The One Where They Say Something But It Sounds Like Something Else
August 14, 2020 7:37 PM   Subscribe

A lot of early episodes of Friends utilize a certain joke structure (examples and TV Tropes article below). Basically, the characters will talk about something, but it's written in a way where it sounds a lot like another, completely unrelated conversation trope for comedic effect. The characters don't acknowledge the parallel, but the audience does. I swear I learned a more academic term for this, but can't find it. Am I overthinking, or does some type of rhetorical device describe this?

Digging through TV Tropes gives me this, but I feel like there's a more precise, literary term for this:
Does This Remind You of Anything?

And examples from the show:
Monica admits to shopping with Julie (Ross's GF) to Rachel = an infidelity confession
Ross debates where to send his pet monkey Marcel to = a college admissions talk

I swear the term was something more complex than something like "innuendo" or "irony". But if that's the case, then that's the case.
posted by galleta monster to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: At Second City, it's called "mapping."
posted by Charity Garfein at 7:43 PM on August 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 8:15 PM on August 14, 2020

posted by Harvey Kilobit at 9:07 PM on August 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

a form of comedic misdirection?
posted by squiddish at 11:54 PM on August 14, 2020

A misunderstanding?
posted by freethefeet at 2:10 AM on August 15, 2020

Double entendre?
posted by LoonyLovegood at 3:59 AM on August 15, 2020

Allegory? a story that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.
posted by theora55 at 7:56 AM on August 15, 2020

Allegory certainly could fit. Or extended metaphor.

But I think the key thing about what you're describing is the fact that the audience is aware of the reference but the characters are not.

So for me, this would be "extended metaphor with dramatic irony."

I'm not sure if there's one specific word for the whole concept.
posted by lewedswiver at 3:45 PM on August 15, 2020

Best answer: If you're looking for the schmancy rhetorical term for double entendre, it is "adianoeta."
posted by babelfish at 4:22 PM on August 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's also "dramatic irony," which is when the audience knows something the characters don't.
posted by mermaidcafe at 7:31 PM on August 15, 2020 [1 favorite]

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