21 Comments

  1. It’s like a Dennis-the-Menace trope. The child has heard some figure of speech uttered by parents, takes it literally, and says something later in front of other adults that would be innocent if just literal but embarrasses the parents because it reveals they were saying something disparaging about the other adults.

  2. I don’t think she thought there were literal troughs. She’s just baiting her father (a favorite pastime) and as a bonus, she gets to fluster the doorman.

  3. Cynthia is a smart and snarky tween or young teen, and it would be a mistake to take her statements as necessarily sincere. I don’t think she supposes that there is a literal trough. I think she is just giving her father a hard time, as she often does.

    In contrast, Gracie often does say things that seem at odds with her demonstrated intelligence.

  4. No, I put it wrong — I agree Cynthia doesn’t naively misunderstand the remark, but instead is “pulling a Dennis” in pretense, to get a rise.

    (Or maybe “a Gracie” except I don’t know who you mean. I thought the original — Gracie Allen — but that wouldn’t fit some of the things you are saying about her. Is your Gracie a relative of Baldo? A character in “Angry Little Girls”? Oh oh oh, no it’s one I even read regularly but don’t know the names! The discontinued legacy one from the “Working Daze” guy — “Maria’s Day”! Hmm, no, she would be Maria, not Gracie. I give up.)

  5. @Winter, yes, the “real” Dennis doesn’t do that much of this nowadays, but the SFPC parody version is totally poisonous every time!

  6. Mitch4, the Gracie referred to is Baldo’s little sister.

    I don’t think anyone would consider Gracie Allen, in her stage persona, to have demonstrated intelligence.

  7. @ CIDU Bill – The answer to your subtitle question is that “they” did not go to the club (together). Cynthia showed up at the door (alone and unplanned), her father was called outside to intercept her and take her home.

  8. “why would they be at Barney’s men’s club?”

    Because that’s where the fat cats hang out feeding from the trough in the political cartoons.

  9. I remember some of the Dennis lines from the early days. “*I* don’t think he drinks like a fish!” “I don’t see no blue streak when you talk.” Or the time when the Mitchells had a middle-aged couple as guests for dinner, when the main course came out, Dennis said “Roast beef! I’m glad to see that! Dad said that we were going to have a couple of STUFFED SHIRTS for dinner!”

  10. And to attempt an answer to that question: Because that’s where the plutocrats like her father tend to gather; so that’s where their public-money troughs might be found.

    Sorry about sounding a bit crusty about identifying Gracie. (And I did at least subconsciously know to mention Baldo.) As for Gracie Allen, agreed her character was not meant to be secretly brilliant — but the actual person I think I’ve seen should be credited as co-creator and co-writer with George of much of their shows together. And “Say goodnight, Gracie”/”Goodnight, Gracie!” is surely one of the all-time great gags, eternally imitated or referenced, and of the utmost simplicity.

  11. (This might repeat a swallowed comment.)

    George Burns did give credit to Gracie. He said most of the creative work was hers. He also said that “Say goodnight, Gracie”/”Goodnight, Gracie!” never happened.

  12. The “Say goodnight” gag, which people swear they heard Burns and Allen perform, actually came from Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In: “Say goodnight, Dick” etc.

    No doubt a nod to Burns and Allen, though probably a small percentage of the audience realized that.

  13. Well, Rowan & Martin’s use of it is precisely what I had in mind when saying it has been long imitated or referenced.

    My brain is refusing to give me the word I want to use. It’s borrowed from French and is used in connection with honoring by imitation.

  14. Thank you, yes!

    So I would want to say Rowan and Martin’s use of this bit was not a big deal homage toward Burns and Allen, but certainly included a nod in their direction that they expected at least a segment of the audience to get.

  15. Since we still watch reruns of the Burns and Allen show – the “say goodnight Gracie” does happen – at least on the TV show, every episode. What did not happen was that Gracie would say “goodnight” not “goodnight Gracie” and people think she said the latter.

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