The story, requested and encouraged by editor Anthony Boucher, is a deliberate attempt by the author to write a funny story and incorporates his love of the complex yet logical plots found in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.
The plot, a series of puns on the opera The Sorcerer, centres on Professor Wellington Johns, an endocrinologist, and his students, Alice Sanger and Alexander Dexter. Johns experiments with a love-philtre (which he terms his amatogenic cortical principle), that causes those who take it to fall helplessly in love with the first person they see. But when the couples marry, the philtre ceases to have any effect and the couples are free to have the marriage annulled so that they can marry their true loves.
Quotes from Gilbert and Sullivan operas occur frequently in Asimov's stories; also in some of his verses explaining how he thinks up new plots for his stories.