Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Comic 579: Where will he end up?


Well, we have the appearance of Summer Glau. I totally called it, even though it's what we were all expecting. I was really hoping she would beat up someone, because that's what she does in the show, and then I could make a joke like, "yes Randall, you would love to get beat up by Summer Glau, wouldn't you." But trust me, it's better this way.

The first two rows are just a build up to a joke about Morena Baccarin, who played a prostitute on the show. Randall is wondering if she is one in real life, because he would like to engage with her in hot Firefly sex. I guess? I did not understand this joke until I looked it up on Wikipedia, and I strongly suspect it isn't funny, but maybe it would have been if I'd gotten it. I'm going to pretend. Please don't take this from me.

In the last panel we have another joke. It would have been okay, if Randall had spent some time building up to it, instead of the prostitute one. As it is, it comes out of nowhere - that's right, they're having a race! So my reaction was "huh."

I'm a bit baffled by the geography here. I'm not sure what's up with the mountains in the background. At least I think they're mountains, though part of them appears to terminate above the ground. The characters all appear to be standing on some sort of hellish, featureless wasteland, like the comic takes place in limbo or something. Maybe the cast of Firefly lives in the desert? But then at least there'd be plants.

I think I'd be less annoyed by this comic if I didn't feel like Randall was using it to live out one of his personal fantasies. He gets to hang out with all his favorite actors and they accept him as one of their own! I mean, it's fine to have heroes and dream about meeting them, I do that too, but you are posting it to the internet for millions to see. Get ahold of yourself, Randall.

This comic seems to be generating a surprising amount of hate on the forums. Durandal writes, "I don't really see any humor at all." Akbar writes that "xkcd has officially jumped the shark", and Kuznetsov is just waiting for the story arc to end. This is encouraging, as my impression is Randall was expecting this to be a real crowd-pleaser and apparently it... isn't. What's that you say, guys? Recognition doesn't equal humor? Say it ain't so!

54 comments:

  1. "I was really hoping she would beat up someone, because that's what she does in the show, and then I could make a joke like, "yes Randall, you would love to get beat up by Summer Glau, wouldn't you." But trust me, it's better this way."

    Oh my god Jay. Either you're a clairvoyant or you're cheating.

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  2. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 6, 2009 at 9:15 PM

    >>I was hoping she would beat up someone, because that's what she does in the show, and then I could make a joke like, "yes Randall, you would love to get beat up by Summer Glau, wouldn't you."

    http://xkcd.com/580/

    GET OUT OF RANDALL'S HEAD, JAY

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  3. The Morena Baccarin joke is mildly funny, but given the two-comic set up... not that great. Overall, this specific comic is not enraging so much as bland. I notice the attempts at humor, but they don't do very much for me.

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  4. What did I fucking tell you? Am I good or what?

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  5. Response to Ch00f and Cuddlefish Prime: We definitely have to assume he's cheating. He could very well have seen it coming. Nevertheless, not a very risky bet. Randall certainly does have a thing for Summer Glau.

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  6. Jay, for that prediction, you are now on my list of heroes.

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  7. Um, so, like. This is just bad. Like, I normally make fun of XKCD, but normally it's just unmemorable, not, like, Legitimately Bad like this.

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  8. IS JAY REALLY RANDALL MUNROE?????

    Let's look at the facts: Jay TOTALLY PREDICTED that Randy would get beat up by Summer Glau.

    LOOKS CONCLUSIVE FROM MY END, SHEEPLE

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  9. I still can't get it out of my head that Part 2 would have been legitimately good if it was cut in half. Hell, even the Morena Baccarin joke chuckleworthy for those who got the reference, but then he continues and if just leaves a sense of "WTF did I just read"

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  10. I feel that most of the recent XKCD's would have been substantially improved by some serious editing/streamlining. Unnecessary dialogue and panels that do not advance the plot or main joke would be better left behind; Randall's throw-away jokes just aren't worth it.

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  11. Yeah, I agree with Malethoth. Jay is definitely Randall Munroe.

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  12. Subculture: The problem is that all the panels are pretty much throwaway. The whole thing, so far, has consisted of one ENORMOUS lead-up to a halfway-decent Morena Baccarin joke that's STILL inscrutable unless you're intimately familiar with the cast of Firefly (which makes the "Nathan Fillion is Mal from Firefly, in case you forgot!" exposition even clumsier in retrospect) and a huge dash of unrestrained wish-fulfillment on the behalf of Randy.

    If we cut out the parts that are Randy's celebfic, the parts that are torturous and confusing bastardizations of actors and characters, the parts that are simply references to Firefly's existence, and the parts that take up space without advancing the plot, we're left with about three panels: Randall announces he's gonna race Nathan, Megan tells him that's retarded, and he gives up.

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  13. Part 4 crosses the line into creepy in another way. Nathan Fillion really hates it when people talk about his nude scenes. Randy seems to like them, though....

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  14. They're sand dunes, not mountains. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune

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  15. So, Jay, bravo on totally having Randall's number all week.

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  16. You fools! Jay isn't Randall--Crandarl is just having him do this guest week to trick you all into thinking that! He's done a formulaic plot and is FEEDING INFORMATION TO JAY

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  17. I'm not so much impressed at Jay's rocking predictions as I am even more disillusioned than before.

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  18. I kind of assumed the setting was supposed to be salt flats.

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  19. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 7, 2009 at 3:53 AM

    Oh shi-

    Rob is clearly right, here! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!

    (Wha... Did I just frigginly said that?!)

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  20. Hmm... which is better, Crandarl or Randcarl? There's only one way to find out...

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  21. What I find baffling is why Randy felt this storyline was funny/interesting enough to warrant a week-long marathon.

    Also, anyone else find this a bit insulting or at least rude towards the actor?

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  22. Bwahaha, "Crandarl". Nice prediction paragraph, Jay... OK, nice every paragraph :p

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  23. I haven't checked out this blog in ages for how awful it usually is, but with that new series, I figured you'd be having a field day with it. And in almost everything, I find myself agreeing with you. I just wonder now if Randall is doing this series because he REALLY couldn't care less about what people say about his webcomic (it's HIS, after all), or if he felt confident enough that his fans would just fawn over anything that involved Firefly.

    It's a shame. I love xkcd, but this isn't any better than many of those self-insert fanfics on fanfiction.net. At least Randall's "self" in the comic is not behaving like a filthy Gary Stu, and more like a pathetic fanboy (which I guess is the point, after all... well, he DOES probably realise how ridiculous this whole series is, but, well, that doesn't make it less ridiculous). It's still putrid, anyway.

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  24. Part 4: Terrible.

    Comic 4 is maybe OK for about half of it, but the ultimate few panels are just awful. Absolutely awful.

    This series is just so bad. I know we're hard on all xkcds, but this series in particularly are just legitimately bad. Even the "jokes" are few and far between, leaving us with a boring Randall fanfiction.

    And the art continues to be boring, even for xkcd standards. We're not even treated to a background in comic 4, despite the presumably interesting setting this is taking place.

    This whole series is about as lazy as it comes.

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  25. Oh brother... I can't continue reading this post because I got to the part where Jay is saying stuff about how Randy would like to get beaten up by Glau.

    It's just too disconcerting, guys!

    BTW, I know it isn't really the place, but Kate Beaton did something really funny with Star Trek and it doesn't suck like other people's slash fiction.

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  26. About the latest one: no one noticed he really doesn't make it clear if the "Naked Mal" image is a good or bad thing? He just says he can't get the image out. With all the drooling he does over Firefly, I'd not be surprised if he'd happily jump in the sack with any of them.

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  27. Also, while it's not as pronounced in The Race as it was in Secretary, he's very obviously not gonna be able to live up to the buildup he established in the first couple comics. Note that pretty much the entire titular race has been relegated to day four, leaving day five for a bland denouement that won't resolve or conclude anything. At least they actually HAD the race, when in Secretary they just ran around shouting memes and ignoring the actual problem.

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  28. @Malethoth

    YAY! BALL PIT FOR EVERYONE!!

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  29. Prediction for final comic:

    Mr. Hat comes up with a HILARIOUS reference with to a previous comic. The End. Yayyyyy! Also, Ron Paul.

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  30. Randall was on #xkcd talking about usage of "jump the shark," saying it doesn't make sense for someone to say a T-shirt with text on it "jumped the shark" in the middle of a sentence or something, and they shouldn't use the phrase to mean "that's when something started sucking."

    Oh, I guess this is what he was actually referring to.

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  31. Lame as this series is, they're clearly meant to be in the Bonneville salt flats, a popular spot for doing high speed vehicle racing/testing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonneville_Salt_Flats

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  32. Wait, wait, since when does "to jump the shark" not mean "to start sucking much, much more than usual, in a trend that lasts for the rest of the series?"

    Is his point that xkcd jumped the shark ages ago?

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  33. I'm pretty sure that's EXACTLY what it means, Malethoth. If Randall knows of some other interpretation of the phrase, I've never heard it before.

    (CAPTCHA: "dishes", as in, the thing that Randall could draw some guy washing every day for a week, and it would be a significant increase in quality for his comic)

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  34. Jumping the shark "technically" refers to a point at which a show drastically changes its original premise. Usually a show starts sucking at this point. It usually happens when you see a genre shift, or one of the most prominent characters/cast changes, or etc.--a week-long fan-fiction arc. It is usually a point which makes even longtime fans go "uh, seriously?" and be more willing to say the rest of it sucks.

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  35. See, I thought that it came from Happy Days, when The Fonz jumped over a shark, and everyone realized "Wow. This show has gotten REALLY retarded."

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  36. We need to pinpoint at just what moment xkcd jumped the shark, because it certainly has.

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  37. I haven't ventured into the forums, but if Jay (?) is to be believed, this is the story arc which made the forumites go "wait, this is shit." So this one might be the definitive moment of suck.

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  38. Ugh. I've been told on more than one occasion that I look like Summer Glau (also Audrey Tautou and Christina Ricci, but yeah.) The fact that Randall might be attracted to me makes my skin crawl.

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  39. @aloria

    You probably shouldn't say that somewhere where RandCarl can read it.

    Also, someday someone should do a "site:en.wikipedia.org xkcd" Google search and purge all the unnecessary fanboy xkcd entries.

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  40. Don't punch him and you'll be fine.

    (Aha! This is in fact a cunning ploy by Randcarl to get people to stop punching him. Clever.)

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  41. Maybe they're racing on the bonneville salt flats, did you ever think of that? Now the comic is oh so funny! Oh wait, no.

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  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  43. I was really hoping she would beat up someone, because that's what she does in the show, and then I could make a joke like, "yes Randall, you would love to get beat up by Summer Glau, wouldn't you."A winner is you!

    I don't even know why I keep checking XKCD every update. The optimistic side of me keeps thinking it will get better, but it obviously won't.

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  44. Rob:

    Not to be nitpicky, but it's actually a DMoS (Dethroning Moment of Suck), not a "definitive moment of suck". Other than that, you did good. It's not on the wiki yet, so if someone would want to put it up (Because I don't)...

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  45. Fair enough, that is closer to what I meant anyway--I meant definitive in the sense that 'when people look back on XKCD, they will see this as the moment when it definitely jumped the shark.'

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  46. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 7, 2009 at 2:44 PM

    It seems to me that shark-jumping ought to be defined in terms of the larger fanbase. The people who never liked xkcd don't count, because they would just say that the comic never jumped because it was never good. And we of the xkcdsucks "community" don't really count, because although many (most?) of us are former fans who stopped liking the comic at one point or another, we are still something of a minority within the set of "people who have ever liked xkcd".

    I would say that the moment of definitive shark-jump ought to be when a very large percentage of the loyal fanbase (in this case the forumites) suddenly starts to have serious misgivings about the direction in which the series is headed. It's looking like "The Race" may just do the trick. (Fingers crossed!)

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  47. Yes Cuddlefish Prime, I agree! That is what I have been trying to say but expressing poorly because of laziness.

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  48. I think you underestimate the blind devotion of most xkcd fans. The type who freely admit they "don't get it" but are certainly it would be hilarious if they did.

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  49. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 7, 2009 at 5:22 PM

    Unfortunately, that's probably true. Especially since xkcd's whole schtick is that its "jokes" are based on nerdy stuff like hacking and advanced math (and, let's face it, Firefly), the implication being that if you don't get the joke, then your nerd-fu is weak and you have disgraced your ancestors. Few are the wannabe alpha-geeks who will admit to such a failing, and so we have an Emperor's New Clothes situation.

    And now, I will quickly move away from any further images involving Randall in that story's title role. :O

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  50. I was really hoping she would beat up someone, because that's what she does in the show, and then I could make a joke like, "yes Randall, you would love to get beat up by Summer Glau, wouldn't you."Ahem.

    TVTropes would call this a "Reverse Funny Aneurysm".

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  51. Also, anyone else find this a bit insulting or at least rude towards the actor?Duh, yeah. Mostly to Fillian, who has done a lot of other work since, and not keeping to a Mal stereotype.

    Guck.

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  52. Anyone read the latest XKCD blag (re: Duke Nukem Forever)?

    He dropped the bomb and ended it with a Firefly reference. *vomit*

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  53. I think it's a little misleading that xkcd's little thumbnails at the bottom of the page link to this comic. You feel like Randall actually draws in his comics and are even more disappointed as you read on and find some shitty mountains (uh.. apparently flat salt? I have no idea what salt flats are but they sound yummy) here.

    hahahah. Randcarl makes more sense, I think? Mostly because I think "Crandarl" sounds an awful lot like cranberries.

    Jay you are doing an amazing job. How have you managed to escape the buckets of Cuddlefish spewing words garnished with hate and pickles?

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  54. I like Crandarl more. It is more of a blend instead of just Randall and Carl, I guess? It is also more fun to say. It's very snarly. CRANDARL. Come on.

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