Saturday, May 9, 2009

Comic 581: Finally over


OK. OK Randall, I admit it, you got me. I did not see that coming, although I should have, and it almost made me laugh. It's an alright punchline, though that kind of anticlimax is hardly new in the field of humor. I think Randall's kind of blown his credibility by bitching about Firefly being cancelled so many times before. It makes it seem kind of petty - like, we get it already.

The rest of the comic was I don't care. In a crazy plot twist, Summer beats up Nathan, and I don't care. In a crazier plot twist, Nathan beats up Randall, and I don't care. We have some homoeroticism in the last row - as people pointed out in the comments, apparently Randall was not horrorstruck in the last comic, but was instead consumed by lust. Then it's over, and there was much rejoicing amongst the fans. Honestly, I wouldn't have predicted that this would be the week that would turn people against xkcd - I was expecting them to eat this up, the way they did with leet and secretary. I'm so proud of them.

There's really not a lot of material here to work with, but I have a few stray thoughts. In no particular order:

1. The second sentence in the last panel completely ruins the flow of the joke. Randall should have made it the alt text, and chucked the real alt text in the trash where it belongs.

2. There are already several joke petitions for Fox to 'uncancel' the fight. I disapprove.

3. The comic I just read cannot be described by any combination of the following words: epic, awesome, win, or sauce.

Overall, this entire story arc left me with a feeling of "whatever." I wouldn't even call it bad, not in the sense I usually mean by the word. It was just dull, which is worse. I've written five posts now, and I've tried to make them all interesting and funny, but I'm not a good judge of my own writing, so I don't know if they came out that way. Thing is, though, they were hard to write - much harder than I expected. And it wasn't the act of writing itself, it was summoning the energy to care. With bad things, you can at least point and laugh and hate at them, and here I struggled to do even that.

What Randall really needs is an editor. Someone merciless, someone to tell him, "parentheses don't fucking go there." Or, "everything after panel three is worthless." Someone to tell him that making five comics about Firefly is a bad idea.

I think Randall has it in him to write a decent comic. He was funny once, he's just become self-indulgent as hell (and I'd bet the constant love from his fans has a little something to do with that.) Another person on board might curtail that. He also needs to put a six-month ban on himself from making subculture references so he can learn to tell jokes again.

46 comments:

  1. I just came across this site and, well, wow. There is no reason to make a hate club for an O.K comic strip. Sure it has its flaws but what doesn't? The writer of this blog is clearly intelligent and has a good sense of humour. Why not contribute instead of attack? I would certainly read things he wrote. So if you read this please give it some thought. It would be nice to see some really good humour on the internet.

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  2. I love Firefly, but a little part of me dies every time Randall mentions it.

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  3. Well, it was good, once. It can be good, with the proper application of the right amount of VERY LOUD RAGE.

    Randall needs to quit sucking. Maybe he could produce some of that really good humor. And also, a majority of this is fairly constructive, pointing out what flaws there are and in a lot of cases what to do to fix them.

    Also, there's the xkcdcouldbebetter forum, so you can take your bitching there.

    And also, criticism is a valid thing to do, and it can be funny. Humor can't have a topic or something? You seem to be throwing the "make your own comic if you're so good" line out there, but dressing it up.

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  4. Curious, really; he's actually saying "you're so good, so make a comic". Hmm. But flattery will get you nowhere (I know this only too well). As it happens, Jay isn't the regular owner of theesy here blog. Time for a coup?

    It's come up before that Randall needs an editor. And now it has rightly come up again.

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  5. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 9, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    I didn't stay up for this.

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  6. I just came across this site and, well, wow. There is no reason to make a hate club for an O.K comic strip. Sure it has its flaws but what doesn't? The writer of this blog is clearly intelligent and has a good sense of humour. Why not contribute instead of attack? I would certainly read things he wrote. So if you read this please give it some thought. It would be nice to see some really good humour on the internet.Isn't that the entire point of XKCD Could Be Better, the offshoot of this blog?

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  7. Fuxk 6o7 Joeseph. Hahaha, no really.

    nyway, yes tota;ly agree with the ditor comment. many webomci artist need an editor to tell them what's shit or not (in the case of domicnic deegan,m it's all shit) but yeal a editor would be great for sub-par webcomic ccreators like randall. yeah.


    sorry for this crappy comment, i'm more than a little drubk rught now. hahaa

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  8. Re editors: this is one of the reasons I think comic duos are generally much stronger than comics done by a single artist/author hybrid--the artistic process inherently involves two people. The creative process is collaborative. While this can produce something which is terrible, it means there's at least some form of approval process.

    Re Jay: i resent that you are better than me

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  9. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 9, 2009 at 6:34 PM

    God, that Rob, what a loser. And a sore one at that.

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  10. *votes to hang Rob from the rafters in Jay's honour*

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  11. jay, the people in the livejournal xkcd community loved the shit out of this one. :/

    i did not.

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  12. Thank you sweet jesus it's over. Though even the forums were relatively lukewarm about this one.

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  13. SO LAME

    I feel like his five-part series are just a lot of buildup with references thrown in and then the ending is always some sort of, as Carl calls it, well BAM weren't expecting that were you??

    greg, the people at LJ always love xkcd, except for a select few. This is because they willingly subscribe to xkcd and read it dutifully along with their friends' updates and then consciously click over to leave a comment and/or read other comments that provide explanations as to why the current comic is funny. And those that dislike xkcd don't leave comments because all they'll get is "OMGLOL ur dumb gtfo"

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  14. I wasn't bitching, I was trying to be constructive! (And thank you malethoth for the link). Critisism is extremely important, for quality controll if nothing else, but there are SO MANY worse things out there than xkcd that deserve to be critisized. I just think that this amout of obsessive attack, however humerous it is, is wasted on xkcd.
    Now I am going to hide in my flame-proof bunker
    :p

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  15. Yeah, but these worse things don't get that much publicity (except the white ninja), and are thus easy to ignore, whereas xkcd is impossible to ignore.

    Furthermore, xkcd was once good, and now it isn't. We want it to be good again.

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  16. You have a very good point there. xkcd does get an awefull lot of attention. I guess in the end poeple will have to *shudder* agree to disagree. Maybe I just share similiar tastes to Randall and get more out of the references to things like firefly or some of the more obscure maths jokes. Whatever the reason you are perfectly entitled to your opinions and I apologise for being pretentious enough not to realise that peoples' tastes vary widely and I shouldn't try to force mine on you all.

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  17. A reference to Firefly or math isn't a joke though. That's been the problem. He's not writing jokes anymore, just cheap references.

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  18. Joseph, your argument seems to be "Maybe I like it better because I'm smarter than you." THAT'S pretentious. Not trying to force your tastes on others.

    And I agree. The references are out of control, but there's some humor in a few recent ones. While the blog is biased, they're biased for a reason. And while they say the reason is bigger than it is, it's still big; xkcd sucks (now).

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  19. Hey, hey, people? "The blog"? "They"? We're right frickin' here, you know!

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  20. Rob and Joseph, I like you. You say the nicest things about me. I want to respond to you, Joseph, but I basically agree with everything everyone else has said.

    Drunk anonymous, I like you. You should post more (drunk.)

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  21. Dan (Of xkcdsuckssux)May 10, 2009 at 5:12 PM

    Wow. I avoided coming here until the week was over so I could digest the hatred as a whole.
    I've not hated any of xkcd's 5-part storylines, even though "Secretary" was pretty sucky, but THIS week was a truly God-awful week.
    I mean jeeezzz.
    Jay, you have made a very good Carl for the week, although I have a feeling that he will have his own thoughts on this complete bullshit of a week to post, and he will have much more rage. I would like to see some Carl rage for this set of comics because oh god they sucked so much.
    Agreed on the editor thing, I'd gladly do that for a while. Sitting behind Randall shouting "HOLY MOTHER OF GOD DON'T DO THAT" sounds like a good way to spend a few days.
    I was going to say that Ctrl-Alt-Del needs an editor too but it's way too far gone. CAD really needs to just not exist.

    In other news, Joseph is a dumbass who never read the Frequently Annoying Questions.

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  22. Why such antagonism towards Joseph? He is considerably more reasonable than most of the pro-XKCD types that pop in here. It is disappointing to see general mud-slinging instead of a rational discourse.

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  23. Rational discourse is for pussies.

    I still hate all of you.

    Have a nice day.

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  24. Ah, poore, you're trolling I see. How cute.

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  25. Wow, I like Jay! I would take Carl more seriously if he didn't use a personal attack on Randall every three words. Jay is much more reasonable.

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  26. Joseph is the same as the other cuddlefish but with better grammar. His complaints are bullshit.

    And Someone Lazy, why does it matter if he insults Randall or not? Maybe attacking Randall's self-esteem could end up up improving XKCD. Just in case, everyone should troll the fuck out of him right now.

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  27. Okay, I have to admit that I don't hate Monday's. Maybe it's just because it's fairly decent by comparison to most of the last few years of xkcd, and also because it required Randall to actually compose a scene for once.

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  28. Looks like I missed a pretty decent thread here, too.

    Joseph: trotting out the "maybe I get the obscure math humor more than you" line doesn't goddamn work. I have a Master's degree in Computer Science from a very theoretical standpoint, and I was actually halfway done with a PhD but I got sick of academia, and I actually do understand all of the math he posts. It isn't goddamn funny. It's just him posting crap like "Ha ha, here is an equation to visualize the probability that there is sex going on near here!" or the like.

    I make plenty of math/CS jokes in casual conversation with other math/CS nerds (like when developing algorithms at my real-world job, which doesn't involve drawing stick figures or selling T-shirts) and it is funny enough in the context of the conversation, but I wouldn't even think of trying to make a comic strip out of stupid one-liners like "Love is not a transitive closure" or "putting the 'n' in 'O(n log n)'" or whatever.

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  29. OK Randall, when you are made fun of by the worst webcomic in existence, you know you have hit the rock bottom.

    Captcha: dropel - that's what Randy's car looks like after dropping down the cliff.

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  30. Fluffy, I couldn't agree more. People assume that if they like xkcd because xkcd is xkcd, people who don't like it don't get it. And people who don't get the joke assume it's funny but they wouldn't know.

    The problem with xkcd's somewhat-intelligent humor is that when it's not funny, cuddlefish pull the "YOU DON'T GET IT" or "I like *intelligent* humor" card.

    And yeah, Monday's was pretty good. Mostly because I listened to CarTalk a lot as a kid.

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  31. Today's xkcd seems like another Reference Comic. Except I don't get it this time. Nevertheless. Fail.

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  32. holy shit we all commented at the same time

    the internet is an amazing place.

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  33. Today's was good, but the alt text was funnier than the comic. Should've left out the top text and put the alt text on the bottom. Maybe put the top text as the alt text.

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  34. "There is no reason to make a hate club for an O.K comic strip."

    There is when Randall is making money off it and clogging up the tubes with his mediocrity. Been to digg lately?

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  35. I read this blog every time it updates and always felt some of the criticisms were petty and unnecessary.

    But... this week... XKCD has been painful. It felt like watching a best friend enter a talent contest thinking he is the best singer in the world. I could see the audience laughing at poor Randall as he humiliated himself with a stale, tired routine that everyone has seen before and no one wants to see again.
    I felt embarassed simply because I used to be able to say I liked XKCD.

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  36. This past week has made reading xkcd secondary and this blog primary, for me.

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  37. Antoids: no kidding. Now when I type xkcd into my URL bar, xkcd sucks comes first, xkcd could be better comes second, and xkcd comes third.

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  38. The only reason I read XKCD now is so I understand what this blog is ranting about.

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  39. "There is when Randall is making money off it and clogging up the tubes with his mediocrity. Been to digg lately?"

    Are you serious? Get over your moral high ground. The internet is chocked full of spam and mediocrity, you see idiotic things on every other webpage, I don't see you leading any crusades against e-mail spam companies, they make more money and clog the tubes with more spam than Randall.

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  40. Uh have you ever heard of a spam filter?

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  41. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 12, 2009 at 5:07 AM

    What is this "spam" of which you speak?

    I haven't had junk in my inbox in years.

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  42. @Anon:

    People pursue goals that interest them. As Rob said, there are spam filters. Spam doesn't bother me that much, so I don't generally complain about it. However, as a student who does a lot of media studies AND an entertainer/performer, things like films, TV shows, webcomics, and other forms of entertainment media DO interest me. Ergo, that is what I criticize.

    Also, "moral high ground" implies that the party in question actually does have a more justifiable moral standing than you. The phrase you are looking for is "high horse", which has the negative implications you wanted to express.

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  43. @poore: You do an entertainer/performer? Really, too much information.

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