Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 16:59, 20 November 2012 by Waldir (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We already have 4 comic explanations!

(But there are still 1865 to go. Come and add yours!)

Latest comic

Go to this comic

Positive and Negative Reviews
This restaurant is great! I was feeling really sick, but then I ate there and felt better!
Title text: This restaurant is great! I was feeling really sick, but then I ate there and felt better!


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: New page

Positive and negative customer reviews are explained like matter and antimatter. Physically, antimatter can be seen as matter going backwards in time.

The people giving negative reviews are Merlin (the wizard from the legends of King Arthur) and B. Button (from the short story "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and its film adaptation). Merlin remembers the future; in the T. H. White novel series The Once and Future King, he is said to have been born at the wrong end of time and live backwards. Benjamin Button was born with the physical appearance of an old man and grows younger as time progresses. There are many examples of such "Merlin Sickness" in fiction. Merlin was mentioned earlier in 270: Merlin.

In the title text, Randall gives an example of a positive review, which seems to actually be a negative review backwards in time.

So it gets philosophical and subjective: Are there only positive experiences in life - some going forward, some backwards in life. Or actually only negative ones.

Or is the positivity of an event not the only deciding property, whether one should see it as going forwards or backwards in life, like electric charge in antimatter: positrons, the antimatter counterpart of electrons have positive, i.e. reversed, charge, but there exist positive and negative matter, and positive and negative antimatter at the same time.

The use of the phrase 'physics tells us...' may be alluding to the way people use 'physics' or 'science' to justify nonsense. See 1240: Quantum Mechanics and 1475: Technically.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.
SmartQuench 9000
Sports Drink
20 oz 12-pack
-Customer reviews-
Amy 2015
[4/5 stars]
Perfect after a run
[5/5 stars]
My favorite flavor
[1/5 stars]
Drinking this made me thirstier
[4/5 stars]
Good price
B Button
[1/5 stars]
Drank 3 bottles on a hot day and got dehydrated!
[Caption below the panel:]
Physics tells us that negative reviews are really just positive reviews from people traveling backward in time.

New here?

Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations, feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to—and helping everyone better understand—xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

Explain xkcd logo courtesy of User:Alek2407.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?