Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Comic 464: All you 4chan readers will LOVE this one!


There are two very different levels on which I would like to discuss this comic. We will begin with the simpler level, which is the individual comic.

Besides the fact that basically no one outside 4chan has heard of a "Bel Air" (so the joke has an even more limited appeal than usual for xkcd) I liked it, more or less. This is basically what a "Reverse Bel-Air" would look like, I suppose. Perhaps I am getting a little tired of Randall's "internet meme" comics which all take the form "Find an internet meme and make it more so." This, or this, for example. I suspect, though, that given an internet meme he hasn't mocked, I could come up with a similar "but more so" comic. Hear that, commenters? The game is on.

Oh also I don't think a reverse bel air would only work once. Depends on how often people around you sing the fresh prince theme song.


If T-Rex wanted to talk about relationships at the end there,
I would have
said xkcd was copying him. But he didn't. And
this comic
maybe predates Bel Airing anyway.

A much better breakup comic.

Also: This seems as good a time as any to remind you about Fresh McCain of Washington.


Ok here it is - I can't help but notice this is his third comic recently about breaking up. 445 and 449 being the other two (I also can't help but view 458 in this light as well, and, for symbolic reasons, 457 as well...). I hope there is nothing wrong in Randall's life that he wants to talk about.

A Forumite pointed out that there have been no less that 4 relationship comics about a girl named "Megan." They are:

159 - Boy is romantic at Megan
215 - Boy breaks up with Megan
420 - Megan gets married, Boy is sad
439 - Things are "unresolved" with Megan. At least from Boy's point of view.

That last one is perilously close, in time, to 445 and 449. Honestly, when you look at it this way, it does seem to form a sort of story...But I think in the end Randall is not the kind of person who would put up comics so close to his real life. I think he just knows someone named Megan and uses the name a lot.

If we see more sudden sad relationship ending comics, though, we might want to check in and make sure everything is OK.


  1. "It turns out you can't take responsibility for someone else's happiness."

    However, I'm a bit grateful these stick-people aren't all ball-pits and loose sex. Those were the comics that got me into xkcd, but reversing the white knight trend with actual interactions is fun to watch too.

    The comic doesn't have to become a sitcom or anything, but it's a nice change of pace.

  2. You know, I can't help the feeling that memes have a tendency to become sort of . . . meta. It's infectious, and if you're in webcomics it is an easy source for jokes? You can even make jokes about memes in general. You are making a meta-meme.

    Sometimes formulaic humor is okay, I guess? But I don't know, the Bel Air one is kind of . . . well, I never watched it? I vaguely enjoyed this one but it was almost more that I liked the idea than the execution. Ridiculous breakups are fun! As your wonderful Dinosaur Comics Interlude indicates.

    I would probably conclude he doesn't know someone named Megan (or doesn't know any Megans very well?), but really likes the name?

    Sometimes I do that with names I like. Or maybe something horrible is happening. I don't know, it's possible. People post/write personal stuff sometimes.

  3. Thomas, I agree that it's better to have a variety but it still feels like a crazed pendulum, swinging wildly between "OMG I am in the most wonderful relationship it will NEVER END hurrah" and "I am so sad. I will never love again. I should probably kill myself." Both get old fast.

    Rob, I agree and have nothing to add.

  4. I agree with Rob about the formulaic stuff. I mean, Harry Potter is pretty damn heroic-cycle formula.

    But I have a thing for emo-ness... I hate it. I used to be like that, where every little thing was like life or death, and I totally regret being that person. It bothers me that a person even older and apparently more intellectual than I am is either stuck in that phase or finds it humorous.

    That damn "you can't be responsible for someone else's happpiness" comic... augh. It attracted way more emo teenyboppers than it really needed to. And now, every time he does something about breakups or missing the significant other or being suicidal, he goes tonso f approving comments of very little variation: "OMG I either know someone who did that," or "OMG I was like that," or "OMG I know someone who knows someone who went through that," all of which are generally followed by "this comic hits so close to home. Thanks, Randall. You are great."

    AND THEN his romantic ones spark interest among the same crowd! They come and comment on "Oh man, how did he know I broke up with someone JUST LIKE THIS?!? He is all-knowing." Gahh.

    I mean, yes, breakups are sad. Suicide is sad. And finding a new relationship is fun! But I'm feeling more and more like he's using these to try to reconnect with his readers that started reading for the "romance" aspect of the comic, not the "sarcasm, math, and language" bits.

    I lost track of where I'm going. I think it's time to sleep.

  5. Huh, I had never considered that the relationship comics were just a ploy to get readers who liked his earlier relationship comics. I actually would approve of that a little more than what I think is more likely, that he is just, like so many male nerds, obsessed with relationships and only able to explore them in his imagination. But if it were a more...commercial, let's say, reason, that's a little more cynical and manipulative so I like it a bit more. Still think it's unlikely though.

  6. If we take these relationship comics at face value, what do they say about the artist?

    They're drawn by someone who has a good sense of humour, but takes the idea of romance quite seriously.

    Someone who attaches a lot of significance to relatively brief relationship experiences- and thinks these thoughts are poetic enough to be posted on the internet for the world to see.

    I realise this is mostly guesswork- but I genuinely find them creepy. If I was a woman I wouldn't want to have a relationship with Randall Munroe.