Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Comic 840: Seriously LAME

seriously LAME

[ALT: Not to be confused with Serious PuTTY, the Windows terminal client where everything is in Impact.]

True story: the last thing I wrote before reading this comic had silly putty in it. GOOMH etc etc.

I guess Randy thinks that things that are serious tell other things not to touch them? I can only imagine that it stems from the scenario that xkcdsucks canoness "RavenzOMG" has envisioned:

ravens oh my god

After many attempts to grope, fondle, or otherwise lay hands upon Megan, and her repeated insistence, "I'm serious, don't touch me," the two phrases have become inextricably linked in Randy's psyche. So when he was sitting around, worrying that his busy schedule of stalking has finally robbed him of the ability to make a comic, he started creating a list of objects. The third one (after 'Megan' and 'oral sex', neither of which are objects in the traditional sense of the word) was 'silly putty.'

"But silly putty is already silly!" ejaculated Randall, lamenting his fate. "If only it was serious!"

Then the words "if only it was serious" echoed with heavy distortion and that ascending-harp "entering-a-dream-sequence" noise played while the surroundings got all swirly, and Randy envisioned the most serious thing he knew: someone saying "don't touch me."

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how your joke sausage was made.


It's that time again, where I make a reference to our IRC channel on foonetic, #xkcd-sucks. Click the clicky and be magically transported to a world of, you know, whatever.


  1. What the fuck, Randy? This doesn't even make any sense.

  2. I'm pretty sure Randall would have said "If only it were serious", and then told everyone that he remembered to use the obscure subjunctive mood. And then made a comic where Stick Fill-In is correcting someone at an inappropriate time for grammar corrections, who happened to use "Was" instead of "Were". The punchline is the Stick-Man-At-Fault replying, "Damn it, [Name]."

    Wait, did that comic already happen? It sounds familiar.

  3. oh shit, did i fuck up the subjunctive case? THE BLOG IS CANCELLED

  4. This is yet another jab at religion. Many faiths are renowned for a prudish attitude towards sexuality, and have an implied aversion towards human contact as dirty and sinful. Randall is saying that these people are too serious. They should want to be touched, like a pair of forever-young atheist scientist nerd chic hispters getting it on all day in a ball pit.

    Randall should get over this hang up. Religion is a fact of life, dude, learn to deal with it.

  5. Oh God oh God Redux has been completely deleted what will I do every day after reading xkcdsucks now?

  6. Wait, what? Where exactly is the review here?

    I'm not trying to sound like a jerk here, I'm seriously asking. I don't see any critique of the comic whatsoever-just a spoof comic and a tangent about said spoof comic.

    I don't mind the Randy hate, but I believe you've gone over the edge here, Rob. Could you please actually focus on the comic, rather than using very old and stale material to make up the review?

    And yes, I know it's "not meant to be serious" as you've said before. That doesn't matter-the point is that the not being serious part wasn't funny, which was the point of it.

  7. actually, the /point/ of it is to vomit a hundred or so words on the screen so people can bitch about the comic in the comment threads. if you happen to be mentally retarded and find my shit funny, so much the better.

  8. Actually, I like these new posts more than ever. xkcd is too horrible for a serious analysis to really appeal to me any more.

  9. Thank you for posting this so quickly, so i can also quickly express how much i hate this comic.

    The joke: The silly putty is serious.

    The quality of this joke is far below the standard required by Boy's Life magazine when selecting jokes from 12 year old kids around the world.

    Classics kid jokes like "How do you make a hankie dance? But a little boogie in it!" are far superior to this joke. Seriously think about the two jokes, and honestly tell me which one is better.

    This past week of comics has made me go from hatred to pity then back to hatred. I can't decide which is worse; the fact that randy summarily ignores all criticism, or the quality of the comics.

    Also fuck the subjunctive; we aren't spanish.

  10. @Anon 10:10

    See, that's not what I was getting at. No one is coming to this blog to see a completely serious analysis-that'd be boring. I just think the reviews should at least touch on the basic elements of a comic, rather than having the whole review be a "lol randy loves megan" joke. Like the art, story (or lack thereof) etc.

  11. I meant "Anon 10:00" x]

  12. my opinion is carefully weaved into every post, like a golden thread in a garment woven entirely of shit

  13. ""But silly putty is already silly!" ejaculated Randall"

    i lold

  14. Well... as a follower of XKCD (recently read the whole thing, so i DO agree that there is a decline in quality), I have to say that i've been agreeing with a lot of what Rob has been saying on this blog.

    However... today you just went over the edge. in the past few months, the only comic on this site that made me laugh was the guest comic from that QC guy... and then comes this one.

    Seriously, Rob, when a comic comes along that is good, don't harp on it. you had nothing against it except a personal bias called "how am I going to insult today's comic", and when you failed to find anything, you reverted to ad hominum. This is a quality comic, like one randall hasn't produced in a long time; the simplicity of the joke (like you've been asking for the entire time!) and the lack of overdevelopement allows the reader to get the joke on his own time, and the irony of it allows for much humor. this is pretty much up there for my all-time favorite XKCD comics there are, and this is coming from a fresh perspective.

    Good job, Randy, if your read this, you made a good one. keep it up.

    And before you try to disassemble my post by calling me a complete idiot, once again I agree with a lot (you know... the actual comic critique. not the ridiculous attacks on character) of what you've been saying on this blog. You just took it too far for this one.

  15. wait wait wait. THIS is the comic where someone insists that I'm only making fun of it because of some self-imposed obligation to do so, because it's actually a good comic and I should just shut up?

    THIS comic? seriously? someone thought this one was funny? I mean, even ignoring that earlier this month I said I liked a comic without qualification--this comic was a boring, unimaginative piece of shit. I can't even fathom how boring of a human you would have to be to find "LOL SERIOUS PUTTY" to be a joke worthy of defending.

  16. My complaint is just that for the first time in months, randall made me laugh in one of his comics for the simplicity and "out of left field" element of his joke.

    Isn't that what you've been asking for? You've been complaining over and over again about how "this joke could've been good, but randall overdid it", and now this comic comes along with a perfect stop, no overthinking, and a simple pun.

    Check the forums too, there're people on the XKCD forums who share my views. they found it funnier than usual.

    But what I'm saying is that you didn't find it funny because you went in with a closed mind. Jokes will never be funny if you walk in expecting them to not be funny. I've been keeping an open mind, and agreeing with your (valid) comic critiques. But this wasn't a critique, this was an attack.

  17. Ha, people on the forums finding this comic funnier than usual is more scathing criticism of XKCD than this blog could ever provide.

  18. We get it, the comic sucks, we are all in agreement of that, but seriously

    Your "Randy is stalking Megan" shtick was funny once. It's beyond stale by now. Where does this shit even come from? Did he mention a person named Megan once?

    Reading this blog post was much more aggravating than reading the comic it's about. That is a goddamn achievement.

  19. "Reading this blog post was much more aggravating than reading the comic it's about. That is a goddamn achievement. "

    THANK YOU. it's about goddamn time someone recognized my achievements around here

  20. People on the forums most likely to think highly of xkcd gave xkcd praise? Stop the fucking presses.

  21. what baffles me is that this dude is not only earnestly defending this one, he honestly believes that the only reason I think it is utterly indefensible is because I go into the comics thinking they will suck. I went into 829 thinking it would suck and didn't.

    this latest one I was actually feeling relatively neutral towards XKCD going in, since lately he had a few 'almost funny but ruined by Randy's Randyness.' and then he vomited this shit on the page.

    look, it's fine to like terrible things. but to assume that all reasonable people like the terrible things you like just makes you a dumbass.

  22. I guess i'm just going to bow out saying that your last comment there can be completely turned around.

    "look, it's fine to hate nice things. but to assume that all people hate the nice things you hate just makes you a dumbass."

    I was stating my opinion, which is contrary to your opinion. you seem need a wakeup call that there are, in fact, opinions other than your own. hell, I've probably disliked some comics that you've liked.

    meh... idk why I bother coming here every time I see a comic I like. you manage to find the absolute worst interpretation.

  23. I completely agree with Jonathon Devonshire here. Him and Anon 11:59

    The Megan joke was completely random and unfunny. Rob, I think you need to stop feeding the easy-to-please XKCD haters, and actually try to REVIEW the comics again. I used to agree with a lot of your reviews, but lately...there's almost never anything to actually agree with. Just a blatant, bland and overused attempt at making Randy look bad to appease your audience.

  24. UndercoverCuddlefishDecember 30, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    god randall i am so sick and tired of you making your comics suck in exactly the same ways over and over how is rob supposed to write something new and interesting if you dont give him anything to work with

  25. Anyone seen the latest goatkcd? That's some serious putty!

  26. Just as an aside, I use PuTTY probably a dozen times a day, and I know exactly what the Impact font looks like, and I still no idea what the fuck is going on in the alt-text. The alt-text alone is enough to earn this comic the "shittiest xkcd evar" award, Mr. Devonshire notwithstanding.

  27. If I still liked XKCD I would like this comic, but it is far from gold and not worth defending. It is structurally sound and he did not try too hard, granted. But its a relatively weak joke. AKA: Boring to review.

    You know what's not boring? Ravenzomg's edited comic, that was fucking funny you humorless turds. And with redux officially in the shitter I wholeheartedly support extended and unneeded commentary about Randall's supposed characiture of a love life.

  28. I wouldn't be surprised if Randall's Impact font ignorance was on purpose, so that he could show how he has never actually used Windows, making him the coolest cunt in the decapitation queue.

  29. Like many xkcd comics, this one's funnier if you move around the panels:

    I mean there's only so much you can do with a joke like this, but at least put the punchline in the right spot.

  30. Here's a gem from the forums:

    "I, also, thoroughly enjoyed this one. I thought it was clever, even before I was aware of the existence of 'Silly Putty'."

  31. normally i agree with you rob but i actually thoroughly enjoyed this comic. the joke is that silly putty is meant to be touched and played with, and serious putty, being the opposite of silly putty, has a strict no touching policy. the presentation is funny and i actually laughed out loud at this

  32. I think the joke had plenty of potential to be funny by keeping it simple for once, but that last line, "Don't touch me", was absolute shit. That's not even a serious thing. Personal space is not a thing that only serious people have. That's a thing that really proves that he needs to stop trying to touch people. Randy, you are fucking creepy.

    The alt text...just no. Taking the simple idea that was almost funny and turning it into shitty, obscure nerd humor for the "secret punchline" is just terrible.

  33. reading the last two panels of today's dinosaur comics made me think of rob

    goomh rob

  34. get out of robs head ryan north

  35. ...unbelievable!

    People are actually defending this comic. The comic in which Randall decides to stoop down to first grader level! Way to go, guys, way to defend your high-IQ fanbase!

    This comic is bad. But so bad! Someone even touched already what I thought: the punchline is wrong. And weak, but wrong. As I said before, there's no connection between the Putty being serious and the "Don't touch me" line. In fact, he should have looked at his sketch of an idea("What if Silly Putty was actually SERIOUS?") and scrapped it. But hey! This is Randall Munroe! He NEVER scraps any idea, even if it involves a giant vagina!

    I'd defend this comic, if it wasn't so stupid. Or if Randall somehow acknowledged this is, indeed, a very weak joke. If he admitted this was a ver silly(oh, LOLS) joke but he was having some trouble to come up with anything better... but no, this seems to be his best. A toddler pun.

    Finally, why would people like this? IIRC, the xkcd fanbase is (self-appointed) one of the most clever around, so why take this herpety-derpety stupid joke with glee? Well, beyond it being xkcd, nostalgia. Look, guys! It's that toy you used to play with! LOL, GOOMHR!

    AAAAAAAARGH! Way to ruin my day, you scumbags!

  36. RE: Rob's posts
    I find them endlessly amusing because I enjoy hyperbolic, aggressive, undistilled hatred. It is a guilty pleasure of mine and, like Lewis Black, Rob happens to usually be somewhat better at it than I am.
    Of course I may simply be functionally retarded, who can tell.

    RE: anon 6:19
    You mean "get out of rob's endless folds of fat ryan north" (yes, that's right, a rob is fat joke. I am as clever as randy)

    RE: 840
    Like I said on the forums, I'm using this the next time some idiot tries to tell me with a straight face that xkcd is the smartest webcomic on the net. This is something my 8-year-old cousin could come up with.

  37. Okay, is that goatkcd just the same photo of some dude's anal hole over and over again? Or what is it?

  38. Welcome to the internet, Ian

  39. Ian, that is the goatse man from back in the internet's more primal days when tricky links didn't send you to lame things like Rick Astley. Back then, a thoughtless click would treat you to a massive gaping anal cavity.

    Some genius thought he would see what would happen if the goatse man replaced the final panel in each XKCD comic. It is amazing how often the comic is improved.

  40. The Randy-as-stalker song may be getting tired, but I at least can appreciate that writing a straightforward review for a comic this awful would be a painful experience. Still, I must wonder if the ability of xkcd forum-goers to show up and mutter "oh, he didn't even review the comic lol" isn't even more painful still. This comparative pain conundrum shall haunt me, no doubt. At least until we are all dragged screaming into the endless void of the mole-abyss.

  41. Fun fact: if you say "mole", the Mole will appear! =D

    So, once upon a time in TV Tropes(Boo! Rotten vegetables, and all that, I know...) there was this session which was to discuss internal logic, but then in the XKCD page someone decided to attack the xkcd hate. The haters attacked back(me included, but as it turned pointless to discuss with fans that think stick figures with floating heads are an actual style I decided to let it be) and the page was scrapped. It's still scrapped, but then I decided to look the subjective tropes session for XKCD.

    There it is, listed in "Nightmare Fuel", strip 647. "Scary".

    ...I'll be frank, guys, sometimes I feel ashamed of being part of that wiki! But there you have it: 20-something people feeling old because younger people weren't alive when important stuff happened. That's nightmare fuel for these people.

    XKCD's fanbase is really, really a place of shame...

  42. So now people are idiots for laughing at simple jokes? Really.

  43. @Rob on Dec 30 12:00 am

    Hey hey HEY now. Don't get ahead of yourself. I said I hated THIS post. But you can never hope to match the awfulness of Randy's 836. You might as well give up trying to live up to Randy. Just because you strike gold once doesn't mean you have any talent.

  44. Two people just posted a link to 840 on Facebook within 15 minutes of each other. And no way they knew each other did it.

  45. 2:10 There's nothing wrong with finding amusement in simple things. People are idiots for accolading simple jokes though, especially when there's nothing in the presentation of the simple joke that would have taken any actual work or adds any interest, extra especially when the joke is simple enough to be the type of thing that a pre-teen would easily come up with.

  46. Is officially gone and dead now?

  47. Well...#841 was the dumbest thing I ever read.

  48. With Redux and both gone, I am beginning to suspect that maybe that really wasn't the Redux guy trolling around.

  49. 841: That was a really long setup for a really mediocre joke.

  50. Let's just ignore #841 and pretend it never existed, mmk? Or alternately, pretend these two Void Creatures are quirky characters we've come to love over the previous 840 comics, and this is just [Void Creature 1] being [Void Creature 1] to [Void Creature 2]'s dismay.

  51. The joke in 841 is that listening to anything with really poor sound quality is not a big deal. The additional joke is that people who act like elitists over operating systems are justified and people who act like elitists over audio equipment are not, and there is a very important reason for this distinction and Randall does not know what it is or acknowledge it.

    The bonus joke is that Randall despises what he makes a living doing.

  52. I actually kind of like the joke in 841 but that setup was way too long. As such, I can't say I liked it, but I thought it sucked less than a lot of the more recent ones. Cutting out the second panel would improve the comic fairly well. Wouldn't make it great, but it'd be better than it is now.

  53. ...who said is dead? I'm sure I didn't stop writing weekly there!

  54. Mole, that is just because you are a necromancer. Which is strictly better than liking it while it's dead.

  55. Like a number of commenters here I also liked this comic and laughed out loud at it. It's a simple but unexpected subversion.

    And yes "don't touch me" is a serious thing for putty to say. Putty that is usually silly and touchable. Simple, no?

    Though apparently jokes that are simple are for CHILDREN ONLY.

  56. This is the best write up since Carl left by far. I laughed twice and I appreciate that. Is Rob finally coming into his own? Will this prove to be just a fluke? Find out next week on xkcd Sucks!

  57. Making fun of audiophiles is good enough, but Randall's missed the train entirely. Virtual Dynamics Judge~~

  58. So I guess what he's trying to say, in the midst of that wild swing between Xbox games and FLAC files and living room sound systems (which are apparently all equivalent regardless of which side of that argument you are on), is that base information is more important than aesthetics. It's a compelling argument. In fact, I don't think I'll bother listening to Prokofiev anymore. I'll just read the music sheets.

  59. anonymous 1:55 is right about the order. That's impossible to dispute.

    Everyone else is right about the "punchline" - if Silly Putty's motto had been "Touch me!" then it would have been perfect. But it wasn't (it was "Nothing Else is Silly Putty!") the current punchline is weak though not impossibly so.


    some current event: "Oh my God, we're officially in a double dip recession!"

    A household use for the putty: "You still need to put me in that gap in the bathroom window."

    A distortion of the motto: "Nothing here is silly, buddy!"

    It also could have blown a hole in the wall when bounced against it.

    However, the "it has a bad punchline" argument is weaker than the order argument. This should be a psychological test of some kind.

    I don't wish to disparage anyone on the autism spectrum, but if Randall's representative, perhaps sequencing jokes is simply one of those things autistic/Asperger's people aren't prone to do well.

  60. Jonathan DevonshireDecember 31, 2010 at 2:12 AM

    Marion Delgado: that can actually be open to debate. Of all the alternatives that you suggested, the others would either be too weak or overdone. For example, a household use would have removed the "short and sweet" from the comic, as well as the current event would have been overdoing it. Using a current event would also have removed attention from the main element of the simple joke.

    after all, as Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, “Simplicity and repose are the qualities that measure the true value of any work of art”.

    to put it simply... the simplicity of the comic highlights its brilliance.

    now, 841... terribad.

  61. I'll say it for the last time before leaping to 841: the problem with 840 being a simple and silly(fuck it, I'm nog gonna apologize for the unintended pun!) joke is that xkcd is not the place for such silly things. XKCD is a comic that grew in fame for featuring stick figure comics with hard science elements, most obscure to most people. It has then built a fanbase that boasts about having higher than average IQ and mocks its detractors for not getting the jokes(most of the time, falsely; we get the jokes, they just aren't funny). Not to mention all the times I see xkcd mentioned in my Twtiter timeline with the word "genius" dangerously close to it.

    Then Randall makes a joke worthy of a 3-year-old kid, and somewhy the fans still praise it as Randall's greatest accomplishment, instead of recognizing this undermines their self-given reputation of ingenuity(not that it wasn't already undermined by Randall's constant pandering to high schoolers). A pun that's not only stupid, but makes no sense, and should have been scrapped while it was still a sketch(does Randall even make sketches, though? Tricky question...)

    Are there brilliant things that are incredibly simple? Why, yes! Are all things simple brilliant? Fucking no, or else every hand turkey ever made would be a fucking work of art of the highest quality!

    ...let's get to 841.

    Firstly, it's verbose. It almost reminds me of Subnormality, what with Randall filling almost every white space in the panel with speech. And that for a punchline that isn't really worth it. So, audiophiles care too much about audio quality, amirite? But fear not, Randall is to defend the poor and oppressed non-audiophiles!

    I wonder some things, thouch... such as whether this conversation is made out of snippets from some forum discussion Randall had(minus the witty retorts, that's just Randall's esprit de l'escalier). I wonder how could Randall permit himself to put the girl in the "bad side" of the discussion in this comic. And I wonder why did the girl hang up in the last panel, when it'd make more sense for the guy to hang up right after his punchline. But, then again, the hang up itself is PPD.

    To be honest, the punchline is clever. I just don't care about the subject. At all.

  62. 841 made me laugh. Randy actually sat down, and wrote out a joke. He told that joke, then stopped writing dialog in the comic. This might be the first single-joke no-awkard-after-joke-dialog comic he's written in years. And the joke made me laugh!

    I guess if you write hundreds of forced comics, one of them might be funny after all. Did Randy just brute force humor?

    On second thought, the set up is a bit too wordy, but i'm just gonna enjoy this funny joke and pretend they were all this funny.

  63. Rob will know he's got a follower if the next xkcd involves a beer with the brand name of "Subjunctive."

  64. Goatkcd 841 would've been perfect had "No, this is a joke:" been in the panel before last.

  65. 841 was just too damn long. Anyone seeing the comic will just skim the panels for keywords and jump to the last bit. And even the zinger takes too long to deliver. Try saying the sentence out loud: "I'll tell you later - you wouldn't appreciate the punchline over this 12kbps cell phone codec".

    Seriously, who the fuck says something like that? Prose should be economical.

  66. Holy shit! 841 is actually kind of funny.