Archive: For Better or for Worse

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Gil Thorp, 10/30/09

I may not be the most knowledgeable guy in the world when it comes to football — I lost all my play money in my family’s NFL pool by the end of week four this year — but I know enough to know that generally when one of your guys runs a punt back 98 yards for a touchdown, that’s a good thing, right? And yet there’s Coach Kaz, looking horrified and flapping his hands around theatrically. I suppose it’s not considered classy to run up the score when you’re already winning by more than two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and we’re going learn some Valuable Lessons About Sportsmanship.

In a larger sense, I’m finally figuring out that there are really only two basic story-driving Mudlark character types: troubled loners and loudmouth jerks. And in this year’s football storyline we’re getting one of each! In SAT analogy terms, Duncan Daley:Cully Vale::Jamarr Gaddis:Andrew Gregory.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/30/09

Oh, man, just when I thought I couldn’t love Cue any more, what with his shiny bald head, his general attitude right on the border between menace and dyspepsia, and his continued and reckless use of the word “crib,” it turns out that he’s also a small-time pot dealer! “Take it easy man … I just called to get some weed” shall be solemnly inscribed in the book of Greatest Rex Morgan Quotes Ever; it certainly compares favorably to “Sorry, baby, I didn’t mean to kill your buzz” for soap opera drug lingo verisimilitude. Now, you might think that Cue is being pretty selfless, passing up an opportunity to profit from the sale of illegal narcotics in order to bring these poor souls back to their home, but he’s actually thinking strategically. Someone in his line of work would love to have contact with a group of people who are largely idle all day, have a little bit of money, and don’t particularly care about any damage they might do to their short-term memory. Yes, sir, this trip’s gonna be lucrative for ol’ Cue, reward or no.

For Better Or For Worse, 10/30/09

Today is the day when I break my blood oath to ignore the pure rerun installments of FBOFW on this blog. I do so because I am so very, very amused by the title of the girlie magazine that John is reading not ten feet away from his wife in panel three. What sort of photography, pray tell, graces the inside pages of Nacho Man? Are there pictures of nearly nude ladies, their most intimate parts concealed only by a thick, gelatinous layer of melted nacho cheese? Are there sexy photo spreads featuring other popular bar foods, like chicken wings or mozzarella sticks? The mind boggles, and one ought to be thankful that we can clearly see both of John’s hands. Also of note is the ad on the back of this fine publication for Lion Tamer cologne, which, I assume, smells of sawdust, circus peanuts, panicked sweat, and lion shit.

Crock, 10/30/09

I kind of love the miserable expression on the face of Anonymous Legionnaire On The Left in panel two. It’s as if he knows that he will only appear in this one strip, and that his only purpose in his mayfly-brief existence is to elicit the punchline for this awful, awful joke, but despite that terrible self-knowledge, he is incapable of stopping himself.

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For Better Or For Worse, 7/21/09

Just for the record, I am attempting to maintain, both on general principles and for my own mental health, a moratorium on commenting on retread FBOFW — a foobatorium, if you will. Still, occasionally one of the new strips scattered amongst the reruns demands comment, and this is one of them. I’m not even going to comment on the weird ham-handed acknowledgement of authorial ham-handedness (although notice telling quote marks around “write,” hmmmm); rather I just want to point out that one of these ladies is a lot more enthusiastic about all this deus ex machinaing than the other.

Connie: I moved here specifically because I wanted to be close to you!
Ellie, facial expression carefully neutral: Mmm.
Connie: Lots of people totally lose touch with their college friends and never see them again!
Ellie: Um, yes, that is … what some might expect to happen … with some of their college friends.
Connie: We’re living in a magical storybook!
Ellie: STAY AWAY FROM MY KIDS YOU FEMINIST SINGLE-MOTHER CAREER-WOMAN WHORE.

Apartment 3-G, 7/21/09

Margaret Shulock took over Apartment 3-G writing duties in, I think, late 2005, and when I finally got around to noticing this the following April, I hinted, not even a little subtly, that I should have been given the job. But I can say with some degree of certainty that I would never have come up with a “disgruntled Margo has an audience with the Dalai Lama” scenario. King Features clearly made the correct choice.

Oh, and in that first link, note that Margo is talking about going to law school, a plot thread that clearly has never been heard from again, but how cool would that have been? I’m not sure if she’d be more terrifying as a prosecutor or a defense attorney; I imagine that she’d eventually be the star of her own syndicated judge show, as soon as the prudes at the FCC made it legal to show dismemberments on broadcast TV during the day.

Gil Thorp, 7/21/09

“And by ‘make a call,’ I mean ‘crush this cell phone with my mighty fist’! You see that, evil-doing stalkers? You don’t scare me! GIL SMASH!”

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For Better Or For Worse, 3/23/09

Generally speaking, I have chosen to ignore the “new-run” incarnation of For Better Or For Worse, partly to protest the strip’s shameless failure to fade away gracefully, and partly because it turns out that 99 percent of the fun was mocking the twists and turns of the end-game melodrama. I had intended to similarly pass over the current mostly-new storyline, in which Elly has gone off to Vancouver, leaving John alone to go whoring with his caddish co-worker at “The Swig And Swine” (BECAUSE MEN ARE DRUNK PIGS GET IT). But I was driven to briefly return from my self-imposed exile from Foobonia by panel two, in which the strip betrays its most important value: its Canadianosity. Seriously, what self-respecting Canuck would offer a toast with words that rebellious scoundrels used to separate part of His Majesty’s North American possessions from the mother country? This horny dentist’s ancestors were probably driven out of the southerly colonies by anti-royalist mobs with that very phrase on their lips! A real Canadian patriot would have instead raised a mug of Molson Golden to peace, order, and good government, and if that would have made it harder to transition to a terrible pun about trying to fuck the waitress, well, so much the better.

Apartment 3-G, 3/23/09

So the current Tommie storyline will apparently center on Dr. Kelly showing up at Apartment 3-G unannounced and putting her increasingly awkward situations. Since previous Tommie storylines included such gems as “Tommie is repeatedly insulted by her ditzy neighbor” and “Tommie tries and fails to seduce her married friend,” I say bring it on!

Children are kind of a wild card in the Apartment 3-G universe, as I can’t remember them ever appearing before, or any of the characters expressing the slightest interest in their existence. Margo’s reaction upon returning home and finding two short, unruly humans in her apartment ought to be priceless, at any rate. “Tommie, I was just trying to get them to settle down! It’s not my fault they can’t hold their liquor!”

Dick Tracy, 3/23/09

It looks like Dick Tracy, having eliminated all crime through his patented brand of Bill-of-Rights-violating mayhem, is now going to take on distasteful but wholly legal business practices. Next up: AIG executives are forced to pay back their bonuses … with their flesh.