In the Black Books episode "Fever", the characters are complaining that the temperature might get all the way up to 88 degrees.

They're in the UK, so I'd assume they mean 88 C, but that's ridiculously hot -- nearly hot enough to boil water. 88 F is actually a rather nice temperature for the summertime. 88 K is...even less hot.

Is there some joke I'm missing?

  • 8
    As a Brit, I can tell you that 88 farenheit (31 degrees celcius) would be considered unpleasantly warm
    – user7812
    Nov 8, 2015 at 10:00
  • 1
    @Richard, I just looked up typical temperatures for London (assuming their temperatures are reasonably typical for England as a whole). As an American, I can safely say that London has ridiculously mild weather. Most American cities regularly exceed both the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in London.
    – Joe
    Nov 9, 2015 at 20:17
  • London is actually pretty warm for the UK due to the 'Urban Heat Island' effect. Knock a couple of degrees off and you get what it's like elsewhere.
    – user7812
    Nov 9, 2015 at 20:38
  • Yes 88F is considered very hot in the UK - I assume it's also a reference to Back to the Future (88mph being the speed at which the Delorean travels in time).
    – Mr_Thyroid
    Jun 21, 2017 at 16:02

2 Answers 2


Wikipedia knows the answer.

List of Black Book Episodes


A heat wave sweeps London, causing Bernard to obsess about beautiful girls and to seek a "Summer Girlfriend", Fran to suffer from insomnia, and Manny to panic about his 'Dave's Syndrome', a curious condition that purportedly triggers at 88°F (31°C). Naturally, Bernard refuses to believe a word of Manny's "attention seeking nonsense" and tries to get Manny as hot as possible. Fran discovers the walls of her flat are literally closing in as her unscrupulous landlord creates another flat from the stolen space. Bernard pretends to be her lawyer in an attempt to rectify the situation but quickly falls for the new lodger, Summer Girl Alice. At the end of this episode, Bernard asks Fran when they will admit they are deeply attracted to each other. Fran replies, 'only when one of us is dead', and Manny's condition triggers, with disastrous consequences.

List of fictional diseases

Dave's Syndrome

A condition which is known to affect Manny, it is triggered by being exposed to a temperature of at least 88°F (31°C). While the exact effects of the disease are not described, a scene at the end of the episode shows the results — Manny is driven to madness and totally ransacks the area outside the shop, before using a hot water bottle as a loincloth, grabbing a flaming torch and painting "EAT ME" on his stomach, whilst jumping on the roof of an abandoned car. Bernard dismisses it as "attention-seeking rubbish" throughout the episode.


When the temperature hits 30 C in London we all start complaining about how hot it is - so I think it's a joke that pokes fun at how badly we Brits cope with the summer heat.


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