[alt: I understand you and your team worked hard on this, but when we said to make it more realistic, we meant the graphics.]
That was the plan, at least, until about 3 seconds after midnight when people started to e-mail me and leave comments about this Robot Chicken clip:
Now, this is not the first time there's been a problem like this. You can read the whole list of copied jokes, but the point is: He does this fairly often. When he does, I usually think about 3 basic categories that the incidents have: 1, how similar the jokes are to each other, 2, how prominent the other joke is (ie, how likely is it that people will have seen the other one), and 3, how recent was the other joke. I think this case is just about as bad as you can get on 1 and 2, though not so much on 3. How much more pathetic can you get than copying a joke off of Robot Chicken?
Now granted, I don't think Randall did this on purpose. I don't know if he watched the show or if this idea is just so obvious that he thought of the exact same thing. As I say in all these cases, if he claims that he thought of it on his own, I'll believe him. I have no evidence that he saw that episode of Robot Chicken. But what he absolutely cannot do is ignore the situation. All I ask for is a simple blog post - "Turns out a comic I drew was basically the same joke as a Robot Chicken sketch. That's crazy! I had no idea when I made the comic that they had done it." Just an acknowledgement that these two things are too close to call. But he never, never, never has. Why not? It just makes it look like he's trying to deny the problem for some reason. I wonder - can any of the folks who read this blog who hang out on the IRC chat ask him about this? I'm curious what he'd say.
Whenever a situation like this comes up, xkcd defenders almost always say the same thing: "You can't expect him to come up with new stuff every time. There's nothing new under the sun." These people apparently believe that if something is an aphorism it is always true. Well, as you can tell, those people are fucktarded. There's plenty of places you see good, original humor on a regular basis. Read "The Areas of My Expertise" by John Hodgman, or watch Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. Or lots of other examples - it's completely possible to be original and very funny. Of course, it takes some goddamned effort which is why I guess we never see it happen in xkcd.
It's also true that it might not be possible for Randall Munroe to come up with something new every time he makes a comic. But that doesn't excuse shitty comics! It means he should get out of the fucking webcomic business. Yeah, most people can't come up with good clever humor. But those are the people who aren't trying to make a living off their good, clever humor! If xkcd isn't going to be good, it shouldn't exist at all. And just because it was good for a while in 2007 doesn't mean it is always going to be good now. Why the fuck don't people understand this?
I think it's interesting to compare this version of the joke with the Robot Chicken version. The Robot Chicken one is better, despite their huge similarity. Why? Because it has a point. XKCD is just "what if the cars swerved? ha!" and then that's the end. But the R. C. joke ends with all the frogs crossing together, and you see that it was all a scheme to help more frogs get across the screen. In other words, it has a point. And in any case, as with everything on that show, once it's done you immediately zoom off to another sketch. Robot Chicken does not have time for your shenanigans. It's got two dozen more jokes to tell. So if this joke is simple, ok, but you know it's because they had to write (and animate! and edit!)