This Week in Milford

January 21, 2023

They seem confident, but Toby’s looking a little jaundiced tbh

Second day in a row and third of six this past week on Rod and Tobe selling vapes. That’s practically a complete story arc in the nu-look Thorpiverse. Still some dots to connect, as usual. Where are they getting the vapes? Where is the chocolate going? Is it straight up barter or are there additional steps in between? Are tattoos and legit DVDs doctored to look fake somehow involved?

Coach Ochoa* is playing bag lady for these two and she’s probably better off not knowing where the money came from. Plausible deniability could go a long way for her and Gil when this racket gets busted and Dr. Pearl comes headhunting.

Chief Lind’s officers will have no problem picking these two miscreants out in that blaze orange shitbox that must’ve come off Foxy’s lot. No problem hauling them in either, as long as they stay away from the trunk. What’s in there with the candy bars that has the power to change the color of clothing and skin? J. Frank Parnell’s aliens? Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase? Bitcoin?

*Who is Coach Ochoa coaching, exactly? The only strips we’ve seen in this season had her holding Gil’s balls in a sack or running the Milford boys through a dribbling two balls at once drill. Is there no Milford girls’ team this season? Some confirmation would be nice (hint, hint).

January 4, 2023

Marty can’t tell front from behind. Should we worry?

The Mudlark boys’ basketball opener is under way and, as it’s a non-conference game, it falls upon us to try to figure out where it’s happening. Judging from their bird mascot and that Forest View is two words, not one, I’m venturing a guess that this is the no longer extant Forest View in the Chicagoland region. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a shout-out* to a defunct high school, though I’m not gonna comb the archives to find the example (it was a Detroit-area school IIRC).

Marty’s looking a little thicker around the middle and in the hand, which must be a side effect of his continued sobriety. Milford was shown yesterday in its road black-and-reds, so why is Forest View wearing what looks like the old “Block M” jerseys Michigan trots out from time to time (and which Milford also wore BITD)? Bigger question: where is this behind-the-back pass Marty’s calling happening, in his mind? Why is Marty continuing to call out uni numbers for the Mudlarks? Is the game being simulcast on TV2 and WBIG radio?

All that aside, how ’bout this NBA-style halftime score! Have both of these teams broken out the run-and-gun or forgotten how to play defense? At the risk of repeating myself, I appreciate Barajas incorporating the trans kid into the strip fairly seamlessly, with virtually no reaction from anyone in Milford, but making the kid magically become a star athlete on every sports team he goes out for strains credulity just a little bit. Can’t wait until baseball season when he breaks Joe Sharkey’s and Kevin Pelwecki’s long-ball records.

*I’m not sure if Mudlark big man Darius Simmons is also a shout-out to a friend, Rubin-style, but sadly the first hit I get when searching for him is a 13-year-old kid who was murdered in front of his mother in Milwaukee about a decade ago. There’s also a Darius Simmons playing football at McGill, where he could be a teammate of Chance Macy’s.

December 17, 2022

A Leap of Faith Is What We Need to Read Gil Thorp These Days

Well, at least someone’s been kicking extra points since my last Saturday post. But not now.

Barajas Thorp must’ve gotten the note from the syndicate that football season has to END. THIS. WEEK. and concluded that going to OT was verboten. That, or he watched the Chargers beat the Cardinals with this balls move a couple of weeks ago, channeled his inner Brandon Staley and grown a pair of his own. I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not hitching that train of thought to a caboose.

In fact, the only way to read this strip is to suspend all disbelief, lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void… the void in which the teams are playing. Pay no mind that the clock isn’t supposed to run during extra point attempts, that the center snapped the ball with enough force to change the quarterback’s skin tone and knock his helmet sideways, that the quarterback took six seconds to hand the ball off to the running back (probably because he had to look through his ear hole), or that the running back took nine seconds to leap over the VT D-line (a D-line that is just laying down for the running back because the Milford O-line is nowhere to be seen). Don’t even think about VT getting the ball back with enough time to move down the field and score, ’cause we don’t even know if Tobias will land on the ground in 15 seconds. “Math class is tough. Want to go shopping?”

Let’s hope that the game ends with Monday’s strip and the rest of this coming week wraps up the football season. Let’s also hope Barajas has spent more time learning the rules of basketball than he has learning the rules of football. Finally, let’s hope Whigham remembers how to make the artwork match the narration. All of this hope is going to require a leap of… well, you know.

December 7, 2022

Clean, Old-Fashioned Hit

What a genuine surprise to see today’s strip in good old-fashioned black and white. For once we can imagine Milford in traditional road whites and New Thayer in something other than light blue. Of course we’ll also have to imagine white froth around the mouth of Danny Maivia, too. Wait…

…Danny…Maivia? As in the Maivia and Anoaʻi family of pro wrestling fame? Are we getting set up for Danny to recur a few years from now as “Little Rock” or a new Wild Samoan? Could Hairy Hercules come back and manage him? If these are seeds being planted, let’s do our best to nurture them.

Know what else is old-fashioned? The entirety of P1. Start with the hairstyles: Kaz has gone full Sha Na Na up front with his mullet and the Mudlark to his left is sporting his best mohawk. Milford has also put a mascot on the sidelines, a mashup of the Notre Dame leprechaun and Ernest T. Bass from The Andy Griffith Show. Finally, nothing is as old-fashioned as literally calling out your plays from the sideline without code words, hand signals* or cryptic sign boards. New Thayer a school for the deaf now, Kaz?

I think we know why Danny Maivia is frothing at the mouth, though. Milford-New Thayer has morphed from a football game to a track meet. We’ll see if Gil and Kaz have put an S&C program in place to keep the Mudlarks in this shootout. As for yhs, too many old fashioned references make me want to go mix one up for myself. Too early for day drinking?**

*Kaz might be throwing the Hook ’em Horns in anticipation of Texas joining the SEC for all we know.

**Thanks to Ned and you faithful TWIMers for calling out Marty’s Illuminati token AA chip in Monday’s post. I appreciate the background and respect you for rising to your challenges. I don’t know that I’ll feel as comfortable attributing Marty’s dialogue to Johnnie Walker in his sippy cup again, however.

November 5, 2022

What’s Next, Exhuming Boo Radley?

Seriously, Barajas? Now what am I supposed to do with this?

Rubin wrote Marjie out of the strip in August 2021, sending her off to an early retirement with “a nice buyout” and making way for former girl Mudlark football player Heather Burns to take over the sports reporting job at the Milford Star. So why is she back in her old job now? Was the buyout in cryptocurrency? Did Heather just use the job as resume padding and move on to bigger pastures?

Could be that Marjie came back to take over Marty Moon’s job. Why would I speculate on that? Because Gil’s holding Marty’s old sippy cup of hooch, which Marjie is discreetly topping off from her flask disguised as a tape recorder. Marty won’t be needing it anymore after Gil and Marjie made him redundant. What they did with the body will be the season’s biggest mystery – bigger than why the Mudlarks’ pants and uni trim went from Texas Orange to red from one panel to the next and why Toby is making doe eyes at someone.

Now we’re left wondering who else from the strip’s past will be brought back after having been written out. “Exhuming Boo Radley” has a nice ring to it; would make for a good song parody if I felt up to it. Talk amongst yourselves and don’t forget to turn the clocks back an hour tonight.

October 15, 2022

Mimi dumps her job in Gil’s lap, yet somehow he’s the “deadbeat.” Ohh-kayy.

I lost my draft late last night so coming back to this on Sunday morning. Mea culpa.

So it was Shit on Gil Saturday in the shiny Milford Gym. Mimi’s back from the wild north to give Coachella a hand with the jayvee volleyball team – and she brought Meemaw, who made a funny (“fill in for Gil again [Gilligan]”)! Joke’s gonna be on her, though, when Gil gives her the Richard Widmark treatment.

Coachella feels compelled to damn Gil with faint praise, glossing over the part where “doing all right” includes giving her a membership in the Mile High Club. Joke’s gonna be on her, too, when Mimi gives her job to Meemaw. She can go back to school and play hoops again in the winter, though.

Meemaw’s gonna instill some discipline in these girls, starting with that girl in the brown tights her own grandperson, Keri. Keri’s happy to oblige her, but you gotta wonder how long before the effort to turn them against their dad backfires.

I debated last night on whether to label Meemaw’s dome with the Pantheon of Hair or Premature Baldness tag. Father of teenchy had a massive head of hair until he underwent chemo, so I’ll assume that’s true for Meemaw as well. You know what? Maybe I’m not the guy to play the cancer angle. I’m no Tom Batiuk and have no interest in milking that for laughs, maudlin sentiment, or anything. teenchy out.

October 12, 2022

One Strip, Three Playbooks

No sooner than Barajas leaves us scratching our collective heads over the lunacy of a kicker using a soccer move to recover their own kick and run it in for a touchdown* than we smash cut to Valley Tech and something possibly equally lunatic.

Honestly I don’t know where to begin. The old heads that may make a big deal about Valley Tech’s game being called by a Black woman should remember that grown-ass woman Pam Oliver has been in the biz for a long time. What she’s saying, however, might be cause for concern, as it doesn’t match up with what we’re seeing on the field. What’s up with that “flesh and blood” crack, anyway? Is Luke Martinez willing to sacrifice one of his sons for a VT win?

Pedro is the Martinez kid going out there, but in what capacity? Luke is talking to another guy in coaching gear in P2; is he Pedro? Or is he Mr. Kim and Pedro is a player who went in with the play call (again using a term from another sport)? In any event, all together now: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A TWO-MINUTE WARNING IN HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL. Nice of Barajas to add that the fourth quarter is the final quarter, maybe as a reminder to himself.

VT’s unis have morphed from Coastal Carolina to candy corn. Maybe they’ll be like Oregon and change unis from game to game, if not from half to half. Guess it beats having every not-Milford team wear Carolina Blue and white like last season.

Seriously, though, I don’t know what the hell is going on here anymore. In his quest to bring Gil Thorp into current times, Barajas has introduced family tension and made the strip more racially, culturally and gender-diverse. Fine. However, he has either never watched American football or has not watched it enough to understand the basic rules of the game. Sports are the canvas on which the soap of Gil Thorp has been painted; if the canvas isn’t primed properly the paint won’t stick.

I don’t know what kind of relationship Whigham had with Rubin, but whatever it was it must’ve been better than it is with Barajas. Rubin’s text and Whigham’s illustration didn’t match up on occasion, but now it seems to happen so frequently and so blatantly – along with the typos and omitted words – that I have to wonder if it’s not intentional. The color changes, yeah, they happened in the past too, but how hard is it to provide coloring instructions to whoever has been subbed to do the job?

Our fellow Gil Thorp snark blog, Mopped Up Thorp, usually takes a slightly different tack to the strip than we here at TWIM. Instead of trying to parse it, Mop rewrites the dialog to humorous (and often more accurate) effect. If the past week is any indication, Mop’s way may be the way to go, as the strip has become so illogical and incoherent as to be practically unreadable.

*Without commenting on the legality or lack thereof of such a move, I’ll share a clip someone posted in yesterday’s comments on the ‘mudgeon to show that an American football can, in fact, be rainbow kicked.

September 12, 2022

Hitting The Bucket

Filed under: Colorist Error, Keri Thorp, The Bucket, Volleyball — nedryerson @ 6:28 am

The Central Bobcats drop the volleyball match to Milford. The Bobcat who showed up in the wrong uniform couldn’t dig out the ball, so the let’s begin the celebration. (Yes, the colorists are still not getting the notes. Maybe a new crew of colorists checks in every week. I don’t know. It’s boring. The strips are colored by really cheap AI robots. We get it.)

The meat of the strip is an encounter between Keri Thorp and the recently introduced Tobias Gordon. I was confused by the dialog until I realized that Keri was talking to herself, nervously narrating Toby’s approach through the middle of the victory celebration. Is Keri talking to herself because she has a thing for Toby? Has she even met Toby before? Maybe Gil filled Keri in on Toby since Gil has been given the task of “watching over” Toby, by Toby’s mother.

Toby is not nervous though. He strolled right onto the court and asked Keri to The Bucket. Is he emboldened because he’s Gil’s charge? (Did Gil observe this? Did he not tell Toby to move his butt off the court unless he wants to join the team? We’ll have to wait and see what efforts Gil puts into his watching over.)

What say you, Keri? Can Toby take you to The Bucket? Is it okay if Gil watches?

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