As the Argonia High activity bus rolls out of the Milford parking lot in a cloud of dust, Mimi wins the Captain Obvious award. Carrie’s had the better part of a year to hone her skills and grieve the unexpected loss of the team’s star pitcher. What she hasn’t been able to do is to pull herself out of the misogynistic mire at Milford High. Perhaps I’m being too harsh here; after all, people have been feigning interest in the interests of those they’re attracted to since time immemorial. Nevertheless this week’s strips feel like they’ve taken us down the path to another Bechdel Test failure.
Dafne “Dafuq?” Dafonte may be trying to break that fail streak singlehandedly. First, she made an enemy of Casper “The Friendly Brain” Heenan by exposing his profligate spending. Now, she’s alienated several members of the track team by dissing their efforts as boring to their faces. Who else will Dafne piss off before the spring arc is over? Time will tell…
Reading yesterday’s strip left me scratching my head. I wasn’t sure if Dafne Dafuq was trolling Carrie Hobson by tagging her the “star pitcher” or simply trying to boost her ego. After all, Carrie’s track record isn’t much to get excited about, so why not get her excited about a track athlete? Because nobody gets excited about track in Milford – nobody.
Carrie knows the score and isn’t afraid to admit it. In so doing she hips us to the fact that the late Boo Radley was a junior last season
– a fact I don’t think Rubin hipped us to before. (Thanks billytheskink for the confirmation; I hadn’t had my coffee yet this morning when I posted.) Dafuq then seizes the opportunity to further troll Carrie by calling her by Boo’s nickname for True. I think we’ve got a real shit-stirrer in the making here, on the diamond or off.
BTW, have we learned Double D’s position yet? Between those Ernie Lombardi mitts of hers and her penchant for needling people, she seems a natural behind the plate.
Today’s post title inspiration:
Leaving panels one and three to the side (which I suppose they literally are already so …), let’s talk about panel two.
The “Fake News” may be the most topical that this strip has ever been. Although this blog has occasionally brushed upon politics, I never expected to see the strip implicitly go political. I have to admit this has me genuinely intrigued in contrast to the ‘another Milford male athlete is a jerk’ arc which holds almost no interest for me.
Today the high-rolling Milford School Board veep gets a mashup name from the famed comic and cartoon character and the famed pro wrestling heel manager but one that yields no Google results on its own. He looks like a slightly paunchy version of Gil, and the trifecta of head bobble, exploding eye and freak hand (missing an amputated sixth digit between index and middle fingers) make him right at home in Milford.
He’s clearly capable of picking up a phone and calling Dr. Pearl who, with that broken right wrist of hers, may have had to put him on speaker. The good doctor relays his message to Ms. Rizk, who replies with a deft pop culture/product placement zinger of her own. She may not be much of a journalist, but she knows where she stayed last night.
A couple of cameos to report: the Funkyverse’s Les Moore joins the Milford faculty after having his face slapped for being such a pretentious douche, and an off-camera cameo by Rex Morgan, MD‘s daughter Sarah, who obviously hand-lettered Dr. Pearl’s name plate.
Today’s strip features the classic phrase: “I was just messing with you.” I’m not a big fan of that phrase. It’s mostly used by jerks who like to push buttons but still maintain a facade of civility. So is this the subtle variation on the classic Gil Thorp plot heel? The passive aggressive douche?
Maybe Ryan “Cane” Van Auken is sincere. Maybe he really has addressed his anger issues and is merely joking as a defense against the abrupt and intrusive questioning by Pete De Windt. Maybe he’ll turn out to be a great teammate and an all around swell guy. Yeah, right.
ETA the inspiration for the title:
Rubin never fails to give us at least one unlikable Mudlark a season and this spring, Ryan “Cane” Van Auken is gonna be that guy. Rubin doesn’t always give us a troll right out of the box so credit where credit is due, I reckon. Pete plays Henry Hill to Ryan’s Tommy DeVito and just like that we’re off and running. The as yet unnamed Milford mopes (the one far right looking a wee bit like another Ryan) at the end of the bench already have the two thousand-yard stare and the “not this shit again” look on their faces.
Whaddaya think’ll happen next? Gil and Kaz have a “lighten up, Francis” moment with Ryan? Big Ken Brown and Mike Granger, Boy Detectives, dig up dirt on “Cane” and get him in protective custody? Dead bodies strewn all over Idaho? Stick around if you dare; between this and budding investigative reporter/softballer Dafne Dafonte, we’re in for
another three months of rambling wrapped up awkardly in three days interesting times ahead!
As another rando Mudlark continues to double fist pump for heaven knows what reason, exit stage right Quadruple AAAA and Big Ken Brown in best Rick Blaine and Captain Renault fashion. (This twin figures walking away into the shadows to end an arc thing is becoming a Whigham hallmark.) All that’s missing is Tina Aagard boarding a plane with letters of transit to… a rehab clinic?
Here’s where I profess total ignorance. Is it typical for single parent addicts to be sent directly into residential rehab programs and give up custody of their children during that time, do not pass go, do not collect $200? Is it typical for single parent addicts being sent directly into rehab under such circumstances to not even say goodbye to said children? I’ll give Rubin a smidgen of credit for attempting to address some troubling phenomena facing the US today: the interplay between the spread of opioid addiction and the decline of the white working and middle class.
I will also profess total ignorance of this plot twist when I made my Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner reference a couple of weeks ago. I chose that reference thinking that Gil would use his animal charm to coerce Aaron’s teammates’ families to invite Aaron over for a series of meals. I did not factor race into the equation and, until reading yesterday’s post, didn’t really factor it into this arc at all. Given that Hiatt-Brown household has been portrayed as one of the more successful ones in the Thorpiverse over the past few arcs, I did wonder whether Ken’s snoopiness about Aaron’s home life was going to lead into a subplot that gave him feet of clay. Any thoughts of that have been erased now that Aaron will be getting a taste of Ken’s dad’s home cooking while giving the Hiatt-Browns an intro to the joys of EDM.
Baseball on Monday, then? I wonder what usual suspects Rubin will round up for the team this season.
So many questions at this point…
- Did Gil ever get a word in edgewise?
- When does Aaron stop addressing Gil and start addressing the guys in the locker room?
- I confess to not being familiar with the ins and outs of pill popping. Does ones addiction and associated tolerance become so severe that you can be seen to ‘snack’ on the pills?
- Did Gil take Aaron out for another round of milkshakes and slices of pie or is rage (aka frustration) all the fuel that this kid needs?
- How much had that Central fan in the background had to drink before he/she lettered that sign?