There’s a joke from an episode of the Simpsons, from the period that I consider “later” Simpsons, but which is actually probably less than a third into the run of the show by this point. The joke is that there is a store with a sign that says “Sneed’s Feed and Seed” with the information that the store used to be called “Chuck’s”. I mean, I’ve got the image right there, you can see it. The “joke” is that back when the store was called Chuck’s, it would have been “Chuck’s Fuck and Suck”, get it? It makes you think of a dirty word! How subversive and cool! It is to laugh. And yet I’ve seen people online cite this as a good joke.
I don’t find it that funny. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t seem to get the same value from using “curse words” as most people. I don’t get it. They’re just words to me. I find them neither offensive nor thrilling. But at least I understand that other people do enjoy them on some level I don’t get, so I can understand what the Sneed’s joke is trying to do. It may only be a minor step above having a character just say “Fuck” and then bleeping it as far as jokes that put a swear into the listener’s mind without actually saying it out loud, but that is still a step above that. That little bit of cleverness should count for something.
But here is what ruins the joke: business signs don’t work like that. If the store used to be Chuck’s, it was Chuck’s Feed and Seed. If it was an entirely different business, they wouldn’t put what it used to be on the sign. If an accountant’s office moves into a place that used to be a Pizza Hut, they don’t but “Formerly Pizza Hut” on the damn sign. If that accountant’s office changes its name, but remains an accountant’s office, then they might put their former name on the sign so that customers would know they’re the same business. Even if accountant’s names rhyme with Pizza Hut! It’s irrelevant that Sneed’s used to be Chuck’s unless Chuck’s was the same business. The leap in logic is too great for it to work.
It frustrates me to see people laud this joke. But hey, if people love it, I must be missing something.