March 20, 2010

Schlemiel, Schlemazel... We're gonna make our dreams come true!

On an otherwise forgettable episode of Parks and Recreation this week, a character said `Schlemiel, Schlemazel` in an obvious Laverne and Shirley reference, which got me thinking, LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY, WOO HOO!

And then it got me thinking, we have been hearing that damn theme song for thirty years -- Give us any chance we'll take it, give us any rule we'll break it, blah, blah, blah, Schlemiel, Schlemazel, blah blah blah..." -- so what the hell do those words mean?

So according the the always reliable and factually correct google search, here it is:

: originally Yiddish, a schlemiel is a dolt who is a habitual bungler. I think I remember my grandfather using this one. I hope to hell he wasn't referring to me.

: also Yiddish, is an extremely unlucky or inept person, a habitual failure. Have not heard this one outside of sitcom land. Makes me think of karnatzel, therefore makes me totally hungry.

Okay, so they are both Yiddish and they are both about losers by their own fault or just dumb luck. Hmmm.

So all of a sudden the happy song seems less fun. Or, taken in the context of Laverne and Shirley and an optimistic view in general, I guess it is about them getting over their misfortunes and going forward and being happy... having fun and adventures and bad hair and Lenny and Squiggy and crappy jobs and good friendships and tacky L`s on you clothes and as the song says, We're gonna make our dreams come true. Doin' it our way.

So the moral of the story is you fall down, you stand up and dust yourself off and go forward arm in arm with your friends and make your dreams come true and it is all good news!

Uh, wait, potential itty bitty little glitch here... the song goes, Schlemiel, Schlemezal, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated! And when I looked it up, a hasenpfeffer is a peppery rabbit stew of German origin... that does not fit at all, so yep, I have no effing idea what that all adds up to...

We`re gonna make our dreams come true, doing it our way, with Jewish bumpkins and rabbit stew...


Vodka Logic said...

Thanks for clearing that up.... I think

Kevin said...

'1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!' is a Yiddish-American hopscotch chant.

You are soooo lucky!

Kevin said...

Oh, and Bugs Bunny made hasenpfeffer in one episode.

You are soooo lucky!

Will Burke said...

That sounds kinda tasty. I'll have to try hasenpfeffer, when I have an excuse/time to cook

Tawnya said...

I so love Lavern and Shirley!!! That show rocked... Of course I was seeing it in reruns cause I was not born until 1974.

inannasstar said...

When I was in college I would sit in my science lecture and make up names for the dumbasses sitting around me. There was one dude who I affectionately named hasenpfeffer. I had no idea the meaning, he just looked like a hasenpfeffer. I completely forgot about that until reading your post, thanks for a funny memory ; )

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Like Kevin said, one of my favorite Bugs Bunny episoodes was when they said "Where's My Hasenpfeffer".

You are right, the song makes no sense.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

Thank you for that info that I can certainly put away in the "useless information" bank in my brain.

The cupeth runneth overth.

Rich said...

Thank You. I seriously just downloaded the theme song from youtube, and I am going to make it my new ringtone.

bmat10 said...

My father used to tell me the difference between a shclemiel and schlemazel is the shclemiel is the guy who spills the soup, the schlemazel is the guy the soup gets spilled on, (although I may have that reversed,like it makes a difference).

Pfeffer is used to describe a dish where the blood makes a jelling agent for the sauce.

Incorperated is to blend closely.

Not sure where the rabbit comes in but I'm thinking the theme song is very telling when you put the pieces together.

There, clear as mud but it covers the ground.

Brahm said...

It is my pleasure to share useless pop culture trivia, maybe even my duty to society...

Hey, I like the ringtone idea, that is kind of fun and totally unexpected!

As for the Pfeffer being made with some kinds of blood jelly... Ick. That is all I gotta say. Ick.

Mrsblogalot said...

I will never remember this show in the same way again.

Rusty Hoe said...

Okay I may be kind of delirious because that just made perfect sense to me. Perhaps I should read this again after my morning sanity coffee. But I am always appreciative of a new piece of useless tv trivia to add to my collection. I'm sure my stash of such trivia will one day aide me in my plans for world domination. All right definitely time for coffee :)

injaynesworld said...

I always thought Hasenpfeffer was the place where they worked. No?

Michael A. Emeritz said...

Hahha! I've always wondered what that meant, and even though I'm no closer to an answer now, that was darn entertaining. "with Jewish bumpkins and rabbit stew..." - funny stuff. First time commenting, but I've enjoyed reading your blog for a few months now.

Jo said...

Being inherently female and of Jewish origin I have to say that I find the words 'Schlemiel' and 'Schlemazel' leaning a bit towards male bashing.

Not to make too much of a brou-ha-ha of this, mind you -- I'm just sayin'.

I'm an almost 44 year old gal who watched Laverne and Shirley regularly growing up in the 70s and never really gave the song much thought so I found this post very interesting.

I appreciated the whole up with feminists thing they had going on but otherwise simply saw Laverne and Shirley as two working gals trying to find love and universal balance like everyone else.

On a side note, Garry Marshall is recreating 'Laverne and Shirley' in movie form (yeah, because turning iconic T.V, shows into movies has been so 'successful' previously)wanting the likes of Jessica Alba and Jessica Biel in the titular roles (right off the heels and out of his movie, 'Valentine's Day').

Personally, I couldn't think of two more unlikeable actresses for these two iconic roles. Perhaps 'unlikable' is too strong of a word -- how about ill suited? These two are more known for their clutzy, cutesy sexpot roles.

If he insists on going thorugh with this, I say bring in Kathryn Hahn as 'Laverne' Tina Fey as 'Shirley'.

Sorry to get so verbose, my new blog friend. I just wanted to say thank you for becoming a new follower -- consider me the same.

Looking forward to getting to know you better.

Peace and serenity,
'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'

Jo said...

P.S. Saw that you have 'Eat. Pray. Love.' on your bookshelf. Great book! I posted the movie trailer on my blog a few days ago in a post titled 'Entertainment News' starring Julia Roberts.

I think I'm done now.


injaynesworld said...

I just heard that Jamie Foxx is going to team up with Garry Marshall to produce a Laverne & Shirley movie. Wild, huh?

Brahm said...

The movie idea is a bad bad idea...

Unless it involves Tina Fey. And maybe Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Then I am there opening day!

Anonymous said...

It's just an inside joke and a traditional rhyme. Its kind of like "Dewey, Cheatem and Howe, Esq." except you throw the rock, then, while hopscotching, chant "Schlemiel, Schlimazel, Hasenpfeffer Inc." Two traditional Yiddish words and a funny sounding word from the same region as Yiddish. The hopscotch sequence just made a catchy, temporary opening that they ended up keeping.

(It's not male-bashing; and how the hell can you be "inherently" female??).

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