159: Boombox

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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And she's gonna feel like a jerk when she realizes it was actually Under Pressure.
Title text: And she's gonna feel like a jerk when she realizes it was actually Under Pressure.


We see Cueball declare his love for Megan in an oft-used setting, paying homage to similar events in classic literature, notably the "balcony scene" from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet, and a similar situation in Cyrano de Bergerac. In the former, Romeo, attempting to woo Juliet, stands beneath her balcony to profess his love for her. In the latter, an inarticulate cadet, Christian, professes his love for Roxane by arranging to use the words of a fellow soldier, Cyrano, who secretly also loves Roxane.

The 1989 movie "Say Anything..." contains a modern interpretation of this declaration of love, where John Cusack plays Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" on a boombox outside the house of the girl he likes.

Cueball is holding up a boombox (a self-contained semiportable stereo system, typically with cassette tape or CD player, and complete with integrated large speakers; extreme specimens could weigh up to 12  kilograms (25lb)) that is playing music while Cueball declares his love for Megan. She first is startled, embarrassed, then eventually confused by the 1990 hit single Ice Ice Baby (Video) by Vanilla Ice playing on the boombox. Cueball then admits he is "not good at this," attempting to recreate the classic romantic scene, but utterly failing to play music suitable for such an event.

The "Under Pressure" reference in the title text refers to the fact that the music used in "Ice Ice Baby" is a sample of the bassline of "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie. It also may be that Cueball is having trouble holding the boombox, hence Cueball being 'under pressure.'

These two songs are again referenced together in 1561: Water Phase Diagram.

This was the first time that the name Megan was used in xkcd. Next comic to use it was the much more depressing 215: Letting Go.


[Megan is looking out a second story window at Cueball holding a boombox over his head. Musical Notes are coming out of it.]
Cueball: Megan!
Megan: Oh my god, I can't believe this is happening.
Cueball: I love you!
Megan: Okay, that's great. Wait a second. Is... is that... Ice Ice Baby? What the hell?
Cueball: I'm not very good at this.

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The issue date on this comic is not given, as i don't know one. Can anyone fix this? Rikthoff (talk) 18:08, 3 August 2012 (EDT)

This is not a reference to Romeo and Juliet. It is a reference to the 80s movie Say Anything, where John Cusack plays Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" on a boombox outside the house of the girl he likes.

Just gonna leave this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr60RCuVUb0&feature=youtube_gdata_player 14:35, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

I agree. The most direct reference is clearly Say Anything. The more classical references are fine to include, but given that there's no detail particularly linking them to the comic, they should be de-emphasized in favor of the movie.- jerodast (talk) 23:35, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I agree as well. The direct reference is to the film. The film references the play. This should be changed.Flewk (talk) 11:02, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

I think this comic should refer to the male character as "Rob", since it seems from other comics (e.g. 716: Time Machine and 782: Desecration) that Rob and Megan have a close and possibly romantic relationship. See here for more discussion on this topic. Djbrasier (talk) 13:37, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

I disagree. In none of the comics where Megan is named has Rob been named as well. So there is no indication that they are the same. Most of the time Megan and Cueball are not "named" character. In a few (three?) Megan is used for the xkcd Megan. And out of almost a 1000 cases Cueball has only been named Rob in 9. In a few of these he is together with the xkcd Megan. Viac versa in the three with Megans name, Cueball is also there, but then he is not named Rob. --Kynde (talk) 13:15, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
I think the name Rob should only be used when the comic specifically mentions the name, Cueball for every other generic stickman.--17jiangz1 (talk) 11:22, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

I think we need to make a distinction: the term "character" can refer to either a stick figure with distinguishing features (e.g. Black Hat, Cueball), or a real (or fictional person) which such a figure often represents (e.g. Randall, Rob). This distinction is often blurred, for example Megan is both a stick figure and a person. Hopefully this will help clear up some confusion! Richmond tudor (talk) 01:57, 16 March 2015 (UTC)

This conversation is occurring elsewhere, please weigh in here. Djbrasier (talk) 01:34, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

The joke gets referenced again in the first image's mouse-over text in this article. 22:45, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

Whoever wrote that part about Romeo beneath Juliet's balcony is confused about what is going on in that scene. 01:39, 20 November 2019 (UTC)