20. “Invasion of the Matryoshka people.”

The episode:Jack Frost,” ep. 813

The riff: Solemnly uttered by Mike as a herd of Russian grannies in colorful rags glide into frame and fill the screen.

The explanation: The old women resemble the traditional Matryoshka doll, which is better known in English as a Russian “nesting” doll. You’ve probably seen them before–they’re those wooden Russian dolls where progressively smaller ones fit inside larger ones, typically with family members painted on them. The largest of the dolls is usually a grandmotherly type figure. “Matryoshka” apparently means “little maiden,” although I have a friend who is a Russian language expert who might want to chime in on this one…

Novelty factor: I had no idea what Mike was talking about when he said the line–which he pronounced closer to “matrushka,” by the way. I am familiar with Russian nesting dolls–I remember my grandmother had some–but I never knew they were known as “Matryoshka” in their native tongue. It makes me wonder how the writers were aware of the terminology. Because when you think about it, this is a linguistics joke first and foremost.

Formidible film villains indeed.

Formidible film villains indeed.

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One thought on “20. “Invasion of the Matryoshka people.”

  1. ” It makes me wonder how the writers were aware of the terminology.”
    My guess would be the large Polish/Russian community in Chicago. I have one on my shelf right now that looks so close to the one in your picture that I had to do a double take. Kevin, and to a lesser extent Mike, grew up in the Chicago area, so it’s far more likely that they’ve encountered it than someone from another part of the country.

What do you think, sirs?

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