Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Picture this: your friend and you are watching a sitcom, and a sassy sidekick walks into a room, carrying a four-tiered wedding cake.

  • He trips, falls, and face-plants into the cake.

  • Your friend doubles over with laughter and says, "It's so ridiculous! So ironic!"

  • Well, quick, what do you do?

  • Do you laugh along with the laugh track and let this grievous misinterpretation of irony go?

  • Or, do you throw caution to the wind and explain the true meaning of irony?

  • If you're me, you choose the latter.

  • Unfortunately, irony has been completely misunderstood.

  • We tend to throw out that term

  • whenever we see something funny or coincidental.

  • And while many examples of true irony can be funny,

  • that is not the driving factor of being ironic.

  • A situation is only ironic if what happens

  • is the exact opposite of what was expected.

  • If you expect A, but get B,

  • then you have irony.

  • Let's take the slap-stick cake situation as an example.

  • When someone walks in precariously balancing something

  • that shouldn't be carried alone,

  • trips, falls, and makes a mess,

  • it is funny, but it's not ironic.

  • In fact, you probably expect someone

  • who is single-handedly carrying a huge cake to trip.

  • When he does, reality align with expectations, and so that is irony.

  • But what if the sassy sidekick walked in wearing a gold medal that he'd won at the cake walking event at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996?

  • What if that sidekick was a professional cake carrier?

  • Then, maybe there would have been a reasonable expectation that he would have been more skilled when carrying a ridiculously large cake.

  • Then, when that reasonable expectation was not met by the tripping sidekick, irony would have been exemplified.

  • Another example.

  • A senior citizen texting and blogging.

  • The common and reasonable expectation of more mature men and women is that they don't like or know technology, that they have a hard time turning on a computer, or that they have the old brick cell phones from the 1980s.

  • One should not expect them to be connected, high-tech, or savvy enough to text or to be blogging, which must seem like some sort of newfangled thing that "back in my day," they never had.

  • So when Granny pulls out her smart phone to post pictures of her dentures or her grandkids, irony ensues.

  • Reasonable expectations of the situation are not met.

  • That is irony.

  • So while the cake dropper might not be ironic, there are all kinds of situations in life that are.

  • Go out, and find those true examples of irony.

Picture this: your friend and you are watching a sitcom, and a sassy sidekick walks into a room, carrying a four-tiered wedding cake.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B2 H-INT US TED-Ed cake ironic sidekick reasonable expectation

【TED-Ed】Situational irony: The opposite of what you think - Christopher Warner

  • 22039 1154
    VoiceTube posted on 2013/01/08
Video vocabulary