if not less so

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myenglishsucks

Member
Portuguese-Brazil
"Ice King wanted me to tell you [...] that you were as much of an inspiration to him as he was to you, if not less so." [Adventure Time, "Party's Over, Isla de Señorita"]

Context: Ice King, a lonely old man who often kidnaps princesses, goes on vacation to do some soul-searching. He meets a girl who is literally a talking island; they bond and he ends up fighting with her jealous boyfriend, who gets defeated and knocked out. After the fight, Ice King gets back to the girl and speaks with her, but while impersonating the unconscious ex-boyfriend. Now, my question is, what did he mean by "if not less so"? I figured there are two possible interpretations:
a) you were less of an inspiration to me than I was to you;
b) you were more of an inspiration to me than I was to you;
It could be a) because the character does come across as selfish and quirky. On the other hand, I think the point of the episode is to show some of his emotional development, so it wouldn't make much sense for him to kind of downplay the importance of his experience with the girl. What are your thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It makes no sense to me. The usual expression is "as much...if not more so", and I cannot think what the change to "less" is meant to indicate.

    It could be a joke of a kind, if the piece contains linguistic jokes, but it would be unusual.
     

    myenglishsucks

    Member
    Portuguese-Brazil
    It makes no sense to me. The usual expression is "as much...if not more so", and I cannot think what the change to "less" is meant to indicate.

    It could be a joke of a kind, if the piece contains linguistic jokes, but it would be unusual.
    The show has several made-up words and expressions, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's one of them.
     
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