“Does your mom know anything about basketball? She got any eligibility left? Maybe I should sit you and suit her up instead. She’s hopped up on goofballs, so I bet she’s got a better chance at finding the net than you.”
Today’s strip is chock full o’ insults. First Aaron insults his mom, then one of the most intelligent of dog breeds. Gil then insults Tina’s ability to understand whether Aaron is playing well or not and, backhandedly, Aaron himself for suddenly being worried about what she thinks. Neither of them seemed so worried when they were diming Tina out last week.
Finally, the attention to detail in this strip – in the entire winter arc, for that matter – is a little insulting. I rejoined the TWIM rotation mid-arc so maybe I shouldn’t be one to throw stones, so I’m gonna ask the Milford SID to check me on this season recap:
Binghamton – W
@ Downsville – ?
@ Tilden – W
Oakwood – ?
Central – W
@ Tilden – W
Goshen – W
Madison – L
@ Jefferson – L
Valley Tech – W
“marginally adequate” game – ?
@ Oakwood – L
Central – W
Jefferson – today’s game
Am I off, or has Milford played Tilden on the road twice and Central at home twice? If I’m off, I’ll come back and update this post. In addition, Aaron started the season wearing uniform number 24 but since the second Central game has switched to number 11. Today he’s conceded #24 to the kid standing to his left. I just get the sense that, in his efforts to turn the past three months into A Very Special Gil Thorp, Rubin’s lost sight of the actual action that supposedly drives this strip.
Yesterday we finally found out what Gil’s been feeding Aaron – Purina Rat Chow. Today Gildeaux, the one-man crisis intervention squad, keeps moving the chains forward.* But to get to the goal of a healthy life for young Aaron, he seems determined to drive through the red zone of breaking up the Aagard nuclear family.
What next then for Aaron? Does he become the Thorps’ replacement child? Does Gil have a seven-day plan for him? Does this arc drag out into baseball season? Let’s hope not!
Show of hands: How many of you looked at P2 – especially the B&W version – and thought Tina Aagard was looking through her glasses through her hair a la Cousin Itt? Thought so.
*Yeah, I know football metaphor, so sue me.
Yeah, you called me on it, Tina
I’m just a Milford wiener
Don’t coach, I just observe
But now I’ve started meddlin’
Someone’s got some Oxy’s peddlin’
Yeah, I got a lot of nerve
Phallic trophies I may brandish
Thanks to golden boy True Standish
Honors that I don’t deserve
But my team’s been gettin’ beaten
‘Cause your Aaron ain’t been eatin’
But I got a lotta nerve?
Now don’t be getting nervous
I’ll be calling Social Service(s)
‘Cause they’re only there to serve us
And we don’t all always get what we deserve…
Then you’re sure to lose your jobs,
Your car, your son. Some nerve!
Reason I like the color version of the strip today: without it, I’d have thought the furniture was made of the same plaster as the walls.
Reason I don’t like the color version of the strip today: Who has skintone teeth outside of a low-budget Hanna-Barbera cartoon?* Maybe I’m wrong and those are just Tina’s badly cracked lips.
*Speaking of meddlin’
I know Kaz is on record as regretting getting his tat, but if it has the power to migrate from one arm to the other, it must be pretty special. Maybe that’s why he hasn’t had it removed. Not sure what’s got Gil lathered up more: Kaz’s gun show, his own puny bicep curls, or memories of Hobart, Bill “Wildcat” Maris or some other pains in the ass on the Booster Club/School Board who’ll try to meddle in his efforts to help Aaron get those three squares he so desperately needs.
After the workout it’s off to the shiny halls of Milford High, where Gil and the COUNSELOR continue to speak obtusely past each other about Tina Aagard. Maybe Tina’ll get some dinner (if not some jail time) out of the deal, too.
Well here we go again with that staple of soap strip continuity, repeating yesterday’s last panel as today’s first panel. As pointed out in yesterday’s TWIM comments, since when did Ken and Mike ever really talk to Aaron beyond their amateur detective questioning?
Aaron lets his paw do the talking in P2 as he, Ken and unidentified Mudlark hooper (sans freckles, not likely Mike) soar just below the rim. Such hang time! Imagine what Aaron could do on three squares a day. Maybe we’ll soon find out.
Finally, once I convinced myself that the “f” in “shift” wasn’t silent, I wondered exactly what first shift Kaz intended to take. Babysitting the locker room post-practice? Feeding Aaron? Or what?
It was once suggested that the caption “Christ, what an asshole.” works with every New Yorker cartoon†. It’s also been suggested that “What a misunderstanding!” and “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” can also be used as universal New Yorker cartoon captions. There have been even ruder universal captions that I won’t link to directly but you can find them via this link.
The first universal caption immediately sprang to mind when I looked at today’s strip. Gil sure looks like he’s trying to stifle a laugh behind his hand as he listens to the family Aagard’s tale of woe. (Semantics question: when a person confesses to something, doesn’t that mean they’re making an admission of something about themselves they would otherwise have kept hidden? Isn’t Aaron simply diming out his mom here?) A subtle twist of the eyebrows would’ve gone a long way here.
Now that Tina Aagard’s dirty laundry has been hung out, it’ll be interesting to see who Gil brings in to help make things better for the Aagards. A doctor? For all we know, a doctor may be enabling mom’s habit. Social Services? The League of Women Voters? The Illinois National Guard? No matter, I suspect we’ll see this scene play out at Schloss Thorp, Big Ken Brown’s House of Making Things Happen and other Milford abodes in the coming week.
†No offense or shock value intended on my part.
“My mom’s drugs. Thalidomide, to be specific. You see, Coach, Mom has leprosy. That’s why she works from home and in the back office of that seedy old hardware store – she doesn’t want to be seen. That’s also why she doesn’t come to our games.
“She was prescribed thalidomide to treat some of its side effects. She knew she wasn’t supposed to be pregnant when she took it, or become pregnant, but she did anyway. Now here I am, with my left hand attached to my shoulder like a flipper. Why else do you think I can’t hit the boards the way you want?”
Okay, you tell me whose hand that is in P1 then. Thing from The Addams Family in his recurring role as co-interrogator with smug-faced Gil?
“Aaron, those are Tic Tacs. She got ’em from Bobby Howry down at the MILFORD RECREATION CENTER.”
What a ham-handed way to work a current health crisis into the strip. And to think we could’ve had a Lady Mudlarks story arc running in parallel to this. Just as well; Rubin only had to introduce one character to fail the Bechdel Test this go ’round.