Those who aren’t of age better step away from this Buzzle post right away – we’re going to be dealing with some really deep (literary) devices here. We’re referring to innuendos; and for those who didn’t get the hint, we’ve even included examples.
Kate Beckett: “Cuff him.”
Richard Castle: “Ooh, bondage. My safe word is ‘apples’.”
― Castle TV series/S1E1
Stop right there before you label this post as a masked attempt at perversion―an innuendo is anything but that, as long as it is seen and used as a deftly worded figure of speech and nothing more.
Indeed, from Shakespearean classics right down to The Simpsons, it is the interesting play of words which makes these works as admired and revered as they are. Ditto, Monty Python. And James Bond; and come to think of it, even Austin Powers.
In case you’re still in the dark about what innuendos actually are, here’s an elaborate definition.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary,
An innuendo is an oblique allusion, hint, insinuation; especially a veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation.
‘Innuendo’ is a figure of speech used to direct a subtle or a veiled comment of derogatory nature. It is used with a view to disguise an underhand comment in a manner which will make it seem innocent if taken literally.
All the negative associations of innuendos stem from the fact that they are almost-exclusively sexually suggestive―giving rise to the term double entendre, suggesting a sexual intent behind an innocent comment.
Innuendos in literature have been used as a sneakily intelligent way to make an outrageous pass under the guise of a seemingly casual comment.
It’s unfortunate how innuendos are often assumed to be crass and vulgar; agreed they can be if one so wishes. But let’s keep that thought aside for a bit, and enjoy them solely for the hilarious and cheeky word play they employ.
“Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.”
― Groucho Marx
Mr. Marx here is implying that it’s really futile looking through women, when it is obviously pleasurable to look at them instead.
“Love thy neighbor ― and if he happens to be tall, debonair and devastating, it will be that much easier.”
― Mae West
Mae West, with her inimitable sense of humor says it like it is, even adding a real world twist to a rather somber Biblical Commandment.
A season 8 episode of The Simpsons was titled Homer’s Phobia―a cool word play on ‘homophobia’. The episode which aired in 1997, saw the popular family show successfully send out an anti-homophobia message to its viewers.
“I’m not hurting anybody. Comedy’s all about innuendo. I’m putting it out there just like anybody else.”
― Jeff Ross
What exactly are you putting out there, Mr. Ross? You see how the master comedian managed to push the envelope on suggestiveness in this quote? I’m sure you do.
“Lie down with me, Watson.”
― Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Guy Ritche’s version of the legendary detective was starkly different from the British TV series which featured a darker and somber Jeremy Brett as the lead. In the 2011 movie, the chemistry between Homes and Watson was the highlight, providing surprising laughs thanks to some brilliant innuendos.