This Week in Milford

September 3, 2022

Disoreinted

Gentle readers, I’m just an old newspaper comics reader. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the comments section of your blogs makes me want to put down my laptop and run off into the hills, or wherever. Sometimes when I look at a strip on GoComics, I wonder: “Did little demons get inside and draw it?” I don’t know! My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know – when a new writer takes over a legacy comic strip and infuses it with too many current-day issues all at once, I want to complain and vow never to read that strip again. Thank you.

That’s how I felt, not after reading today’s strip, but after making the mistake of reading the GoComics comments before I posted like I said I’d never do. If I hadn’t, however, I wouldn’t have been able to put together the backstory behind today’s strip. For that we have to go back to a time before TWIM even existed, nearly twenty years ago, during the Jerry Jenkins era.

Melissa was a high school student who became pregnant by her boyfriend Kyle Gordon. Note the blatant product placement.

December 30, 2002

Melissa’s father forbade Kyle from seeing her again. The baby’s future was not in doubt, as least for the moment.

January 4, 2003

Melissa’s parents gave her the boot, and Kyle had no intention of marrying her…

January 13, 2003

… so his parents moved him out of state and forbade him from contacting her. Then the baby’s future came into doubt.

January 16, 2003

Kyle and Melissa concluded that Melissa should do something she had the constitutional right to do at the time.

January 18, 2003

Melissa ultimately decided to keep the baby and not Kyle, and the Thorps welcomed her into their home.

January 27, 2003

Note that the kid sitting next to Melissa is Keri Thorp, who would go into a state of suspended animation until very recently.

Marty got wind of the situation and tried to make a thing of it. Gil nipped it in the bud.

February 5, 2003

Mimi noticed Melissa “craving” Gil’s attention (!) but Gil was oblivious.

February 7, 2003

Turned out Mimi wasn’t wrong.

February 11, 2003

After Melissa concocted a story about Jami getting hurt and getting Gil to chaperon a movie date with three other MHS girls who mysteriously backed out, she got caught in the lie.

February 25, 2003

Melissa tried to play the Fatal Attraction angle…

February 27, 2003

… and then Gil blew a shot at an easy threesome professed his eternal faithfulness to Mimi. Where was Luke Martinez when this went down?

March 1, 2003

The Gil Thorp plot then pivoted to The Brent Raptor Story. I lost the scent after that, so I can’t say for certain that Melissa and Tabatha/Tobias appeared in the strip again until today. Now that she’s Melissa Gordon, can we conclude she and Kyle eventually did marry? Going down the rabbit hole of 2002-03 strips exhausted me. I’m sure someone will have done that legwork before I post again.

There was blowback to Jenkins’ anti-abortion/pro-life stance (e.g., the Chicago Tribune dropped the strip), but I can only imagine it will pale in comparison to the blowback Barajas is going to get after today.

Our minds could race with the possibilities raised by the mere presence of young Tobias in the strip. (Never mind that he should logically be a college freshman by now, with Melissa in her mid-to-late thirties and Keri in her mid-to-late twenties.) Gil’s attempts to get Tobias on the football team would no doubt meet with greater resistance than getting Heather Burns to play tight end. I won’t even dwell on Gil’s lame attempt at hygiene theater, his free-floating mask, or the loving care with which Steve Luhm polished the oreintation desk. Today’s strip has brought out Luann levels of commentary from people apparently as invested in this strip as the Luann trufans are (and if you don’t know anything about them by now, you’re better off not knowing.)

Me, I’m here for the ride. I just don’t know if I can dig through decades of archives every time I post.

August 29, 2022

Mimi Is Attracted To Big Dad Energy

Filed under: Gil Thorp, golf, Mimi Thorp, Pissy faced Gil, What the hell is going on here? — nedryerson @ 6:15 am

I don’t know why it is only striking me now that Lukey and Fran Martinez have coordinated their golf attire. I think in the initial reveal of Fran, I was probably focusing more on the length of Fran’s skirt, which seemed quite short. The panel one shading and perspective definitely gives the Martinez’s a more twinsie look and the skirt seems to have lengthened a bit.

Attire aside, Fran is giving us some background on Lukey. It’s a little confusing. Martinez was a stay at home dad but established and maintained credentials for coaching in schools. I guess there’s a way to do that. The point is that Coach Luke was instrumental in raising Pedro and an indeterminant number of other boys. That’s Mimi’s takeaway, at least. Being there to tuck the kids into bed gives Mimi a special feeling in her golf jorts and she’s not shy about letting Gil know.

I do dig the shock to Gil’s system as Mimi subverts his expectation and overlooks all of Coach Luke’s loutishness to focus on his parenting. Of course, Martinez might be as full of crap about this as everything else.

A few random thoughts:
Does Pedro still wet the bed??

I was today years old when I learned that “winning the chip” is a reference to championships. Cool, Luke, cool.

August 13, 2022

Gil and Marty drinking together, mass hysteria!

Everyone who wanted to see some Milford CC action this summer, here it is – only golf is not involved! And you were expecting Luftstalag 13 after yesterday’s strip. Go grab your beverage of choice and settle in ’cause we’ve got a whole lot to unpack today.

  1. What exactly is Gil’s relationship with technology here? He takes great pride in having a flip phone but is oblivious to caller ID, which flip phones have? Okay, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s so antsy about the sitch with Mimi that he can’t be bothered to check to see who’s calling. So, then…
  2. …why can’t Gil meet with Marty while waiting for the call with Mimi? It’s not like he has to sit around Casa Thorp because, again, mobile phone and caller ID. Oh, wait. He’s not saying “Sorry, Marty. I have to stay home until I hear from Mimi,” he’s saying “Sorry, Marty. I thought you might’ve been Mimi.” How do we know this? Because…
  3. …the new writer told us as much on Gocomics this morning. I make it a point to not read the comments on Gocomics when I go there for screen grabs, mainly because I don’t want anyone else’s comments to color my take on the day’s strip. However, it was hard to avoid seeing and reading the comment from henryjbarajas* and not have it influence my take. TWIMers will also note that among his comments, he addressed the Martinez/Hernanndez snafu from earlier this week: “I messed up! It’s Martinez.” Kudos for not blaming Whigham or the colorists on that one. Maybe he’ll give guidance to them on uniform colors, too? Here’s hoping.
  4. That the writer of a daily comic strip is actively interacting with the strip’s readership speaks volumes, and in a positive way. Compare 9 Chickweed Lane and Pibgorn‘s Brooke McEldowney, who won’t even allow people to comment on the windows into his sexual kinks he passes off as comic strips. For us here at TWIM, this is big – even bigger than learning that The Real Vic Doucette was reading us. Will we be on our best behavior from now on? Nah.
  5. Back to plot analysis: Barajas isn’t doing anything to dissuade me from the notion that Gil and Marty have a Ralph/Sam working relationship. As much as Marty has slammed Gil on air over the years, is it possible that he has a shred of journalistic integrity when it comes to all things Thorp**…
  6. …or does he realize that, no matter how new or how sherrify the self-proclaimed new sheriff in town might be, that the Thorps are still the straws that stir the WDIG drink? Hearing Gil’s side of the story helps Marty cement his take that Martinez is a blowhard who likes his drink maybe a little too much. It also adds another layer to The Legend of Gil ThorpTM: Women want him, other coaches want to be him…
  7. …which makes his reveal and plea for help to Marty all the more stunning. Why the hell would Gil offer that up to Marty? Moon has always been beta male to Thorp; one only need look to the fall 2015 arc for evidence. Again, I fear this is going to lead to Gil camping out in Marty’s crate before football season is over, leading to a very Heather Burnsy conflict of interest. Unless, of course, Gil can crash at Kaz’s dojo. I’m still waiting to see what changes in character, if any, Barajas has in store for Kaz.

Well that’s about the longest post from me in ages, but there was just so much to digest today that I thought it merited my full attention. Hope it’s given you plenty to chew on. See you here with Ned on Monday.

* When I read the name “Henry J” my mind went immediately to the compact car built by Kaiser-Frazer in the early 1950s and named for the company founder, Henry J. Kaiser. This is because teenchy is old, but moreso because teenchy is kind of a gearhead. The Henry J predates me by a decade plus, but when I was growing up there was an old guy in my neighborhood who owned one. It was an old car by then and looked extremely out of place even compared to the 1950s cars and trucks still in everyday use. (One particularly sturdy Studebaker pickup truck comes to mind.) Henry Js weren’t very successful, and some of them got rebadged as Allstates and sold through Sears stores. Ponder that for a moment.

**Consider how Marty let B/Robby Howry hang himself on an open mic a la Lonesome Rhodes as an example. Chalk this one up as a point of continuity between the Rubin and Barajas regimes.

August 12, 2022

Krink! Wasnt he on Hogans Heroes?

…Of course not, that would be Klink, the bumbling Kommander of Stalag 13. I started watching the show more recently as I frankly didnt even understand it as a kid, and it was on before my time anyway. The humor is still a bit tough to follow, as the accents and the dated references combine for some head scratching even now, and I didnt care for war shows anyway. Good thing I have Tivo, as I can rewind something to hear it again if need be. Was never my kind of show, but I just Love the theme song, and Ive said for years it should be our national anthem, rather then the hard-to-sing version we have. (And I dont recall Richard Dawson having such an accent when he was saying “Survey Says!!!” on Family Feud, which is what I know him for.)

The podcast concludes with Martinez announcing he’s gonna take over the Valley and squash Thorps teams to the point that Gil retires. But arent we still living in the past here? What year is all this taking place? Because for darn sure there aint no Martinez coaching Valley High now. And its not like Gil is rolling over these teams; on the contrary he’s barely .500 over the last 10 years or so, if you throw out the 2016 state title.

So again we have issues with time and place in this new era of Milford athletics. And Marty is off to find Gil and get his take on the new ass-kicker in the Valley.

And for sure, that hasnt changed. Strike up the band!

August 1, 2022

Gil Knows That’s A Wallet, Right?

Filed under: Gil Thorp, What the hell is going on here? — nedryerson @ 11:02 am

I had a post written, and I thought I published it, but the dog ate my homework. I’ll just blurt out my best effort to recreate and let everybody have at it in the comments.

I have two primary thoughts about today’s strip. First things first. The kids do exist! (What is this, WandaVision?) I guess structurally, if they could be winked out of existence, why can’t they be winked back in? I wonder if the kids will become fleshed out characters or if they will just be park of the backdrop in fleshing out the marital discord story. Are either of them high school age? Do they go to MHS and play on any teams? We shall see.

The other thing that still has me scratching my head is the nature of this award. Gil and others flew to this ceremony and booked hotel rooms. Mimi has flown in with him in the past. Where does this take place and who are the coaches eligible to receive this Coach of the Year award. It’s mighty confusing. Maybe some of the flying stuff is connected to the fact that Gil has been known to zip around in his private plane, so this could just be a couple towns over from Milford. Wherever it is, Gil knows the bartenders and they know him.

July 23, 2022

Soiled it!

Dang, Gil should’ve held off on that last glass of Long Island iced tea water and checked his Depends before he got up on stage. Now he’s gotta slink off stage before he soils his reputation more than himself.

Presumably “the script” has something to do with why Mimi and/or the Thorp kids aren’t there to see Gil take his victory lap. This is gonna play out in slow motion (kinda like Boo Radley’s fatal car crash) and should at least be as interesting as a summer golf plot.

Before we pivot in that direction, let’s focus on the story that set up today’s cliffhanger. Emmett Tays was in an abusive household, and all Gil did was to tell him in so many words not to take it out on his teammates? Compare/contrast to the action he took with Aaron aand Maamaa Aagaard and Tiki Jansen (with Hadley V. Baxendale’s help) and chew on that one for a while.

Anyhoo, I’m here for the retcon.

New category: A Tinge of Regret, to reflect Gil’s current state of mind.

July 22, 2022

On with the (no) show!

We finally get to the end of the long presentation which culminates in Gil accepting Coach of the year honors for…. what? Conference? Region? State? Hey, they were going to state after the big win on the cold winters night, and Lord knows how cold it would be for the next game or 3. The suspension of reality meter is still off the charts even with a new writer.

I guess Emmitt Tays was an all-time Milford player, but I’d bet my house that there’s not a peep of him in the archives. Good thing he caught that ball at the end of the game or he’d be forgotten about as soon as the lights went out. Who remembers the losers? Well, the Buffalo Bills are an exception.

Legendary, Gil?? I followed my high school team for years after I graduated, and a handful of them made the NFL, but there’s not a one I would call legendary. 1 of em even intercepted a pass in the Super Bowl, and if you walked down the street and asked people who he was, you’d get blank stares. So I have a hard time saying any high school player is legendary. Legendary means EVERYONE KNOWS WHO HE IS.

Babe Ruth was legendary. Jim Brown. Johnny Unitas. Hell, Joe Namath was very average but he won 1 game that made him legendary. So be it.

And P3? Every other table I ever saw with name tags had individual names at each place setting. Not “… Family” Pretty shocking that even Mimi couldnt take the time for this, but the time reference is so vague we dont even know if he’s married or has kids yet. But anyway its very strange to see a vacant table where your own family should be.

So so far this new guy has been nothing short of weird. Old memories, winter football, more bad graphics; we still have no sniff of any writing talent yet. Maybe next week will be that golf story I’ve been waiting for.

If not, there’s always lemonade with Mimi. In the present.

July 1, 2022

No satisfaction

Well its great that Mr. Hamm is apparently going to be outed for whatever he did, even though this camera isnt exactly reaching a broad audience. I would think (again, nothing in this strip is anything like reality) that Hamm wouldnt agree to be interviewed if he thought he would be spotted where someone would possibly know him, but somewhere along the way he probably had a come to Jesus moment and realized he might as well come clean. Gil probably tipped off his old buddy on the phone when he called and they arranged this shenanagan of a news story.

That being said, why does the Central City guy have to put his hand up to the camera man during the interview? Finish the piece and then get on with the formalities. And what kind of authority does this guy from Central City have anyway? He’s a damn TV reporter.

And again, we still are ignoring the elephant in the room; Gregg and his eyesight that needs his ego stroked so he can have one last shot at glory, or a runner-up finish in a high school sport. When is his condition gonna be finalized so we know whats in store for him the rest of his life?

Thats what should be the first story on the news at 10.

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