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 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.

July 30, 2022

Leaving the Light On for Gil

Midday Saturday, I don’t see robmize’s post and I’m in between errands so I’m gonna do a twofer. Thanks for covering for me while I was island-hopping, rob.

July 29, 2022

It doesn’t look like Gil took the crazy bet from Hairy Hands Martinez. Why would he? If Martinez is new at Valley Tech, how has he been tired of watching Gil win the COTY award “every year”? We need a bit more backstory to buy anything Luke’s spouting. No doubt it’s the liquor talking, which is why Bethany the barkeep is cutting everybody off, including Gil.

As Gil saunters off through the bar’s doorway, Bethany gazes wistfully in his direction. In her tiny voiced farewell are traces of a desire to make something else stiff for Gil besides an old-fashioned. Nice tiny, dashed word balloon by the Chief there; can’t recall the last time I saw one of those from him.

July 30, 2022

Can’t recall the last time we saw the Thorp kids, either. Some posters on the ‘mudgeon suggested that it was in the Christmas 2008 strip. A lot can happen in thirteen-plus years (I’m still holding out for the convent and military school angle, myself) so this retcon better have them back as young adults and not preteens, is all I’m saying.

The Valley COTY award ceremonies weren’t held in Milford, apparently but somewhere where there’s an Embassy McCormick Suites Inn. Wherever it is, that’s where Gil’s been staying at least for the past night… plus? Emmett Tays drops in on Gil in the breakfast room to drop off the COTY golden butt plug he left on the podium the night before, gets the lowdown on the kerflulffle with Martinez, then opens the can of worms by asking about la famiglia Thorp. Sit back and order another round, gentle readers; we’re in for a whole lotta backstory next week.

July 27, 2022

Oh !#%@! He Went There!

“Nice speech up there, Thorp.

“Nice attempt at a burn, Cornelius.

“The name’s Martinez. Luke Martinez. I’m fixin’ to be in your damn face like my cousin Davey.”

“Martinez, huh. Thought you might be kin to my old pal Martin Luna.”

“Oh yeah? Well you’re full of !#%@, Thorp.”

“Damn, Martinez, you can’t even tell the joke right. You see flies on me? No? If you did, you’d either say I was full of honey or that flies are attracted to !#%@. Now step off before I break off that hairy paw of yours and stick it up your keister.”

So Martinez has been hired to replace the lump who whined about losing True Standish to Gil, then had his flies handed to him on a plate courtesy of True, John Pascoe & co. Or maybe to replace someone who replaced the lump. Dunno about y’all but between the goatee and the lavender top, I’m getting a Jesus Quintana vibe from Luke here. (Is lavender even a Valley Tech color? With this strip’s colorists, don’t bet against it.)

Barajas has given us a Gil with a touch of the ol’ leatherneck from the strip’s inception. He’s also given us a bewhiskered antagonist to give Gil !#%@, at least through the summer if not through the rest of the year. Will Henry give us enough backstory to find out what Martinez’ beef with Gil is? If he’s playing the long game, I reckon we TWIMers can too.

June 22, 2022

A Cease and Desist Letter from Rowan Atkinson Will Be Forthcoming

For a guy hellbent on keeping a low profile, Mason Hamstetter isn’t exactly avoiding public places. Who knew the Coffee Cantina was so hopping late at night (it is still night, isn’t it)? With three cameo appearances – one by a young Lech Wałęsa, one by a Jimmy Fallon on hiatus from The Tonight Show – the Cantina might just be the hip place to be when the rest of this tank town rolls up the sidewalks. If this leads to a Gil Thorp spinoff, Milford After Dark, I’m here for it.

I’m also here for Ham(m)stetter‘s “moi?” face and spasmodic hand gesture, reminiscent of a certain public figure mocking a certain journalist. Rubin likes to play a lot of journalistic inside baseball in this strip, what with all the name-dropping of Midwest newspaper types and references to infamous plagiarism cases, so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised. Mason is looking rather nonplussed for someone who dares to rouse Gil from his evening wind-down. What did he think this late-night coffee talk would gain him?

Certainly not any respect from Gil. Besides, Gil has a point telling Mason he’s old news. Nobody in Milford cares about your past unless you’re trying to make money using skills you learned in the past. Nobody in Milford ever Googles anybody to find out if they’re living under an assumed name before running them out of town. Nope, not gonna happen.

Now, about that third cameo appearance (in name, not in likeness): Is he the Coffee Cantina’s new mascot?

June 11, 2022

While Heather Watches, Gil Finds a Pair

Like a baserunner who rounds third and heads for home, the third-base coach’s stop sign unheeded, this plot has now blown past the mere unrealistic into the realm of pure fantasy.

Rob emphasized this yesterday. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Gil was correct and there’s no rule allowing the umpire to force a coach to remove a player from the game. The ump is absolutely within his rights to remove a player, a coach, or a manager from the game if that player/coach/manager is causing a potential safety hazard to the other players. Kaiser Gilhelm does not get to be the decider here, no matter how much of a show he wants to put on for his girl Heather…

… and for the record, his little smart-assed remark about Louis C.K.’s strike zone should get him run to the Milford activity bus for the rest of the game. Arguing balls and strikes is a no go, even if you’re arguing balls and strikes from a previous game. Besides, if Gil won his argument, why is Ggerg sitting on the bench when he gets back to the dugout?

Louis should either stick to refereeing basketball or give as good as he gets, like Bill Haller did to Earl Weaver.

June 8, 2022

His Good Side Is… Straight Ahead?

Looks like we’re only ever gonna see games where Ggerg starts from here on in. No need to bother with details like a rotation when they don’t serve the square peg of a story getting hammered (pun intended) into the round hole of realism.

The Central kids either didn’t get the Oakwood memo or got it and promptly forgot about it, bunting the ball almost straight back to – or only slightly left of – the mound. (Seems like that memo should’ve included a note to hit back to the pitcher on a line drive, not on the ground.) How the Hammer ended up over there after his follow-through is unclear except as a device for the Chief to indulge in his recent shoe bottom fetish.

Boy, Ggerg’s teammates sure like patting his bottom. They must realize they won’t have many more chances left. Speaking of bottom, what’s that white thing hanging off of Ggerg’s rear end? Speculate away, gentle readers.

June 1, 2022

Bunts, Flubs, Fakes, Haiku

“Some kind of blind spot?

Let’s drop some bunts and find out.”

That’s called “coaching,” Gil!

Finally, it’s the

Approach we’ve been waiting for:

“Hit ’em where they ain’t”

Wee Willie Keeler

Used that batting strategy

And so will Oakwood

Old school? Yeah, makes sense

since Oakwood’s coach kinda looks

like the Reds’ mascot

It’ll work better

Than Gil’s played out old chestnut

Delaware Wing-T

Scooter! Wanna lead

the Valley in perfect bunts?

Transfer to Oakwood!

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