"And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth" was a favored means of expressing dismay
among the populace
at large in the Christian Bible
. Whenever God
would do something people didn't like, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. When they ran out of wine
at a wedding
, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth (and it's true -- I've seen it).
This line has long been a favorite of British satirists such as Rowan Atkinson and Terry Pratchett; it has the sort of melodramatic absurdity that suits them so well. The line is practically a joke in and of itself, since it translates so ridiculously into English. Good use is made of this line in "And Now, From Nazareth, The Amazing... ".