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Mar 24, 2014 01:35 PM

Fusilli you crazy bastard

This is a cartoon from the New Yorker, which I understand is pretty famous, but I never understood what it means. Can someone please explain?

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  1. Fusilli is a corkScrewy pasta, hence 'you crazy bastard'. The Rigatoni is the cardigan sweater of the pasta world.

    1. There's already a thread with this cartoon:

      Fu-SILLY. As in the Seinfeld episode wherein Kramer makes a pasta sculpture of "Fusilli Jerry", onto which Frank takes a painful tumble.

      1 Reply
      1. re: greygarious

        One of my favorite episodes of Seinfield - LOL!

      2. I think you didn't get it because you were looking for more than what's there. Like mcsheridan says, the lines of the fusilli are all wavy, so he's wild and crazy to the rigatoni which is all straight lines. And most people know some goofy man who likes to say things like "You crazy bastard!" to other, only marginally more interesting men, because it makes him feel less less interesting to think he has crazy friends and to use the word 'bastard' in a jolly, devil-may-care way.

        I think this is one of those New Yorker cartoons that's supposed to be funny precisely because it's a little lame. They do a lot of those.

        Have you seen any of these? . Every now and then the New Yorker runs the "I don't get it" cartoon I.Q. test, sort of mocking their own tendency to run cartoons that are a bit obscure.

        14 Replies
        1. re: ninrn

          There was a 60 Minutes segment on the New Yorker cartoons last night. Bringing it back to Seinfeld, there was an episode with the use of terms like you crazy bastard with George when he worked with the Yankees. A marathon runner picked up the phrases from George and ended up in hot water because of it.

          1. re: JAB

            Yes, there are a lot of New Yorker cartoon references in Seinfeld. They must be one of Larry David's many pet peeves. I think there was even one whole episode where the theme is that no one, not even the editor of the New Yorker, understands the New Yorker cartoons. I think it's the same one in which Elaine comes up with a cartoon of a pig at the complaints counter and later finds she accidentally plagiarized it from Ziggy. Fusilli Jerry and George saying "you crazy bastard" have to be references to this one that the OP is talking about.

            1. re: ninrn

              This now-famous one was the one Elaine didn't understand. The caption is "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog."

              1. re: greygarious

                The dog is one of my favorite cartoons of all time, and I've been following New Yorker cartoons all my life.

              2. re: ninrn

                The secret punch line of that Seinfeld episode is that it was written by Bruce Eric Kaplan, who is better known for his day a cartoonist for the New Yorker.

            2. re: ninrn

              LOL, I know a goofy man just like that! He'll call me up and say, "What's going on, you crazy bitch?" To which, I'm supposed to reply, "Not much, you crazy bastard!"

              As to cardigan sweater of the pasta world, oh, c'mon now. At least rigatoni have lines, however straight, to keep them interesting. Plain penne (not rigate), they'll put ya right to sleep. ;) And campanelle--well, I mean LOOK AT THEM. Can there be any doubt they're a little out there?

              1. re: kattyeyes

                Rigatoni are actually quite risqué. Apparently the word can have a phallic double entendre. You can find it on YouTube by searching Fellini and Barilla -- Fellini directed a commercial for Barilla pasta in the 1980s in which an elegant woman goes to a restaurant, and the waiters practically stand on their heads enumerating all the fancy foods, to which she responds sensuously and slowly "rigatoni." I had to have it explained to me, but the double entendre was why everybody found it hysterically funny.

                1. re: mbfant

                  Of course, I had to look it up:

                  I didn't know about the double entendre, but it's not surprising. Is the punch line that it should be served al dente?! ;)

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    Reminds me of a Saturday Night Live sketch where the entire male staff at a restaurant fawns over a female customer.

                  2. re: mbfant

                    That increases the bigotry level in the Barilla owner's more recent comments about it being a family-oriented company, so that they would never consider doing a commercial with a same-sex component. Fellini's take on the product isn't exactly G-rated (G-spot notwithstanding).

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Well, Rigatoni (my very favorite pasta, btw) is all straight up and down, and ribbed. Reliable and sturdy.

                      Pet peeve: not enough restaurants offer it, yielding to the lamer penne instead.

                      1. re: mcsheridan

                        I can't read your post and not snicker after what mbfant said. Every once in a while this site has still got it! ;)

                        1. re: mcsheridan

                          If ever there was an incentive for us foreigners to work on pronouncing those Italian double consonants correctly ...

                    2. And there's more...
                      How many cartoons have had a dish named because of (and for) them?


                      1. Don't feel bad, even the editor in chief of the New Yorker admits often time after he "ok's" a cartoon for the magazine he realizes he doesn't get it either. (source 60 Minutes 3/23/14)