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Tales of supermarket ribaldry!

Luann, 12/8/08

So, the last time I ranted about the overarchingly gross “sexiness” in Luann, a commentor claimed that, because I’m obviously a horny male type, I was primarily angered by the strip’s refusal to reward Brad with sexual access to Toni (and Gunther with the same to Luann). Obviously I have not been getting my point across, as nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, there are few things that I would find more distasteful, on both an aesthetic and an emotional level, than the prospect of Brad having sex.

Here’s what drives me batty about this strip’s treatment of romantic relationships: everything’s all presented to us as if its something that’s supposed to make us all hot and bothered, and yet it’s not erotically charged at all, both because of the need to stay within the strict bounds of newspaper strip acceptable content rules and because of the extreme hamhandedness of it all. The fact that it all reinforces the whole “Women are mysterious and manipulative and men are doomed to be trapped forever in their sexual thrall” thing just adds some extra ick.

I’d dearly love nothing more than to stop thinking about the sexual lives of the characters in Luann, but it seems like every other storyline in the strip is entirely about their sexual lives, veiled by this layer of propriety that’s all the more baffling considering how blatant the winking and nudging is. The result is that it’s like a dirty joke told by an ten year old, today’s example being a prime example. “Hey, Toni, I was just thinking about you because … melons! Ha ha! Get it? Because they look like… you know! Ha!” Christ.

I had an epiphany the other day, actually, that what it all most reminds me of is the classic SNL “Tales of Ribaldry” sketch, in which Jon Lovitz plays a regency-era fop who gets hilariously worked up by hints at sex but becomes outraged when actual sex starts occurring — and whaddya know, thanks the magic of the Internet, you can actually stream those old sketches from NBC, totally legally, so here’s one for those of you too young/old/classy to remember:

Anyway, this has been a mostly unfunny rant, and I promise not to revisit the subject again unless I have something amusing to say about it. I was mostly excited that “Tales of Ribaldry” was actually available online, and had to express my displeasure about the melons. Melons! Seriously. Melons.

Gil Thorp, 12/8/08

Wait … what? Is this a new Gil Thorp storyline, all of the sudden? I’m sure Ashley Aiello and her box of NUT BOY (“It’s Nutty!” is what I hope that says on that box) will be very interesting and all, but usually at the end of football season we at least get some sort of acknowledgement of the team’s annual failure to win a championship of any sort. I won’t honestly miss Gil rubbing the back of his massive, square head ruefully while attempting to cast the blame on someone else, I suppose, but I do demand narrative satisfaction on the conclusion of the Marty Moon gets fired and replaced by punk kids arc. That mysterious, shadowy figure in the first panel had better be Marty, despondant and prepared to buy every bottle of anything even vaguely intoxicating that the 24-7 SwiftiMart stocks, including NyQuil and lighter fluid.

Dick Tracy, 12/8/08

Whenever Dick Tracy says “Time to pick up the pieces,” the “pieces” in question are the mutilated body parts of his enemies, obviously.

Apartment 3-G, 12/8/08

Margo literally does not know what Detective Collins is talking about, because the only bit of drug terminology known to her or any of her acquaintances is “dope.”

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