MOVIE & TV JOKES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED IF YOU ONLY SPEAK ENGLISH
Directors and writers love to hide jokes in movies and TV shows, and the easiest way to do so is in a language other than English. Even when movies are deadly serious, in-jokes abound, and TV series can get away with being quite rude or just plain silly. In this list, you will find well-known movies and TV shows that all had jokes hidden away in other languages, be it in the dialogue, set, or otherwise.
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION
ST:TNG, like many sci-fi series, explores the human condition through relatable fiction while being thoroughly entertaining. Artificial intelligence, democracy, and diplomacy are just a few of the topics given the stage. But did you know that there was a running theme of in-jokes referring to Japanese anime threaded throughout?
The episode titled “The Icarus Factor” sees first officer William Riker dealing with a personal crisis concerning his estranged father. Resolution can only come by meeting him in combat and trying to beat the stuffing out of him with a giant Q-tip. The form of space combat chosen is the fictional martial art anbo-jyutsu. The ring in which they fight has the character for “star” flanked by the words Ataru and Ramu printed on the floor, and a banner in the background reads “Urusei Yatsura”.
Urusei Yatsura was a comedic manga series that ran from 1978 to 1987 whose main characters were named Ataru and Ramu, which translates to tits and ass. Gene Roddenberry would roll in his grave laughing.
Although Morse code isn’t necessarily another language, it was used to comedic effect in the 2005 Peter Jackson movie King Kong. Jack Black’s character is a driven, smooth-talking megalomaniac with a personality resembling Jerry Maguire from the 1996 movie of the same name. In one scene, a Morse code message is received by the ship carrying Black and his film crew to Skull Island, ordering the crew to arrest Black’s character for embezzlement and theft. The Morse code actually dots and dashes the phrase, “Show me the monkey”, a spoof on the perennial line from Jerry Maguire.
You wouldn’t think that this slice of classic cartoon comedy would need any extra laughs, but there were often background jokes hidden in episodes. In two episodes titled “Chickenlover” and “Ike’s Wee Wee”, the alphabet in Mr. Garrison’s class room spells out the Spanish phrase “Dios Mio, han matado has (sic) Kenny, Bastardos”, which of course translates as “Oh My God, they killed Kenny, you Bastards!”.
GAME OF THRONES
Certainly one of the most popular series of all time, the writers of GoT weren’t shy about dropping a few puns. During season 4 when the Meereenese champion and Daenerys are set to do battle, the former rails insults at the Mother of Dragons in Low Valyrian, which, when translated, are the very same insults used by the French knight towards King Arthur and his daffy entourage in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries”, “I fart in your general direction”, “Go and boil your bottoms, son of a silly person”, etc. etc.
THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK
In The Lost World: Jurassic Park, one scene sees a T-Rex rampaging through San Diego, wherein a Japanese businessman fleeing in terror shouts over the crowd, “We left Tokyo to get away from this!” in Japanese. That’s a Godzilla pun there in case you missed it.
Even hardcore fans got trolled during the season 5 trailer for the popular series Silicon Valley. Gavin Belson is giving a talk in front of a large screen full of binary code. Everything is very serious, but if you know binary, you will have noticed the message that translates into English as “Find a hobby, for God’s sake”.