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 5, 2022

Was This Concierge Oreintation?

Happy Labor Day, all. I think the holiday dictates that I needn’t give a full effort into dissecting this strip. Given that my full effort usually amounts to something approaching half-assed, we’re practically done here. It’s time for a picnic and contemplation of the efforts of my forefathers to organize themselves and give me the opportunity to develop leisurely pursuits like snarking on comics. Huzzah!

Okay, there are a few things here to talk about. Apparently, Gil’s role in manning the Oreinetation desk was loosely defined, and he was free to wander off and schmooze with parents if it struck his fancy. While Gil catches up with “Mel”, there’s another parent named Karen standing at the desk who needs help with her child’s schedule. Hold your horses, Karen. Someone will be along to help. Maybe Steve Luhm can show you around.

The Melanie/Kyle backstory timeline kind of baffles me. Their marriage fell apart after Kyle met a PA during filming of Robert Eggers’ new movie. So, this is a movie that’s new, meaning out now? Maybe there was a long postproduction period, who knows. Robert Eggers is a real director whose latest film The Northman came out this year. So Barajas is taking liberties a bit, but it does obscure the timeline a bit. It leaves me to question what happens faster, a divorce or the release of a movie.

What we’re mainly left with is that Melissa “Mel” Gordon requests that Gil watch out for Tobias, or is it Toby? I think if you choose a new name for yourself, you might be less inclined to be cool with someone using a diminutive variation. But Moms gotta mom, I guess.

August 6, 2022

A Dear Gil Letter

Growing up, there was a fair amount of country music in the teenchy household, much of it of the honky-tonk variety. Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, Faron Young, Johnny Cash, No-Show Jones, Fats Domino, to name a few – all staples. Lots o’ tearjerkers about mamas, babies, and trains, kinda like Steve Goodman and David Allan Coe’s perfect country and western song. One that particularly struck a chord was Jean Shepard’s first hit with Ferlin Husky, “A Dear John Letter,” written during the Korean War. Take a moment to soak this one in before reading on.

Mimi’s not leaving Gil for his brother (does he even have a brother?) and maybe not for good, but she is leaving for a while. Taking the kids back to see Grandma Clover, where they’ve been staying for the last thirteen-and-a-half years. Hey, they had to be somewhere, amirite?

I’m having a hard time getting my head around the idea that Mimi and the kids aren’t as important to Gil as his wall full of participation awards. The kids, yeah, I get that, but I’m not getting how they’re more important to Mimi than to Gil. Not getting how coaching is more important to Gil than to Mimi either, for that matter. Doesn’t she also coach three sports at Milford? Do her teams generally suck more than his such that she spends less time prepping for the playdowns? Is it that she doesn’t have a female equivalent of Kaz to hang out with in the showers weight room and get sweaty with?

If you’re gonna retcon, you should at least retcon with consistent character traits. We’re not quite a month into the new regime so that may still be in the works. Meanwhile we’ve got a cliffhanger in the form of who might be calling Gil on his Nintendo Switch. Bethany the bartender? Ms. Holmes the pilot? Sweaty Kaz? Sodden Marty Moon? Talk amongst yourselves.

August 5, 2022

Road trip

More is revealed today as we learn that Gil and Mimi are not only still married, the kids are Still kids. All these years later (unless we’re still in years-ago-land) Mimi took the car (presumably her car; do they have 2? I would think so.)

Life is about priorities. After Gil has gotten so many awards Mimi figures she’ll blow off this ceremony to go see her ailing mom, who is obviously far enough away it requires a weekend trip. Completely understood. But why just leave on the spot and not tell Gildo beforehand? Is it that hard to say you wanna go see your own mom? Especially in this day and age with texting etc, cant she utilize other forms of communication then a written note?

And you can be worthy of someones love and still go away for a weekend without them, Mimi. The statement reflects some marriage friction, as in Gil is spending too much time coaching and not enough time with his family.

Well, gee, thats not the Gil WE know. What happened to Mimi’s coaching at the same school and the runs together and the lemonade together and talks in the house and…etc.?

If anything, our complaint is he doesnt do anywhere NEAR enough coaching. Now its the other way around?

Good to see the kids are so involved in their phones they dont bother talking to Mimi. Just like Gil apparently doesnt either. Monkee see, monkee do.

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 25, 2022

Nomar Hamm for You, Al

Oh look, it’s yet another late-middle-aged white guy in the Allen Funt/Ed Asner mold, the kind that are thick on the ground in the Valley. This time he’s named Al Drake and he’s at Channel 6 in Central City. Somebody must have picked up a copy of the Milford Star before their long commute to the Channel 6 studios and dropped it off in the break room, where Al stumbled upon it while rooting around a box of stale donuts left over from a staff meeting the day before. (Oh, alright, he saw the online edition on his massive 20-year-old desktop PC still running on Windows XP.)

Big Al can’t let one dying medium have The Gregg Hamm Story all to itself, so of course he wants in on it. Being from a bigger market, Al thinks Channel 6 can impose on Gil’s sense of order and have Gregg make the start in front of his cameras… but noooOOO! No one tells Gil Thorp when to start his pitchers except Gil Thorp. (Never mind that Gregg’s been starting almost every game we’ve seen this season.) No one tells Gil Thorp when to pull his pitchers except Gil Thorp, either, and he’ll shit-talk anyone who tries to tell him otherwise.

Gil Thorp accommodates no one from the media. Well, no one except Heather Burns. Her, he’ll let roam onto the field to interview his players. Mimi seems incredibly chill with this arrangement – so chill she hasn’t even bothered to field a softball team this season. Mezcal and Vicodin have a way of doing that. So does the pool boy coming by to open the pool up early.

If Channel 6 wants a piece of Hamm, it’ll have to move closer to Gil’s world.

meta: yhs will be on vacation from July 1-17, and will be off the grid for part of that time. I’ll plan on posting this coming Wednesday but can’t count on being able to post again until July 20 at the earliest.

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 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.

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