Brow Beat

The 38 Things Wrong With the New Yorker’s Oompa Loompa Gene Wilder Tribute Cartoon

(If you can’t see the cartoon embedded above, you can view it on Instagram.)

1. Dankyougene does not rhyme with, or come close to rhyming with, doo.

2. Dankyougene does not even have the same number of syllables as doo.

3. The correct lyric is doompety, not doopity.

4. The Oompa Loompas probably wouldn’t mourn the colonial overseer who brought them to the West to toil in his chocolate mines.

5. But neither would they mourn Gene Wilder, who does not exist in their fictional world.


6. As far as we know, Oompa Loompas are capable of pronouncing the voiceless dental fricative θ (the “th” sound in thing). There’s no reason to think doompety doo (or, in the debased version presented here, doopity doo) is their attempt at thoompety thoo.


7. The Oompa Loompas look a little like Donald Trump, leading the reader to wonder if that’s the joke.

8. It is not. The joke is dankyougene.

9. Dankyougene is not a joke.

10. The Oompa Loompas look oddly distressed, like they’re trying to wave down a medic.

11. Or maybe the Oompa Loompas are trying to signal to us in semaphore, but without the flags.

12. Oompa Loompas have pants that sit at their waistlines, not their chests.


13. Oompa Loompas wear much fancier shoes.

14. No, but really, the pants. They’re much more strangely shaped than the ones in the cartoon. Look at these pants!

15. Oompa Loompas have expressive eyes.

16. The first two Oompa Loompas have eyebrows where their eyes should be.

17. Oompa Loompas do not have jowls.

18. Their feet are in first position, though there is limited evidence that Oompa Loompas know how to do ballet.

19. Dankyougene.

20. Dankyougene.

21. The lowercase g in Gene is bothersome, and arguably disrespectful, though it’s not clear how it could be avoided, underscoring the fact that this cartoon was poorly conceived.

22. The signature at the bottom says Schwartz, though this is clearly the work of Andy Borowitz.


23. The Oompa Loompas are striking different poses. Oompa Loompas are not individualists.

24. They look like they are dancing to “Y.M.C.A.”

25. They look like they flew face-first into a glass building.

26. The Oompa Loompas are in a kind of Matrix-y, white nonspace because no one could be bothered to draw a background.

27. They are the wrong shade of orange.

28. They look like Twinkies that dressed up as Oompa Loompas for Halloween.

29. Dankyougene.

30. The ellipsis. Why is there an ellipsis? Do the Oompa Loompas have more to say or are they trailing off in embarrassment?


31. No one thinks of Gene Wilder as “Gene.” He’s a two-name guy.


32. Gene Wilder was funny. This cartoon is not.

33. The Oompa Loompa songbook suggests they would’ve used this occasion to teach us all an important lesson about the dangers of overeating.

34. What do you get when you guzzle down sweets? Not this cartoon, that’s for damn sure.

35. This cartoon is an inferior version of this one, which appeared in the Belfast Telegraph:


36. To be clear, that cartoon is also terrible.

37. Dankyougene.

38. Oompa Loompas always seemed pretty blasé about death, to be honest.

Update, Sept. 2, 2016: The creator of the cartoon, Benjamin Schwartz, has spoken up in the comments. Schwartz replied to this note from Rick Quantz:

Next time you plan to write a 38-point criticism of a cartoon caption, check with somebody else to make sure you get the joke. “dankyougene” is the first line. It ends with dankyougene because the next line is going to be something like “We would really like to say thank you, Gene.” Which is funny because it overruns the meter of the song.

Is it hilarious? Probably not. Is it stupid and nonsensical in a bad way? No. Does it imply the Oompa Loompas have a speech impediment? No. Does this article make you look stupid? Absolutely.

Here’s Schwartz himself:

I’ll leave it up to the crowd to decide if this is THE worst NYer cartoon ever or just one of the worst NYer cartoons ever. But as the cartoonist who made it, I’ll just say that Rick has accurately explained my original intention. A swing and a miss, I suppose. I’m sorry, internet.