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Idioms Around The World

Apr 9, 2021

Sasheer Zamata and Caitlin McGee (Home Economics) translate idioms from around the world. Don't get caught holding the candle!

Heard on Spring TV: 'Chad' & 'Home Economics!' Also, Reggie Watts

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


We're playing games with Sasheer Zamata and Caitlin McGee. Are you ready for another one?



EISENBERG: All right. So this is a multiple-choice game. It's called Idioms from Around the World. Idioms are sayings that don't literally make any sense, like it's raining cats and dogs, right? So in this game, we translate an idiom from another country, and you decide which American idiom it most closely matches.



EISENBERG: And we are going to go back and forth with this one again. So Caitlin, this is for you. In Portugal, when someone says you hold the candle, it means you're, A, a backstabber; B, a third wheel; or C, a candlemaker?


MCGEE: I don't think it's a candlemaker, although that is what I want it to be.


EISENBERG: Very literal.

MCGEE: I want to say backstabber.

EISENBERG: Are you sure?


EISENBERG: Just checking, just checking.

MCGEE: Yes. Yeah, I'm going to - that's my final answer. Yes.

EISENBERG: OK. Sorry, you're incorrect.



MCGEE: I know were trying to help me, but I just had to stick to my guns.

EISENBERG: That's fine. So third wheel as in, like, a couple is having a date, and the third person has to hold the candle...

MCGEE: That's so sad.

EISENBERG: ...To make the night romantic.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: It's so much worse than the metaphor of the third wheel.

MCGEE: That's so much worse.


EISENBERG: You're in charge of their lighting.

MCGEE: Oh, my God. It feels really degrading.

COULTON: Degrading, yeah.

MCGEE: Just standing there.

ZAMATA: Just watching them make out.

MCGEE: Just watching them, like...

EISENBERG: Right, exactly. Bring it closer.


COULTON: Sasheer, in the Czech Republic, if someone is walking around in hot porridge, they are, A, blowing off steam; B, drinking before 5 p.m.; or C, beating around the bush.

ZAMATA: Walking around in hot porridge.

EISENBERG: May I just say this is, like, my - one of my deepest fantasies?

ZAMATA: To walk around in hot porridge.

COULTON: Going to get porridge you get to walk around in.

EISENBERG: It sounds so fun.

ZAMATA: It does sound like a New Age, like, spa thing.

MCGEE: Yeah.

COULTON: Porridge treatment.

ZAMATA: OK, I'm going to say drinking before 5 p.m. 'cause then you're, like, groggy.

COULTON: I wish that were true. That's actually a fine guess. Beating around the bush is the answer. The idea is...


COULTON: ...The porridge is very thick, and it slows you down from getting to the point.


COULTON: So it's like, you're talking at me like you're walking around in hot porridge.

ZAMATA: Oh, I see.

EISENBERG: All right. Caitlin, in Poland, what does to have a fly up your nose mean? Does it mean, A, to be in a snit; B, to have an annoying voice; or C, to eat like a horse?

MCGEE: I'm going to say the - that's too mean to criticize someone's voice. So I'm going to hope that it's be in a snit.

EISENBERG: You're correct.


EISENBERG: It absolutely is.

COULTON: All right, so this is the last one. In Italy, if someone tells you that your eyes are lined with ham, it means, A, you're a pig; B, you look hung over; C, you're sticking your head in the sand.

ZAMATA: Probably hung over - like, your eyelids are droopy because you're tired. And so they're lined with ham.

COULTON: A fine guess, a fine guess. But it's incorrect. It actually means you're sticking your head in the sand. Your eyes are lined with ham, and you can't even see the ham that is there. This is Italy.


COULTON: They're very food-related.

EISENBERG: Yeah, it's prosciutto.

You guys did great. Thank you so much for joining us. Sasheer Zamata and Caitlin McGee star in the new show "Home Economics" Wednesdays on ABC. Sasheer, Caitlin, thank you so much.

MCGEE: Yes, thank you.

ZAMATA: Thank you. It was fun.

MCGEE: Yeah.

EISENBERG: After the break, former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Nasim Pedrad tells us about playing a teenage boy in her new TV show, and she'll try to remember what happened in classic episodes of "I Love Lucy." I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.