This Week in Milford

September 21, 2022

It Must’ve Been Zane Clark’s Doing

How bleeding edge are we now, kids? The Linda Lindas’ new album is their first album, released only this past June. They’d previously released an EP in 2020. Their breakout hit was “Racist, Sexist Boy” which kinda seems on brand for the nu-look Gil Thorp. Here they are performing it at a public library, which kinda seems on brand for the old-look Gil Thorp.

Rock ‘n Roll Thursday comes a day early to TWIM, then.

That, in a nutshell, is what today’s strip is all about: getting past the hard candy shell of modern society to get to the chewy middle of adolescent desire to be popular and part of a group. Look beyond the hijab-clad volleyball player and her brown-bagged meal (possibly halal, because the MHS cafeteria can’t be trusted) and see the girl who wants to let her circle of friends know she’s hip to the latest music. Look past Arianna’s acknowledgement of the hijab-clad girl (who hasn’t been given a name yet IIRC) and see the girl who wants her friends to know she uses Urban Dictionary. Look beyond Keri’s suddenly green-dyed hair and bejeweled everything and see the girl whose nose is out of joint because she’s not in the team picture one of her teammates took and posted to social media.

So sit back, relax, and watch the old Too Cool For School drama play out with a bunch of new faces. At this rate, we’ll probably see more of that than we will of Mudlark football.

September 14, 2022

More Pronoun Trouble

Football season! Volleyball season!

Here we go again, but it’s not a dispute as to whether sportsball should take precedence over non-sportsball extracurriculars but the modern problem of remembering what pronouns people choose to identify themselves. Today, Toby née Tabatha identifies as he/him, Keri identifies as they/them, and Gil identifies as coach/Coach.

Now why are these three having this little confab at The Bucket of all places? (And why are they having coffee? Don’t they know there’s a cantina in town for that?) Are they here to pick up them after their postgame dinner? Are they serving as their chaperones for said dinner? Is it time for a jangle-off as Mel and Mimi see who can rattle their jewelry the loudest? Winner gets Gil – if she wants him, that is.

The unspoken tension here is so thick you could cut it with a butter knife, not unlike the one Mimi’s twisting into Mel as she deadnames Toby. Clearly she hasn’t forgotten that Mel wanted to be her at one time. Meanwhile Gil, still aware of that history and that Mimi is unhappy in the marriage, tries to play the supportive husband by throwing out a patronizing “sweetie.” Will Mimi have the divorce papers served publicly to Gil right here in The Bucket, the way Jason Sudeikis had Olivia Wilde served with custody papers while she was presenting at CinemaCon?

One thing is clear: despite Mel’s claim, in Milford, nothing is the same as it was.

edit: Oops! I forgot to identify the players from the Dolphins’ No-name Defense I posted this past Saturday!

Front, reclining: Lloyd Mumphord, CB

Front row, left to right: Bob Matheson, LB; Bill Stanfill, DE; Bob Heinz, DT; Manny Fernandez, DT; Vern Den Herder, DE

Center: Nick Buoniconti, LB

Back row, left to right: Dick Anderson, SS; Curtis Johnson, CB; Mike Kolen, LB; Doug Swift, LB; Tim Foley, CB; Jake Scott, FS

August 24, 2022

“Luke, this isn’t ‘Nam, this is Milford. There are rules.”

“Are you ready to be fucked, Thorp? I see you rolled your way onto the tee boxes. Dios mio, man. Pedro and me, we’re gonna fuck you up.”

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just like, uh, your opinion, Luke.”

“Let me tell *you* something, pendejo. You pull any of your crazy shit with us, you flash an illegal putter out on the green, I’ll take it away from you, and stick it up your ass and pull the fucking trigger ’til it goes ‘click.'”

“Jesus, Martinez.”

“You said it, man. Nobody fucks with the Martinez.”

Nice of Luke to bring along some additional eye candy for Mimi, too, in case she likes her men smooth. With Keri’s hair, Pedro could be mistaken for yet another lost Thorp child. Did Pedro come when Luke clapped for him? The Martinez family tackiness just keeps piling on, like a Herk the Mauler finishing move.

Bigger picture question: How was Luke able to join the MCC? I don’t mean that in an ethnic/socioeconomic way but in a geographical one. Does this lend credence to the idea that Valley Tech is also located in Milford? I don’t know that it’s ever been established; I understood that St. Fabian’s shared the town with Milford High, but that’s the extent of it. Talk amongst yourselves.

July 30, 2022

Leaving the Light On for Gil

Midday Saturday, I don’t see robmize’s post and I’m in between errands so I’m gonna do a twofer. Thanks for covering for me while I was island-hopping, rob.

July 29, 2022

It doesn’t look like Gil took the crazy bet from Hairy Hands Martinez. Why would he? If Martinez is new at Valley Tech, how has he been tired of watching Gil win the COTY award “every year”? We need a bit more backstory to buy anything Luke’s spouting. No doubt it’s the liquor talking, which is why Bethany the barkeep is cutting everybody off, including Gil.

As Gil saunters off through the bar’s doorway, Bethany gazes wistfully in his direction. In her tiny voiced farewell are traces of a desire to make something else stiff for Gil besides an old-fashioned. Nice tiny, dashed word balloon by the Chief there; can’t recall the last time I saw one of those from him.

July 30, 2022

Can’t recall the last time we saw the Thorp kids, either. Some posters on the ‘mudgeon suggested that it was in the Christmas 2008 strip. A lot can happen in thirteen-plus years (I’m still holding out for the convent and military school angle, myself) so this retcon better have them back as young adults and not preteens, is all I’m saying.

The Valley COTY award ceremonies weren’t held in Milford, apparently but somewhere where there’s an Embassy McCormick Suites Inn. Wherever it is, that’s where Gil’s been staying at least for the past night… plus? Emmett Tays drops in on Gil in the breakfast room to drop off the COTY golden butt plug he left on the podium the night before, gets the lowdown on the kerflulffle with Martinez, then opens the can of worms by asking about la famiglia Thorp. Sit back and order another round, gentle readers; we’re in for a whole lotta backstory next week.

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.

July 20, 2022

Are these guys all gonna go join John Pascoe at State?

A little over a week in and Barajas has run out of dialogue? Five straight panels of nothin’ but action? How are we supposed to respond to this?

I suppose by nitpicking the artwork to begin with. It’s an “unforgiving Milford night” that looks like daytime. That’s another one that’s on Whigham and/or the colorists. Ditto with the Milford and Oakwood uniforms. As I’ve often railed on in the past, color-on-color games are rare at any level with only a few exceptions. Finally, if this is a flashback, when did this game occur? (I think a call to TWIM SID billytheskink may be in order.) Did Milford’s uniforms canonically look like that that season? Take a look at these examples from the Berrill and McLaughlin eras – or, heck, from the earlier Rubin & Whigham era. Canon is important in the Thorpiverse, except when the matter of the Thorp kids comes up.

The next thing to nitpick is the lingo. “It’s good!” usually refers to a kick attempt for a field goal or PAT, not a touchdown. Since the Mudlarks were down by six, presumably Tays’ TD catch tied the score and it was the point after kick that was good. But what’s this “State” thing? It’s “playdowns” around the Valley and don’t you fergit it!

Call it whatever you will, we come away from today’s strip knowing that Milford made the football postseason in whatever season this represents. Why does Gil look so pissy, then? Is it because the player behind him has started bonking him on the head, or is it his typical response when he figures out he’s gonna have to do more coaching that he thought would be necessary during a season?

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 11, 2022

While Heather Watches, Gil Finds a Pair

Like a baserunner who rounds third and heads for home, the third-base coach’s stop sign unheeded, this plot has now blown past the mere unrealistic into the realm of pure fantasy.

Rob emphasized this yesterday. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Gil was correct and there’s no rule allowing the umpire to force a coach to remove a player from the game. The ump is absolutely within his rights to remove a player, a coach, or a manager from the game if that player/coach/manager is causing a potential safety hazard to the other players. Kaiser Gilhelm does not get to be the decider here, no matter how much of a show he wants to put on for his girl Heather…

… and for the record, his little smart-assed remark about Louis C.K.’s strike zone should get him run to the Milford activity bus for the rest of the game. Arguing balls and strikes is a no go, even if you’re arguing balls and strikes from a previous game. Besides, if Gil won his argument, why is Ggerg sitting on the bench when he gets back to the dugout?

Louis should either stick to refereeing basketball or give as good as he gets, like Bill Haller did to Earl Weaver.

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