This Week in Milford

September 21, 2022

It Must’ve Been Zane Clark’s Doing

How bleeding edge are we now, kids? The Linda Lindas’ new album is their first album, released only this past June. They’d previously released an EP in 2020. Their breakout hit was “Racist, Sexist Boy” which kinda seems on brand for the nu-look Gil Thorp. Here they are performing it at a public library, which kinda seems on brand for the old-look Gil Thorp.

Rock ‘n Roll Thursday comes a day early to TWIM, then.

That, in a nutshell, is what today’s strip is all about: getting past the hard candy shell of modern society to get to the chewy middle of adolescent desire to be popular and part of a group. Look beyond the hijab-clad volleyball player and her brown-bagged meal (possibly halal, because the MHS cafeteria can’t be trusted) and see the girl who wants to let her circle of friends know she’s hip to the latest music. Look past Arianna’s acknowledgement of the hijab-clad girl (who hasn’t been given a name yet IIRC) and see the girl who wants her friends to know she uses Urban Dictionary. Look beyond Keri’s suddenly green-dyed hair and bejeweled everything and see the girl whose nose is out of joint because she’s not in the team picture one of her teammates took and posted to social media.

So sit back, relax, and watch the old Too Cool For School drama play out with a bunch of new faces. At this rate, we’ll probably see more of that than we will of Mudlark football.

September 17, 2022

“S’okay, I got all weekend.”

Filed under: Gil Thorp — teenchy @ 9:03 pm

Sorry, Mel, but The Bucket has changed with the times, too. Used to be that fiddy you’re holding in that man hand of yours would buy dinner for a Mudlark starting lineup. Now it barely covers dinner for three.

Gentle readers, I’m getting more than a little nervous. It wasn’t enough that The Daily Cartoonist called yhs out a month ago; now we’re getting called out by The High Priest of Snark Himself, in a metapost no less. The tip o’ the hat should really go to our own Ned who, in addition to being the veteran of our rotation, is a regular commenter over at the ‘mudgeon. It was Ned who pointed out that Thursday’s strip – in which Gil told Mel he “shouldn’t have told her to get that abortion” back in ought-three – was intended by Barajas to read “Mel, I shouldn’t have told you not to get an abortion.” (This requires access to the oft-mentioned Discord channel, which I’ve signed up for and still haven’t found.)

Let’s put aside the possibility that The Chief deliberately changed up Barajas’ original dialogue for the moment. There’s no way a legacy comic strip artist would openly rebel against a new writer who’s throwing twenty-first century social issues at him Steve Spurrier Fun ‘n Gun style. Instead, let’s just parse it both ways:


a. Read prima facie, Gil told Mel on Thursday he “shouldn’t have told her to get that abortion.” Now Mel has Toby, and is supportive of Toby’s transition. She can tell Gil to GFH because she’s sticking by her kid no matter what.

b. Read as Barajas apparently intended, Gil was supposed to have told Mel on Thursday he “shouldn’t have told her not to get that abortion.” This reading would be consistent with Jenkins’ original 2003 story arc, in which Gil “swayed” Mel not to get that abortion. If Gil’s now suggesting that Mel should’ve gone through with that abortion, what does that say about Gil? The mind boggles. Mel can tell Gil to GFH many ways to Sunday.

Now Keri, Arianna, Toby and damn near everyone else in The Bucket is staring at the booth just vacated by Mel and in which Gil and Mimi sit speechless. (Why Toby isn’t looking in whatever direction Mel took off in is beyond me.) While neither Thorp parent is talking, Mimi’s body language is speaking volumes. Is she pissed that Mel didn’t serve Gil the divorce papers with that fifty like they planned? Talk amongst yourselves.

Oh, and if this is “doing the work” then I’m glad to be doing it.

September 14, 2022

More Pronoun Trouble

Football season! Volleyball season!

Here we go again, but it’s not a dispute as to whether sportsball should take precedence over non-sportsball extracurriculars but the modern problem of remembering what pronouns people choose to identify themselves. Today, Toby née Tabatha identifies as he/him, Keri identifies as they/them, and Gil identifies as coach/Coach.

Now why are these three having this little confab at The Bucket of all places? (And why are they having coffee? Don’t they know there’s a cantina in town for that?) Are they here to pick up them after their postgame dinner? Are they serving as their chaperones for said dinner? Is it time for a jangle-off as Mel and Mimi see who can rattle their jewelry the loudest? Winner gets Gil – if she wants him, that is.

The unspoken tension here is so thick you could cut it with a butter knife, not unlike the one Mimi’s twisting into Mel as she deadnames Toby. Clearly she hasn’t forgotten that Mel wanted to be her at one time. Meanwhile Gil, still aware of that history and that Mimi is unhappy in the marriage, tries to play the supportive husband by throwing out a patronizing “sweetie.” Will Mimi have the divorce papers served publicly to Gil right here in The Bucket, the way Jason Sudeikis had Olivia Wilde served with custody papers while she was presenting at CinemaCon?

One thing is clear: despite Mel’s claim, in Milford, nothing is the same as it was.

edit: Oops! I forgot to identify the players from the Dolphins’ No-name Defense I posted this past Saturday!

Front, reclining: Lloyd Mumphord, CB

Front row, left to right: Bob Matheson, LB; Bill Stanfill, DE; Bob Heinz, DT; Manny Fernandez, DT; Vern Den Herder, DE

Center: Nick Buoniconti, LB

Back row, left to right: Dick Anderson, SS; Curtis Johnson, CB; Mike Kolen, LB; Doug Swift, LB; Tim Foley, CB; Jake Scott, FS

September 10, 2022

The Return of the No-Name Defense…

Filed under: actual action, Central, hands in the air, Keri Thorp, Volleyball — teenchy @ 8:19 pm

… and the No-Name Offense too while we’re at it. Whoever is calling this jayvee volleyball game in front of a packed house of 5 (and since when do jayvee volleyball games merit announcers?) wasn’t given or can’t be bothered to find the Milford or Central rosters. It’s a little refreshing, really, not having to Google which of Neal Rubin’s friends was getting a shout-out by having a players as a namesake. Still if we’re gonna have a narrative about a specific Milford team during a season, we’re gonna need some names before long.

Is this Central the same Central that’s in the Valley Conference? Or, with the nickname “Bobcats,” is it the one in Knoxville, TN? If the latter, then Milford has stolen its team colors. Maybe it’s the one in Phoenix or in San Angelo, TX. Seeing a team in mauve, pink and black is also a little refreshing though I’ve gotta wonder how their boys’ teams pull it off. I don’t know squat about volleyball uniform numbering so I can’t vouch for whether 64 is an appropriate number for a volleyball player. I have a hunch it’s some kind of secret message, kind of like Rubin’s goodbye and Prisoner reference in the July 7 strip. The number 5, of course, refers to the number of people in the stands and the number 17, dunno, maybe the number of people who read Gil Thorp on the regular?

Anyhoo, here’s a pic of the original No-Name Defense. See if you can name any of them without Googling. I’ll post the answers on Wednesday.

September 7, 2022

What is this, effing ponderous, man. Ponderous, effing ponderous.

“I want a concerted effort to come out of a strip that isn’t an up-tempo strip about fapping into a damned death dedication!” Here I am set up to spike some snark after Gil played setter yesterday and all I can think of after reading today’s installment is Casey Kasem’s infamous ranting outtake.

Well that puts a damper on my catty remarks about how sick Mimi’s mother really was, how far away (and how close to a beach) from Milford she was living, and how old Cami Ochoa is.* It’s taken me the better part of today to decide which is the bigger bombshell: that Mimi’s mother is terminally ill or that Mimi had an aspiring professional golf career we hadn’t heard about until today.

Let’s start with the first one. When Mimi took the Thorplets to the beach and/or to see her mother, we were under the impression that Grandma Clover didn’t exactly live around the corner. Now we’re told Mimi’s gone “to take care of her mom up north” only to find them at Milford Adult Care LLC? Either Milford is about the size of Sitka, Alaska, or Mimi went up north and brought her mom closer, well, to die.

A slightly meta digression is in order. In the time that I’ve been part of the TWIM rotation, I’ve lost both my parents: father of teenchy in July 2014 and mother of teenchy in November 2016. When my father died, I don’t think I missed a regularly scheduled post; however when my mother died I took a leave of absence from TWIM that lasted until late January 2017. In hindsight I think the main difference was that my mother died very suddenly and somewhat unexpectedly, whereas my father had been terminally ill for over a year and his passing was not so much a matter of if, but when. It also didn’t help matters that I became the sole surviving member of my family after my mother passed and had to deal with the material consequences of that. That’s also why I spent a fair part of 2017 in Bakst country.

What’s my point? My point is that when you know with some certainty that a loved one has a limited time remaining, you are allowed an opportunity to prepare for that eventuality. In Mimi’s case, it appears that includes not only bringing her mom closer to her for the time she has left** but also preparing to pursue a golf dream that’s been on hold for as long as I’ve been reading this strip if not longer. I suppose next we’ll find out that Kaz has gone off on a spiritual trek to Nepal and Silent John Pascoe has returned to help Gil coach the football team.

*How many years of a time jump did Barajas make when he took the super soph from six months ago and made her a high school sports coach? Is there a fountain of youth in Casa Thorp that kept Keri and Jami from aging while Cami did the reverse Benjamin Button? If so, maybe they better give a glass or two to Mimi’s mom. Just sayin’.

**Not sure how Mimi’s mom can say with such certainty that she’s dying in six months and not tonight. Does she have a physician-assisted suicide penciled into her calendar for that date? Does she know that Mimi’s going to carefully wheel her into Milford Adult Care LLC and not do something else with her? There’s a string of morbid jokes as long as my arm I could roll out here but good taste (and maybe my earlier aside) won’t let me do that. Instead I’ll refrain and leave that for the commenters.

September 3, 2022

Disoreinted

Gentle readers, I’m just an old newspaper comics reader. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the comments section of your blogs makes me want to put down my laptop and run off into the hills, or wherever. Sometimes when I look at a strip on GoComics, I wonder: “Did little demons get inside and draw it?” I don’t know! My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know – when a new writer takes over a legacy comic strip and infuses it with too many current-day issues all at once, I want to complain and vow never to read that strip again. Thank you.

That’s how I felt, not after reading today’s strip, but after making the mistake of reading the GoComics comments before I posted like I said I’d never do. If I hadn’t, however, I wouldn’t have been able to put together the backstory behind today’s strip. For that we have to go back to a time before TWIM even existed, nearly twenty years ago, during the Jerry Jenkins era.

Melissa was a high school student who became pregnant by her boyfriend Kyle Gordon. Note the blatant product placement.

December 30, 2002

Melissa’s father forbade Kyle from seeing her again. The baby’s future was not in doubt, as least for the moment.

January 4, 2003

Melissa’s parents gave her the boot, and Kyle had no intention of marrying her…

January 13, 2003

… so his parents moved him out of state and forbade him from contacting her. Then the baby’s future came into doubt.

January 16, 2003

Kyle and Melissa concluded that Melissa should do something she had the constitutional right to do at the time.

January 18, 2003

Melissa ultimately decided to keep the baby and not Kyle, and the Thorps welcomed her into their home.

January 27, 2003

Note that the kid sitting next to Melissa is Keri Thorp, who would go into a state of suspended animation until very recently.

Marty got wind of the situation and tried to make a thing of it. Gil nipped it in the bud.

February 5, 2003

Mimi noticed Melissa “craving” Gil’s attention (!) but Gil was oblivious.

February 7, 2003

Turned out Mimi wasn’t wrong.

February 11, 2003

After Melissa concocted a story about Jami getting hurt and getting Gil to chaperon a movie date with three other MHS girls who mysteriously backed out, she got caught in the lie.

February 25, 2003

Melissa tried to play the Fatal Attraction angle…

February 27, 2003

… and then Gil blew a shot at an easy threesome professed his eternal faithfulness to Mimi. Where was Luke Martinez when this went down?

March 1, 2003

The Gil Thorp plot then pivoted to The Brent Raptor Story. I lost the scent after that, so I can’t say for certain that Melissa and Tabatha/Tobias appeared in the strip again until today. Now that she’s Melissa Gordon, can we conclude she and Kyle eventually did marry? Going down the rabbit hole of 2002-03 strips exhausted me. I’m sure someone will have done that legwork before I post again.

There was blowback to Jenkins’ anti-abortion/pro-life stance (e.g., the Chicago Tribune dropped the strip), but I can only imagine it will pale in comparison to the blowback Barajas is going to get after today.

Our minds could race with the possibilities raised by the mere presence of young Tobias in the strip. (Never mind that he should logically be a college freshman by now, with Melissa in her mid-to-late thirties and Keri in her mid-to-late twenties.) Gil’s attempts to get Tobias on the football team would no doubt meet with greater resistance than getting Heather Burns to play tight end. I won’t even dwell on Gil’s lame attempt at hygiene theater, his free-floating mask, or the loving care with which Steve Luhm polished the oreintation desk. Today’s strip has brought out Luann levels of commentary from people apparently as invested in this strip as the Luann trufans are (and if you don’t know anything about them by now, you’re better off not knowing.)

Me, I’m here for the ride. I just don’t know if I can dig through decades of archives every time I post.

August 31, 2022

WOKE must be a new rival station to WDIG

Mimi Thorp.

Likes: Hairy stay-at-home dads. Passive-aggressive notes.

Dislikes: Successful coach dads with pilot’s licenses.

Gil Thorp.

Likes: Old fashioneds. Old tech.

Dislikes: Threats to his masculinity.

Jami Thorp.

Likes: Hentai. Staining his pants to hentai.

Dislikes: His mom knowing he looks at hentai.

Keri Thorp.

Likes: Playing her parents off each other. Wearing her politics on her sleeve torso.

Dislikes: Whatever it’s hip to dislike.

Gil Thorp readers.

Pronouns: y’all/ all y’all

Likes: Continuity. Artwork that matches the dialogue.

Dislikes: Retcons. Random pointy fingers. Consistenly inconsistent uniform colors.

August 27, 2022

Mimi, not coaching? ¡Oh mi corazón!

The past week’s action at the MCC was setting up to be a 21st-century version of Caddyshack, with Gil and Mimi as the Smails and the Martinezes (well, at least Luke) as some kind of Al Czervik. Sra. Martinez (a/k/a Fran) was looking to fall into the Czervik mold, with huge earrings huger and chunky bracelets chunkier than any heretofore seen in Milford. So when Fran replies to Mimi’s quintessential American question, you can literally hear the mic drop in print.

Look how gobsmacked Mimi is. You can almost hear the Locust Valley Lockjaw and see the privilege explode out of her eyes. That someone who looks and sounds like Fran could be a heart surgeon? Mind. Blown. That a heart surgeon could be married to such an obvious boor as Luke? Mind. Blowner.

Know what? Mimi’s mind is nowhere near as blown as mine when she introduces herself as a “stay-at-home-mom.” What happened to her basketball-softball-volleyball-PE coaching job at Milford? Is that why there was no girls’ sports arc this past spring? Will that ellipsis explain it all come Monday? This retcon train has been rolling for the past seven weeks; now it’s in danger of jumping the tracks.

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