1. As Singapore Bill explains, costuming as a cleaning crew is, in heist movies, a way to get the burglary crew into the protected spaces. And as Powers points out, the idea of an outside crew coming in to do the cleaning is an amusing creative anachronism.

  2. Given the general standard of cleanliness in the middle ages, it doesn’t seem that unreasonable that a single travelling serviceperson could take care of several castles. He probably wouldn’t need more than 15 minutes to make each one significantly better than the neighborhood average.

  3. Kilby — depends where. We mostly think about England, but England was an outlier. Everybody else who came to England, from anywhere, talked about just how horrifyingly disgusting the English nobility were.

  4. I thought the joke was in heightened paranoia, only the cleaning crew are so important that they get automatic clearance.

    … About New Yorker cartoons in general. Many cartoons are only funny if you *don’t* analyze them an in you gut they give a reaction that under any analysis makes no sense. But the subject matter of New Yorker cartoons so advanced that only the very intelligent can comprehend what is even happening without some thought. But that thought is enough to make the analysis break the humor. So to find a New Yorker cartoon funny at a gut level you have to be intelligent enought to look at it, get what is going on *without* analysis. And to be that intelligent is of *great* snob appeal. I think that’s the point of this one.

  5. Maybe it is a satire on very wealthy gated communities… I bet the people who clean and nanny and pool-clean and cook and garden for the denizens of such places are not themselves able to live there and have to ask permission to enter at the guardhouse (presumably the guards can’t afford to live there either).

    Similarly, teachers, police, firefighters, nurses etc maybe cannot afford to live in posh expensive neighbourhoods and have to commute in from far away. I have a vague memory that there was a case somewhere in the US years ago where a massive fire broke out and emergency workers weren’t able to get into the area to help deal with it as they all lived too far away and were cut off… though maybe that isn’t a real memory.

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