Go, and never darken my towels again.

I didn’t watch the Super Bowl.  I didn’t even watch the Puppy Bowl, which is what the kids were watching.  I sat in the kitchen and ate so much hot spinach artichoke dip that I didn’t even have room for the main dish, which was bacon.  Bacon, do you hear me?

Okay, I had a few pieces.  But I didn’t have room!

Anyway, I guess I missed the main point of the Super Bowl, which was the commercials.  Sounds like I didn’t miss much.  I know that they’re often trashy and offensive, and everyone says they were also stupid and annoying this year.  And . . . violent?  Here’s what DoubleX Factor’s Marjorie Valbrun had to say:

Aside from being sexist, several ads . . . seemed surprisingly violent, including those focused on men. I had not watched a Super Bowl game in several years, so perhaps the level of violence is not that unusual to regular watchers. But they still seemed aggressively physical. . . Do the commercials really have to be just as physical as the game to hold our attention?

I have a really hard time seeing the problem with aggressively physical commercials aired during a game which is about trying to kill each other.  I guess the bloggers just bored with being outraged about sexism, which I can understand — it must be exhausting, especially for poor, frail females!  Tee hee.

In case you are not familiar with the Double X Blog, it’s from the liberal but contrarian Slate magazine, and has the montrsously inaccurate tagline, “What women really think.”  This is kind of like a bag of salt having the tagline, “What slugs really want.”  Nevertheless, I read the dreadful thing to keep in touch with the kind of women who (and this really happened once) see me coming down with the sidewalk with my kids and say, “Eek!” and run away.

Most of the writers are run-of-the-mill, perpetually outraged feminists.  Amanda Marcotte stands out for her near-epileptic, flecks-of-spittle style of journalism, which recently and notably led her to blame pro-lifers for the grisly horrors committed by Kermit Gosnell.  Even her fellow bloggers took her to task for that bizarre accusation.  I can’t even worry too much about the damage she can do with that point of view, because you’d have to be so far down nutso creek to take her seriously, there’s no turning back.

Okay, fine, so back to the Super Bowl:  the women didn’t like the violence, they didn’t like the sexism, they didn’t like the stupidity.  But then the blogger had this to say:

It felt as if advertisers went for cheap laughs this year at the expense of imagination or wit.  I almost expected the Marx Brothers to show up.

Ohhh, no.

No, no, no.

Humorless feminist, you have gone too far.  The Marx Brothers signify a dearth of imagination and wit?  What is this, backwards day?

I desperately hope she simply has never seen a Marx Brothers movie, and only knows that they’re those black-and-white guys in the window of Poster Barn at the mall.  And this is a crying shame.  If you look up “imagination and wit” in the dictionary, you will see a picture of Harpo Marx giving his leg to a blonde debutante.  If you Google “imagination and wit, ” you will hear Groucho telling Margaret Dumont, “Those are my principles!  And if you don’t like them . . . well, I have others.”  And if it’s sexism you like, here’s Groucho as Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer:  “We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren’t developed yet.  But we’re going back again in a couple of weeks!”

We’re doing our part to innoculate our kids against creeping radical feminism:  we’re having a Marx Brothers festival.  So far we’ve seen A Night at the Opera, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, and even A Night in Casablanca, which was much funnier than I remembered.

Well, Marjorie Valbrun, why don’t you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out.  Normal humans:  what’s your favorite Marx Brothers line?


  1. “I’m fighting for this lady’s honor–which is more than she ever did.”

    (I don’t know if I remembered it word for word.)

  2. “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

    And I remember loooving A Night in Casablanca! Must watch again!

  3. Not my favorite Marx Brothers quote, but my favorite Simcha Fischer quote of the day: “This is kind of like a bag of salt having the tagline, “What slugs really want.” ” You almost made me lose it laughing in the middle of a very boring work conference call – reading your posts is dangerous.

  4. From “Animal Crackers” (I think): “The stockholders of today are the stowaways of tomorrow!”

    I saw this in a theater after the ’87 stock crash and it got a huge laugh. I don’t believe this line will ever date.

      • As I posted somewhere else- my boy watched a few episodes of Wonderpets on Netflix. Just listening to it from the kitchen drove me batty- it took season one of The Muppet Show to get him right again.

        • I *loathe* Wonderpets. Why, why, why?!?! Who would be so cruel as to subject a child to such horrors?

          Muppet Show, old “Addams Family” episodes, and “Rocky and Bullwinkle” -those are the shows my kind of kid is raised on.

          Ok, ok, and a little “Backyardigans” just to keep them au currant. The “Samurai Pie” episode is a favorite around here.

      • There is supposed to be a verse that didn’t make it by the censors that included the line, “When she stands her lap gets littler, when she sits she sits on Hitler.”

  5. I the Marx Bros. We grew up on them and I’m not even 30 yet so she has no excuse! One of my favorites: Three men and one woman are trapped in a building! Send help at once! If you can’t send help, send two more women!

    Duck Soup, I think…

  6. I have never posted comments anywhere before but I could not let your posts go past with out a thank you for the laughs. I have never seen the Marx brothers (sad for me) and the lines you quoted gave me a much needed laugh…I think the elephant in pajamas and the inside of the dog will keep me going all day long. Have a blessed day and thanks again!

  7. I don’t have a favorite (being more of a Bertie Wooster quoter), but my husband’s favorite is Groucho popping out of a haystack saying, “Where are all those farmer’s daughters I’ve heard about?” Yes, he’s a typical over-sexed Catholic male and finds that kind of thing hilarious.

  8. I recently wrote a blog post about my favorite movie quotes & I almost included “Go and never darken my towels again”. I have so many favorite Marx Brothers’ quotes, though, so I limited myself to “and two hard boiled eggs”. But what a treat to visit your blog and see that line.

    by the way, the name of my blog “strange figures” is from a Marx Brothers bit, as is my tagline – “I came here for a party, and what do I get? Nothing. Not even ice cream.”

  9. I have never watched them. I seriously seem to be missing out! I also read the DoubleXX column for the same reasons. And usually it is pitiful. Can’t we have a Christian equivalent? With you, Jen Fulwiler, Mollie Ziegler (Getreligion.org), and others? That would be awesome! Except, of course, mostly, you ladies are a little busy with your families. Go figure!

    • I read Slate and DoubleXX too and sometimes I think I do it just to deliberately get all upset and give myself an adrenaline high. Sort of an outrage rush. Better than espresso!

      I also like to post sane, common-sense comments and then go back later to read the horrified reactions of all the lefty dimwits.

      It is my guilty pleasure.

  10. A bit of Marx Bros trivia (I don’t know if this is apocryphal): A lot of their stuff was improv., right off the top of their heads, no script. But there was a problem with the camera men laughing so much, that the cameras shook and the scene had to be shot again. The director finally told the Marxes that they had to write and stick to a script and the camera men had to read it before shooting so they’d know what was coming. I bet it was still hard though.

  11. Groucho (in paraphrase): Let’s all get married!
    Horrified Lady: But that’s bigamy!
    Groucho: Of course it’s big of you. It’s big of me too! It’s big of all of us! Let’s all be big for a change!

  12. When I saw the title of this post, I knew it was going to be AWESOME. I am eternally grateful to my Dad for indoctrinating us with the annual New Year’s Eve Duck Soup viewing. (That DVD is out of print, BTW. Talk about crimes against humanity.) To this day I cannot watch the State of the Union address without wishing they would burst into the “We’re going to war!” number.

    “That party was incredible. I was blind for three days.”

    “To me you suggest a baboon. I’m sorry I said that, it isn’t fair to the rest of the baboons.”

    “Well, I covers a lot of ground. Say, you cover a lot of ground yourself. You better beat it, I hear they’re going to tear you down and put up an office building where you’re standing. You can leave in a taxi. Or you can leave in a huff. If that’s too soon you can leave in a minute and a huff. Say, you know you haven’t stopped talking since I got here? You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.”

    The only really good super bowl commercial was the Bridgestone reply-all one.

  13. Lady: Sir, you try my patience.
    Groucho: I don’t mind if I do. You must come over and try mine sometime!

    (If my kids could quote this to me they would probably get off the hook sometimes…)

  14. Margaret Dumont: “oh your excellency, this is your gala day!”
    Groucho: “Well, that sounds about right. I don’t think I could handle more than a gal a day!”

    no imagination! what about the mirror scene from Duck Soup?

  15. All my favorites have already been quoted. But Alan Alda had a line on M*A*S*H that reminded me very much of Groucho Marx: “What would Hippocrates say? What would Socrates say? And what would you say if I asked you into a closet for a couple of minutes of heavy breathing?”

  16. “Love goes out the door when money comes innuendo.” Thanks for the post– now I have a universal excuse for calling Slate writers creepy.

  17. Haha, so I’ve been reading this blog for a long time, but honestly a favorite Marx Bros line thread?! This could save the world.

    Graucho- “Will you marry me? Did he leave you any money? Answer the second question first.”
    Margaret Dumont (was she Mrs. Teasdale in this one? Whichever Margaret Dumont character it was)- Why, he left me his entire fortune.
    Graucho- “Cant you see what I’m trying to tell you? I love you! Marriage! I can see you standing over a hot stove…. but I can’t see the stove. You’d better watch out, they’re thinking of tearing you down and putting up a building where you’re standing…. you might think me a sentimental old fluff, but may I have a lock of your hair?”
    Margaret Dumont- “A lock of my hair?”
    Graucho- “You’re getting off easy, I was going to ask for the whole wig!”

  18. Also the inimitable Joey Prever quoted the “marry both of us? But that wouuld be Bigamy!” “Well it’d be pretty big-a-me too!” line my freshman year at TM and it’s pretty much never left my mind since.

  19. Oh oh oh, my favorite ever actually is from Horse Feathers: Graucho- (Romantically) “Did my son ever tell you, you have beautiful eyes?”
    Connie Bailey- “Why, yes. Yes he did.”
    Graucho- (outraged) Well he told that to me too! HE TELLS THAT TO EVERYONE HE MEETS!”

    (Also the whole concept of the College Widow was very puzzling to me for years.)

  20. Harpo Marx’ autobiography “Harpo Speaks” is definitely worth reading. Witty, surprising, often profound, delightful.

  21. Marx brothers certainly deserve more than that! She had no clue what she was talking about.

    But my favorite quote would have to be: “Well, Art is Art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.”~Groucho Marx, Animal Crackers.

    That and Duck Soup are my favorite films of them. Groucho was a legend!

  22. Ah, yes. One day when my youngest was three we were on a subway and he was singing to his reflection in the glass. And what was he singing? “My name is Captain Spaulding, the African explorer…”

    All the faces around were grinning in that “Isn’t he cute?” kind of way. But one person’s face — only one — had a look of shock. I knew immediately that he was the only person who knew where the song came from.

    That was probably the year my three daughters dressed as the Marx Brothers for Halloween. None of their friends knew who they were, and one daughter’s *teacher* didn’t even know. Surely the world is falling apart.

  23. From the “marriage/did he leave you a fortune” scene:

    DuMont: “Come closer, closer.”

    Groucho:”If I was any closer I’d be behind you.”

  24. My guess is she figured all movies in black and white are the same and got the Marx Brothers confused with the Stooges. And I’m glad, as a Stooges quotation thread wouldn’t be nearly so entertaining.

    • I agree, I think that’s what must have happened. And that physical comedy doesn’t lend itself well to quotation.

  25. BTW, if you follow the Muppet Show link, you’ll not only find the song from Animal Crackers, but also the scene in Young Frankenstein:

    Frankenstein: Igor, would you give me a hand with the bags?

    Igor: (Groucho voice) Certainly. You take the blonde and I’ll take the one in the turban.

  26. Hi. I’m a “creeping, radical feminist” — exactly the kind who sees you coming down with the sidewalk with your kids and says, “Eek!” and runs away.

    And I am emerging from lurkdom to say, I think both the Marx Brothers AND your blog are hilarious, and indulging in both is time well-spent.

  27. From the song in “Horsefeathers”

    “It makes no difference what you say,
    It doesn’t matter anyway,
    Whatever it is, I’m against it!!!
    No matter what it is or who commenced it,
    I’m against it!!!”

    “Your proposition may be good,
    but lets have one thing understood,
    Whatever it is, I’m against it!!!”

    So many great quotes. They literally poke fun at everybody. And most of their stuff really was ad-lib.

  28. I told my father about this discussion last night, and he said that his favorite was from Horse Feathers:

    “Well, I thought my razor was dull until I heard that speech.”

  29. Pick a number from one to ten.

    Groucho and Chico Marx in Duck Soup

    Thanks so much! The commercials were horrid…except for the Darth Vadar one.

  30. I only saw a couple of commercials of the Super Bowl before I got really bored with them. Later, I happened to see one that was quite delightful and probably the best of the lot. That was the one about the little boy dressed as Darth Vadar trying unsuccessfully to use his “powers” until he tried them on his father’s car and it started! Of course Dad did it with the remote, but it was so precious!

  31. The commercials, especially the Pepsi Max ones, were particularly violent. And maybe the writer was thinking of the Three Stooges, who would recognize wit if it gouged them in … never mind.

    As for the Marxes…
    “Go and never darken my towels again,” is my all-time favorite, but whenever my cats start to fight I like to quote, “Hey you big bully, stop picking on that little bully.”
    And of course, the line about picking up the check from “Night at the Opera,” … “That’s outrageous, I wouldn’t pay that if I were you.”

  32. The commercials, especially the Pepsi Max ones, were particularly violent. And maybe the writer was thinking of the Three Stooges, who would recognize wit if it gouged them in … never mind.

    As for the Marxes…
    “Go and never darken my towels again,” is my all-time favorite, but whenever my cats start to fight I like to quote, “Hey you big bully, stop picking on that little bully.”
    And of course, the line about picking up the check from “Night at the Opera,” … “That’s outrageous, I wouldn’t pay that if I were you.”

  33. One of my favourite Groucho lines – not ‘verbatim’ of course. Margaret Dumont, on discovering that Groucho, by his loud voice, is sitting at the table behind her, sitting with a laughing blonde-haired girl when he was supposed to have been dining with her, turns round, says, slightly shocked: “Why, Mr Flywheel, why are you sitting with that woman?” Groucho responds, dancing his eyebrows: “Why, I’m sitting with her because she reminds me so much of you.”!!

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