This Week in Milford

April 24, 2021

It’s the Latest, It’s the Greatest

There’s a place for you and a place for me,
it’s the local public library.
They have books and things that they lend for free
It’s the latest, it’s the greatest, it’s the library.

Educational, informational,
entertainment that’s sensational.
It’s a way of life, it’s for you and me
It’s the latest, it’s the greatest, it’s the library.

They have histories, they have mysteries
And for mothers, books of recipes
See a movie show, hear a symphony
It’s the latest, it’s the greatest, it’s the library

Not a song parody but an actual song. Originally written as a jingle for the New York Public Library. Dated lyrics but the sentiment is there.

Times are tough in the Clark household. Zane is having to share the family PC with his siblings, driving to the library (likely not in a car of his own, much less a Tri-Power Goat or Jeep) to use a PC, and cutting his own hair. Awfully nice of Katy Brito to cut her own hair in the dark in solidarity.

Credit where credit is due: Over the past several years Rubin’s done a fair job of working a lot of the same socioeconomic issues as the larger society into Milford. How he’s worked them in has been hit or miss, and the kids’ responses to the issues – from opioid addiction to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to mental illness to alcoholism – have been as varied as kids are themselves. So far he’s made Zane into a fairly sympathetic character, and it’s unfortunate we’ll have to slog through six to eight weeks of designated red-ass Abel making things even more difficult for the kid before he has some sort of epiphany. I still think Abel’s getting pink-slipped before it’s all over.

April 21, 2021

Off the Road, On to Home Cooking

As Ned alluded to in his comment to his Monday post, GoComics has switched to the color version of the strip, so we’ll be in living color from now on, most likely.

This of course will allow us to snark on inconsistencies in hair or skin color as well as the on the absurdity of coloring an already dark uniform red. Low hanging fruit. I preferred the b&w version myself as it left more to the imagination.

We start today’s strip with some exposition. Presumably Zane Clark got through another inning and “Gonzo” Gonzales closed the door on Nottingham and got the save. Zane then gets the hold and gets to hold Katy’s hand before she’s off to the Milford Activity Bus for a road trip.

The Lady Mudlarks have traveled to Syracuse, NY to face Henninger, a team whose home unis look a lot like the Padres’ road uniforms of the early 2000s. Maybe that’s not “sand” but “khaki” and, along with the nickname, a nod to the Black Knights of the Hudson. In any event, the colorists actually got it close to right on this one.

Tomorrow will bring us another Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? moment, one that will probably revolve around the use or lack thereof of the Milford Public Library. In the meantime, let’s just appreciate that today’s strip answers the question “Which Corina is best Corina?”: the one that is neither seen nor heard.

April 10, 2021

In Milford, Settling Is a Way of Life

Filed under: actual action, baseball, exposition comics, softball — teenchy @ 7:41 pm

Well butter my ass and call me a biscuit. Now this makes two posts in a row where I can actually relate to something in a Gil Thorp strip. Last time out it was going to the public library after school to study before practice. Today it’s knowing when to hang up the tools of ignorance.

I was once a good-field, no-hit catcher (well, not quite no-hit but a spray line-drive hitter without much power) who could handle pitchers okay and didn’t mind the occasional home plate collision. I was also slow as molasses so there really wasn’t any non-catching position other than maybe first base where I wouldn’t be a liability. Along came a kid two years behind me who could do all of that, run the bases and mash taters like it was Thanksgiving. Didn’t take me long to see that I would be relegated to bullpen work at best so I quit the team and confined my catching to church and industrial league softball from then on. At least that kid went on to make All-State so I didn’t feel that badly for leaving the team in the lurch.

Despite only having seen Corina catch twice, at the Valley Mod – Milford pickup picnic and with Ray-in-waiting True Standish over last summer, we’re being told she’s Pudge Rodriguez in a bra. This is exposition par excellence. If we hadn’t had a True Standish in this strip already, I’d go so far as to call Corina a Mary Sue. By finding a place for her in the field, Mimi hints that she hasn’t completely forgotten that Jocelynn Brown has some impact on the lineup. Thanks to Jocelynn having led the rout against Tilden year before last, Mimi and the Lady Mudlarks didn’t have to settle for second in the Valley yet again. Maybe Mimi will ask her to knit a hat for Corina.

Seems like one of you faithful readers commented yesterday to the effect that in the Thorpiverse, players don’t work on their games in the offseason. Well here comes Zane Clark to disprove that theory. He’s been working on his game for the past two offseasons, and the past two seasons for that matter. Wonder if he was playing pickup games with the Valley Mod kids? (edit: Speaking of catchers, what’s up with Boba Fett catching Zane there? No catcher puts their hand that far down to throw signs; if they did, everyone at the game could pick them up.)

If I don’t wrap up this post soon, y’all will have thoroughly commented this strip in yesterday’s comments section. This is what I get for waiting so late in the day to get a post up. Mea culpa.

March 31, 2021

The View from Mount Gilmore

Looking across Gil’s massive schnozz is giving me a huge North by Northwest vibe.

So are the angles of the prairie style window behind his head in P3.

Nothing like starting your day with a Saul Bass title sequence, is there?

Now, about Zane Clark. There are many, but which one is within Rubin’s circle of friends? Can we expect him to comment here this spring? How can we start piecing together his backstory? Will it be as big a red herring as Doug Guthrie’s just was?

Oh, all right. Let’s take a stab. He’s a senior, so most likely this is a one-and-done arc for him. His home life has apparently kept him from coming out for baseball until now, or maybe he came out for baseball before and his home life prevented him from coming out for baseball again until now. Maybe someone in the home had a substance abuse problem, like Aaaaron Aaaagard’s mom. Maybe there was an unplanned addition to the family, like Jaxxxxon Kiser. Or maybe someone got blowtop mad, like Chance Macy. In any event, prepare to be underwhelmed.

March 28, 2021

Two Douches and a Four-speed and a 389

What have we learned today, TWIMers?

  1. Doug Guthrie’s favorite NASCAR racing family? The Pettys.
  2. Vic Doucette was seen by drove a Plymouth Satellite faster than the speed of light.
  3. When it comes to teaching your kids how to drive, Doug’s dad got it all wrong. Kid sits on dad’s lap, steers and shifts while dad works the pedals and takes hold of the steering wheel as necessary.
  4. Thanks to #3, Gil Thorp is the strip that has come the closest to a depiction of road head since For Better or for Worse introduced the bizarre term “going roadside.”
  5. A girl rejecting a guy for his grandpa van? Bad. Said guy catcalling said girl? A-OK!

I guess this wack-ass approach to putting Vic behind the wheel of a cool ride is cheaper than pimping out Vic’s van or fitting hand controls to Doug’s GTO. Style points to Whigham for getting the ’66 Goat interior close to correct, adding a column-mounted tach even if he defaulted to the cliched 8-ball gearshift knob.

Honestly this strip doesn’t feel like any kind of arc-ender, much as we might want it to be. If it is, a metapost might be in order.

meta: Well I’ll be darned; it is the arc-ender. Can you say “anticlimactic”? Sure, I knew you could. The post title is, of course, an homage to the second line of “Little GTO.”

March 17, 2021

Time to Tidy

We’ve come to that time in the arc where there’s a week, maybe two left and Rubin has to hastily come up with a way to tie all his little subplots neatly together. Multiple games are condensed into a single strip and the outcomes are told, not shown. Everybody’s little personality traits get lip service whether or not they actually advance the plot. A pun, a smirk, and a freeze frame exit down a corridor, then it’s on to the next season.

Yesterday’s seemingly random three panels are a prime example. So little ink has been spent on actual sports action this winter that only then did we get a hint that the Lady Mudlarks have a coach are in contention to win the Valley. Given how often Milford teams have lost the Valley through crazy flukes, it’s about time that a conference rival has defeat snatched from the jaws of victory – even if it’s completely via exposition. Marjie Ducey apparently had enough free time on her hands to call Mimi and inform her of Madison’s choke job at Oakwood; did she do the same today for their meltdown against weaksauce Valley Tech? Oh wait: it wasn’t Madison that melted down, it was Mimi’s face! Didn’t need Marjie to make that obvious.

The Lady Mudlarks’ on-court success has come in spite of being less than harmonious off-court. (Well, I guess if you can say the entire team vs. one player isn’t harmonious.) Milford’s version of the Bronx Zoo has won despite that one player’s lack of defense, so it may be safe to say that while Tessi Milton may not be the straw that stirs the Mudlark drink, she’s not the turd in the punch bowl either. That role falls on Co-co-rina who, as the self-styled Greek chorus and observer of Tessi’s every flaw, would probably be cast as the Sparky Lyle of the group. Now if only she’d sit bare-assed on her teammates’ birthday cakes, that’d seal the analogy.

meta: Apologies for the late post: early and long day on the job.

March 3, 2021

We’re the Mudlarks, Not the Cougars

Good: Vic Doucette shifting away from providing advice on motorsports careers and back to what he does best: falling back on Bermanisms for Milford hoopsters since he’s run out of NBA PA guys to emulate. Glad he used Tessi’s nickname else we wouldn’t have known if this was a girls’ or boys’ game.

Not so good: some rando Mudlark mom giving Vic the bad touch* while grooming heaping praise on him. Timing couldn’t be much worse given the current headlines about [insert politician/women’s gymnastics coach/team doctor name here]. Doubt the Chief gave that much thought while he was drawing this, unlike the additional details he added to Mudlark mom’s blouse in closeup. I’m imagining an unseen P4 zooming in further to show the stitchwork in the blouse and the unplucked hair in her mustache.

Who are these people? Who is handsy Mudlark mom’s daughter? Tessi? Corina? Becca Ramirez? Or some as yet identified player named Robinson?

Retcon alert: Did we ever hear a rotating parent do PA work for Milford before? After Vic, will we ever hear another Mudlark PA announcer again?

*This was my tentative title for today’s post until I realized I used it about a year ago. Didn’t link to the video then, suppose I could do it now.

February 13, 2021

Today I Learned Privilege Is a Thing in Milford

****THIS IS THE SATURDAY POST****

Lemme get this straight. Doug Guthrie decides when he blows off practices and when he suddenly unmisses games there are no consequences from the coaching staff. He speeds through town just as snow beings to fall – from a clear blue sky no less. (I know that when it rains while the sun shines, the devil is beating his wife; what’s he doing when it snows while the sun shines?) He gets pulled over and let go by a deferential Milford cop who asks him pretty please to slow down. Let’s not even bother to guess whether Doug’s self-assessment of his driving skills is sarcastic or not and cut to the chase: just who is Doug’s father anyway?

Could it be there’s finally a man in Milford who is so powerful and influential that even Gil Thorp dare not cross him? Is he the Thorpiverse’s version of Skip Barber or Bob Bondurant? If Pops Guthrie is so wealthy and has such an in with the po-po, why doesn’t he slide them some coin? This poor Milford cop is under-dressed (no coat in the snow) and appears to be driving a Crown Vic Police Interceptor that is ten years old at the newest.

We’ve been wandering almost rudderless for two months now. This latest development has the potential to be more interesting than the social butterfly who can’t play defense stroking the PA announcer with CP’s ego, or why the fire hydrant with a chip on her shoulder cares about any of it. Of course, this means we probably will hear no more about Pops Guthrie until we find out he’s paid off Chief Lind after Doug does donuts on Dr. Pearl’s lawn.

Speaking of donuts on lawns: Doug may own a GTO, but if he owned a Camaro you know it’d be bitchin’.

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