This Week in Milford

February 19, 2020

Phoebe in the Middle

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Poor Kenny Hastings. Minding his own business in the hallway when he gets shoved out of the way as part of an unannounced and unassigned assertiveness training exercise. Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to be taking one for the team? Didn’t Phoebe tell Kenny that pushing your classmates around makes you Too Cool for School? Such selfishness.

Now we get to learn which tactic is the lesser of two evils: pushing other kids around in the hall to improve your assertiveness on the court, or imagining you’re pushing your academic rival down in class rank to improve your assertiveness on the court. My money’s on the latter as it (a) came from a coach, (b) exists only inside the heads of the coach and the player, and (c) involves imaginary a/o/t actual harm.

It’d be funny if Schuring turns out to be the actual bad guy in this strip, doling out fake advice via Phoebe as a means to get Alexa suspended, turn in an assignment late and lose a few precious hundredths of a point off her GPA.  Funnier still if Phoebe is the grand mastermind, making herself the indispensable intermediary between all the major players in this play. She may not end up valedictorian or salutatorian but should have a lucrative career as a political strategist.

January 22, 2020

Lightening the Load, or Taking It?

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The Thorpiverse is known for its occasional stilted dialogue and colloquialisms (the constant use of “ease up” to name one) but it’s by no means the worst offender in the realm of the comics. (Try reading a week’s worth of Funky Winkerbean or 9 Chickweed Lane and you’ll see what I mean.) Still, context is everything in the Valley.

Take today’s strip. If you read the narration box in parallel with the dialogue, you get that Susan Wilcox (née Wilcox-Olson; maybe she got divorced since the last game?) has lightened the mood with her lame joke and lightened her teammates’ loads by taking shots every chance she gets. If you read them in sequence, you might get that Susan is capable of things unfit for print.

But hand it to Susan: she’s singlehandedly helped solve Mimi’s offense problem, at least for the Central game. Solving Alexa’s obsession with her stats – or undoing Mimi’s toxic scoring advice to Alexa – is a load she doesn’t need to take.

January 8, 2020

Susan Gets the Cherries, Alexa Gets the Pits

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What else do Alexa Watson and Chris Schuring have in common besides being in competition for Milford High valedictorian? A reluctance to take shots, apparently.  If not for the media relations director of the National Cherry Festival (at least I think that’s who she is; fits Rubin’s MO of Pure Michigan shout-outs), the Lady Mudlarks might not have been able to hang on to beat the Lady Raiders.

Phoebe manages to elude the disembodied fist threatening to bonk her on the head to deliver the message to Alexa. Dunno if that was spontaneous or if Mimi planted that bug in her ear. Pulling kids out of class for 20 minutes then making them dress out and stand in front of her while she lectures them is not a Mrs. Coach Thorp thing, but if the Milford girls don’t start putting up more points Mimi may be forced to follow Gil’s lead and actually do a little coaching.

 

January 6, 2020

The Harding, They Fall?

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The Lady Mudlarks are squaring off against the Lady Raiders from Warren, Ohio. Neal has been pitting Milford against teams in Eastern Ohio lately. Maybe he’s going to retire to Cleveland.

As much as we sometimes gripe about a lack of sports action in Gil Thorp. I must admit that three panels of nothing but sports action can leave me with little inspiration to comment. The floors are shiny. The ponytails are out in force. Alexa looks like she’s actually executing a layup in the first panel. The other two panels show aggressive defense. OMG, it’s like fundamental basketball. That’s good, right?

Well, good luck Alexa and gang. Repel those Raiders!

December 21, 2019

Marjie Ducey, Muscle Queen

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It comes as no surprise to the TWIM faithful that today’s strip is a continuation of the famed Mudlark Roll Call, wherein Gil rattles off the roster to Marjie.  That no new names are introduced may come as a bit of a surprise.  Chris Schuring is, well, Chris Schuring, and we know Leonard Fleming better as a Mudlark defensive back and a member of Tiki Jansen’s host family.

It’s a little surprising that Marjie showed up in person to get the roll call instead of over the phone or via email.  After breaking the Chet Ballard/Chance Macy scandal, one might think that she’d be in greater demand. The Milford Star might have her working on even harder-hitting stories, like what really goes on in Those Dumpy Apartments on Poplar. She might even have designs on leaving the Star and the tank town of Milford, maybe for the bright lights of Central City or beyond. Maybe she’s there because she knows she really owes that lead to Gil – that he’s the one who helped her connect the dots to Chet – and so some ring kissing is in order.

Oh, who are we kidding? She’s there to check out the fresh meat. Marcell Irby’s lost an “l” in his name, but (oops! – t) put on some muscle. Not enough for Marjie’s taste, apparently.

December 14, 2019

It’s Like “Highlander”

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After falling asleep for three days, it looks like I didn’t miss anything. Check that: it looks like I missed less than anything. Y’all think these sports stories have been boring? Hold on to your hats for four solid months of academic competition! Valedictorian: there can be only one!

No lie: I had to reread the lower balloon in P1 multiple times to make sure it didn’t say “Teddy DeMarco’s little bitch.” But which Teddy DeMarco? The not very successful welterweight from Philly or the prep point guard from Ohio? My money’s on the owner of the recently closed sportswear shop.

Back on topic: It’ll be boring as all getout interesting to see how a couple of basketball action panels once a week or so help advance this thriller of a plot, especially as we learn what Alexa and Chris plan to do with their post-Mudlark lives. Me, I’ll be sorely disappointed if we don’t get at least one installment of University Challenge.

December 11, 2019

Bonk, Bonk on the Head, Alexa!

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Alexa Watson is not only smart and tragically accomplished, she likes to reenact old Star Trek episodes. At 6’1″ and ripped, she looks to be this year’s Kenzie Hanley. Will she brk some jaws in the process? Maybe after one too many jokes about her name.

We’ve seen that swoony pose on Phoebe Keener before but not paired with, apparently, a sundial for a nose.

metapost: Apologies for the late post. Caught a redeye from the Thorpiverse, literally; bad weather on both ends put me home just before sunrise. Haven’t slept in over 24 hours so this post may reflect that.

November 27, 2019

Hasn’t There Already Been an Investigation?

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Excuse me but haven’t Marjie, the superintendent and Captain Man Bun already investigated Ballardgate?  What’s left to investigate?  How about some of the details in today’s strip?

P1: How much squirming must it take to get your forearm in front of you to facepalm at that angle?  Careful Chet, you’ll poke your eye out.

P2: We’re on to the third day in a row where people are just reading Marjie’s article aloud to other people.  I can see why Gil looks a little pissy, especially since Mimi’s leaning over him to point at what she’s reading.  (Bet she’s one of those people whose lips move when they read to themselves.)  It’s enough to distract him from his carbo loading. Must have a heavy day of lifting with Kaz on the agenda.

P3 triggered a lot of childhood memories for me, as I remember fondly the day my father bought me a Howard Elston catcher’s mitt. Superintendent Elston looks like a lot of recycled art pasted together: Lee Corso’s head with Paulie Walnuts’ hair spliced atop a  torso Walt “No Neck” Williams style, an odd suit jacket with contrasting lapels and a pocket square but no necktie, and topped off with Whigham’s signature gesticulating hand.  He gets the “immediate” part of the investigation; not so sure about the “thorough” though, as he sends his female charge off with no real direction.

That’s all I have to say about that.  Tip of the hat to Rubin for reminding me of the first black Yankee and the man who had the unfortunate task of having to fill Yogi Berra’s shoes.

 

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