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October 17, 2006 7:23 PM   Subscribe

In the intro to The Big Lebowski, a monologue by The Stranger (which I have more or less memorized), he says "See, they call Los Angeles the "City Of Angels"; but I didn't find it to be that, exactly. But I'll allow it as there are some nice folks there. 'Course I ain't never been to London, and I ain't never seen France. And I ain't never seen no queen in her damned undies, so the feller says. But I'll tell you what - after seeing Los Angeles, and this here story I'm about to unfold, well, I guess I seen somethin' every bit as stupefyin' as you'd seen in any of them other places. And in English, too." What is the allusion being made with "the queen in her damned undies" and who is the feller who said so?
posted by jimfl to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It is reference to the schoolyard rhyme, recited sing-song fashion when you see some one's underwear:

I see London/I see France/ I see Jimfl's underpants!
posted by LarryC at 7:26 PM on October 17, 2006

I'm guessing it's an allusion to the old kid's rhyme,

"I see London, I see France
I see (name)'s underpants!"

I don't exactly know who the feller was, or where the queen comes into it, but I've seen the rhyme used with Fergie's and Maggie's (Margaret Thatcher's) underpants so I reckon it's been used to refer to the Queen as well. Lizzie, maybe? :)
posted by andraste at 7:27 PM on October 17, 2006

I took it to be a reference to the childrens' rhyme "I see London, I see France, I see [insert name of other child]'s un-der-pants". Maybe that rhyme was used in England with the name of the Queen inserted where my schoolmates would insert another child's name?
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:27 PM on October 17, 2006

"I see London, I see France, I see 's underpants!"
Extremely common children's rhyme, at least where I'm from.
I am sure there is a history to it, but like many ubiquitous sayings, a quick google search yields nothing.

posted by nightchrome at 7:28 PM on October 17, 2006

It's an old child's rhyme.

"I see London, I see France, I see the queen's underpants."

We used to saya version of this to each other when we were kids, substituting the kid's name whose underpants you could see.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:29 PM on October 17, 2006

In fact, it's so common that there's an underwear company called I See France.

"The Feller" is the western acquivalent (I'm guessing) of "As my mom used to say..." or "The wise man says..." etc.
posted by dobbs at 7:32 PM on October 17, 2006

Best answer: Also: "so the feller says" is the same as " so they say" or "as the old saying goes".

I figure it's a reference, like all the folks up there've said, to "I see London/I see France/I see (name)'s underpants" only with a little "Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen" mixed in.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:34 PM on October 17, 2006

hot soup girl, that's the first reference I thought of. Especially since it continues (if memory serves):

"Pussycat, pussycat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair!"
posted by trip and a half at 7:49 PM on October 17, 2006

Hm. I always thought it was a reference to that guy who had snuck into Buckingham Palace. Didn't that happen around the time the movie came out?
posted by bingo at 8:10 PM on October 17, 2006

I can't believe I was asleep at the wheel for a lebowski-related question!

I nth the 'I see London...' reference. It's always been what comes to mind during the intro.

You/we know The Feller. You know, the same guy who said "sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar, well, he eats you". It's the equivalent of an "a wise man once said" type-of-thing.

8 year olds, dude.
posted by littlelebowskiurbanachiever at 8:22 PM on October 17, 2006

Excellent question, James!
posted by mwhybark at 8:32 PM on October 30, 2006

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