This Week in Milford

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.

August 24, 2022

“Luke, this isn’t ‘Nam, this is Milford. There are rules.”

“Are you ready to be fucked, Thorp? I see you rolled your way onto the tee boxes. Dios mio, man. Pedro and me, we’re gonna fuck you up.”

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, Luke.”

“Let me tell *you* something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy shit with us, you flash an illegal putter out on the green, I’ll take it away from you, and stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger ’til it goes ‘click.'”

“Jesus, Martinez.”

“You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Martinez.”

Nice of Luke to bring along some additional eye candy for Mimi, too, in case she likes her men smooth. With Keri’s hair, Pedro could be mistaken for yet another lost Thorp child. Did Pedro come when Luke clapped for him? The Martinez family tackiness just keeps piling on, like a Herk the Mauler finishing move.

Bigger picture question: How was Luke able to join the MCC? I don’t mean that in an ethnic/socioeconomic way but in a geographical one. Does this lend credence to the idea that Valley Tech is also located in Milford? I don’t know that it’s ever been established; I understood that St. Fabian’s shared the town with Milford High, but that’s the extent of it. Talk amongst yourselves.

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 29, 2022

Tommy Can You Feel Me?

“If we bunt, it’ll only be when the situation calls for it.”
“When do you think the situation calls for it, Tommy?”
“Whenever we’re at bat, Gil.”

Looks like we’re in for another episode of Chain Link Fence Theater. Mighty magnanimous of Coach Luigi Tommy from Goshen to not take advantage of The Hammmmer’s failing eyesight. Guessing his team sucks so hard they’re not in contention for the Valley title. Fear not, Tommy boy: Gil will still be able to join your foursome on Monday.

Does Scooter like to pat Gregg’s ass or what? No wonder we’ve seen so little of Charis the tennis player. We haven’t seen or heard much from Scooter Pie lately either (is he still telegraphing the pitches to Gerg?) and I kinda liked it that way. I know it’s not a carbon copy of the 6/6 strip but close enough that I’m calling it recycled. Where those bleachers came from and the direction in which they’re pointed is up for interpretation.

Rubin’s got exactly two more strips after today to wrap up Milford’s baseball season before his traditional lessons learned/walk away through a doorway strip, so the Mudlarks are about to sink faster than the Lusitania in real time. Fact of the matter is Ggerg is as shy of the limelight as his plagiarizing old man. Expect some lame pun about both of them seeing the light on Saturday.

meta: Thanks to my colleagues for stepping up in my absence. I’ll be glad to rejoin the rotation on or about July 20.

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 20, 2022

I’ve Had Enough!

Today’s strip is just basically journalistic villain Mason Hamstetter getting laid into by his long suffering wife, Ruth, or whatever they decide her name is. She is, as they say, sick of this shit and her mom jeans are bursting with rage. You go, Mrs. H. We’re all sick of him. Say, when you guys sort out all of your crap, maybe you could spare a second for your son, who’s going blind.

June 18, 2022

I Love the Sound of Breaking Hamms

If Rubin set out to drive clicks to Janet Cooke and Stephen Glass, not to mention Mason Hamstetter, he succeeded. Credit where credit is due, I suppose.

Janet Cooke was a writer for the WaPo who lied about her academic credentials and fabricated a story about a child heroin addict in the District. Bob Woodward – yes, that Bob Woodward – submitted the story for consideration for the Pulitzer and it won. It was soon revealed that there were discrepancies in her backstory; the WaPo board pressured her to confess and the Pulitzer was rescinded. Cook subsequently disappeared from the public eye.

Stephen Glass had been a feature writer and associate editor for The New Republic for several years when rebuttals from the subjects of his articles (D.A.R.E., the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Hofstra University, among others) began to shed light on his journalistic integrity. Glass’ bosses at TNR caught him in a lie involving a software company and its talented young hacker employee, all of which were fabrications created by Glass. He was fired by TNR then, after getting a law degree from Georgetown, was rejected for admission to the New York and California bars due to lack of moral fitness. Kinda makes you wonder why Georgetown Law let him in to begin with.

There have been other plagiarism scandals in this country, from Jayson Blair (not cleared) to Stephen Ambrose (not cleared) to Alex Haley (cleared and not cleared in separate cases) to the current President of the United States (cleared). Some of those charged have built back better than others. Seems like Mason Ham(m)stetter has kinda built back okay, so maybe he needs to chillax with his wife a little bit. It’s not like Gil’s gonna leak this to the press; he and Marty aren’t exactly best buds. Now if Heather Burns crawls out from under Gil’s desk off-panel, all bets are off.

Gil looks perplexed, doesn’t he? I haven’t seen him look like that since he was pondering whether to have an iced tea.

Musical inspiration for today’s post title:

June 15, 2022

Steamed Hamms

Reading Gil Thorp takes more than the usual suspension of disbelief (because reasons) and a really long attention span (to deal with all the smash cuts). This spring’s plot has doled out more than its share of each and today just adds to the pile.

First, we learn that Papa Hamm’s weirdness about being seen in public not drawing attention to himself extends to his family. Why, then, did he allow Gregg to play baseball to being with? More importantly, we learn that the weirdness may be a self-imposed “rule” and not a condition of being in the witness protection program. Finally we learn that Mama Hamm cuts up Papa Hamm’s food for him, which kinda damages what little credibility he may already have. (What else could she be doing behind that word balloon, giving CPR to a Cornish hen?) If anyone needs their food cut up for them in la maison du Jambon, it’s Gregg.

Smash cut to the shiny halls of MHS, where we’re supposed to believe Gil just acts on any cockamamie theory one of his players throws out to him. The fact that said player is about as big as Gil wouldn’t have anything to do with that, nosireebob. Only when the prospect of gunplay comes up does Gil spring into action. Thank goodness Rubin hasn’t attempted to write a school shooting plot yet.

Smash cut again to the house of Hamm, where Mama picks up the phone to find Gil on the other end. If Gil’s calling to act on Curtis’ hunch, what does he expect to accomplish? The first rule of the witness protection program is that you never tell anyone you’re in the witness protection program. Is he gonna talk to her about Gregg’s eyesight and all the stops he’s had to pull out to accommodate Gregg on the baseball team? That assumes she and Papa Hamm have had zero clue about his vision problem, which seems highly unlikely since someone had to take him to see the HIPAA-violating eye doc. It also assumes Gregg himself has said nothing to his parents about Gil’s – not to mention his teammates’ – accommodations.

Of course he might have, and they’ve been too busy playing fake fugitives to pay him any attention. Soon we should find out what this whole charade has been about. Most likely Papa thinking he’s more famous for his ghostwriting than he actually is.

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