical term "ahoy." In this episode alone, Burns calls Homer a "lollygagger," a "blubberpot," a "baffleweed," a "lummox," a "puddinghead," a "drizzlepuss," and a "fumblefist." When was the last time you heard those? That's right, when you read them just now.
Further, when other people are baffled by his use of ancient dialogue, he assumes the others are out of touch. For instance, he travels to the post office and says, "I need to send this missive to the Prussian Consulate in Siam, post-haste! Am I too late for the 4:30 auto-gyro?" to which the Squeaky-Voiced Teen replies that he needs to consult the manual. Not finding any of these, he says that the manual must be out of date and Burns tells him angrily to keep looking. Ha, priceless.
There are so many of these old sayings that sound hilarious to me. "Hear that? The percolations are imminent. No need to come in. Uh, cease your ingress!" "You there! Fill it up with petroleum distillate and re-vulcanize my tires, post-haste!" "Beep Beep! I am a motorist!" "I thought I would chauffeur myself this evening...I'm sure the manual will indicate which lever is the velocitator and which the deceleratrix, hmm?" He tries to field a baseball team with players that have retired or, in the case of his right-fielder, been dead for 130 years. And he gives that baseball team a nerve tonic that has been known in rare cases to cause gigantism.
All of these would make perfect additions to anyone's vocublary, and they already have to mine. Answer the phone by saying "Ahoy hoy." Call someone a dunderpate. Mock the King of Siam. Say Bosh! or Flimshaw! when you are frustrated. You won't be disappointed.