Flies met cute

The Wayno/Piraro Bizarro from 8/7 features a housefly couple telling the story of how they met:

(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 5 in this strip — see this Page.)

Where to begin? Well, it’s a decidedly meta cartoon, in which the characters know they are cartoon characters and comment on that fact. And it’s a cartoon in which parallel worlds are aligned and translated from one to the other: a world of conventional American  domesticity (in which couples meet and form relationships, and entertain friends in their home); and a world of fly jokes, turning on the appearance of houseflies in soup at restaurants.

All this held together by a story type in film-making: the meet cute form, in which unlikely accidents of meeting lead to romantic involvements.

Background 1: meeting cute. From my 6/26/13 posting “meet cute”, citing OED3 (June 2001):

to meet cute: (in film-makers’ jargon, of two characters) to have an accidental meeting which leads to or is followed by romantic involvement.

In #1, the meeting was the accident of the two flies having appeared in the same restaurant-soup fly joke — who could have predicted that? — and then fallen into a relationship. They met cute.

Background 2: the fly-in-the-soup joke family. From my 10/8/18 posting “Fly formulaicity”, a note on the Bizarro of 10/3/18, about a set-up line for jokes (with a collection of examples):


“Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup”. With many ripostes (and also a related family of waiter-and-food jokes). Don’t know the history, but people have collected the jokes.

(Just a passing note: the flies in #2 are much closer to 4-limbed human beings than the 6-limbed flies in #1. Which of the two worlds do you take your details from? The cartoonist’s task is not an easy one.)


2 Responses to “Flies met cute”


    A limerick, apparently anonymous, that was old when I learned it in the early 1950s:

    An epicure, dining at Crewe,
    found quite a large mouse in his stew.
    Said the waiter, “Don’t shout,
    or wave it about,
    or the rest will be wanting one, too!

    • Robert Coren Says:

      Also, a joke in the form of a restaurant dialogue:

      Querulous costumer: “Waiter, what’s this fly doing in my soup?”
      Waiter (after brief examination): “The backstroke, sir.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: