This Week in Milford

April 14, 2021

Don’t Worry, Luhm, Zane Isn’t Horning In on Your Turf

Okay, so the young lady with the tendrils hanging down isn’t a teacher but a fellow student, Priya (no last name yet), and this isn’t an academic class but a senior class meeting. I don’t recall what gets done in these meetings: cap and gown ordering, picking a class song or theme, deciding who’s “most likely to succeed” or “wittiest” or some other “superlative,” choosing a class trip and a prom theme, etc., usw. Really, just a bunch of stuff to pad your resume when applying to colleges, and there’s always that kid who takes it just a little too seriously and makes it uncomfortable for most everyone else involved. Here, Priya is that kid.

Among the suddenly dumped upon us exposition is that Zane has somehow managed to get himself elected senior class vice president. With everything that’s going on at home it’s hard to imagine how he would’ve run for and, if he won, agreed to serve in that role. Maybe that it serves as another form of therapy is what kept Zane from going all General Sherman on the Milford High Class of 2021.

Obviously Katy Brito doesn’t care if Priya’s nose is out of joint. Nor does Zane for that matter. Only When Abel Brito Charlie Delta sticks his nose in will things get truly snippy.

March 31, 2021

The View from Mount Gilmore

Looking across Gil’s massive schnozz is giving me a huge North by Northwest vibe.

So are the angles of the prairie style window behind his head in P3.

Nothing like starting your day with a Saul Bass title sequence, is there?

Now, about Zane Clark. There are many, but which one is within Rubin’s circle of friends? Can we expect him to comment here this spring? How can we start piecing together his backstory? Will it be as big a red herring as Doug Guthrie’s just was?

Oh, all right. Let’s take a stab. He’s a senior, so most likely this is a one-and-done arc for him. His home life has apparently kept him from coming out for baseball until now, or maybe he came out for baseball before and his home life prevented him from coming out for baseball again until now. Maybe someone in the home had a substance abuse problem, like Aaaaron Aaaagard’s mom. Maybe there was an unplanned addition to the family, like Jaxxxxon Kiser. Or maybe someone got blowtop mad, like Chance Macy. In any event, prepare to be underwhelmed.

March 24, 2021

If There’s a Celebration at The Bucket and There’s No One There to Hear It, Does It Make a Sound?

Boy that was some post-game celebration, huh? Weren’t you just waiting for Corina to go off the rails on Tessi’s lack of defensive skills then throw a milkshake at her? Yeah, me too. This chipper demeanor and lack of a salty comeback to even the most innocent of questions makes me think that she’s been secretly replaced with Folger’s Crystals…

… except that the question here may not be so innocent. Doug Guthrie has been one of the biggest red herrings in a Gil Thorp arc in recent memory. All that car talk – the hot-ass Tri-Power GTO, the speeding through Milford in a Jeep only to be let off the hook by a cop because his old man teaches pursuit driving skills to the Milford blues, the kart racing that took precedent over playing basketball until it didn’t – where did it all lead to? The Mudlark boys sucked no matter if Doug suited up or not. So how, exactly, does Chekhov’s Gearhead fit into this plot?

His “devious conspiracy” probably has little to do with rigging elections, kidnapping governors or spiking the water supply. No, most likely Doug’s gonna get Corina to take Vic Doucette out on a pre-prom date to get his tux fitted while Doug and his dad pimp Vic’s ride. Just how much pimpin’ can get done during that time remains to be seen.

February 27, 2021

Wrenching to Conclusions

Tonight I feel like the Rolling Stones going on after James Brown and the Famous Flames at The T.A.M.I. Show. Here goes nothing.

Like a well-executed heel-and-toe shift of your favorite manual gearbox, you expected a segue of Quick Vic Doucette coming over to Doug Guthrie to ask for pointers on making time with Tessi Milton. Instead, like the sickening sound of an over-rev and bent pushrods after a missed shift, you got Vic unloading a barrage of automotive references on an only slightly nonplussed Doug. You’d feel dinged up between the ears, too, if your hair kept changing back and forth between blond and brunette at random. (Now I remember why I usually stick to the B&W version of the strip.)

Things only get worse from there. In a tank town like Milford, it doesn’t take much to connect the dots from Tom and Doug being late for practice because Doug got pulled over, to Gil making Tom and Doug run laps for being late for practice, to Tom spraining his knee while running laps for being late for practice, to Doug feeling guilty because if he hadn’t gotten pulled over neither Tom nor he would’ve been late for practice and Gil wouldn’t have made them run laps. If Doug hadn’t mentioned it before now, maybe Tom did. Or maybe Rick Scott. Or maybe it’s just one of those things that leaked out of the locker room, like a bad case of jock itch.

What doesn’t naturally follow is Vic’s assumption that, rather than feeling guilty about Tom’s injury, Doug now fears he too will get injured. Neither does it follow that that fear extends to Doug’s not being able to race his kart. Doug’s blowing off a race for the Oakwood game suggests that karting isn’t gonna be a stepping stone in his career; we’ve never seen mention of any success of his behind the wheel. I now have no idea how Rubin’s gonna tie the Guthrie part of this arc together. I’m just glad we haven’t seen Co-co-rina in this strip since February 9, though I suspect that streak will come to an end soon.

February 3, 2021

You? Me? Us?

Vic Doucette can do anything – pep up Doug Guthrie, possibly wipe the hair dye running down behind that kid’s ear – but getting traction with Tessi Milton? Put it there, pal!

Any sincerity Tessi might have in trying to gain attention and excitement for Milford girls’ hoops is blunted by her ham-handed appeal to Vic’s raging hormones. Of course Vic doesn’t realize that “us” means “the Lady Mudlarks,” so his head has been set to bobblin’ at the thought of cutting class to go tidy up the interior of his GMC Safari.

Wonder whether Tessi knows that getting guys to do stuff for her using broad deceptive hints is part of Corina’s “brand”? We (blessedly) haven’t seen Corina in a few strips, so it’s about time she pops in and pops off at the mouth.

January 30, 2021

Sometimes, the Lyrics Write Themselves

Want a guard who races? I tell you I’m your man
I play some, skip some, all the same to me

What do you wanna bet, am I blond or a brunette?
The Bucket’s where I feed, my car is all I need, I’m Doug Guthrie!
I’m Doug Guthrie!

Restoring a barn find, rebuilt it with my dad
Got my GTO, I don’t need girls you see

Showing up for Oakwood, Gil is watching me
Pick a sport or quit, I don’t give a shit, I’m Doug Guthrie!
I’m Doug Guthrie!

My tailbone’s on the ground, I’m goin’ round and round
But that’s the way I like it baby
I don’t wanna win the Valley

And don’t forget Vic Doucette!

Pushing up the roundball, the defense gotta see me
Reach in and weep, slapped out my hand again

You see it in my eyes, I’ve let practice slide
We’ll blow this game you’ll see, it’s gonna be on me, I’m Doug Guthrie!
I’m Doug Guthrie!

December 28, 2020

Doug!

Filed under: Gil Thorp, metapost, Prairie Style Windows — nedryerson @ 7:27 am

Oh boy, we get three more panels of Doug Guthrie’s appeal to Gil be excused from practice for a Senior Kart race in Florida! Let’s just settle in and enjoy the splendor of Doug’s enthusiastic pitch to Gil conveying the thrills of Senior Kart racing.

Now Gil, being Gil, has to have a sarcastic response belittling Doug’s hobby as something for kids, like the kind of thing one does over in Central City! Gil dispenses his snark from the comfort of his bizarre office chair with oddly contoured padding. Maybe his chair is made from recycled volleyballs.

Au contraire, says Doug Guthrie. Senior Kart racing is not for kiddies! It’s a thrill ride at dangerous speeds and poses serious risks to ones tailbone! Yes Doug, that does sound like a party!

Do we need three more panels for Gil to deliberate? Maybe we need at least one for Gil to look Doug in the eye and ask him to never do whatever he’s doing in Panel 3 again. C’mon, attempt to be cool, Doug.

metapost: Here’s a little secret that only a few TWIM insiders know. nedryerson is just the account name I set up to comment here ages ago and I just continued to use it when I started blogging here. My actual name is Doug. (I mean, there’s really only one Ned Ryerson, amiright? Bing!) I just note this here because it’s weird writing my name over and over in this post. Also, this is the first character named Doug that I recall in the Gil Thorp strips I’ve seen, so that’s….something. I guess it had to happen eventually. Also, here’s a plug (a Doug plug) for Doug Benson’s podcast Wide World of Dougs. It’s kind of about Dougs, I think.

December 26, 2020

Doug Guthrie, Kartboy*

Happy Boxing Day! Joyous Kwanzaa! Gentlemen, start your engines! Wait, what?

We may want to rethink that Doug Guthrie/Janet Guthrie relation. Doug’s gearheadedness extends not only to his choice of daily driver but also to that which distracts him from fulfilling his Thorpian duty. There’s gotta be more to the picture than meets the eye here.

What kind of kid dailies a ’66 Goat in the Rust Belt? Not one who cares about exposing it to the winter elements, and most likely not one that had to scrape the pennies together to buy it himself. Hagerty values a ’66 Tri-Power hardtop from $24K for a car in #4 condition to $75K for one in #1 condition. The obvious answer would be that Guthrie’s little GTO must be bankrolled by his family, along with his karting. But not so fast – there are monetary prizes to be had in karting, and it’s been used as a springboard to higher levels of auto racing. The list of Formula 1 champions who started in karts is an impressive one indeed, including current and seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton. So before we dive in and assume this is yet another kid whose parents are living their lives vicariously through, let’s sit back and see how this develops.

Let’s also wait and see how Rubin develops the strip Vic Doucette and how closely his character’s life parallels The Real Vic Doucette’s. If strip Vic puts as much good faith effort into his PA work as he did in his PE class, he may end up doing a decent job. Bonus points if he gets Marty Moon to curse on the air again.

*Milford may have Nutboys but here in the real world there is a Kartboy, a supplier of performance parts for Subarus, VWs and Audis.

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