Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Rules of Integration

I think today's strip (The Rules) is pretty good. But, how old do you have to be to understand a Red Dawn reference? (I'm guessing at least 30, but I could be wrong; are Cold War-era teen dramas hot amongst Gen Y-ers? )

I would have appreciated it if it had gone a little further and shown Brent and Cole bumping fists in the last panel, which might have helped the joke a little for the non-Gen X-ers. Not that it would have explained "Wolverines", but the "True dat" line would have benefited from the extra context.

[Update: According to comments, I am under-informed as to the staying power and penetration of Red Dawn. For the record, I don't mind pop references, even if they turn out to be obscure, but I think anything you can do to help them along is worth it for the folks left out.]

I notice that here is another new character in the new style. I like it, he looks good. But I have a fairly random question:

Notice brent and Cole have dark lenses while the new guy has clear ones. Can we chalk that up to Brent and Cole wanting to look cool? Or is it that drawing their eyes under the masks have been too weird looking? (Since they would have been wearing glasses under the masks and all...)


birdman said...

I'm 23 and I got the Red Dawn reference. But I'm weird.

Rahvin said...

South Park did an episode in reference to Red Dawn (Grey Dawn), so I think it's a reasonable expectation for people to get it.

Dorko said...

I'm 18 and I got the Red Dawn reference (thank you "I Love The 80's"!). I didn't know that South Park did an ep about it, but I did know that American Dad did an episode full of Red Dawn references. It was called "With Friends Like Steve's".

Cora said...

He's not a new character. Isn't that Brent's dad? His name is Red, correct?

Sage said...

No Brent's dad is Rip, not red.

25 here and I get the red dawn reference, anyone who watches or is into pop culture over 18 would likely get it.

I agree with the fist pump though, would have finished it off nicely.

Also the lenses were either for the difficulty drawing or that Brent and Cole just have rental's which Red has professional goggles

Anonymous said...

Probably dark lenses because of the whole "Brent always wears sunglasses" thing. We never get to see his eyes, remember?

JediJohnson said...

I think you are reaching with the Red Dawn complaint. It doesn't matter if the "Gen Y'ers" get it. Brent and Cole are from that generation. They get it, because they lived it. The strip isn't about you, or any of us. It's about the characters. Garfield eats lasagna, Calvin thinks Hobbes is real (I mean of course that Hobbes is real and no one else thinks he is), and Brent and Cole are children of the 80s. Hence the Dukes of Hazzard, Red Dawn, and a countless slew of other 80s refrences. Just because some people don't get it doesn't mean that it's not in character. And that's what sets PvP apart from other comics in my opinion. The characters have backgrounds and back stories that they follow. New info is given to us all the time, but it fits the characters. New situation arise, but the characters react as one naturally assumes they will (don't get me started with your view of Cole's marriage problems. I acted in a very similar way while going through that myself. And I felt Cole acted exactly as I thought he would). I have to say I think that most of your arguments are minute, contrived, and pointless. Your view of Jade's mouth, and it's correct posturing? That is just nit-picking in my opinion. But I will admit that sometimes you have good points. Are their better comics out there? I think I would prefer to just say that there are different comics out there. Because PvP and Penny Arcade are the only two I've found that I check out regularly. But of course, again, that's just my opinion. And thank God we live in an age where we can both have our own unique and valid opinions. So keep writing your blog, and I'll keep checking back, and I'll keep disagreeing.

Respectively yours,

p.s. I hope I didn't come on too strong. I did not mean anything against you or your ideas, just wanted to share my comments about those ideas with you. Cheers.

Something clever said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Something clever said...

30, reasonable versed in pop culture and I have no clue what that was supposed to mean.

Just looked it up. It's sad I get more enjoyment from this site than from the comic that generated it.

Editz r hurd.

evan said...

I'm 24, and I understood the Red Dawn reference, but I don't think it's 100% true to say that I GOT it. There's a difference. I haven't actually seen the movie, I've just heard about it, So I understood what the reference was aiming at, but it didn't really hit home for me.

I don't think there's anything wrong with using outdated references like these per se, but PvP is not really able to get away with it in the same way that South Park or Family Guy, particularly Family Guy, can.

Those shows thrive on making references to things that most of their viewers just won't get, and often times won't even notice that a reference has been made. If you notice and get the reference then the episode or joke works on a different level for you, but if you don't then there are other things happening in the episode for you to latch on to as a less informed viewer.

In the case of PvP, there is nothing else really going on in this strip. It's basically a gag-a-day, and today's gag was a reference to Red Dawn.

Now, I personally appreciate references to more obscure things, and looking at this gag purely in terms of whether the reference works or not, it does. it's a much better reference than the Boston Legal thing from earlier in the divorce storyline because there is a reference here, whereas that strip the characters just explicitly said to the audience "Look! It's a Boston legal reference."

So, while the reference was well executed, my opinion is that it was not a good idea to have made it because there isn't anything in today's strip for those that don't get it. It's only funny if you get it and relate to it and it brings you back, and the demographic for PvP just isn't right for this sort of a reference.

Basically, I think it was a fine and well executed reference, but maybe not correct for PvP's target demographic. Even though most people over 18 have a good chance of catching the reference, that's not the same as getting the reference

Subversive said...

Personally, I've been enjoying Scott's new art style, which seems to be heavily influenced by both Jeff Smith and Frank Cho - both of whom I'm big fans of. Today's character design seemed more in line with Jeff Smith's work. I'm actually interested, if Scott's interested in commenting here, what his new influences are.

R.W.McGee said...

I have no problem with the new art style, but if he is going to commit to it, I think he should jump in and redraw the primary characters as well. You have to admit, the difference is getting a little jarring.

As far as the Red Dawn reference, I caught it...sort of. I have seen the movie...and I get where he was going with that, but the punchline sort of fizzled.

I have to say, I was not enjoying PvP much until I found this site...reading the comic is more enjoyable when you can come here and get some perspective on it.

Anonymous said...

This new art style just feels reminiscient of many newspaper comic strips. I actually prefer his old, more simplistic style. I'm not on his site to read like...

What the hell is in the paper nowadays?

Jai said...

Evan has a good point. I'm more interested in how many PVP readers have even SEEN Red Dawn, not how many have "heard" of it and so can say that they "got" it. Still, I have no problem with that joke, I liked it (Although I've seen Red Dawn). I'm just curious.

It is pretty funny that Brent and Cole get the opaque masks solely through virtue of always wearing glasses. Lemme guess, Marcy and Reggie (And Francis, he has Cole's eyes) will also have opaque visors but everyone drawn with "normal eyes" will have clear ones? I don't mind, of course, but it's funny. I don't care who y'are.

Rachel said...

24 here, completely clueless to this Red Dawn thing. Didn't know it was a movie till reading the comments here.

julia said...

I'm 25. I've seen it.

Anonymous said...

Wolverines forever!
I'm 23, and have to question the idea that just because some people might not get the joke, you shouldn'y do it. If everybody followed that rule, monty pythons entire body of work would be 15 minutes long.

du'loque said...

A completely scientific survey of my hall suggests that no, nobody around the age of 18 knows what Red Dawn is unless they're a movie nerd like me.

Then again, PVP is written for nerds, so maybe it's not entirely inaccurate?

But I think Evan's right. Kurtz writes a lot of pop culture references that I can identify... but I don't laugh. I didn't grow up with any of them, I learned about them later, so they don't strike a chord with me.

And the did the "Dibs on Miranda!" strip bother anyone else? Tongue-in-cheek fan service is okay, and sexy women are okay, and silly men-are-men-whaddya-gonna-do jokes are okay...

But sometimes it feels like Kurtz is just getting too much fun out of those Miranda strips.

She's sexy! We get it. Just-- stop. Please. I'm a hormonal male teenager but even I find the strips tiresome.

(...I definitely didn't mean to sound so bitter. I read PVP everyday, so obviously I like it on some level.)

Jai said...

Well, anonymous, I don't think that anyone here has yet raised the idea that obscure or aged joke references should not be made because some people might not get them.

There is, however, the question as to whether the many 80's references from Cole and Brent are funny or not. I thought the Red Dawn joke was decent, personally, because it was an entire joke (Admittedly, a weak joke with tenuous connections to Brent's current situation at best), not just a weird pointless reference. Stuff like when the strip cuts to a panel of Cole in the General Lee in midair is far from entertaining, however (Roughly on par with the many "Hey Miranda is hot and the males are drooling over her! That's the joke! Also, damn she's fine!" strips). And even worse, on the bottom end of the scale are the Bulldog and Hooch strips.

cheesesoda said...

I'm 21, and I was completely clueless as to the whole Red Dawn comment. It doesn't help that I am not fond of pop culture.

Brandon said...

I'm 25 and have seen Red Dawn many times. Also, since nobody's mentioned it, Scrubs has referenced it several times (though, they are funnier than this attempt).

Anonymous said...

Red Dawn is on basic cable just about every 3 weeks.

Kamanth said...

Sorry but haven't a clue about Red Dawn and i'm nearly 29 lol and a quite into my movies.

I got that it was some movie referances, but as with alot of Scotts jokes, it was just to specific to work for me.

Normally I give him alot of slack but I do find it frustrating when a whole strip relies on me knowing what direct, writer, comic book artist or other Z-list celebrity he is deciding to refer to today.

I can think of at least 4 strips of top of my head where he is name dropping and the punch line just dies with my thinking wft?

It would be nice if he was going to do this if he'd actually post an explaination later on.

Reis said...

26 here, and I've seen (seen, not just heard of, Jai) Red Dawn many times. I think the first time I was... 10? Maybe?

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