Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Comic 582: Doesn't actually suck



Oh, Randall, you tricky devil. You did that on purpose. This is my last guest post, and I so wanted to go out with a bang, but... I just can't find anything to criticize here. I liked this comic. Admittedly, it's another reference, which I believe I've bitched about before, but there's an actual joke and it works even if you've never heard of Car Talk.

I really don’t have much to say about this, so I’m going to write briefly about the forum thread instead. One thing jumped out at me as I read it, and suso, I think you have to explain. suso, meet everybody. Everybody, suso.

suso has this to say about the comic:
”Haha! This happened to me once. Randall get out of my head.”

We’ve talked about the inanity of “get out of my head Randall” before, but this might take the cake. Not to pick on you, suso, but honestly - what? This has happened to you before? Yeah man, I know, don’t you just hate it when you drive your car off a cliff?

In other news, apparently the math in the alt text is wrong. It would actually take much less than 6.5 seconds for him to fall to the bottom, and this sort of inaccuracy will just not do. The forumites have been busy correcting this error.

And that's really all I've got. Carl should be returning in time to write about the comic, and as as much fun as we’ve had in his absence, I’m sure we’re all glad to have him back. Carl, I pass the torch to you.

---

Update: OK guys, we have some controversy in the comments. I want this post to be longer, so I'm going to write about both of them.

Regarding suso: There are a number of people, Carl among them, who believe he was being sarcastic. Look, obviously, that's a possibility, even a probability, I just didn't want mention it because it's boring. I do maintain that you can't assume someone's intelligence on the internet, but I am about 90% joking here. I want to believe.

Regarding Car Talk: There are a few, not a lot, but a few people who didn't get the reference and so didn't find the comic funny. This befuddles me, because despite living in America, I didn't get the reference either. I made the connection in my head, "car trouble → 'Car Talk' → hah, he is calling a radio show instead of attending to the immediate problem! Randall, you card." The joke didn't depend on the reference - I would have laughed even if the name of the show had been made up. Can one of you who didn't get the comic explain this to me?

93 comments:

  1. Yeah, I admit that I laughed at the punchline. The comic was framed nicely and Randall didn't make the mistake of putting the caption at the bottom.

    As for the 6.5 seconds mentioned in the alt-text, I imagined that the fall wouldn't kill him immediately, and he'd spend the last seconds as his life bled away silently cursing Click and Clack for not dialing 911.

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  2. It's also got some fairly nice artwork! It's a fairly evocative silhouette, with interesting use of negative space. A marked contrast to the shitty salt heaps in The Race.

    While it's not knockout funny or anything, it's at least not repulsive.

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  3. Bunny made fun of the forumites recently.

    It's nice to see Randall actually drawing for a change.

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  4. It looks like Crandarl finally got bored of stick figures discussing the merits of Rick Astley.

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  5. Anyone notice that the car is as tall as the tree?

    Other than that, good work to Randall. And Jay, it's been fun! =)

    CAPTCHA: shocc, what we all felt reading this comic.

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  6. [FatherTed]

    The car is small. The trees are far away. Small... far away... forget it.

    [/FatherTed]

    (trufax: I started this post thinking that it was something from the Vicar of Dibley)

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  7. I must confess that I don't understand this one at all. I've read and reread the text loads of times, but I just don't get it. Maybe it's a UK thing. What's Car Talk?

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  8. Car Talk is a radio show on NPR (the US equivalent of BBC, sort of) where people call in and ask questions about their car problems and then get laughed at by the hosts, whose sense of humor is slightly better than Randall Munroe's.

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  9. It's a talk show... it's not that hard to figure out. I didn't even know and I just used a LITTLE common sense. It's amazing what that can do, isn't it?

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  10. Tim: I am guessing it is something where people call to Talk. About Cars.


    My ONE complaint about this comic is that I think it would've flowed slightly better if the speech bubble had been below the car instead of above it. But that's really minor.

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  11. Did Jay stop to think that perhaps the "Randall get out of my head" was a joke? To take the mickey out of all the others who, for real, write "Randall get out of my head"?

    Either that or sosu is just a world-class f***tard. Hell, this is the internet.

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  12. David: Yeah, of course. It sure didn't read like it was written ironically, but with so little to go on, I could certainly be wrong. I hope not, though.

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  13. Suso is definitely joking around. It's the sort of behavior that Carl has encouraged in the past when he links to forum posts, and I'm not surprised that suso wanted to try and make it the first reply.

    If you scroll a little further down, you'll see that RandallGetOutOfMyHead posted the following:
    "I just drove my car off a cliff!"
    Also the tinfoil hat avatar is a riot.

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  14. suso's comment was making fun of all the other people who say 'get out of my head'. Is it sad that I find the meta humor behind the comment to a comic funnier than the comic itself?

    I don't see how anyone can take such a comment so literally. Not everyone on the forum is a fanboy loser.

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  15. Uh-uh, he couldn't have been joking, see, because that would mean I was wrong.

    RandallGetOutOfMyHead remains amazing.

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  16. OK, with all this controversy, I have taken the liberty of looking at suso's other posts, and I have determined he was serious. He seems to like Randall a lot.

    I now consider this matter closed.

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  17. Randall just spent the last week setting the bar as low as possible, only to blow us out of the water with mediocrity.

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  18. Well, since we have a comic which can't be torn up and argued over for the next month or so, I have a little question: what happened to this blog's title being "xkcd: Overrated"? Yes I see it in the little expository paragraph on the side, but the page titles all have "xkcd sucks" in them. Has it always been like that, is it a limitation of blogspot's engine or did it just get changed after a particularly poor comic or three in succession broke Carl's spirit?

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  19. I think he posted about that somewhere--it was a deliberate change but I don't remember where.

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  20. Silly forumites. The brakes could have failed before he went off the cliff, leaving him time to get on Car Talk and talk for the requisite number of seconds. Duh. Not everything has to be a math problem.

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  21. Wednesday's comic is a terribly contrived pun. Reminds me of the "Jurassic Park" xkcd. Which isn't a good thing, of course.

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  22. Ugh, that one was just painfully bad. I reflexively flipped off my computer monitor when I saw it. Fuck you, Randall.

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  23. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 12, 2009 at 9:35 PM

    #583 minus the second panel would actually have been one of my favorite xkcds in a while, because what can I say, I love a good bad pun. Panel 2 is as subtle as a bull elephant, and completely ruins the pacing of the whole thing. A comic consisting of #583's panels 1, 3, and 4 would have been funny on multiple levels, at least to me.

    I understand that this is a recurring problem with xkcd (comics that would have been much better if Randall had left out that one fatal panel or line of text), but for me it really stands out in this one.

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  24. Yup. #583 was completely ruined by the horrendously bad writing in panel 2. "Hey, have you got two minutes? We need a young child for something." would have worked much better.

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  25. jay, get out of my head!

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  26. With no actual horrible comic to discuss, allow me to vent my anger about something that's been bugging me for months now: the way forumites referr to Randall as "Mr. Munroe". Stop being such crawly douchebags, douchebags. Thanks.

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  27. What the FUCK is car talk? Do I now need to add "live in north America" to "be fluent in perl", "hold a degree in maths", "watch firefly" and "read 4chan" to my list of prerequisites to understand XKCD?

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  28. Last anonymous, have you not read through the comments at all? It's a talk show. On NPR. That's funny.

    I do not think NPR is the US equivalent of BBC. It's much worse.

    583 actually made me laugh, but I agree the humor was not very subtle. "Do me without a condom" is not something you just toss around, in my experience.

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  29. I don't have much to criticize on this one, because it seems Randy actually put forth effort. The art is well done, and the joke, though still a reference, is different enough from what he's written before to not feel tired.

    That being said, I didn't find it all that funny. *shrug*

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  30. COVIZAPIBETEFOKYMay 13, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Here we have a classic example of poore's predisposition to hate XKCD.

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  31. "Hey, can you do me without a condom?"

    AWFUL.

    Horribly contrived and horribly written.

    For as much as Randall loves puns, you would think he could convey them without being so obviously contrived.

    That editor suggestion looks better today more than ever. This had the makings of an OK strip, but it's just so terribly executed.

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  32. This comic would be a million times better without the text at the top.

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  33. @COVIZAPIBETEFOKY:

    Occasionally, even if a comedian does everything right, I won't like the joke for whatever reason. I'll admit that I have some bias against xkcd, but even other webcomics have occasionally produced well-made, well-written strips that I didn't find enjoyable (e.g., Penny Arcade). That's why comedy is so difficult. There are so many subjective variables - many of which are not readily apparent to the reader - that even the best of jokes will fall flat with a particular person sometimes.

    @John:

    I agree, but I still found this one funnier than Monday's comic. I think that the delivery was terrible, but I am a big fan of bad puns and a software developer, so this was a double-whammy for me. I didn't laugh out loud, but I was suitably amused.

    Again, who knows what subjective, subconscious variables influence what a given individual finds funny and what they do not? From a critical standpoint, Monday's comic was better. From a personal standpoint, I found today's funnier.

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  34. Maybe it's a good thing Crandarl's going to get back in the saddle with such an obviously flawed strip.

    Maybe he set it up this way so Jay would get strips hard to uniquely criticize and Crandarl would come back for a particularly crappy one, show Jay up, and make us all appreciate him that much more.

    Or something.

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  35. I didn't get it, so... eh.

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  36. Even if he'd deleted that horribly-written second panel, it STILL would've been an obscenely lame "har har people are machines, also reproduce is a computer term i know more than you!!1!" joke.

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  37. Come on, that's just reaching. Not all comics about computers are attempts from somebody to gloat over how much they know about computers. The real offense is that awful second panel, and the focus should be on it. No need to dilute the real criticisms with lame ones like "Randall is projecting" or "Randall is smarter than you".

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  38. I insist that everything Randall does is part of his campaign to gloat, so foo.

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  39. second panel is the last straw. i am done reading xkcd.

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  40. @Malethoth:

    I'm inclined to disagree in this case. It's just a play on words, bordering on an odious pun. I like wordplay and grammatical humor (which is why I like Dinosaur Comics), and I also like bad puns, so I actually enjoyed the latest comic.

    However, I will concede that Randall seems very smug, and that people who have actually used bug tracking software will probably like this more than others (which is a category I also fall into), so it could be he is indeed just flaunting his knowledge of "t3h k0mpu74rz".

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  41. I'll admit I was overzealous in pinning everything on Randall's smugness, when truly the second panel IS far and away the worst part of the comic.

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  42. big difference between suzo liking Randall and suzo liking other fanboys who like Randall... he's definitely joking.

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  43. Ah Jay mein poor Freund,

    suso is cleary being sarcastic. Nothing like zat vould have happened to anybody. You see? By using ze out-of-mein-head-Randall-phrase we all know, suso deliberately slips in ze role of one of ze usual Randall worshippers, exposing their foolishness. Now follow mein orders!

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  44. New comic is good minus second panel. Malethoth is just dumb and so to him everyone is projecting "I'm smarter than you".

    Reproduce isn't even a computer term here, ninny.

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  45. Guilty until proven innocent. I maintain we have to assume he's serious until we hear otherwise from suso himself.

    ACTUALLY, NOT EVEN THEN. I refuse to believe him.

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  46. New comic is a really depressing portrait of a failing relationship. They just sit opposite each other on laptops without speaking. They have to come up with excuses for sex. She just needs a child. He just says "Okay."

    Man oh man.

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  47. Reproduce isn't even a computer term here, ninny.Uh, what? The entire joke is that one of the ways you deal with a bug in coding is to reproduce the effect, and then deal with it. So, she's stating that she couldn't conceive a child, and that she couldn't reproduce the bug. Haha, it's a pun.

    ...

    I mean, duh.

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  48. The moment I read Wed's comic, I just knew that you'd all be using this comment thread to tear it apart

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  49. Did you figure that out because we do that with every other comic before Carl makes a post?

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  50. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 13, 2009 at 10:14 PM

    Yeah, it's like a tradition, or something.

    I just think it's cool that this blog has gotten enough readership that we actually CAN have these lengthy discussions. That means that the sentiment we all share (that xkcd sucks) is starting to get out there in a big way; Crandarl won't be able to hide from his criticism of his own comic for long.

    (wut)

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  51. I feel that if I need to read through the comments section of a website called {comic}sucks to understand a reference then said {comic}'s writing is either a) aimed at one target audience, which alienates all others and/or b) crap

    Yes, you can guess that Car Talk might be a radio show about cars... but that still doesn't explain the humour which requires knowledge of the tone of said radio show and its presenters.

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  52. US commenters: it isn't immediately obvious what the 'Car Talk' reference is about if you're not familiar with it... for example, I thought it was meant to be Randall saying that. I assumed that 'Hello, you're on Car Talk' was some meme I hadn't seen before, and Randall had decided to go out in style by saying an obscure car-related meme, and that's why it was 'funny'.

    That said, if I'd understood the reference then it probably would have been funny, and Randall shouldn't ditch a good joke just because some of his worldwide audience will have to wiki it. And at least the art is decent. So good job, RM.

    I also don't really see what's wrong with the second panel of #583... perhaps I'm just not very good at XKCD-snarking anymore :(

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  53. The newest one. Made my blood. curdle. #583.

    I haven't read any of the other comments on this page bound to be about it.

    If i hadn't come across this site, I might have said "well, I don't get it, but I guess it might be funny to some." ~~~ thats an incorrect statement

    now that I found this, I realize how GODAWFUL the newest comic was. I am enraged about it to the point where I can't even criticize it. I've never enraged about any of his comics before, even when i agreed that some weren't up to snuff - this one makes me RAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE.

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  54. dragon2041, it's not THAT bad. I mean, the second panel is, but the joke feels like something you'd see in an old xkcd.

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  55. So why is this worse than an old xkcd?

    Randall seems to be lacking in execution anymore, or at least far more than he once was. I don't know why though. I truly believe Randall is out of the good material he had when he started this strip, and now he's struggling.

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  56. For whatever it's worth, Wednesday's xkcd inspired me to do another xkcd parody, which will be going up on my site on Friday. Here it is early for my xkcdsucks peeps (the alt text is simply "Increase your Heisenberg uncertainty level!")

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  57. fluffy: ahahahahahahahahahha

    Thank you.

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  58. @Rob
    No, I meant that usually the comments for the next comic are on the lines of "Xday's comic is (even worse/mediocre, at least)" or "I can't wait to hear what Y has to say about Xday's comic." instead of an actual picking apart.

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  59. Fair enough. We've been known to do both though.

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  60. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 14, 2009 at 12:59 PM

    DoubleBlackbird:

    What's wrong with the second panel of #583 (IMHO) is that it's bluntly and awkwardly written, it makes the reader feel uncomfortable (a common occurrence whenever Randall tries to do sexual humor), and it's simply unnecessary: if you were to delete that panel, and edit NOTHING else, the strip would still be coherent in addition to being funnier in various ways. Again, that's just my feeling.

    And I for one don't blame non-American readers for not getting the Car Talk reference. Actually, I didn't think it was that well-known in the US anyway. Very few are the shows whose content can be easily inferred from the title; the only ones I can think of are nightly news broadcasts. "World News with Charles Gibson" is straightforward enough. Otherwise, the name of a show doesn't generally carry much information, if any.

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  61. New comic is a really depressing portrait of a failing relationship. They just sit opposite each other on laptops without speaking. They have to come up with excuses for sex. She just needs a child. He just says "Okay."

    Man oh man.
    no. Not at all, actually. It's a really good bad pun, except the 2nd panel kind of ruined the flow of the joke because it was so abruptly introduced. Had he been a little subtler, it would have been funny as HELL. Even without the subtlety, it still made me laugh out loud, which is much more than Randall has ever made me do in a few months.

    It has NOTHING to do with failed romance. I mean, if you dug REALLY REALLY REALLY deep, then I guess it could be, but Randall is simply not subtle enough to do that (as we can see from panel 2 of the new comic).

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  62. also, fluffy, that made me laugh my ass of! Thanks

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  63. Kurt likes to kill jokes.

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  64. "Reproduce isn't even a computer term here, ninny.Uh, what? The entire joke is that one of the ways you deal with a bug in coding is to reproduce the effect, and then deal with it. So, she's stating that she couldn't conceive a child, and that she couldn't reproduce the bug. Haha, it's a pun.

    ...

    I mean, duh."


    You do realise people try to reproduce results in psychology, chemistry, physics, mathematics... this isn't a computer thing.

    I mean, duh.

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  65. Computer term = word commonly used in computing != unique jargon.

    Stretching much?

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  66. Oi, if Carl is still busy can we get Jay to yell at the recent comic, because damn does it need some yelling at!

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  67. I would be happy to yell at the recent comic. It needs yelling at.

    I wrote more here, but I think I'm going to add it to the main post.

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  68. "people try to reproduce results in ... mathematics"

    Come again?

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  69. I was one of the people who didn't get the reference. I didn't get that the guy was calling a radio show. I thought he was just yelling out random shit and that was his inappropriate reaction. Because that's basically what Randy does all the time.

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  70. also lol @ new new comic. it isnt worse than the one before it, though, since that'd be pretty fucking hard to do, but it still is pretty retarded~

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  71. what the fuck.

    Carl had better fucking crucify the new one. I hate it.

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  72. Jay I'm looking at the timestamp of your comment and I'm hoping it's just some weird time-zone and you're actually referring to the comic I just read.
    It was pretty bad, I think.

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  73. jesus christ the last one is fucking atrocious

    YES RANDALL WE GET THAT YOU KNOW WHAT CUNNILINGUS IS AND THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS DOUBTING YOURSELF

    and on the alt text he couldn't even get the goddamn CS terminology right

    props on actually managing to make *two* distinct-looking female characters though. glad to see you pushing yourself artistically.

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  74. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 14, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    Oh geez, #584 is AGGRESSIVELY bad.

    On the other hand, it sure picks up the slack for the not-all-that-badness of the other two this week. Thus is the cosmic balance restored.

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  75. Cuddlefish PrimeMay 14, 2009 at 10:10 PM

    Oh, and Randall: there is no correct way to depict a stick figure eating out another stick figure. Please stop trying.

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  76. Brilliant. Stick figure cunnilingus. *holds up sign that says "was this trip really necessary ala Bugs Bunny"*

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  77. Oh god, stick figure muff diving, what has the world come to???

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  78. Emmer: Yeah, I meant 584. It's like a textbook of what not to do.

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  79. It's not the first time muff's been eaten in xkcd.

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  80. Okay it just looks to me like he's inspecting her vagina. I had to like convince myself that he was doing naughtier things.

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  81. yes, I do like to kill jokes. In fact, I don't think my brain has the capacity to comprehend sarcasm...

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  82. Jay: as another person who didn't get the reference and thus didn't find it funny... well, there's no point writing this really, Ramsey already said it all. It's not obvious that Car Talk is a radio show and it's not obvious that the man in the car is calling them up.

    Like Ramsey, I assumed it was just a random meme or something (like something out of that other car thing, you know, 'yo dawg i herd you like noun so we put a noun in yo noun so you can verb while you verb'). And shouting a meme while you plummet to your death isn't funny (at least, not in the way Randall intended).

    Note: I'm not blaming Randall for this - not getting the reference here is a reader error, nothing more.

    Cuddlefish Prime: yeah, after seeing the latest XKCD combined with the second panel of the last one, I definitely see what you mean. Ewwwww

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  83. This blog needs a search function. Also, what's up with Amanda & Carl?

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  84. I think at the top of the page is a search function? And also those are posts from a really bored spammer who only knows about six words.

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  85. This is very strange. I never thought I'd come across a forum where people are talking about a silly comment I made. I always wondered if my life was filmed in front of a live studio audience.

    Yes, I was making fun of all the people that say "Randall get out of my head".

    Jay you need to chill out man. Its just a comic. Its a great one at times, but its probably getting worse because people criticize him over mundane things.

    Just let him be creative when he can, and enjoy it.

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  86. hahaha what "it's getting worse because people criticize him?"

    what the fuck are you on?

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  87. Rob, let me guess, you've never put anything out there in public that you spent long hours working on and made freely available just for the heck of it?

    There are always assholes like the people on this blog that think everything has to be 100% perfect and if it doesn't match their specific expectations, then its shit.

    Eventually, the assinine people get to you and you end up losing interest, only fulfilling your new duty to create a comic every other day, hating every moment of it because of the bastards that have to grind him down over nothing.

    Try creating something sometime Rob (and the rest of you bastards) and putting it out there in public, then maybe you will better understand Randall and the many other people who take the time out of their lives to try to entertain and enlighten others.

    In the words of another famous Randall, "You sound like and asshole!"

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  88. I have lots of stuff available online, free for the perusal of anyone who finds it. I've spent a lot of time on it. It is not going to get worse because someone criticizes it. I expect it would improve, actually. That's what criticism is for.

    If you are too stupid to find it, though, then you aren't getting any help from me.

    You spelled asinine wrong, by the way.

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  89. well he also spelled "an" incorrectly, i wouldn't put much else past his spelling abilities

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  90. Honestly, how lame is this?August 19, 2009 at 6:25 PM

    I'm curious as to the attitudes of people who frequent this blog. I'm sure the person who started this blog was being at least partly ironic about it, as the tag at the top shows ("[a] vitriolic and bitter collection of unwarranted nastiness about a silly and harmless comic.") But what about the rest of you? How many of you are actually here because you have /nothing better to do/ than bitch about a comic you don't like? If you, say, did the smart thing, stopped reading it, then...

    Then there'd be no problem at all. Those of us who enjoy xkcd, pretentiousness and all, would still read it and still laugh. Those of you who didn't like it would simply find another webcomic that you did like. Simple, right?

    Obviously not. Maybe this is why Randall's so pretentious: because people are really, no matter how you look at it, colossally stupid.

    Also, xkcd needs NetHack jokes, to completely cement its place in the annals of nerd-dom. And to further alienate the non-nerds who somehow started reading the comic.

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  91. I liked it better when I didn't know the reference. I was thinking the driver had one of those OnStar kind of cars

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  92. To the individual responsible for this blog.
    You Sir,
    Are a Bag Of Douche.

    That is my considered opinion of you and your blog.

    Good Day.

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