This Week in Milford

June 9, 2016

“It’s worse than that. She’s…


… dead, Mimi.”

“Aw crap. So much for the playdowns.”

Rubin creates a somewhat sympathetic female character, starts giving her nuance and a third dimension, then kills her off. Discuss.

Minor details dept.: Gil’s delicately arched pinky as he holds the phone (‘ello, guv’nor, it ain’t high tea);  James Van Der Beek takes the role of Gil in P3.

Reference for today’s post title:


  1. Is this the first “sudden” death in GT history???

    Comment by Rowdyman — June 9, 2016 @ 5:12 am

  2. “On the bright side, the impact from the second crash fixed her diastema.”

    Man, the baseball team awards dinner is going to be all kinds of awkward this year.

    Comment by timbuys — June 9, 2016 @ 6:23 am

  3. Perhaps this is the beginning of th end. Deus ex Del.

    Comment by Emerson — June 9, 2016 @ 6:46 am

  4. I found myself getting angry at this plot turn, for a few reasons.

    First, as teenchy says, Boo was that rare female teenager who was self-actualized and independent. It would have been a great service to teen readers, if this strip has any, to allow her character to grow over time and transition to adulthood.

    Second, Boo was a late add to this year’s spring plotline, and basically served as a McGuffin. That’s cheap storytelling, and unnecessary too — Rubin had more than enough to work with, between the Buddy/Ken relationship and Del’s “Death of a Salesman” act.

    And third, the dual crashes seem overly slapstick. Maybe it’ll lead to a nuanced narrative with Barry refusing to accept that his dad is an irresponsible drunk because “Dell didn’t actually kill her.” But that’s awfully far-fetched, and I seriously doubt that Rubin is capable of playing that kind of hand successfully. “Gil Thorp” plots usually fizzle out or end underwhelmingly, and if Boo’s death isn’t given the treatment it deserves, then my anger will not dissipate quickly.

    Comment by John S. Walters — June 9, 2016 @ 6:48 am

  5. Well, there’s our Thursday morning bummer.

    I agree with John S, as I often do. I thought Boo was a terrific character and under-utilized to begin with. If Del had to kill someone it should have been offstage and the victim should not have been a regular GT character. The fact he is now certain to go to prison is simply not proportionate.

    This plot turn pisses me off– John S did not say “it verges on unnecessary melodrama,” but it does. I still have to point out we do not know driver 3’s identity yet. If it turns out to be True I will REALLY pop my cork.

    Comment by vaganova — June 9, 2016 @ 7:05 am

  6. Like everybody else, I have to say FEH! Rubin really must have misread how many characters he has to work with, to kill off the only one worth seeing. The only explanation I can think of is that the strip will be gone before September and he wanted to end with a SKRASH.

    Comment by Downpuppy (@Downpuppy) — June 9, 2016 @ 7:16 am

  7. I’m with John S and vaganova which is why not only do I feel no angst making light of this development, I take solace in mocking it.

    Hey, speaking of awkward moments, how about the next time Papa Boo and Mama Boo meet? “Our daughter wouldn’t be dead if you hadn’t bought her that late mid-aughts Chrysler deathtrap!” “Oh yeah, she wouldn’t have even been on the road at the time if you had just remembered to buy bread and milk!”

    Comment by timbuys — June 9, 2016 @ 7:24 am

  8. I am oddly touched by this turn of events. I applaud Whigrub for having the guts to go this direction. Killing off a sympathetic character has the potential to be a great plot device. (for example, the film Always) Minor quibble: Texting while driving might have been more plausible, but getting offed because of drunk driving is certainly within the realm. And this way, we can hold the victim blameless.

    So no mocking from me today. Bye bye Boo – we’ll miss your dents du bonheur.

    Comment by g2design — June 9, 2016 @ 7:46 am

  9. My chief criticism of this particular strip (pun not intended, but I’m not editing it out) is that Chief Lind did not ask to speak with Mimi. Boo has been on Mimi’s softball team for multiple years now, and not a single one of Gil’s teams, she should be the first of these two informed of the news.

    The fact that Boo was an interesting and likable character does make her death compelling, gives it gravity. Doing this with Trish Spanos or Stacey DuFord would lack any of that. So, there is a level on which this works, but…

    The fact that she was one of the very few student characters that Rubin invested any time in (along with True and Molly Kinsella) makes this frustrating. There is not only a lack of strong student characters to follow now, there is a lack of student characters whose reaction to this will be meaningful in any way.
    That her death came, apparently, to move along yet ANOTHER one of Rubin’s loudmouth a-hole parent story arcs makes this cheap, distasteful, melodrama.

    Comment by billytheskink — June 9, 2016 @ 8:18 am

  10. They fridged her. Whigrub gave us (not nearly enough of) a pistol of a girl, and then they fridged her. If this is some fool plot device to somehow reform Baders father &/or son, I will not be pleased — Boo was worth more than that.

    John S. nailed it as usual, and vaganova covered the rest as usual. So yeah, I agree with those guys, only more ragey. DISLIKE.

    Comment by lauramac — June 9, 2016 @ 8:31 am

  11. Rowdyman asks if this is the first “sudden” death in GT history. Billy may know but I admit I don’t. The only one I can remember is a biker/villain in the middle 60s named Dell Brand. I THINK he was killed offstage but I can’t swear to it. I remember bits of dialog from that story but not the outcome. Much later, there was a student manager who died of Marfan Syndrome, but that was a “natural death.”

    Comment by vaganova — June 9, 2016 @ 10:00 am

  12. In the words of Ted Striker,

    Comment by nedryerson — June 9, 2016 @ 10:06 am

  13. I come to this strip for comic relief. Would Charles Schulz had killed Snoopy?! BOGUS!

    Comment by Jive Turkey — June 9, 2016 @ 10:49 am

  14. OK, I’ve moved onto acceptance. It’s a better place.

    Assuming a reach for omne trium perfectum, we’ve seen (1) the surprising second impact, the (2) even more unexpected demise of Boo Radley, and (3)? My vote for the epic third reveal is the driver of the truck. Hoping against hope that’s Judge Lisa “Hang ’em” Hiatt. Though I’d settle for Marty Moon.

    Hey, why not a full descent into the absurd?

    Comment by g2design — June 9, 2016 @ 11:42 am

  15. To concur with what has been said thus far, I know that nobody reads Aristotle any more, but this plot violates so many “rules” from The Poetics that I hardly know where to begin. Lack of proportion, the determinative role of coincidence, the pointless death of a central character, and half a dozen others. The reality we experience is often ruled by random factors: a fictional narrative is normally expected to shape reality, to form a satisfying arc. Paris died because he made a mistake, not because he was struck by lightning.

    Comment by vaganova — June 9, 2016 @ 11:45 am

  16. The most sudden death of a character that I recall was that jerk of a superintendent who hated Gil back in the late 90s (it was implied that his hatred hastened his death, because why not?), but even he got a week to lie on his deathbed and apologize to Gil for his jealousy. I don’t recall any alive in one panel, unexpectedly dead the next type of incidents, but my memory of the strip fades once past the last 20-something years.

    For sudden disappearances, we have Paul Strange. I miss Paul.

    Comment by billytheskink — June 9, 2016 @ 11:54 am

  17. Billy, thank you. I missed several years of GT while living in a city where the papers did not run the strip, but otherwise have been following it from the beginning, and I can’t recall a sudden violent death, other than that of Dell Brand, and I am not at all sure of that one. Help? Does anyone else recall that story? Show-off biker whom Gil took on for setting a bad example for his students? And Billy, the superintendent was the guy who had had a one-sided athletic rivalry with Gil back at State, right? And childishly tried to take it out on Gil as his boss? I remembered him as a principal, but I am sure you are right as you have a better command of the details of GT than any of us.

    Comment by vaganova — June 9, 2016 @ 12:36 pm

  18. You’ve got the details on the superintendent right. Maybe he was the principal, but I recall Dr. Pearl being brought in as his replacement, and I’m pretty sure she’s always been called the school’s superintendent.

    My readership of the strip doesn’t go back far enough for Dell Brand, I’m afraid. If you have a good recollection of when that story ran (year and months), you might check the Google Newspaper archives. The Toledo Blade, I know, carried Gil Thorp for many years, and some of the other papers they’ve scanned might have as well.

    Comment by billytheskink — June 9, 2016 @ 2:01 pm

  19. Great tip, Billy, thank you. I’ll try to run that down, if for no other reason than to see if I remember the bits of dialog correctly. Principal, superintendent, who knows? In my state, New York, rural districts with only a few hundred students K-12 often have a “supervising principal” who is in charge of everything. Since Mfnrd is no New York City high school graduating thousands per year, they may follow some similar practice.

    To return to the present, I am– in case there should be any doubt– not happy with this latest development.

    Comment by vaganova — June 9, 2016 @ 2:23 pm

  20. Whigam must be reading Funky Winkerbean where death and misery are reoccurring rhemes.

    Comment by Bobby Joe — June 9, 2016 @ 4:35 pm

  21. Obit is up already

    Comment by g2design — June 9, 2016 @ 6:04 pm

  22. Nicely done, G2.

    Comment by timbuys — June 9, 2016 @ 6:58 pm

  23. […] Phoebe has a habit of pointing at everything and everybody a lot, even by Milford standards, so pointing to the diner door to call out True seems a bit belabored. Corinna’s words say “big whoop” but her rapidly swelling hands say otherwise. Careful, Ms. Karenina: sassy, athletic girls who get involved with True come to bad ends. […]

    Pingback by Les Expos(ition) sont là, part deux | This Week in Milford — July 22, 2020 @ 9:24 am

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