217. “Out, vile jelly!”

The episode:The Brute Man,” ep. 702

The riff: Wimpered by Mike as a young student throws a beaker of chemicals at the floor, which promptly explodes in his face, leaving him raking his eyes in pain.

The explanation: It’s a direct reference to a line from Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” The play is a complicated political and personal tragedy that I must admit I don’t fully understand, but the line in question comes when the Duke of Cornwall gouges out the Earl of Gloucester’s eyes for voicing his support for former King Lear (I think.) The full line is “Out, vile jelly! Where is thy lustre now?” as Cornwall mocks the now blind Gloucester. It’s short-lived, however, as Cornwall is immediately killed by his own servants for being such a monster.

Novelty factor: I’ve never read “King Lear” (despite the fact that I think I was once assigned to in high school), but I still recognized this line, as it’s one of the best known from the play. It’s hard to forget when somebody’s eyes get gouged out.


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