Monday, August 13, 2012

Friends and Lady Macbeth

"The One with the Tiny T-Shirt." By Adam Chase. Perf. Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer, and James Michael Tyler. Dir. Terry Hughes. Friends. Season 3, episode 19. NBC. 27 March 1997. DVD. Warner Home Video, 2003.

The omnivorous Shakespeare Geek usually beats me to the punch in relaying information about forthcoming Shakespeare films and cultural references to Shakespeare—which is why you should all follow his blog as well as mine—and this is no exception. In fact, Shakespeare Geek's blog called my attention to this Shakespeare reference in Friends. His post, written in 2008, mentions a brief Shakespeare joke in the show; however, his post doesn't provide the context or a nifty video clip. I felt that it was up to me to do so.

In this clip, Joey is mad at an actress who is treating him as an inferior because of her training in drama. Searching for a way to explain how she thinks she's better than anyone else, Joey ends his sentence with a cliché that doesn't quite jive with the beginning of his sentence:

Chandler is quick to jump on the incongruity and to imagine a speculative actress who is actually named Sliced Bread (the caption on the image above should have capitalized "Bread" to stay with the joke)—one who made herself memorable as great by playing the role of Lady Macbeth. Once again, Shakespeare demonstrates his usefulness as a marker of cultural greatness—as does Shakespeare Geek.

Links: The Episode at IMDB.
Click below to purchase all the Friends you can stand from
(and to support Bardfilm as you do so).



Asja ABC said...

So, I didn't understand the joke anyway. What is Sliced Bread? I watched Friends in translation and understood it as a name of some foodstuff, in Russian translation it was kinda 'sliced sausage'.

kj said...

The difficulty is that it's an idiom that is not used quite properly. The idiom is "The best thing since sliced bread," and it means something like "An amazing thing." Joey doesn't use it right, and Chandler plays up on that by pretending the phrase "sliced bread" is the name of an actress: "Sliced Bread."

I like the idea that the Russian translation takes "bread" to mean "sausage."

Take care, and thanks for the question!


Traveller said...

The Ukrainian translation was excellent, from my point of view.
It was something like:
- she thinks she plays like Saint-bernard [dog breed, like the one from the Beethoven comedy movie]
- you mean, Sarah Bernhardt [french actress]
The pronunciation is almost the same, despite of spelling. And it’s really funny :)

kj said...

I love all that enormously! Thank you so much, Traveller!


Bardfilm is normally written as one word, though it can also be found under a search for "Bard Film Blog." Bardfilm is a Shakespeare blog (admittedly, one of many Shakespeare blogs), and it is dedicated to commentary on films (Shakespeare movies, The Shakespeare Movie, Shakespeare on television, Shakespeare at the cinema), plays, and other matter related to Shakespeare (allusions to Shakespeare in pop culture, quotes from Shakespeare in popular culture, quotations that come from Shakespeare, et cetera).

Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
All material original to this blog is copyrighted: Copyright 2008-2039 (and into perpetuity thereafter) by Keith Jones.

The very instant that I saw you did / My heart fly to your service; there resides, / To make me slave to it; and, for your sake, / Am I this patient [b]log-man.

—The Tempest