This Week in Milford

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.

June 4, 2022

Charis Puts It Bluntly

Today’s baseball history lesson is – aw, hell, we had this baseball history lesson almost two months ago. The Hammer isn’t going to start drinking heavily or contemplate suicide. Nope, he’s getting the Nuke Laloosh advice from Mr. Trivia and his girlfriend. I thought Rubin might’ve foregone a girls’ sports plot this season to have the single female character serve as the voice of reason. I thought wrong.

As much as we joke about it, this is really a ridiculous answer. So ridiculous that it’s wiped Ggerg’s mouth completely off his face. One would almost have to be stoned to come up with it. In fact, if I didn’t know any better I’d think Charis and Eli had been partaking themselves.

How long before the Oakwood scouting report makes its way through rest of the Valley? How long before Gil is forced to forfeit every game he’s had this menace on the mound? This plot has two weeks left – three, tops – so let’s just sit back and see how much stupider it can get.

Can’t wait to see what Mopman does with this one. The colorists missed a golden opportunity to color C & E’s eyes pink.

April 16, 2022

The Mudlarks’ second baseman develops wacky signals, a breakdown

Hey kids! Didja ever wonder whatever happened to Jaxxxon Kiser? Well wonder no more! He grew up and changed his name to Eli “Scooter” Borden. Just look at him – the same monster paws, the same glazed-over stare at no one and nothing in particular – no way they’re not out of the same gene pool.

Anyhoo this little trivia buff has obviously burned a lot of brain cells coming up with this scheme that he’s only gonna use with this one pitcher, that’s gonna require the catcher to buy in and, oh yeah, that the coaches are gonna go along with too. Think Scooter and the Hammer are gonna let Gilberto and El Kaz in on this ploy? How many games into the season before Milford’s opponents pick up on it? It might work in a non-conference game against one of those school’s Neal’s buddies went to, but it won’t take long for, say, Goshen to pick up on Borden’s chatter and start banging on trash cans.

Smirky Charis does nothing to dispel the notion that she’s definitely not with Scooter because of his mouth.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got. Back to bed.

April 9, 2022

Barbarians at the Fence

I don’t know if Rob’s writing up a post as I write, but I have a concert to go to tonight so I’m going to double up for sake of continuity.

April 8, 2022

Hey look, Milford High has a girls’ tennis team! I can’t remember the last time there was a girls’ tennis plot in Gil Thorp. I don’t think there’s been one since I started blogging here, anyway.

A new name, Charis Tompkins. Charis isn’t a very common name; the only one that springs to mind is Charis Wilson, model and one-time wife of the famous photographer Edward Weston. Charis Tompkins IRL appears to be Canadian.

St. Casilda of Toledo was born a Muslim princess, the daughter of the ruler of Toledo, who showed kindness and charity to Christian prisoners. She appears to be the patron saint “against sterility.” Her feast day is today. I cannot find any record of a St. Casilda High School on the North American continent.

There’s no cheering during points in tennis, but wouldn’t it be more interesting if there was? Same goes for golf. There are also no tennis balls that color. That thing almost looks like an Osage orange.

April 9, 2022

Know what else is cute? How the Milford teams always show up to watch their opposite number play after their own practices are over. I’ve long suspected they only do it to check one another out wearing less clothing than they typically do in school. Today they might’ve gotten more than a glimpse as Charis went from Milford red to green and black in the blink of an eye.

Know what’s not cute? Charis’ boyfriend. Is it Scooter? The mind boggles at the thought. What strangeness brought these two together? Will it keep them together through the spring? Reckon we’ll find out.

March 5, 2022

A Growth Opportunity?

Gene Rayburn: “Self-anointed Captain Selfish Hollis Talley is so selfish…”

Studio audience: “How selfish is she?”

Gene Rayburn: “Self-anointed Captain Selfish Hollis Talley is so selfish, she asked Coach Thorp to [BLANK].”

Gary Burghoff: “She asked Coach Thorp to make everyone pass her the ball?”

Brett Somers: “She asked Coach Thorp to put a hard seltzer dispenser in the locker room.”

Charles Nelson Reilly: “She asked Coach Thorp to pass her the loofah in the shower.”

Patti Deutsch: “She asked Coach Thorp to make her assistant coach.”

Richard Dawson: “She asked Coach Thorp to put her on the rack.”

Betty White: “She asked Coach Thorp to move her to guard, even though she’s taller than most of her teammates, so that she could get experience at the position so that she could try out for the Air Force Academy basketball team.”

With that ultimate Frisbee crack, you think Rubin’s aiming for a crossover with Mary Worth?

(apologies to tdrew for using the Match Game schtick)

February 9, 2022

Cressa? She Is FIERCE!

I’m sorry but whenever I hear someone referred to as “fierce,” I think of… Cory Booker’s cousin.

Hey, there’s a basketball reference in there, too.

Cressa’s had enough of stale off-brand toaster pastries – she’s going where the action is! Hollis should catch the clue that bribing people with food won’t always guarantee the results she wants. She might also catch the clue that she’s not always wanted, either. Why else hadn’t she heard about the Tiffani Palmer shindig?

No matter, she and her right-hand snitch Cathy have crashed the joint. But Cressa’s nowhere in sight. Could be it’s more than her knee that’s feeling frisky; let’s hope she doesn’t reinjure that knee busting some kind of dance move. Legend has it that the Lady Mudlarks refrain from dancing until they’re eliminated from the playdowns. Hey, today’s strip has to advance the plot somehow…

January 29, 2022

Three blondes, two toaster pastries, one hairdo

The Trevor Lawrence has caught on like wildfire among the Valley kids: first it was Gabe Landau, then it was Valley Tech’s #11, and now it’s Junior Birdgirl here who’s rocking the stringy blonde locks. Low maintenance, especially when you’ve gotta futz around with those ginormous earrings before and after each game. Takes less thought to draw, too.

Speaking of less thought, Whigham went through some mental gymnastics to come up with today’s product placement. I reckon it went something a little like this:

What is it with Milford kids and free food? No, seriously. Offer up free eats and these kids will do almost anything, even play in a ridiculous organized pick-up softball game. We’ve seen hints thrown that some families in the Valley aren’t very well off or are struggling financially (Aaron Aagard and his mom, the Jansens, the Karennaninas, the Clarks, maybe the Smiths). Is food insecurity a thing there? There are planty of restaurants and bars, S-marts and Speedcos, but have we ever seen a grocery store in Milford? It is kinda Rust Belty there, so food insecurity could be a lurking subtext in Gil Thorp. But I digress. (The things your mind wanders to when you’re snowed in.)

Hollis is trying to ease into the leadership role conferred on her as captain, plying Cressa with off-brand toaster pastries in an effort to find out why she’s not playing as well as she did last season. How well did Hollis play last season, btw? Was she even in Milford? Usually someone who gets chosen to lead has some combination of recognized experience, talent and, well, leadership ability. Hollis and her appointment to Colorado Springs showed up on the scene fully formed like Athena from the head of Zeus.

Will Hollis lead by example, by encouraging Cressa with constructive criticism, a pep talk and a Pop Jiffy Tart, or by busting her chops like a doolie? That’s the cliffhanger we’re left with today. Time to go break out the snow blower. Hope the rest of you don’t have to. teenchy out.

January 12, 2022

Sasaki Gets Stitches

The Lady Mudlarks struggled through the name-dropping shout-out non-conference portion of their schedule. Rather than leaving it to Mimi to help the girls gel and improve their game, appointed captain Hollis Talley, at the suggestion of teammate and friend(?) Cathy Sasaki, decides to lead by example. The example she uses to lead by is an unscheduled, voluntary practice after practice, followed by a thirst-quenching, electrolyte-restoring round of hot joe at the Coffee Cantina.

Now it’s time to move on to conference* play, where It Just Means More®. Despite a yeoman effort by the stalwart Landry Carlson – sinking shots while getting tickled under the armpit – Milford loses again, dropping to 1-3, 0-1 on the season. Now what’s a captain to do?

Ignore her rat fink of a bestie, if Hollis’s hand is any indication. It doesn’t take a space cadet to see that the post-practice practice was held with no advance notice, was clearly made optional and, most importantly, was not held with Mimi’s endorsement. Now Cathy’s gonna dime out two girls who weren’t at that practice (Cressa, another stalwart from last season, and the heretofore unmentioned Maddie Bloom) and somehow blame them for the loss? Hopefully Hollis threw that hand up for Cathy to talk to it, rather than as a sign that she’s going to take that info to Mimi to act on… or to act on it herself.

Does the Air Force engage in fragging? Asking for a friend.

*Rubin has been calling it the Valley Conference since time immemorial. What’s this “league” crap? Did he watch The Big Lebowski before cranking out today’s strip?

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