How to Realize What Was Really Happening All Along

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Reader Comments (35)


January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterByron Black

I am french and I had NO idea what was "Three Men and a Baby/Trois hommes et un couffin". I checked on wikipedia, and I'm not sure if that's really a waste if I didn't saw it.^^

Clearly, there's better french things to watch. ^^

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTSG

"You showed them..." is quite possibly my favorite sarcastic phrase. It has a certain je ne sais quoi about it that makes it so fun to use.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha

The copyright!! THE COPYRIGHT!!!!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpamcannon

Did I just get a Jean de Florette reference? If so, I think that it is a staple of high school french classes.

Note from Scott: You are correct, Sir!

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Hey Scott,

You forgot to change the date on your copyrigh .... pffft, just kidding! Happy New Year.

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterProfessor

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? That's some practical French.... :)

-Cougar :{)

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCougar Allen

What does je ne sais quoi mean? :)

-Cougar :{)

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCougar Allen

In my high school, it seemed like compared to all foreign language offerings, the students who took French seemed to care about it the least.

You would seem to confirm my theory that this applies to many others, Scott.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjaklumen

Jean De Florette is a particularly depressing story to start your experience of French films. I'm sure teenagers nowadays would fare better with Amelie, Brotherhood of the Wolf or the original version of 'Taxi'.

Of course, these all have nudity in - like 99% of all French films. Which is probably how your class ended up with Jean De Florette and Three Men And A Baby...

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

Yeah, I grew up in a bilingual province in Canada (bonus points if you know which one) and after taking french from grades 1-12 and one semester in uni I still can barely speak/write or understand/read it... I agree it's a plot, not to make you hate french though, but rather to keep the french feeling special for being able to speak the bloody language

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael S.

It's 2012, but it says 2011. 2011! But it isn't 2011! What's going on? It's 2012. The copyright must be wrong. Or it's old material! What's going on? What's Scott trying to do to me? Is it part of a very subtle joke? Must be. A little joke. It's NOT FUNNY! It's not 2011! IT"S 2012!! 2012!!


<runs to window, jumps out>


January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

What if you were in Quebec, and wanted to ask how to get to the library without enraging a Quebec nationalist?

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Hutchings

Me and my buddy took two years of French because the teacher was a French hottie. We didn't learn a thing.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAtheismo

@James Hutchings:

Can't be done. Quebec nationalists are already enraged. I think they are shipped from the factory that way.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuperversive

How do you think we feel here in the UK? We are only 26 miles from the CESM!

And a hHappy New Year Scott, thanks for all the hard work entertaining us throughout the year.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick in the UK

It's still a more useful phrase than "L'évêque est beau", oui?

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessiEeee!

Scott, not only is your comic a load of pure awesome, but you have an advertisement of my favorite currently manufactured car on the right side of your web page. What more could I ask for? Keep up the good work.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSevalecan


The copyright date!!! It's all so confusing - what year is this? Why are we still here? When will it all end?

OK - that was fun, now I'll read the strip.

Happy New Year & See you next year!

Thanks for all the chuckles in 2011 :)

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrent Kobayashi

Zut alors! I made a New Year's resolution to not say Québécois out loud. I guess that one's shot.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoul of Wit

"Je ne sais quoi": It always amuses me to hear this expression used by the posh or snob in english.

"Je" -> "I"
"Ne" --> "not"
"sais" --> "know"
"quoi" --> "what".

So, quite directly:

This rice pudding tastes of a certain 'je ne sais quoi'...
This rice pudding tastes of a certain I don't know what.

Perhaps old milk.

I don't think I've ever seen a BI cartoon discussing snobbism but it seems fertile topic to explore.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

"How to finally realize what was really going on"??

Degree of difficulty: 4.0, but you didn't stick the landing so, you get 4s and 5s and the Russian judge doesn't know WHAT to think.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMoon

I just wanted to point out that it is 2012. Your copyright says 2011. :-)

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTG

Dear sir, I am a time cop from the future. You are in violation on code 546-67-C. Please correct the 2011 with 2012, as it will cause events similar to the movie ''2012'' and the movie ''Time Cop"".
Thank you and procede with your timeline.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

@Moon The Russian judge thinks "Das vadania, Americanski!"

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterByron Black

@ Cougar: Je nais se quoi means that someone/something has a certain something about them that makes them stand out from other things.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTabitha

I think some people don't "get" a second language. They may be those who don't express themselves well in their first one, either. (Points to self)

I leave speaking foreign languages to foreigners, who are naturally much better at it than I am, and to some of my non-foreign neighbours who are also disturbingly good at it. You try not to hope that one day they'll get it wrong in a cafe on holiday and order an enema aux framboises, or something.

I think nowadays video can be employed by a schoolteacher without it being a big deal, which wasn't the case in my day.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

Michael S - New Brunswick! :3

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChare

You could just leave the copyright date off, you know. It hasn't actually been required since 1989. Your copyright is equally valid with or without the copyright notice.

Also, I never took French, but I learned more Spanish from Speedy Gonzales cartoons than I did from two and a half years of high school Spanish classes.

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLockeZ

We had to watch "Le Ballon Rouge" every damn year. It's got one word in it: "Ballon! ballon!"

January 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJSC

Daniel, correcting your timeline several weeks ago, could not possibly be danny pudi, he of the evil timeline moustache. could he? nah.

February 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjim

"It's 2012, but it says 2011. 2011! But it isn't 2011! What's going on? It's 2012. The copyright must be wrong. Or it's old material! What's going on? What's Scott trying to do to me? Is it part of a very subtle joke? Must be. A little joke. It's NOT FUNNY! It's not 2011! IT"S 2012!! 2012!!
<runs to window, jumps out>

Is self-defenestration of frustrated, pedantic date-mongers becoming rampant?

March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAtari

Actually it's an old problem in teaching languages (and other subjects), finding an example which uses the item being taught but nothing else that the student does not already know. Hence the unrealistic and somewhat bizarre examples that crop up. They're sometimes known as 'Postillion examples' (see the wikipedia entry My Postillion has been struck by lightning.)
In Asterix in Britain the eponymous hero meets people telling him such interesting information as:
"My spear is smaller than the boat of my uncle yet larger than the pen of my aunt."
I suspect that this is the authors reference to the English lessons that they had to endure in school.
You get a similar problem with maths, hence the old questions like:
" If it takes three men five days to dig a hole eight feet long, two feet wide and six feet deep then how long does it take seven men to dig a hole five feet wide, seven feet long and four feet deep?"
A question to which the only sensible answer is:
"Who cares?"

Anyway. Great strip as always Scott. Still thoroughly enjoying your work. Soon I shall have gone through the archive and be up to date, so I too shall be able to be a pedantic bastard and whinge about any typos that I spot. I'm quite looking forward to it. :)

May 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStevie Hair

Manon of the Spring! :D I love that movie.

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteroldbushie

It’d be even worse if you grew up in Canada. As Michael S. notes above, you have to take French every year from kindergarten through senior high school. After all that, you still don’t speak French. But you have learned to hate French.

January 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterFelicity

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