Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Will Livingstone most likely did not understand it when he penned a e book filled with cringeworthy jokes, however the fictional creator’s thrown no less than one fan a lifeline with it in post-apocalyptic America.

In HBO’s adaptation of The Final of Us, co-creators Craig Mazin and Neil Druckmann introduced one of many recreation’s silliest fixed companions alongside for the trip, Ellie’s joke e book, which each gives moments of severely warranted levity among the many story’s unrelenting quagmire of violence whereas reminding us that our powerful protagonist is, actually, a child. However this beloved tome of wit has a deeper significance to Ellie (Bella Ramsey) than mere hilarity — primarily due to who gave it to her.

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Within the present and the sport, Ellie’s go-to studying materials is her beloved Savage Starlight comics and a tattered joke e book titled No Pun Meant: Quantity Too by Will Livingston. (“You get it? ‘Too?’ Like T-O-O?”) In idle moments in episode 4, Ellie breaks out some cheeky Livingstone gold to each go the time and get an increase out of Joel (Pedro Pascal). Shel gleefully will get revenge on Joel’s demand to remain put as he siphons petrol by studying out a number of tacky jokes, many taken straight from the sport.

“What did the mermaid put on to her math class?” she continues, laughing and ignoring Joel’s unimpressed seems to be. “An algae-bra!”

“I stayed up all night time questioning the place the solar went…after which it dawned on me,” comes one other, which truthfully reads like a Mitch Hedberg joke.

“What did the mermaid put on to her math class? An algae-bra!”

As Joel and Ellie make camp, Ellie drops one other banger disguised as a “severe query.” Ellie slyly poses the thought, “Why did the scarecrow get an award?” When Joel surprisingly solutions this one — “As a result of he was excellent in his subject” — Ellie squeals, calls Joel a dick and accuses him of studying her beloved e book. He is heard this one earlier than.

Riley knew her greatest pal Ellie liked ‘No Pun Meant’. You may see it on Ellie’s nightstand.
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

So, who gave Ellie the joke e book? In episode 7, we study that Ellie has been a longtime reader of Livingstone’s work, as you may spy the primary quantity of No Pun Meant in her dorm room at FEDRA navy faculty. “This otter be good,” reads a line on the entrance cowl. Later within the episode, Ellie’s greatest pal Riley (Storm Reid) items her the second e book throughout their date on the deserted mall within the Boston QZ, studying out a number of zingers to one another in a hilarious second earlier than impending tragedy.

“Shut up! He made a second one?” says Ellie after Riley arms it over.

Now we all know Riley’s tragic destiny, the significance of Ellie’s copy of No Pun Meant Quantity Too intensifies ten-fold — this is not only a foolish e book, it is the very last thing her greatest pal and past love gave to her earlier than she was Contaminated.


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Within the recreation, Ellie’s jokes to “lighten the temper” are a type of collectible(Opens in a brand new tab). Should you discover all of them, the sport rewards you with the extremely named “That is All I Received” trophy(Opens in a brand new tab). The one strategy to hear Ellie’s jokes within the recreation is to face and wait along with her between targets; after a couple of minutes, Ellie will pull out her joke e book out of boredom and rattle off a number of zingers.

“I keep in mind within the recreation being shocked that the sport was all of the sudden providing me this factor that had no profit for the sport in any respect,” director Craig Mazin stated on HBO’s The Final of Us podcast(Opens in a brand new tab). “It was simply gratuitous and but pretty and human. It was kind of like saying, ‘Hey, you already know what? You don’t should be eyes behind your head or on the point of run or shoot at each second, you may take the time to cease, go searching, expertise the great thing about the world that’s been created.’

“What I additionally love about it and why it was important to incorporate within the present is that it undercuts this factor that occurs when adults write youngsters. They both write them too younger or too outdated.” Mazin stated youngsters like Ellie fall below one other class, a stage of life his pal calls “fuck you, tuck me in.”

“They’re able to exit on their very own, they need a gun, they need to be in cost, they suppose they know every thing. Additionally, they’re nonetheless youngsters,” defined Mazin. “I really like how Ellie has this pleasure for one thing so juvenile and childish and silly — and she or he is aware of it’s silly however she loves it. It is sincere pleasure.”

Joel (Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (Bella Ramsey): One in all these folks likes jokes greater than the opposite.
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

In The Final of Us, humour is the one avenue during which Ellie is allowed to be who she is, a child, carrying round her joke e book in her little backpack proper beside her handgun. This distinction between silliness and untimely maturity is without doubt one of the strongest parts of Ellie’s character that each Ramsey and recreation voice actor Ashley Johnson seize upon to develop this advanced, powerful, hilarious teen.

Whether or not she’s messing with Joel by way of the invention of a porn journal in Invoice’s truck in episode 3 or pretending to be Contaminated on the most inappropriate time round Joel and Tess in episode 2, Ramsey’s Ellie gives welcome chortles in a panorama of close to fixed stress and risk. As Mashable’s Belen Edwards writes, “Thanks for the snicker, Ellie. We actually wanted it after the present’s first three episodes, and primarily based on every thing you have been by way of, we all know you want it too.” Ramsey’s supply is constantly hilarious in its personal proper — do not forget that inappropriately excellent “hehehehehehehehehehehehehe” studying of Invoice’s letter in episode 3?

Ellie’s jokes additionally play a much bigger position than foolish asides. Past their shared experiences of violence, loss, and grief, Joel and Ellie start to bond over these ridiculous jokes, with their burgeoning pseudo-father-daughter relationship given a second to really be simply that. When Joel triumphantly solutions the scarecrow joke, we see a glimmer of camaraderie between them, reminding us of Joel’s previous as a father who continually joked round along with his teen daughter, Sarah (Nico Parker).

Not the time for a joke. Ahhhh anyway, this is one about diarrhoea…
Credit score: Liane Hentscher/HBO

This comes up once more on the finish of episode 4, when Ellie and Joel are hiding for his or her lives in a Kansas Metropolis attic, and Ellie finds it an ideal second to drop a joke about diarrhoea: “Joel, do you know diarrhoea is hereditary? Yeah, it runs in your denims.” As Mashable’s Sam Haysom writes, “The joke about diarrhoea is the primary time Ellie correctly makes Joel snicker, and appears to mark a key bonding second within the pair’s relationship.” In the identical episode, Joel organically shares real emotion with Ellie for the primary time regardless of his former guidelines about “maintain[ing] our backstories to ourselves,” opening up about Tommy within the automotive, answering Ellie’s questions on his worries over his brother. Pascal’s excellent efficiency in episode 4 is the primary main softening of Joel we have seen, and it is all thanks to those extraordinarily dumb jokes.

Ellie’s contrasting modes as a hilarious, joke-loving child being pressured to develop up in a merciless, threatening world makes her a really compelling protagonist, one a guarded Joel makes an attempt to each perceive and shield. In the exact same episode, book-ended by scenes exhibiting Ellie making jokes, she shoots a person to save lots of Joel’s life. In the identical hour, we watch Ellie drop bathroom jokes and tried to kill somebody. That is the world she exists in, a humorous child confronted with a horrific, kill-or-be-killed actuality.

Livingstone’s joke e book does extra for Ellie than present gentle studying, it permits her to create a rattling break between the blood for her and Joel, whereas honouring her final present from Riley. As Ellie warns Joel, “Simply know, you may’t escape Will Livingstone. He’ll be again. There’s nothing you are able to do to cease him.”

The Final of Us is now streaming on HBO Max.(Opens in a brand new tab)

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