Sunday, October 25, 2009

Comic 653: So Bad It's Worse

It does freak me out a little that the title of this comic fits so perfectly as the title for a post about this comic. Let's get down to business.

The Star Wars Holiday Special is a bad, bad piece of filmmaking. Very bad. So very, very bad. You should probably read the quotes on the Wikipedia page about how it was received. But it is so bad you could just see that the first subcategory under "reception" is "regrets."

Not that I have actually seen this movie, mind you. I, star wars nerd though I am, haven't really cared enough. But the point is, I've been hearing about how terrible this thing is for a long, long time. So we get that it's really, really bad. really bad.


Today's xkcd is based on the fact that the star wars holiday special is really, really bad. It tells us this right off the bat: "...avoid the Star Wars Holiday Special" it says. Because it is so bad. Even for bad movie night! Not so original a comment, but whatever.

In case you don't understand "Avoid the Star Wars Holiday Special," he makes a graph for you. As movies get worse, their enjoyability, for a time, gets higher. But the Star Wars Holiday Special is not good! It is not enjoyable! It is, in fact, bad! Really really bad! So it is at the bottom of the graph! Do you see? (to Randy's credit, unlike previous efforts, this chart is easy to understand, logical, and does a good job conveying the intended message. nice work!)

"But," you are thinking, "I don't understand. Is he saying the Star Wars Holiday special is good? Or is he saying it is bad? Please do not use words to tell me the answer, because I do not understand words, and do not use fancy graphs, because they are too fancy for me. Please use only non-verbal stick figures." Luckily, your pal Randall has got you covered. Sure, the little pictures at the bottom don't exactly fit in the box, but whatever! You can see that they do not enjoy the Star Wars Holiday Special. They have to drink alcohol to stop them from being sad. They are sad because the Star Wars Holiday Special is bad. So very, very bad.

That is the comic.

"But wait", you say again. "I do not read the comics. I read only the alt-texts of the comics. How will I know whether the Star Wars Holiday Special is bad or not?" Again, got you covered. The alt-text, "You think it's so legendarily bad that you'll torrent it and sit through it just for the kitschy nerd cred. I, too, once thought as you did." tells you clearly: Star Wars Holiday Special is bad. How bad, you wonder? So bad! So bad that even if you think it will be good, it is is bad. That is what the alt-text has to say, about the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Did you like how he included two "so bad they are good" movies by name, to prove his nerd-cred? He didn't mention any good movies, or any bad movies, just the really terrible ones. And to further prove his nerd-cred, he chose two that he could refer to by "in the know" nicknames. So clever! He must clearly be a fan of Plan 9 From Outer Space is he just calls it "Plan 9".
I just want to point out that lots of things are so bad that they transcend the usual so-bad-it-becomes-good phenomenon. My favorite example is this book, which, despite the fact that it looks like it will be hilariously bad, is, in fact, boringly bad.

You know what else is bad? The Star Wars Holiday Special.

Also, it was bad that Moe didn't update for so damn long but now it is back THANK GOD and hopefully it will not keep taking these long, long breaks in the future. Luckily the author apologized for taking so much time off from the comic.

The Star Wars Holiday Special is baaaaaad. so very bad!

swhs = bad.


  1. Rocky Horror Picture Show is not "so bad it is good". It is just good. Good in a very unconventional way and yes, is enjoyed for some of the same reasons that bad movies are. However, audiences enjoy RHPS for roughly the reasons that the producers -wanted- them to. Randall is an idiot even in his efforts to namedrop into humor.

    The sheer wrongness of that is really the only reason that I don't care that he picked the single most obvious example in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

    I can't even think of a way to improve this horrible thing of Randall trying to pass off his "wisdom" as a comic.

  2. If he just took out the "protip" text I actually would've enjoyed this comic. The little picture boxes are largely unnecessary but I personally don't think they detract from the comic. Just the damn protip text. :( Oh well.

  3. Holy shit what the fuck happened to the XKCD website holy shit.

    Anyway, um, this comic... I guess, like, running a microwave disrupts WiFi. Haha. The one girl exploited this knowledge to her advantage in a competitive game.

    Christ, is he trying to be awful?

  4. UPDATE: I noticed on one of the scrolling bars of text that Randall made all shitty to commemorate the closing of GeoCities. That's kind of funny, but not really, since GeoCities hasn't been relevant for like seven years.

  5. Eh... yeah. Another observational xkcd and all that. And a very redundantly bad one at that. But enough of this strip, we talked anough about it on the last post. Now, today's...

    I don't know, I think it's funnier that Randall changed his site layout to resemble a very unprofessional Geocities site of mid-1990s. The comic itself has something new(gutters), and a mildly funny joke. If one thing, Randall did not mess up with this one, which will probably turn out to be a very boring Carl review on Wednesday. But I might be wrong... I hope so.

    Also: look, a different woman! Who'd know Megan is not the sole only female stick figure in the Randallverse?

    CAPTCHA: sodisth; almost "sadist", which is what Randall is, insisting on not improving and making me suffer every new strip. =/

  6. The idea isn't exactly... new?

    The geocities redesign is probably the most creative thing Randall has done in months.

  7. @Tiger:

    It must be why he hasn't been making any interesting comics! It took so much effort to type out all of those < b> and the blinking and the html that he did not the energy to come up with anything interesting at all!

    Oh God, even when those sorts of things were popular I hated them and I was in middle school and therefore the right demographic to go "yay sparkles!"

  8. SWHS and Plan 9 fit into the same category of bad to good. I once torrented and watched SWHS, and it is not so bad it's horrible, it is so bad it's good. Randal's just being a little bitch.

  9. I really liked today's comic. It's a funny idea, cleverly executed. Something I would picture Mr. Hat doing except he'd do it with a MUCH more sinister twist, which really would have been even more awesome, but hey, this still got a laugh out of me so I can't complain.

    Also, I like the website re-design in a "so bad it's good" type of way. Or a nostalgic for designing sites when I was 9 type of way.

  10. I personally think the "fake shitty website" thing is a really old and overdone joke, so I was rather surprised that Randall stooped to such unoriginality. Oh wait! No I wasn't!

    I figured he'd just make a weak comic to commemorate the loss of GeoCities, but instead he went for the low(er) hanging fruit and did a mockery of every GeoCities page ever. Look! HTML tags are there because the person doesn't know how to website! And blinking stuff! Ooh, stolen images! Image stretching! Tables with shitty borders! Broken images!

    Cool joke, bro.

  11. this is either a very elaborate network of trolls, or a real blog about how terrible xkcd is. Either way, I think you need to go outside.

  12. 631 drove my brother to suicide, man. Don't tell me I don't have a right! DON'T YOU DARE!!!


  13. Sometimes, making an unoriginal joke that everyone knows is coming is funny. Geocities was shutting down, people figured he'd commemorate it. He did. That doesn't make him unoriginal, it makes him consistent in where he draws his humor from. Personally, I thought it was well executed humor, so I liked it.

    Seriously, we're talking about a website where in what this blog considered its glory days (the ones everyone wants Randall to get back to) he would put funny twists on "your mom" and "that's what she said" jokes. Many of those jokes were groaners, but some of 'em were really good because they were well executed even if they weren't original (see: 28 hour day comic).

    I stand by the website design. Well done.

  14. Re today's actual comic.

    Randall, you draw *pictures* you can do much better than "MY WIFI SIGNAL?" How about drawing a *picture* of her wifi signal getting lost? Like part of her screen that says "no wireless networks found" or even have her bars dropping from four to zero?

  15. The little people at the bottom really push this comic into shittacular territory. In the first panel, they're all drinking 12-ounce beer bottles and cheering. The implication is clear: they're going to get buzzed, but stay alert enough that they can laugh at the crappiness of the holiday special. In the third panel, when they're trying to drown their sorrows, they're drinking from the same bottles. What the fuck? If you're trying to get drunk fast, drink hard liquor, or at least a big mug of beer.

  16. STILGAR YOUR ANALYSIS IS BRILLLIANT please do a guest week for my blog.

  17. I decided to do my own improvement to this comic. It's not that much funnier, but it removes the redundancy and gets to the point quicker.

  18. HackeronHacker I actually smiled at yours. So I think that makes it infinitely better than Randall's version >.> (His got a "wait, what?")

    And Stilgar made a great point and it'd be amazing if he actually got a guest week as a result of his comment.

  19. Stilgar's point is terrible. He is criticizing the comic because the characters are not drinking enough. I will repeat: he says this comic is shitty because the characters aren't drinking enough fucking alcohol to get drunk fast enough. The question is why the fuck are you criticizing such trivial details that have almost no fucking bearing on how good the comic is?

    Stilgar's comment may even be seen as a characature of this blog.

  20. qqqqqqqqq,

    Close, but no cigar. I'm not criticizing it because characters not drinking enough is inherently bad; I'm doing so because that's indicative of the laziness that so often mars xkcd. One of the consequences of using a minimalist approach is that you need to make every part of your comic count. That little box is trying to convey a very specific idea- that these people have been so traumatized by their viewing experience that they need to drink it away as fast as possible. The fact that they were drinking small bottles of beer pulled me completely out of the comic.

    Of course, this complaint is a result of me viewing the comic through my own perspective. YMMV as to how important this detail is. At the same time, my basic point remains: Randall is often slapdash and lazy. Sometimes that doesn't mattter, and sometime it's aggravating enough to push a bad comic into "terrible" territory.

  21. The comic wasn't really all that disturbing, but your rant was executed very beautifully! One of the best I've read on this website so far. The others are mostly just bad. You know what else... I'll stop here ;)

  22. Thanks for the wiki link, Carl, it led me to buying the Rifftrax and watching the movie. Not all that bad, really, with Mike, Kevin and Bill along for the ride.

  23. He even stole the joke! From wikipedia:

    "On the same program, Ralph Garman, a voice actor for the show Family Guy, explained that "The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most infamous television programs in history. And it's so bad that it actually comes around to good again, but passes it right up.""

  24. Did you see "Capitalism: A love story"? Did you like it? No, of course you didn't. Moore just spends 2 hours saying that the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. He does it in a very blunt and tactless way. Very similar to how you described this comic.

    You know what the difference is between those two things? "Capitalism" takes 2 hours to watch, "XKCD" takes 15 seconds to read.

  25. My point is obvious. It's a 15 second joke. It is not detention after school where you must spend an hour writing "The Star Wars Holiday Special is not good." on the blackboard.

    Plus, your criticism is completely unfounded. In a one-panel comic, you're supposed to make the text and pictures say almost the same thing. The header text only somewhat makes the point. The graph is an amusing representation of the point. The wordless strip is also funny. The alt-text makes the point in a different way.

    It's like "yo mama" jokes. Clearly, not the highest tier of comedy. But at least logical. The point is, over and over again, about how fat your mother is. Just because the point is always "yo mama is fat", doesn't mean it isn't funny.

  26. "In a one-panel comic"

    this comic has at least 4 panels

    "you're supposed to make the text and pictures say almost the same thing. "

    what? why? If they say the same thing, how is that not redundant? Why say it if you are just going to show it?

    The point of yo momma jokes is not that yo momma is far (though yo particular momma, is, in this case, so fat) but that each time you have a funny - and different - way of explaining just how fat yo momma is. The explanations of how fat she is are not interchangable, the way the phrase "The SW Holiday Special is Worse Than You Are Expecting, No Matter How Bad You Are Expecting" is with all 4 of these elements of the comic.

  27. What bothers me about this most is that the panels seem to be under the wrong parts of the graph.

    When I'm watching a really good movie, the audience seems to be leaning forward, intense and silent in awe. Not waving alcohol bottles and yelling with their arms in the air. That would ruin the whole Good Movie experience if the whole room of people was doing that!

    Then the 'sitting there blankly' panel is between Okay and Bad. And it's...boring...There's just, no joke. It's people sitting there watching what I presume is an Okay movie. Zzz.

    Then under So Bad It's Good, it shows everyone apparently crying and drowning their misery. It's hard to tell without faces and because I can't really tell what's going on with their arms and necks; the art is too simple.

    Why is that panel under So Bad It's Good? People jibe and hollar in those movies. The first panel should be there. The second one shouldn't exist. The third one should be under SWHS.

    But the entire thing was composed in such a way that there's no room to fit a fourth panel, even though there are four categories on the graph.

    Honestly though, it's just...badly done and not all that funny. Oh ho ho, people are disappointed with poor film-making, that really tickles me in ways I've never been tickled before!


  28. You, uh. You missed the point.

    The panels are just narrating the Star Wars holiday special. Not corresponding to the movies in question.

  29. Fuck... I just noticed something...

    See the first pic when the guy and the girls are all giddy ? See how the guy is (if you squint hard enough) holding a fist to his mouth and pointing ?
    Now go check this :

    Yup, Randy added yet another motherfucking 4chan meme on this one.

    Not content with doing a shitty guest comic in Wondermark where Michelangelo paints Ceiling Cat on the Sistine Chapel a while ago (which was another reason to punch him in the face, then hang him with his own guts), now he slips the fucking Gaijin 4koma in a retarded chart comic...


  30. Is this the only fucking thing any of you people have to do with your time? I mean seriously get a fucking life. You don't like the comic, DEAL WITH IT. All of you must live in your mother's basement if you really come up with this much shit about xkcd. All of you need to get girlfriends or something because all I can say to all of you is REALLY? Now I read xkcd on occasion, I think it's ok. Sure it has a couple of problems but if all you people do all day is proof read his comic, of course you're gonna find holes. No ones perfect. Especially you HackerOnHacker, your comic is actually worse than the one published on xkcd. Anyone who hasn't read Plan 9 or what ever the hell that movie is would never get your joke and P.S. inside jokes are for 16-YEAR-OLD GIRLS. So to everyone who comments or reads this blog, get out of your mom's basement, go outside, and get a life.