I was watching episode 5 of the 12th season of Big Bang Theory which starts with Raj speaking:

Recently, 12 new moons were discovered orbiting Jupiter, bringing the total up to 79. As a middle child myself, I'd like to extend my sympathies to moons two through 78. Your grandpa will never learn your name.

What does the part "extend my sympathies to moons two through 78" mean? I know it is pun intended but English isn't my native language. So I would be obliged by any answer.


There are apparently 79 moons orbiting Jupiter. Let's assume they are all numbered 1 - 79.

"Moons two through 78" means all the moons from number 2 up to and including number 78. This is an idiomatic use of the word "through" which means "up to and including a particular point in an ordered sequence". It is apparently North American in origin, but I have heard it used in British English.

"Extend my sympathies" is an idiomatic phrase which means to offer one's sympathies to someone.

The meaning of your quotation is meant to be humorous (obviously - it is in a comedy show). The humour is in the comparison that being a "middle child" (ie a child in a family of at least 3 siblings where they are neither the youngest nor the oldest sibling) is like being any of the moons except the first to be discovered (number 1, the "oldest") and the latest (number 79, the "youngest"). The speaker states that, as a middle child, his grandfather never learned his name, and the inference is that nobody will care about any of the moons except the first and last to be discovered.

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    Surely 1 would be the eldest (oldest known) and 79 the youngest (most recent) ;) – Smock Jun 27 '19 at 14:07
  • The four biggest ones (the first to be discovered) are all that matters. I extend my sympathies to moon 5-79. – Sydney Jun 28 '19 at 10:02

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