Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Comic 476: Graphs, Relationships, Cell Phones and The Federal Reserve: TOO MANY IDEAS FOR ONE PANEL

insert useless graph here
Every element of this comic makes me sigh in disappointment. Not anger, like I sometimes feel, but just...so much that just doesn't make sense.

First of all, and maybe this is just me, but I never have had this problem. Maybe for like a second ("was he talking to me? oh no he's on his phone") but usually the funny phone thing is when someone is on a hands free thing and you don't see it so you just think they are very very angry and very very schizophrenic.

The graph is too much. Look Randall, I know you like taking things like emotions and making them empirical but this is just a little much. No reason for you to jump from "sometime THIS awkward thing happens" to "thus, I will graph it!" And adding the fact that apparently your second relationship was...what, a very long conversation? The graph doesn't even make sense. It's way out to the right, so I guess that means it was a very long conversation, and it blips up a little bit, so I guess that means your relationship didn't happen very often? Better just to leave the joke out...

Also, while there's nothing wrong with the stick figure example in theory, I think the "Bernanke" reference is also too much. No relation to the comic at all, just totally random and smacking of "oh man I want to totally be current let's see now who is in the news oh goodness yes, that will work just fine." It seems way too much like the guy at the party trying and failing to look like he knows what's going on in the world.

So, in short, a comic full of parts that are slightly off, adding up to a whole that just feels all wrong and not funny. THE END.


  1. The first Bernanke reference was like a jab to the eye with a flint arrow, then I looked in the sometimes-redemptive alt-text cubbyhole and was blinded in the other eye.

    The graph says to me either that his entire second relationship was the object of mistaken covnersation or that it only happened to him once, for a very long time, beyond the zig-zags of no return. And that in either case, it must have been very awkward, like finding a laugh in any one of the panel's misfired punchlines.

  2. "like finding a laugh in any one of the panel's misfired punchlines."

    Wow, that made me chuckle! You should write for your local stations anchor people :D

  3. The relationship thing really irked me. It just didn't work, it didn't need to be there, and the graph just seems.. wrong. The stick figures annoy me too. It all seems so FORCED!

    Oh and for the anonymous poster before me:
    "Wow, that made me chuckle! You should write for your local stations anchor people :D"

    Please tell me you were joking. I mean, the someone cracks one small joke or does a little trick and people say "LOL YOU SHOULD BE FAMOUS!" automatically. What's wrong with leaving things at "I really got a laugh out of that. Thank you!"?

  4. Who is Bernanke? I thought it was funny, but if it's some sort of reference to something(an assassination?) then it seems a bit....iffy.

    Also, the second relationship thing confused me so much i gave up trying to uncover its meaning.

    I hate statistics.

  5. Anon, thanks for reading and responding to my comment, sarcasm or not.

  6. Thomas, I think your analogy is perfect. I don't know about writing for whatever anon was talking about but you are always welcome to write something for this blog if you want...

    Bunnie, Forced is a good way to describe all the unneeded jokes in this comic.

    Tom, Benjamin Bernanke is the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. It's fairly complicated what they do but they are very involved in all the financial insanity that is going on now. Basically Randall was just name-dropping. If you've heard of Alan Greenspan, Bernanke is his successor.

  7. It took me forever to even 'get' this comic. Eventually I saw some sort of vague humor to it. The idea of a relationship which is just one big 'oh, she was actually talking to someone else' is something that I think has some humor potential. Nothing side-splitting. But it's there.

    But the graph doesn't work. The 'my second relationship' thing feels tacked on, when (in my opinion) the punchline really ought to be the center of the joke. It might even work better if he just replaced the Bernanke thing with, say, a scene from that relationship?

    As it stands it feels like one of those times that I make a comment and then jokingly add on 'just like my ex-girlfriend,' because it's expected of me. It is never actually funny, but I do it anyway. You can make a good joke out of previous relationships, but it doesn't happen when you tack it on as an afterthought.

  8. Rob, I think you are on to something. If the comic had started out looking like it was about this annoying mistake he sometimes makes, but then as you read it you realize that every single meaningful relationship in the character's life was a misunderstanding, that could be pretty good.

    It would be like if you went to see a really jolly stand up comedian who was like "Hey hey guys, you know what's annoying? I hate going to the doctor. So much waiting around and then he always makes you buy such expensive medicine. But the worst part is when you try to run to Mexico to buy counterfeit drugs, and then on the way back border patrol agents find you and beat you for hours! Am I right, folks?"

    I hope you understand the analogy.

  9. Rob, I swear to god I recognize your picture from somewhere online. Just sayin'.

  10. Speaking of green, have you seen K.C. Green's (possible) parody of chart strips yet?


  11. It's funny, but I'm not sure it's meant as a parody of xkcd. Not really the kind of topic Randall would chart out like that. But I can see why you think that, what with the "You're running out of ideas" line.

  12. Anonymous: Does that make me internet famous? You may know me from my work (read: very occasional comments) at the Scary-Go-Round blog. Or maybe you are one of my three readers on my blog. Who knows? You should list every place you have ever been. Scandal on XKCD: Overrated!

    Carl: I am going to formulate a new theory. Randal is NOT out of ideas, he is simply out of ways to express them. He set himself up to a high standard, and then began a steady decline (which I am going to further postulate began with Bristol Palin's pregnancy, just to add politics into the mix) where he just couldn't live up to himself. The execution of some decent ideas falls short, or feels similar to old ideas, because Randal Munroe is an ideas man. It's possible a comic about boomerangs could be funny. But you have to spin it right. (Pun totally not intended, but man, I wish it was.)

    Possibly his execution suffers because he doesn't get any negative feedback. While I don't get the feeling that he is a Tim Buckley clone, I do feel like maybe the power has gone to his head. Or possibly Randal is dead and has been replaced with a lookalike, and all of the Megan comics are leaving a CODE suggesting that this is such.

  13. Ho Man!!! You made a website about a comic you DON'T like?!! You sad little man!!! Get a motherfukin' constructive hobby!!!!

  14. wait, this is my hobby! What the fuck is your hobby, friggin cancer research? Come on man, we can't all change the world, I'm just having fun and bringing joy into the lives on my thousands of readers. GOD.

  15. I haven't read through all the previous comments so i don't know if this was addressed already but the thing with any joke is that you have to have one point of exaggeration; one thing that is waaaayy improbable! Everyone has had these moments of 'hey are they talking about me' when the other guy's on a headset but the joke in this comic would be the exaggeration rite?
    Your other gripes are probably valid.

    P.S. Carl, You needn't stoop to responding to troll posts like Ben's as long as you can answer to yourself that you have other stuff going on in your life as well to make sure that you aren't building your life around negativity. If that's in order then it's all good; a little negativity never hurt anyone :)