What’s the significance of the oft-repeated phrase “Royal with cheese” in Pulp Fiction?

What's the context and significance surrounding the "Royal with cheese" dialogue in Pulp Fiction? Does it have any specific meaning in the plot?

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"Royal with cheese" is a line from a famous conversation between the characters Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (played by Samuel L. Jackson) in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 film, Pulp Fiction. The scene takes place when they are driving to their assignment, when Vincent shares what he learned during his time in Amsterdam about the cultural differences between Europe and America. One of these differences he explains is how, due to the metric system, they call a quarter-pounder with cheese (a burger size we know from McDonald's) a "Royale with cheese" in France. The "Royale with cheese" conversation may seem like casual banter or comic relief on the surface, but it serves multiple purposes in the film. Firstly, it is a perfect showcase of Tarantino's signature dialogue writing style, which often includes inconsequential but engaging conversations about pop culture or everyday life observations. These dialogues make his characters feel real, relatable, and distinct. Secondly, the chat sets the buddy-buddy tone for Vincent and Jules' relationship and lays down their characters - two hitmen who don't shy away from casual, funny conversations despite being on a serious assignment. Finally, the conversation also serves to highlight the film's ongoing theme about the variance and subjectivity of interpretations in different contexts (metric vs. imperial, culture differences). This reflects the movie's non-sequential storytelling structure and its emphasis on different perspectives. So while the dialogue doesn't directly impact the plot, it significantly contributes to the characters' development, film's style, and thematic depth. Just like many details in Tarantino's filmography, it might seem trivial at first but plays a small part in creating a richer overall film experience. In conclusion, the phrase "Royale with cheese" has become iconic due to it's a combination of unique humor, cultural commentary, and character development, all delivered in a casual conversation between two hitmen.
Answered on September 16, 2023.
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