He’s a black horse in all of this

This beauty (black?) was recently heard on the t.v. show “Dancing With the Stars”, as the speaker was describing a contestant who was not favored to win the competition.  The malaphor is a mix of “dark horse” (a potential winner even though not the favorite) and “black sheep” (a disreputable or unloved family member).  The confusion is with dark/black and animals – horses and sheep, as the idioms are incongruent.   Thanks to Jack Chandler for sending this one in!

We have a few dark sheep in the family

The Sopranos title screen.

The Sopranos title screen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a mash up of “black sheep” (disreputable member of a group) and “dark horse” (something or someone who is little known and rises to prominence).  It was uttered in The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti the eighth episode of the first season of The Sopranos.:

Dr. Reis: You know, on my mother’s side, we have a few dark sheep.
Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, you know, Murder Incorporated. My mother’s
uncle was Lepke’s wheel man, his driver.