In Brooke Borgeois’ cartoon, a Godzilla-like monster has interrupted a wedding ceremony by tearing off the roof of the church. He’s glaring down at the bride and groom and minister. The bride, who looks more disappointed or apologetic than shocked, is speaking.
In Othello, jealousy is personified as “the green-eyed monster,” so I thought this monster might be an old boyfriend who’s still obsessed with the bride and furious that she’s marrying someone else.
- “You know how jealous the green-eyed ones can be.”
- “It’s not just the green-eyed ones who get jealous.”
- “The green-eyed ones just can’t let go.”
I have never seen and will never watch the reality-TV show “Bridezillas,” but I know it exists. The title refers to extremely difficult and controlling women who are engaged to be married. (Why would anyone watch let alone marry such women?) Given the Godzilla-like creature in the cartoon, I thought I should come up with a reference to these termagants: “He wanted me to be his bridezilla.”
I then came up with a couple more references to Godzilla, the Japanese monster created by exposure to atomic radiation:
- “We dated years ago in Tokyo.”
- “We used to date, but the relationship was toxic.”
Now let’s see how you did:
This contest is especially challenging because it’s not entirely clear who’s speaking. I assumed the bride was delivering the line that must serve as the caption, but many of you thought it was the minister. I’m therefore going to begin this section of my commentary by highlighting the best such entries. Most alluded to the minister’s obligation to ask whether anyone present knows of any reason why the couple should not be joined in holy matrimony:
- “It seems we do have an objection.”
- “It seems we have an objection.”
- “Does anyone else have any objections?”
- “Does anyone else object?”
- “Anyone else object?”
- “Apparently someone does object.”
Others were a variation on “you may now kiss the bride:”
- “You may now kiss the bride goodbye.”
- “You may now kiss your ass goodbye.”
- “You may now run for your lives.”
Chapter 10, Verse 9 of the Gospels according to Mark states that, “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” One of you submitted a clever variation on that passage: “What God has put together let no monster tear asunder.” I’d like that caption better, though, if it hewed a little closer to the original line by substituting the words “hath joined” for “has put.”
A couple of you acknowledged that the minister, eager to get away from the rampaging monster, might rush through the ceremony:
- “Yada yada yada I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
That second entry draws out the first word longer than necessary and has too many ellipses. Still, I like it.
I also like this variation on the words a minister uses to inform/warn the wedding guests that the married couple have composed their own vows: “The bride and groom have written their own last words.”
Here’s a nice and subtle reference to ring bearers: “Traditionally, a small child or maybe a dog…”
I’ll conclude this “minister speaking” section of the commentary with this entry: “We are gathered here today in the sight of Godzilla…” That’s good, but shouldn’t “sight” be “presence?”
One of you presumed the groom was speaking and turned him into Henny Youngman: “Take my wife…please!”
A couple of you assumed the monster is speaking and submitted nearly identical entries:
- “I object!”
- “I object.”
To no one’s surprise, I prefer the second version, but I can also see an argument for including the exclamation point.
The typical caption is a quote. Sometimes, however, the caption is really a title. Several weeks ago, for instance, we featured a cartoon by Jon Adams that showed a bird flying through a window into a living room. The winning entry was Invasive Species. For the current contest we received several titles, and these were the best two:
- Godzilla meets Bridezilla.
- The Japanese remake of the American film The Graduate.
That second caption is clever, but it explains too much. Delete the words “the American film” (and italicize the film’s title), and you have a much stronger entry.
Now, on to the entries that presume, as I did, that the bride is speaking.
I really like, “Which may be any second now.” It presumes the reader (1) is familiar with the phrase “til death us do part,” part of the marriage liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer, and (2) understands that the bride must have just said those words before delivering the line that serves as the caption. Unlike entries that over-explain the joke—something I guess I’m doing right now—this one respects the reader’s intelligence, and that’s refreshing.
Out of the nearly 1,000 entries we received this week, only one made a reference to the green-eyed monster: “Jealousy is truly a green-eyed monster!” I like the idea behind this caption, but it over-explains (and doesn’t trust the reader to get) the joke. Also the exclamation point doesn’t match the bride’s expression. She doesn’t look shocked or terrified, so the caption should end with a simple period.
There were many references to bridezilla, but these were the best:
- “He overheard you say that you were getting married to a bridezilla.”
- “You shouldn’t have tweeted I’m a bridezilla.”
Similar entries made it clear that the bride was not going to let anything interfere with her big day:
- “Just focus on the question, Phil.”
- “Just keep going.”
- “I think the only thing you’re terrified of right now is commitment.”
Two of you assumed the monster was Godzilla and alluded to the fact that he comes from the Land of the Rising Sun:
- “Perhaps Tokyo was not the right venue.”
- “He’s just someone I dated when I lived in Japan.”
Like that last caption, this entry presumes the monster is an old boyfriend: “He’s the one I didn’t tell you about.”
In the next set of entries, the bride is trying to look on the bright side:
- “The video rights will finance our honeymoon.”
- “At least now we don’t have to worry about divorce.”
- “Darling, I promise to make the next seventeen seconds the happiest of our lives.”
There were a lot of mother-in-law jokes, but I preferred these references to other relatives:
- “Pretend he isn’t there, just like your dad does to me.”
- “I guess we all have that one uncle.”
Here are a few references to the celebration that immediately follows the wedding ceremony:
- “He’s not usually like this until the reception.”
- “I said we’d need more than heavy hors d’oeuvres for the reception.”
- “Ask him if he prefers chicken or fish.”
This is a clever twist on the kind of snide comment people sometimes make about another person’s relationship: “I give this marriage about ten seconds.”
I love the brevity of this next entry, and the way it underscores the bride’s skewed perspective: “Oh great. What if it rains?”
Still, the one that made me laugh out loud was, “I think the only thing you’re terrified of right now is commitment.” And that is this week’s winner.
Lawrence Wood has won The New Yorker’s Cartoon Caption Contest a record-setting seven times and been a finalist two other times. He has collaborated with New Yorker cartoonists Peter Kuper, Lila Ash, Felipe Galindo Gomez, and Harry Bliss (until Bliss tossed him aside, as anyone would, to collaborate with Steve Martin). Nine of his collaborations have appeared in The New Yorker, and one is included in the New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons.