Pluggers usually focuses on the vaguely cheery aspects of life as an aging, downwardly mobile working-class beast-thing, but occasionally the truly grim undercurrent is made explicit. Kudos to Pluggers HQ for going there with the phrase “a small part of each plugger dies” in the caption. Usually a small part of each plugger dies when coronary blockage stops the flow of life-giving oxygen to various limbs, but the bug-eyed stare this man-bear is giving to the useless stump where an outdated piece of electronic equipment once moldered lets us know that this psychic pain is just as real.
Speaking of real pain, Crankshaft is really turning it up this week! Today we’re not even given the glimpse of a punchline, just one of our ancillary characters stewing in agony as his life’s work (which, I should say again, I’m reasonably sure we didn’t even know was his life’s work until this week) dies around him.
Anyway, it’s true that it’s a brutal environment out there for single-screen theaters. Some have been able to make it work by doing special events, live performances, and the like, though most of those are in major urban areas and not decaying rust-belt gloom-towns like Centerville. Still, I have a couple of ideas to improve Crankshaft’s Bald Friend Whose Name I Forget’s business plan: (1) your “nostalgia” flicks probably shouldn’t be widely hated slasher flicks from the early ’00s; and (2) I don’t care if you’re the owner, how about not talking while the movie is playing?
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 12/2/14
Parson Tuttle is a well-known fraud: he’s largely ignorant of spiritual and theological matters and presumably came to Hootin’ Holler, a community abandoned by actual clergy, to bilk its inhabitants out of their meager savings. But today we learn that this long-term grift has managed to trouble even this con-man’s conscience. What right does he, as a fraud and bearer of false witness, have to tell his parishioner-marks that their minor transgressions mark them out for eternal damnation? As an unbeliever himself, how dare he fill these poor souls’ minds with awful visions of Hell? Can the slim, ill-gotten rewards of this life he’s chosen really be worth it?
Boy, today’s Pluggers caption is really pretty long, huh? Usually they’re short and sweet, but I’d be down with seeing the walls of text expanding to show us what’s really going on beneath the down-home folksy surface of a typical Pluggers panel. “You’re a plugger if you get your ladder out of the garage in the morning to clean out your gutters and it’s still leaning against the house at dusk, because what’s the point, really? It’s just a task you’re going to have to do year after year, again and again. Maybe your gutters will clog up if you don’t do it, boo fuckin’ hoo, it’s not like the roof doesn’t already have three leaks in it, it’s not like the storm windows really shut properly. The whole rotten place is drafty all winter. It’s not like you know how to fix any of that stuff, or can afford to pay someone who does know. You remember the last time you cleaned out the gutters, when your friend Hank was there to help. Hank’s job transferred him to another city eight months ago. You haven’t talked to him much. Men don’t spend all day gabbing on the phone, the way your wife does with who knows what. Sure would make it more fun if Hank were here, though.”
Herb and Jamaal, 12/2/14
Haha, it’s funny because women in service jobs often need to perform “emotional labor” to maintain their tip income, leading to blurred emotional boundaries with customers!
Dennis the Menace, 12/2/14
“OH MY GOD,” thinks Alice, “MY SECRET REVEALED: I POOP OUT MY BUTTHOLE LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN DOES”
Mary Worth, 11/27/14
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY! Mary is spending the holiday with her dearest friends: Wilbur, Iris, Dawn, Ian, Toby, and … some dude? Some dude who is definitely not Dr. Jeff. Seems that Hanna Dingdon isn’t the only person finding new love these days!
Also missing from the table is Iris’s supposedly reformed son Tommy. My best guess is that he and Jeff are holed up over in Iris’s apartment, getting high.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY! Pluggers would like to remind you that if you serve a frozen pie to your family today you’re human garbage.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYBODY! Crankshaft reminds you that Thanksgiving is a fun time to watch your elderly relatives, who know that they’re going to die soon, bargain with God. Enjoy!