Thursday, October 19, 2006

The nazi of the feminine?

There is so much wrong with the latest Shortpacked! storyline, I don't know where to start. Not that it's not hilarious (because most of the wrongness is the kind I enjoy, mytaste kthx bye), but it's a little scary how close parody is from the parodied. Or how close it was until it was saved by getting wronger.

For those of you just tuning in, Galasso runs the toystore. Conquest (Connie?) is his daughter, ala Ra's al Ghul and Talia. Normally her purpose is to have sex with chosen men, because Galasso wants an heir, but now she's working in the toystore and... sex. Sex happens.

And there is something horrifically wrong/hilarious about him dismissing her claims to selling out their entire stock (of everything!) because she hasn't sexed up an heir, when she sold out their entire stock by giving away sex.

I was not liking this storyline until this strip. I mean, now is not the time for developing the only truly fleshed out character who seems to have a soul. Not that I expect characters in this comic to have morals (they don't, they sell toys), but the random attempt at poignancy in a Conquest storyline feels so very wrong.

So then Willis takes it way over the top. He makes something I've always been mildly uncomfortable with despite the Batman overtones (the pushing of your daughter onto the most eligible male), pairs it with Constance basically selling sex, and it all sort of drifts into really bad and terribly uncomfy territory until he gets Galasso to actually compare the two and, so in character, decide his plans are most important. And that's funny. Awfully, horribly funny.

The only reason I'm blogging about this, though, is because Willis linked to the strip with the word "feminazi" and after reading the comic, I decided I liked his usage. You figure it out.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Girls beating guys = Comedy Gold? PART III

Ha, I'm going to have to make this a feature. The monthly girl-on-boy smackdown. I see so many examples and I'd like to go over each one and see what's going and then maybe reevaluate my earlier thoughts. I'm excluding, of course, stories about fighting, because if the girl is supposed to be kicking bad guy butt, then that's totally different. And then comb through Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, which I know has examples of both girls hitting guys and vice versa, and is always hilarious.

In the latest few No Pink Ponies strips, the answer to my question is "yes". This is comedy gold.

Maureen alone at the truck stop has three big gag classics going for it- surprise, repetition, and escalation. She's apprehensive and has always seemed like a sweet if clueless girl, so you don't see it coming at all. Especially since it's simply a bad pickup line that sets her off. Her reaction is way over the top (and legally would put her in the wrong, which makes it even funnier to me, but might ruin the joke for others.) Then in today's comic, the pickup line gets worse and the beatdown gets worse.

Plus, it reminds me of Jess' only other physical altercation, where she unexpectedly hits a guy after trying to break up a debate. Again with the inappropriate and over-the-top reaction that comes out of nowhere. Jess never really gave off violent vibes, so it's funny that way, but she's obviously impulsive. Maureen is not. Again, this is an escalation.

I've written before about how Eisu handles stereotypes and how I like it. It puts me in mind of stock comedy theater, where stereotypical parts are used to quickly tell the audience who each character is so the playwright can quickly get down to the business of being funny. That's all the trucker is. If this were a different comic trying to tell a different story, this sort of thing might be uncomfortable. Trucker stereotypes are old, old, and usually boring. But Eisu usually puts out a stereotype so he doesn't have to waste anytime he could be devoting to the main characters and the jokes. You can tell this is exactly what he is doing because of the consistency - there's the stereotypical tough and exhausted looking waitress smoking right there, nonplussed by the beatdown.

And I think I can safely dismiss any quibble with Maureen throwing the first punch and unfairly hitting a man while down since instead of a "real world" response, he continues with the bad lines. This is silliesville. This is a very important distinction to make. A comic with more "real world" tone couldn't get away with this.