What's the joke?

0
votes

I read "Selecciones" to help my Spanish. I can usually understand the little jokes okay but often I come on one where I understand all the words but there's some construction I don't get. Here's one:

P: ¿En qué se parecen un elefante y un tomate?
Rÿ En que ninguno anda en bicicleta.

So what's the joke'

3686 views
updated MAY 5, 2009
posted by Pergolesi

14 Answers

0
votes

Look at this mistake[del]d[/del], James:

¿En qué se parecen los hombres y los perros?

Cuando te miran, parece[del]n[/del] que te entienden.

It's not my mistake, since I just copied and pasted that joke from a website. The same joke is found in hundreds of different sites. And while I would not have written it that way myself (I would have said "parecen entenderte"), is it really a mistake? I see this form quite a bit, and it is prevalent on the Net. Can the two be slightly different, but correct, versions?

parece que te entienden = it seems that they understand you
parecen que te entienden = they seem to understand you

I'm actually not sure, but as I say, this form is used a lot. Here are just a few examples picked at random.

  • bandolero tranquilo pareces que estas en un viaje de mantequilla (song)
  • cuatro lindas niñas parecen que tienen un amigo muy degenerado...
  • Pareces que no sabes de que va la cosa...
  • parecen que son las mismas fotos pero no lo son
updated MAY 5, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

Well it made ME smile, James. smile

It made me smile too, so true, jeje. ¡¡Hombres!! tongue wink

Look at this mistaked, James:

¿En qué se parecen los hombres y los perros?

Cuando te miran, parece[del]n[/del] que te entienden.

updated MAY 5, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

Well it made ME smile, James. smile

updated MAY 5, 2009
posted by Valerie
0
votes

Perg, of the questions that can't be answered, the top three may be:

Where did the universe come from?
Why is there anything rather than nothing?
Why is that joke supposed to be funny?

You either get it and think it's funny, or not.

This joke is to be told by women who are sick of having men appear to understand them when they in fact do not, much as a dog will appear to comprehend, but does not in fact comprehend. That is what makes the joke funny to some people. But having explained the joke, I have also stripped away any possibility of its being funny to you, because it now lacks the element of surprise.

I only gave this joke as an example of the Spanish grammar involved.

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

How are men like dogs?
When they look at you it looks like they understand.

I don't suppose it's relevant to Spanish grammar but that doesn't make any sense either. Supposedly it's a sexist joke, but I can't imagine why it's supposed to be funny. I like a good sexist joke as much as the next guy. I understand the about playing on expectations which explains the elephant joke, but the other is really lame.

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Pergolesi
0
votes

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean......
It's really a kind of "reverse" joke or, if you prefer, a joke that plays on our expectations. An important ingredient of humor (some would say, an essential ingredient) is the element of surprise. The first part of the joke "sets you up" by getting you to try to imagine a way in which a tomato and an elephant might be thought to resemble each other and then suggests an answer that refers to how they are both different from people (or chimpanzees) that can ride bicycles. However, a "shared difference" from something else is not what we usually mean by "similar" so you suddenly find that your thinking has gone in the wrong direction.

My brother is fond of saying to people "Oh, you weren't born in San Francisco? What a coincidence, neither was I!"

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

It means "What do men and dogs have in common? When they look at you, they both seem to understand you." It's just a typically silly joke about how dense we men are. Nothing deep.

To break it down literally, it is "In what do men and dogs seem alike'" Parecerse can be used to mean that two things are similar or look alike. "Me parezco a mi hermano" means "I look like my brother."

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

¿En qué se parecen los hombres y los perros?

Cuando te miran, parecen que te entienden.

I was unfamiliar with the "en qué parecen..." idiom. But the second example, about the dogs, I don't get that either. Okay I'm a newbie at Spanish but can you help? Hate to make anyone explain a joke. To me it seems to say, "When they look at you they appear to understand you'" That doesn't make sense. Okay, I give up.

And yes, the jokes in "Selecciones" as in the "Reader's Digest" are often lame.

How are men like dogs?
When they look at you it looks like they understand.

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Nathaniel
0
votes

Nathaniel has explained the joke perfectly (except that it should be "what DO an elephant and a tomato..."), but I'll add that this is a standard construction in Spanish for this type of joke. There are two ways to do it, using y and using a, but I think using "a" is more common, at least when there are only two things being compared.

¿En qué se parecen las mujeres a las computadoras?

En que siempre hay otro que tendrá una mejor.

¿En qué se parecen los hombres y los perros?

Cuando te miran, parecen que te entienden.

I was unfamiliar with the "en qué parecen..." idiom. But the second example, about the dogs, I don't get that either. Okay I'm a newbie at Spanish but can you help? Hate to make anyone explain a joke. To me it seems to say, "When they look at you they appear to understand you'" That doesn't make sense. Okay, I give up.

And yes, the jokes in "Selecciones" as in the "Reader's Digest" are often lame.

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Pergolesi
0
votes

Nathaniel has explained the joke perfectly (except that it should be "what DO an elephant and a tomato..."), but I'll add that this is a standard construction in Spanish for this type of joke. There are two ways to do it, using y and using a, but I think using "a" is more common, at least when there are only two things being compared.

¿En qué se parecen las mujeres a las computadoras?
En que siempre hay otro que tendrá una mejor.

¿En qué se parecen los hombres y los perros?
Cuando te miran, parecen que te entienden.

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

I'm a native and understand the joke perfectly ... AND IT STILL SUCKS! So don't feel bad if you don't get it.

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Uly-Marrero
0
votes

Thanks James, I was actually going over that in my head. I came to the conclusion that What does and elephant and what does a tomato have in common would be correct English, though redundant, and I got caught up on that, rather than writing what do... smile

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Nathaniel
0
votes

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean......

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Kai-Steel-Smith
0
votes

I read "Selecciones" to help my Spanish. I can usually understand the little jokes okay but often I come on one where I understand all the words but there's some construction I don't get. Here's one:

P: ¿En qué se parecen un elefante y un tomate?

Rÿ En que ninguno anda en bicicleta.

So what's the joke?

It's basically saying, what does and elephant and a tomato have in common?

Neither one can ride a bicycle.

I think that is kinda funny. smile

updated MAY 4, 2009
posted by Nathaniel