Today’s Comment of the Week: Backhanded Compliments

Wonderful Reader RR listens to Episode 4 of The Jacke Wilson Show and writes:

I had to giggle at ‘easier to follow’.

Ah yes! This was where I noted that my friend’s response to a particular story was that the story was “easier to follow” than one of my other stories. Easier to follow! Because I wanted to give my friend (and my poor little stories!) the benefit of the doubt, I chose to interpret “easier to follow” not as a euphemism for “your other story was terrible,” but as “I see where you’re trying to lead me with these, and I put up less resistance to this one than to that one. But both were rich with thought-provoking ideas.”

The odds of that interpretation being the proper one are probably about two percent. Maybe less. But I’ve gone with worse odds than that before. (Hello, career path!)

Anyway, we’re big fans of backhanded compliments here. In fact, didn’t we analyze backhanded insults (or front-handed insults) before?

RR continues:

It might be a stretch but it reminded me of that episode from Roseanne where Jackie took on acting. She was so elated about the newspaper review, saying that her acting group was ‘less confused’ this time around. A compliment that might not be a compliment that we can all live with.

Man, I wish I had more Roseanne in my own memory bank. (I could do with less, um, It’s a Living or Angie. But I’ll hang onto The Jeffersons, Family Ties, The Facts of Life, and Bosom Buddies. And don’t touch my Hello Larry!).

Roseanne was big during a period where I wasn’t watching much television. But I’m in favor of it. Norm MacDonald (who got his start writing for the show) has a lot of interesting things to say about it in his podcast interview of Roseanne. I listen to all my podcasts on audio (because I have insomnia and use a pillow speaker to try to tame the night chaos in my brain), but what the heck, let’s link to the video, queued up to where the interview starts:

RR concludes:

The story of your mother and the ufo is very charming. You are vague about whether your stories are completely true, but that had a feeling of truth to it. Very sweet.

Yes! Thank you very much. It’s not all that common to have a sweet story about UFOs. I was lucky to have this one in my back pocket. I suppose you might say there’s another one in The Monster, but maybe that’s a stretch.

I can’t really pick among theme songs here, so let’s go with a twofer onward and upward.

Onward, with the real deal (Billy Joel! Tom Hanks! What a show!):

…and Adam Scott’s and Paul Rudd’s loving re-creation…

…and of course, upward with the upward of all upwards. To the east side! A deluxe apartment in the sky!

Inimitable, maybe, although the pillow fight at the end seems designed for those Adult Swim guys. Come on, guys! Bring those back!

And my thanks to Wonderful Reader RR for today’s comment of the week.

8 thoughts on “Today’s Comment of the Week: Backhanded Compliments

  1. Going for the oblique within your post….I’m intrigued by pillow speaker, didn’t know such a thing existed! Sounds more comfortable than trying to sleep with one earphone in. Also avoids the inevitable situation when you go to put your ipod on for a long journey, and realise one of the ear buds has come off and is probably nestling under the duvet… I listen to podcasts to fall asleep as well. I listen to a particular one, because his voice can be pleasantly numbing. In fact, I generally listen to the same few podcasts over and over. There are quite a few of which I never get to the end, but I like that, because it means I’m asleep.


      1. Will do! Realised after I posted that I had paid the podcast man a considerable back handed compliment. Still, perhaps he is aware of the alternative use of his podcast – he plays very loud music at the end; guaranteed to wake the soundest of sleepers. This is the real reason I put my ipod on timer and listen endlessly to the beginning of stories!


  2. I loved Bosom Bodies! Don’t touch your Hello Larr…what? Is that what you nicknamed your…oh right, McLean Stevenson


    1. Laughed in spite of myself. McLean Stevenson…Hello Larry… nickname for…

      Words fail me.

      There are so many jokes I could make! I’ll refrain from all of them and attempt to maintain my good standing with the FCC…


      1. haha
        It’s for the best.
        I’m just glad I did not offend you. At some point when I could not sleep, I think around 3:30 a.m. I thought about 100 things as usual and that came back up. I was like, what did you say to him?? Haha. Have a good day.


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