This Week in Milford

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.

August 21, 2022

A Pinewood Derby

We’ve got some connecting of dots to do today – or, at least, a timeline to string together.

If the events of today’s post# are current, how long ago were Mimi and the kids in Cancun at Mimi’s mom’s place that is conveniently close to a beach? How long was Gil at the Pinewood Summer Camp? Has Gil ever been to the Pinewood Summer Camp before? (How far back do I have to go to find records of the Pinewood Summer Camp? I searched this blog and found none.)

Perhaps more importantly, how long in advance did Gil know about the Coach of the Year award ceremony, and whether or not he was going to win it? Has Gil just been going to these things without knowing who would win? If that’s true then, if he knew about Mimi’s plan to travel to her mother’s, he could’ve sent someone to accept his award in his place. Kaz, for instance.

If Gil didn’t know about Mimi’s plans, why then would he ask her about leaving without saying anything about the trip?## Did Mimi not tell him about them, or did she tell him and he (conveniently or otherwise) not remember that she told him? Which one of them is Paul Newman and which Strother Martin in this scenario?

Perhaps most importantly, how long has Mimi’s mother been ill such that she made these plans? Has she recently fallen ill, or has she been chronically ill?

Too many questions and too few answers. In this new take on the Thorpiverse, we’re gonna have to forget about the easy putts and focus on the long game.

# I originally wrote this post yesterday but forgot to publish it after Rob’s. Mea culpa once again.

## Nice dunk on Marty by Mimi yesterday, BTW.

August 17, 2022

TFW Mimi isn’t the fan service Thorp anymore

Gentle readers, I am still genuinely freaked out by the knowledge that a portion of my Saturday post was quoted at The Daily Cartoonist. It’s not like I haven’t been published before; I’ve co-authored a pair of scientific papers and have had a regular column in both a baseball quarterly and a life sciences industry trade magazine (no humblebrag intended, mea culpa). In each of those cases my publication involved significant amounts of research followed by multiple rounds of peer review and editing. Here, it’s just my hot take on a comic strip published hours before I read it, with no input save any comments about it that may have already been made elsewhere – and again, I feel the need to emphasize that I almost never read those comments before coming up with ones of my own.*

If I think about that for too long, it’s gonna make me timid. A timid blogger has no place on a snark blog, so I’m just gonna stop thinking about it, okay? Okay!

Another thing I’m gonna stop thinking about is the dialogue in today’s strip. Typical spousal convo where one spouse has suddenly become concerned about their relationship and their place in it. The only piece really worth hanging onto is Mimi’s evasive answer as to where she and the kids are. Unless the corner of a building we saw yesterday is Mimi’s mom’s place, we have no evidence they went anywhere but to the beach. Those three little birds that have been hanging around Mimi the past two days are either a sign that every little thing’s gonna be alright or harbingers of Hitchcockian horror.

The real highlight of this week’s strips has been the art, particularly of Mimi. Kudos to the Chief today for drawing her holding a phone the way an actual human might. (This might be more challenging than it looks; take a look at how it’s done in Mary Worth, for example.) What’s really gotten my attention is how she’s been drawn relative to Keri – and to previous versions of herself for that matter. We’ve frequently noted how progressively younger Mimi was looking (e.g., in the Christmas strips) but in the past two strips she’s developed a noticeable mom bod. Has Whigham done this in response to some direction by Barajas, then? Dunno but I’ll take it as another sign of increased realism coming to Milford.

As for Keri: get your minds out of the gutter! She’s still building sand castles with her little brother.

*I will start reading those Gocomics comments now, but still not after I post here on the days I post. I also signed up for a Discord account but I couldn’t find where Gil Thorp was being discussed there. The less I know, maybe.

August 13, 2022

Gil and Marty drinking together, mass hysteria!

Everyone who wanted to see some Milford CC action this summer, here it is – only golf is not involved! And you were expecting Luftstalag 13 after yesterday’s strip. Go grab your beverage of choice and settle in ’cause we’ve got a whole lot to unpack today.

  1. What exactly is Gil’s relationship with technology here? He takes great pride in having a flip phone but is oblivious to caller ID, which flip phones have? Okay, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s so antsy about the sitch with Mimi that he can’t be bothered to check to see who’s calling. So, then…
  2. …why can’t Gil meet with Marty while waiting for the call with Mimi? It’s not like he has to sit around Casa Thorp because, again, mobile phone and caller ID. Oh, wait. He’s not saying “Sorry, Marty. I have to stay home until I hear from Mimi,” he’s saying “Sorry, Marty. I thought you might’ve been Mimi.” How do we know this? Because…
  3. …the new writer told us as much on Gocomics this morning. I make it a point to not read the comments on Gocomics when I go there for screen grabs, mainly because I don’t want anyone else’s comments to color my take on the day’s strip. However, it was hard to avoid seeing and reading the comment from henryjbarajas* and not have it influence my take. TWIMers will also note that among his comments, he addressed the Martinez/Hernanndez snafu from earlier this week: “I messed up! It’s Martinez.” Kudos for not blaming Whigham or the colorists on that one. Maybe he’ll give guidance to them on uniform colors, too? Here’s hoping.
  4. That the writer of a daily comic strip is actively interacting with the strip’s readership speaks volumes, and in a positive way. Compare 9 Chickweed Lane and Pibgorn‘s Brooke McEldowney, who won’t even allow people to comment on the windows into his sexual kinks he passes off as comic strips. For us here at TWIM, this is big – even bigger than learning that The Real Vic Doucette was reading us. Will we be on our best behavior from now on? Nah.
  5. Back to plot analysis: Barajas isn’t doing anything to dissuade me from the notion that Gil and Marty have a Ralph/Sam working relationship. As much as Marty has slammed Gil on air over the years, is it possible that he has a shred of journalistic integrity when it comes to all things Thorp**…
  6. …or does he realize that, no matter how new or how sherrify the self-proclaimed new sheriff in town might be, that the Thorps are still the straws that stir the WDIG drink? Hearing Gil’s side of the story helps Marty cement his take that Martinez is a blowhard who likes his drink maybe a little too much. It also adds another layer to The Legend of Gil ThorpTM: Women want him, other coaches want to be him…
  7. …which makes his reveal and plea for help to Marty all the more stunning. Why the hell would Gil offer that up to Marty? Moon has always been beta male to Thorp; one only need look to the fall 2015 arc for evidence. Again, I fear this is going to lead to Gil camping out in Marty’s crate before football season is over, leading to a very Heather Burnsy conflict of interest. Unless, of course, Gil can crash at Kaz’s dojo. I’m still waiting to see what changes in character, if any, Barajas has in store for Kaz.

Well that’s about the longest post from me in ages, but there was just so much to digest today that I thought it merited my full attention. Hope it’s given you plenty to chew on. See you here with Ned on Monday.

* When I read the name “Henry J” my mind went immediately to the compact car built by Kaiser-Frazer in the early 1950s and named for the company founder, Henry J. Kaiser. This is because teenchy is old, but moreso because teenchy is kind of a gearhead. The Henry J predates me by a decade plus, but when I was growing up there was an old guy in my neighborhood who owned one. It was an old car by then and looked extremely out of place even compared to the 1950s cars and trucks still in everyday use. (One particularly sturdy Studebaker pickup truck comes to mind.) Henry Js weren’t very successful, and some of them got rebadged as Allstates and sold through Sears stores. Ponder that for a moment.

**Consider how Marty let B/Robby Howry hang himself on an open mic a la Lonesome Rhodes as an example. Chalk this one up as a point of continuity between the Rubin and Barajas regimes.

August 10, 2022

Urban Thorp

Today it’s all flashback as Luke Martinez y Hernnandez spins his tale for Marty’s “podcast,” painting Gil as the Valley’s version of Urban Meyer.

To hear old Hairy Hand Luke tell it, he was quietly minding his own business, admiring his reflection in the carefully polished bar top and nursing his glass of 2% milk while he waited for Bethany the barkeep to pour him another. But where was Bethany? Leaping across the bar to get up in Gil’s grill – and Gil didn’t turn away! (The artwork doesn’t quite match the dialog, Chief.)

There’s a grain of truth in observing that Bethany might have a thing for Gil, but it wouldn’t have been easy for Knuckles there to pick up on it as much as he was running his mouth. If Marty lets this hit the podosphere, this might boil down to a he-said, she-said, with Gil flying Bethany in to cast the tiebreaker.

Marty sounds downright incredulous in response – which does not sound like Marty Moon at all! Kinda reinforces the notion that Gil and Marty have a Ralph and Sam-style working relationship. Looking forward to seeing Gil leave his doghouse for a round of Johnnie Walkers with Marty at Barney’s before this arc is through.

Special Guest Cameo: The role of Gil in P3 is being played by Bob Crane.

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