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Recap / Blackadder S 3 E 2 Ink And Incapability

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Prince George is sick of everyone thinking he's an idiot. So to boost his credibility, he decides to patronize Dr. Samuel Johnson's new book, The Dictionary. Blackadder thinks this a ridiculous idea (though he is biased against Dr. Johnson since he submitted Johnson a novel entitled "Edmund: A Butler's Tale," under the name Gertrude Perkins, and never heard back from him. But unfortunately, the prince is too dumb to be persuaded. Dr. Johnson comes over, and the prince, being himself, fails to understand what exactly a dictionary is, and insults Dr. Johnson, who storms out, but not before saying that the only book he ever read that was better than his own was "Edmund: A Butler's Tale," and if the prince weren't so stupid, he could patronize that book as well. Realizing this might be his chance to have his novel published, Edmund tries to convince Dr. Johnson to give the prince another chance, and let Edmund convince him to patronize the book. Dr. Johnson agrees, and after remembering he left the dictionary in the prince's room, tells Edmund to give it to him later at Mrs. Miggins' Pie Shop. Edmund manages to convince the prince to patronize the book, but runs into a worse problem; Baldrick has burned the dictionary in a fire, and there are no other copies.


The rest of the episode involves Edmund trying to stall for time and replace the book before he is brutally murdered by Johnson and his poet friends. He eventually tries to rewrite the dictionary, getting only as far as 'aardvark.' But on the morning when the book must be delivered, George appears, having had the book the whole time! Doctor Johnson accepts it gratefully, and allows George to be both its patron and the patron of "Edmund; A Butler's Tale." Edmund finally, reveals himself as Gertrude Perkins, and offers to prove it by comparing his signature to that on the manuscript's title page. However, Dr. Johnson now can't find that manuscript. Turns out Baldrick hadn't burn the dictionary manuscript; he burnt Edmund's. And to make matters worse, Johnson left the word 'sausage' out of his dictionary. He's going to have to hope he has better luck next time; as they all leave, Baldrick sets a third fire, this time throwing the dictionary on it for good!


  • Ax-Crazy: The poets and Doctor Johnson. The former evidently on account of being high as kites, the later because of several years spent writing his dictionary.
  • Big "NO!": Blackadder when they learn it was his novel that got burnt.
    Blackadder: OH GOD, NO!!!!
  • Black Comedy Rape: Lord Byron threatens to kill everyone in the palace by giving them syphilis.
  • Brick Joke: Baldrick's terrible "novel".
    • And the word "aardvark."
  • Buffy Speak: Baldrick calls the manuscript "The big papery thing tied up with string," the fire "The hot orangey thing under the stony mantlepiece" and Edmund threatens that "the booted boney thing with five toes at the end of [his] leg will soon connect sharply with the soft dangly collection of objects in your trousers."
  • Dream Sequence: "Baldrick! Who gave you permission to turn into an Alsatian?"
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Both Edmund and Baldrick's novels seem to be like this.
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  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Dr. Johnson says that Edmund's novel is "crammed with sizzling gypsies".
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: George mistakes Dr. Johnson's large words for 'damn saucy talk.'
  • Large Ham:
    • The poets, Lord Byron in particular.
    Lord Byron: To hell with his fine talking! COFFEE, WOMAN! My consumption grows ever more acute and Coleridge's drugs are wearing off!
    • Doctor Johnson's last line as well.
    Johnson: Sausage? SAUSAGE?! OH BLAST YOUR EYES!
    • Blackadder himself snaps for a brief second over the word "Aardvark".
  • Moustache de Plume: Discussed and inverted. Edmund says all the female writers are actually males. He too, gives himself a female pseudonym.
    Baldrick: Gertrude Perkins?
    Blackadder: Yes, I gave myself a female pseudonym. Everybody's doing it these days: Mrs. Radcliffe, Jane Austen...
    Baldrick: [astonished] What, Jane Austen's a man?!
    Blackadder: Of course! A huge Yorkshireman with a beard like a rhododendron bush!
    Baldrick: Oh, quite a small one, then?
    Blackadder: Well, compared to Dorothy Wordsworth's, certainly! James Boswell is the only real woman writing at the moment, and that's just because she wants to get inside Johnson's britches.
  • Noodle Implements: Blackadder threatens Baldrick into helping him by stating that eternity in the company of Satan and all his little devils will be nothing compared to five minutes with him and a pencil.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Invoked. Edmund asks what the next greatest book to the dictionary is "Dictionary 2: Return of the Killer Dictionary?"
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: Edmund makes up a lot of these to annoy Dr. Johnson into thinking he has left out words such as 'contrafibularities' "pericombobulations" and "interfrastically."
  • Purple Prose: The poets talk like this.
  • Rage Breaking Point:
    • Blackadder reaches this when Baldrick reveals he burned his novel.
    • Doctor Johnson when he learns what word he left out of his dictionary.
    Doctor Johnson: "Once upon a time there was a lovely little sausage n-" ... Sausage? Sausage?! Damn and blast your eyes!
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Dr. Johnson talks like this at first:
    Dr. Johnson: I celebrated last night the encyclopaedic implementation of my premeditated orchestration of demotic Anglo-Saxon.
    George: Didn't catch any of that.
    Dr. Johnson: I simply observed, sir, that I'm felicitous, since, during the course of the penultimate solar sojourn, I terminated my uninterrupted categorisation of the vocabulary of our post-Norman tongue.
  • Talks Like a Simile: In addition to Blackadder as usual, Doctor Johnson does this, albeit his are a little less creative.
  • Truth in Television: Dr. Johnson really did leave aardvark out of his dictionary.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Doctor Johnson was very focused on his work. When his mother died, he didn't notice. When his father cut his head off and fried it in garlic, he didn't look up from his work. When his wife cheated repeatedly just to raise a huge family of bastards, he didn't care.
  • Wake Up Make Up: The Prince Regent wakes up (at three in the afternoon) fully made up in powder and rouge, and with his wig already on his head.


Example of: