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I don't understand the supposed pun in the name "I.C. Wiener". The best explanation I’ve read is that “I.C.” is like “Icy”, referring to the cryogenically frozen people, but this looks too far fetched to be a real pun.

Is there any official explanation of the supposed pun?

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    Shouldn't this be on ell.stackexchange.com? After all, this hasn't got anything to do with sci-fi. – BCdotWEB Aug 8 '16 at 21:06
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    @BCdotWEB - Not really. He's asking for an explanation of a plot point. – Valorum Aug 9 '16 at 0:14
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    Does no one realize that both stress and vowel quality, I see and icy are not pronounced the same in Fry's dialect, and he clearly says icy, thus proving that interpretation of the intended pun? – ThePopMachine Aug 9 '16 at 1:45
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    @BCdotWEB It would have worked on other exchanges, but the asker would have needed to know the answer to know that it wasn't Sci-Fi based. Since they didn't know that, they asked here, since it came from a Sci-Fi series, which is totally fine and completely on-topic. – DCShannon Aug 9 '16 at 13:48
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    Adding link: youtube.com/watch?v=oa_rfZljMwg He clearly pronounces "icy weiner", not "I.C." or "I see". This is obviously the intended pun. – ThePopMachine Aug 9 '16 at 14:20
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Either.

I. C. Wiener = "Icy Wiener" or "I See Wiener"

Wiener is a pretty benign slang for a penis. Something you might expect children to say. It works in the joke because it's also a fairly common last name. It can also be spelled 'weiner'.

In general, they both work.

In Futurama, the joke shows up when the main character delivers a pizza to a cryogenics lab and is then frozen himself, so "icy" makes more sense in this instance. As explained in The Why of Fry,

it is actually Nibbler who leaves this prank order, in order to ensure that Fry is around to save the universe a thousand years in the future. Fry observes (and allows) this via time-travel.

It's not made clear why he chooses the name I.C. Wiener. Must be because it's so hilarious.

Outside of Futurama, I would normally assume that I.C. stood for "I see", such as in this lame dad joke:

Have you ever read "Under the Bleachers" by I.C. Butts?

Reddit Discussion

Urban Dictionary

  • It was actually Nibbler who places the pizza order, to lure Fry there. Nibblonian sense of humor, I guess. – gnovice Aug 8 '16 at 18:42
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    As a note, in a later episode (Law and Oracle IIRC) the employees at the cryogenics lab pull a similar prank on Fry, this time addressed to one "D. Frosted Wang". I think this heavily supports that the first meaning was the one intended by the writers. – FryAmTheEggman Aug 8 '16 at 18:53
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    Downvote, because its not a time travel loop - Nibbler lived from 2000AD to 3000AD (and probably much longer), this is explicitly stated in The Why of Fry. – user20155 Aug 8 '16 at 21:53
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    @LegoStormtroopr that's a pretty harsh reaction a minor error that is not even relevant to the answer's explanation of the joke. – Kyeotic Aug 9 '16 at 0:23
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    I tend to think it's "Icy" and not "I see" due to the nature of cryogenics. – SBoss Aug 10 '16 at 10:57
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Put here because I do not have enough reputation to comment on FryAmTheEggMan's comment above.

As a note, in a later episode (Law and Oracle IIRC) the employees at the cryogenics lab pull a similar prank on Fry, this time addressed to one "D. Frosted Wang". I think this heavily supports that the first meaning was the one intended by the writers. – FryAmTheEggman 4 hours ago

This is a double or extended pun. Wang is also slang for Penis. If I.C. Wiener (icy penis) was the frozen form of the body part, then D. Frosted Wang could be either "the frosted" (frozen) or the defrosted (unfrozen) of the same body part. The word "the" is sometimes pronounced Dee (or D.).

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    A good find and worthy of its own answer. – Valorum Aug 9 '16 at 0:14
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    I don't think the part about D=the is either necessary or correct. Defrosted is commonly used, whereas frosted isn't, except really as relates to frosting (cake topping). – ThePopMachine Aug 9 '16 at 1:40
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    I agree with Pop, I think the joke was intended to indicate the change between the two scenarios, to contrast how Fry was feeling about them. In the pilot Fry is about to have an "icy wiener", whereas by the time of Law and Oracle Fry has a "defrosted wang". Nothing to back up this interpretation, but I feel like it fits. – FryAmTheEggman Aug 9 '16 at 2:02
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The pun here is that an "I.C Wiener" (I.C being a pun for 'icy' and wiener being a slang term for a penis) is found in a cryogenics lab, where people are frozen.

You may wish to note that in the original storyboards, the Cryogenics Lab was going to be a division of Birdseye, Inc., a company famed for its frozen products and the joke name on the slip was going to be "W. Disney" rather than I.C Wiener, riffing off the fact that Walt supposedly had himself frozen after death.

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"Wiener" is a silly slang word for penis — it's often spelled "weiner", because elementary school kids aren't so big on spelling and it's not like they're gonna ask their teachers for correction — but it's spelled "Wiener" in the episode:

screenshot

There are dozens (hundreds?) of slang words for male anatomy, but this one is pretty easy to trace. "Wiener" is from Wien, the German name for Vienna, and Vienna sausage (which is the progenitor of the US's hot dog) looks like this:

CC-BY-SA Frank C. Müller

and I don't think we need to spell out how that led to the slang connection.

The (non-official) Futurama Infosphere transcript has Fry reacting by saying "Icy Wiener? Aw, crud! I always thought at this point in my life I'd be the one making the crank calls!" And, I just re-listened to that moment, and to my ear he clearly enunciates "icy", not "I see".

In any case, it's worth noting that even Fry groans. But, he wasn't always above this particular brand of humor, as he named his dog "Seymour Asses" — after giving the stray pizza left over from a previous prank call under that name.

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    I don't think the surname "Weiner" is commonly a mis-spelling of Wiener, although that doesn't mean it never is. With the e-i spelling it's Yiddish for vintner (Wein, pronounced like the English word "vine", is wine in German) and (although I didn't know this until I just looked it up) also means wheelwright in archaic lower Silesian. Hence it's a surname of occupational origin having nothing to do with Vienna. People called Weiner aren't all named after a sausage or even a city :-) – Steve Jessop Aug 9 '16 at 0:34
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    @SteveJessop In Silesian, possibly related to English "wain" (as in wagon)? – mattdm Aug 9 '16 at 0:53
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    @SteveJessop: another possible explanation for Weiner (besides mis-spellings and alternative etymologies) is that it was a deliberate Anglicisation adopted by German immigrants to the US. Lots of immigrants anglicised their surnames, for various reasons, including as a response to chronic mispronunciation of their original spelling… – PLL Aug 9 '16 at 2:43
  • @PLL Not to mention the huge bout of localisation of german names during and after both World Wars, of course (especially the second). Most of the German-colonist-descendants that were allowed to remain in Czechoslovakia after the war changed their names to czech-equivalents, for example (the equivalent of Neumann -> Newman etc.). – Luaan Aug 10 '16 at 7:52
  • @SteveJessop That may be true about the surname "Weiner", but the etymology of "Wiener" (the hot dog) from German is clear. If the folks with that surname would simply tell everyone to pronounce it "Vine-r" or even "Wine-r", the juvenile jokes would become far less frequent. (You don't need much of an imagination to know what kind of juvenile jokes I have endured based on my surname, so I sympathize with Weiners, especially those who might find themselves a partner in a firm with a Harder.) – Monty Harder Aug 10 '16 at 15:01

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