Pluggers remember the days before certain semantic shifts, when several common words conveyed a different set of meanings to most listeners than they convey today! They also remember when at least the outward performance of heterosexuality was mandatory, and thus largely unquestioned. Admittedly, it was easier to avoid such questions back when a hot date consisted of playing a ukelele and sitting two feet apart.
Hi and Lois, 2/21/15
Hi and Lois’s weariness with the entertainment-industrial complex aside, “the Hammies” is a good name for an awards show, but it should be a show where they give awards to actual ham. Like, juiciest ham, best Easter ham, ham of the year, what have you. I would very much watch that awards show.
Apartment 3-G, 2/21/15
“Why does this keep happening? Why do I keep half-recognizing people? It’s like I live in a terrifying nightmarescape where everyone looks more or less the same in general but the actual details of each individual’s face shift and ooze from moment to moment!”
Mary Worth, 2/6/15
For a character whose whole schtick is giving advice, Mary Worth’s given some pretty bad advice over the years. There was the time one of Mary’s friends confessed she still had feelings for a now-married old flame whom she hadn’t seen in years, and Mary told her to go ahead and contact him and pretend it was all “platonic”, because what could possibly go wrong. There was also the time that she told a woman haunted by memories of being stood up at the altar that you can fix sadness by choosing to remember events differently from what actually happened. And these are just the first two instances that leapt to mind, so what I’m saying is that it’d probably be premature to call today’s strip the worst advice Mary’s ever given anyone. But still, telling someone that “this thing you’re about to do will probably anger your daughter, so rather than talking to her about it you should just do it and then she’ll have literally no choice but to accept it and your relationship is gonna be great” isn’t really a good idea, you know?
Speaking of all-time lows, this panel can’t match the sheer awful concentrated sadness of 2006′s classic “Rhino-Man hocks his TV”, but you have to admit that “physical pain is a plugger’s constant companion, one he eventually learns to rely on for his sense of self” is pretty darn grim.
Funky Winkerbean, 2/6/15
For those of you who are fortunate enough to not be up on the terminology used by scholars of fan fiction, “Mary Sue” is a term deployed to criticize a fanfic character seen as being a poorly fleshed out and idealized stand-in for the author. I guess the point of this strip is to somehow prove that Les surely isn’t a Mary Sue character, because if he were, people would actually recognize him (“him” being either Les or Tom Batuik, I guess) in public! I’m not sure what a weird high-school-era flashback panel contributes to this message, structurally, but the important part is that total strangers feel absolutely no connection with or desire to speak to Les. None whatsoever.
Apartment 3-G, 2/6/15
At last, we’re meeting the psychic scam artist who’s gotten Margo’s mother into her clutches! Who had “vaguely dowdy brunette with boring hair wearing a pastel turtleneck” in the pool? Oh, everybody? OK!
Crankshaft’s been doing a pretty terrible series of Airport Indignity Laffs this week, but they, and the strip as a whole, have now ended abruptly as Crankshaft crawls into the baggage-handling mechanism and is crushed to death.
This week’s Curtis has features Curtis’s dad going on and on about this collection of music “I grew up with” as performed by extremely non-specific “legendary” artists, who, we learn today, are not rappers. One assumes that these legendary artists are never named so that this plotline can be trotted out every few years while keeping Greg the same age, but the whole thing already seems on the edge of believability: with a couple of pre-teen kids and a wife not notably younger than him, it seems unrealistic to have Greg be much older than his mid-40s, which would mean he hit his musical stride right as hip-hop was starting to enter the musical mainstream. Ten years from now, it will be actively strange if he grew up not listening to rap, although who knows, maybe it’ll be just as strange if Curtis is listening to it.
See, Curtis? Even Pluggers is admitting that most people in the plugger demographic in 2015 were filthy hippies in their youth. Just admit that Curtis’s dad likes old-school rap already.
Judge Parker, 2/4/15
Any chance that this angry fellow, who claimed earlier to have some pull with important politicians, might actually have pull with important politicians has just gone out the window as he used “the fed” to refer to some random non-Federal Reserve government agency. Sam, whose returns on capital vary between the staggering and the completely flabbergasting based on Fed decisions on interest rates and quantitative easing and such, is very much not impressed. It would be fun if this guy really were talking about the actual Fed, though. “We need the Fed working on this! Do you think fiat money can clear that road? Only a strong gold-based currency can restore our nation’s highways!”
In today’s fractured media landscape, there are still specialized audiences who aren’t being catered to — fans of watching angry, unsympathetic old men being sexually humiliated in public, for instance. One bold comic strip aims to meet this need.
For a brief moment, Francis catches a glimpse of what it might be like to feel real human joy — and sees just enough to know that the experience is completely beyond him.