Is Alanis Morissette’s Song Actually Ironic?

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill album is one of my all time favorites. I’ve always been a fan of hers, but one of the biggest non-Dave Coulier complaints people have is that the things mentioned in her song “Ironic” aren’t actually ironic. Let’s go through each line and figure out the true nature of each statement. No matter what, I still love you, Alanis. Will you go to the movies with me?

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day

This sounds like foul play. I don’t have a background in law enforcement, but I’ve seen enough Law & Order: SVU marathons on USA to recognize a motive. He’s healthy enough to be out shopping for lottery tickets and then suddenly dies? Somebody get Detective Benson over here.

It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
This isn’t ironic, it’s is a subpar bartender. Send it back and get a discount on your bill for the night. Enjoy the free drinks!

It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
I would say this is just bad. If you saw a guy die and then someone said, “Oh wait, that guy’s not guilty.” I don’t think your first thought would be the amount of irony.

It’s like rain on your wedding day
That’s just bad planning. Read the Farmer’s Almanac and get your life together. It’s your wedding day. If you’re in Florida, then what did you expect?

It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid
Just get the coupon and save it for the next time. Did you Uber driver throw up or something?

It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take
This is basically your entire 20’s. It sums up the whole decade.

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids goodbye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
Well, isn’t this nice

Wait, isn’t this the beginning of Lost? No? I still find it odd that this man is seconds away from dying in an explosive fireball and yet he took a moment to give a sarcastic comment. He’s never going to see his family again and yet the last thought he has is a verbal jerk off motion. Reassess your priorities, pal. 

A traffic jam when you’re already late
It’s rush hour. Stop blaming it on the universe and set your alarm 20 minutes earlier next time. Also, if you honk your horn during gridlocked traffic, I’m going to throw my shoe at you.

A no smoking sign on your cigarette break
This is really just a concern for your health, Alanis. Maybe invest in an e-cigarette. Just don’t start using Skoal. That’s weird and gross.

It’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
Were you drunk at Crate and Barrel? How could you have made such terrible silverware choices?

It’s meeting the man of my dreams
And then meeting his beautiful wife

Keep it in your pants, Ashley Madison. I really doubt he was the man of your dreams if you hadn’t even noticed his wedding ring yet.

Are they actually ironic? Consider this; what if they’re all non-ironic things in a song called Ironic, just to be ironic? I need to go lie down. This is too much. TC Mark

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  • http://www.stuntedbyreality.com/2013/05/02/sods-law-vs-irony/ Irony « Stunted By Reality

    […] then occurred to me that this was an example of what the grammatically challenged Alanis Morissette called irony. A mildly unfortunate incident. It's a good thing I'm not a musician otherwise this might have made […]

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    Is Alanis Morissette’s Song Actually Ironic? | Thought Catalog

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