Thursday, April 17, 2008

Still Going

And the hits keep coming (Dun-dun-DUNNNN!). I have to assume, given the timing of the release of these strips, that Scott has them in the can already. I like 'em.

The mother angle seems worthwhile -- Jade is obviously estranged from her mother, why else would Brent not have met her? (Has this come up before?) Kurtz has set her up as a well-known and strong archetype; I already think of her as Greg's mother from Dharma and Greg, the elitist, lady-who-lunches type.

One quibble I have is that the characters are all so damn accommodating and understanding (in general, not just here). In the third panel, I'd like to have seen Jade still freaking out a bit, instead of already commiserating with her sister.


Sage said...

FSM Greg's mom Kitty on Dharma and Greg is who I immedialtly thought of as well (Susan Sullivan).

I would say that both Mirand and Jade are still sufficiently freaked out as in panel two Miranda and panel three Jade both are showing lines under there eyes like they have bags or were recently crying. Maybe they know they can't just go off the handle with their mother because it won't matter.

Brent on the other hand will be interesting to see if he goes off on her (which I hope is the way it goes) .

Sage said...

It always comes back to the eyes with us FSM :).

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised at you, FSM. Your critical edge has been blunted of late -- a string of "Wow, Scott, great going, pal!!" posts.

For my money, the current storyline is landing with a thud -- several consecutive thuds, in fact. No punchlines, just eyeroll-inducing attempts at drama and heartstring-tugging.

Anytime Scott hauls out the cutesy, apologetic "Dun-dun-DUNNN" shit, it's a sign he's going Mary Worth again, but still hoping we'll wuv him for it.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. so wrong.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else agree with me that the "non standard" view of Jade's sister looks very awkward and even a little creepy? :)

Anonymous said...

am i the only one that thinks it's a little weird that for as long as brent and jade have been going out that neither have met each other's parents?

Anonymous said...

Maria!... POR QUE?!!

R.W.McGee said...

Not really, they work together...and it seems implied neither lives close to their parents, so that seems pretty normal.

Clint said...

I'm married and have never met my in-laws. I don't consider this a bad thing. At all. =)

Anonymous said...

called me old fashioned i guess. after dating my girlfriend for two years i met her parents and vice versa. and they don't even live in the same province (canada) just seems odd that it takes a marriage for something like that to be arranged

Lauren said...

Does anyone else think that this exchange is weird?
"I swear to God, Jade I never thought she would cancel everything."
"I know."

Haven't they been in the same room for awhile before Brent entered? Isn't this something she would have said a million times already while telling Jade what happened?

Also why are both Jade and Miranda sad? The person who DID all this is standing RIGHT THERE. Wouldn't things have progressed to angry yelling at this point?

Even if not, wouldn't Brent have SEEN Miranda and Jade's mom before the point where each of them started talking? Or even if they weren't in the room to begin with, why did they burst in just when they did? Were they spying on Jade crying? No, it just seems to have happened because it's more dramatic this way.

It just seems like the whole sequence of events isn't playing out how it naturally would, but rather as if the three women are putting on a performance for Brent. In real life Brent would have walked in on a major fight.

Anonymous said...

"For my money, the current storyline is landing with a thud -- several consecutive thuds, in fact. No punchlines, just eyeroll-inducing attempts at drama and heartstring-tugging."

Have to agree here. It's like getting a concentrated burst of bad wedding comedies but... with all the jokes removed.

And we've got Cole, Brent, Jade, Miranda and their Mother in the room now? I suppose it explains why the Mother is drinking, someone is obviously throwing a party.

zgeycp said...

Whoa boy, looks like we've got another no punchline week ahead of us.

Jai said...

Looks like Zgeycp has a point.

The schedule is snappy, the plot is movin' and shakin', but there is nothing particularly interesting and certainly nothing funny that we've seen in the last two strips. The same exposition could be laid out in a "Brent walks in on three women fighting" sequence, which clearly would have had a humorous element (Probably "Cole backs away slowly until he reaches the door and then runs").

It's mostly been, as a wise person once said, "*gasp* Maria!... POR QUE?!!" I don't have a problem with it, but I certainly don't see anything to LIKE about the last two strips either.

vaultkeeper said...

Isn't this what we've been asking for though? Less punchline and more meaningful stories? So far every strip has had you guys guessing, and guessing wrongly - he must be doing something right.

I certainly wasn't expecting it, I'm still waiting for the punchline. But if this ends up being a pivotal moment in the history of the comic then he's handling it the right way.

Anonymous said...

FSM's sympathies certainly have been shining through with this wedding arc. He wants PVP to be a soap opera instead of what it has been all its life.

Scott, just give us the fart gags and gay jokes that have made you so popular. Stop alienating your true fans to serve these stuck up art school dropouts.

Anonymous said...

Are you fucking serious? This is Jane Fonda from Monster In-Law. He's ripping off, wholesale, pop culture once again instead of doing some actual writing.

You're actually enjoying this crap?

Anonymous said...

"So far every strip has had you guys guessing, and guessing wrongly - he must be doing something right."

You're right. No-one guessed 'cliché overbearing Mother'.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, kid not taking advantage of rich family. PVP = walking cliche factory.

Jai said...

April 19th, Mommy issues - First and foremost, a complaint with the disparity between panels 1 and 3. The point of view behind Jade's head shows a much larger head than her mother's in panel 3, yet Brent in panel 3 is also much larger than Jade's mother in panel 1. Throw in the fact that Jade's mother has a completely-shadowed profile when Jade's head is not (I could throw in a "it's huge, takes up most of the panel, and has virtually no features" complaint as well, but that's not the point right now), and you have two panels that look bad when they're in the same strip by executing the same view in opposite fashions.

Secondly, we have Brent's eyebrows. Just in the last panel, since one is *slightly* quirked in the 3rd panel. The trembling-with-rage idea comes through clearly, but I would again except his eyebrows to do something in this situation.

Tertiary critique! The physical positioning of Jade and her mother changes quite dramatically between the first and second panels. I would really just recommend that there were no behind-the-head PoV in the first panel at all, it seems like that would clear up the strip's artistic flow quite well.

Jade probably means "and" and not "an" in the first panel. Also, her dialogue in the first panel doesn't make any sense to me. Brent can't be after Jade's money... because Jade has never accepted handouts from her mother? What kind of logic is that? It plays into the "Jade has no chance of making professional amounts of money on her own" hand that Jade's mother is playing, but from Jade's standpoint I can't imagine why she'd be agreeing with her mother's dismissal of her fiscal responsibility (Which, of course, is a yawner of a plot point in itself that's been played out and overexposed in the movie theater enough times for me to be unimpressed here).

Last critique: It's awfully hard to see most of those pupils. You know, the dots in the eyes? Yeah. I see Miranda's clearly, but I have to do some searching for the other ones. Is there some advantage to having huge eyes with pinprick pupils (Which tend to disappear at the resolution my monitor is set at) in a comic strip that I'm unaware of?

I think there was a joke in this strip, at least, but I'm already tired of the "overbearing wealthy mother ruins offspring's romantic plans" schtick. I do like the 2nd panel an awful lot, by the way (Tiny pupils notwithstanding). The face-grab is great!

Anonymous said...

Rolling out this tired, over-played archetype is really going to make the whole wedding arc drag on. Is the reason we haven't seen the Father yet, because Scott is still feverishly scanning through old sitcoms and Freddie Prinze Jr. movies trying to find someone as suitably run-of-the-mill?

Clint said...

Anon April 18, 2008 5:16 PM:

So you're actually admitting to having watched "Monster In Law?"


Kurtz, these guys can't decide whether they want to be Susan Sontag with their long-winded bloviated couldn't get into SAIC's art crit program blathering or Beavis & Butthead with their "this rocks! this sucks!" drivel.

Draw the comic you want. As for these guys, repeat after me:

Fuck'm and feed'm fish heads.

Anonymous said...

I see you've gone for the 'drivel' approach.

Anonymous said...

Clint, I don't think Scott pays attention to this place anymore. He had his little tantrum in the paintball arc and decided he was more interested in writing books about how to write webcomics than he was in working on flaws in his substandard webcomic.

Not that I think he should pay attention to this place. I do think he should try and do decent work himself before he starts advising others, though. The only advice he can give from his own experience is "start your comic at a time when there is less competition, and gear it towards an audience that makes up a large portion of internet loiterers."

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've seen that giant turdball of a movie. I have a wife I tend to keep happy by going to see these terrible acts of cinematic vomit just to keep her happy.

But, what's funny is that since you can't refute my criticism, you choose to insult me and the others here. Not a completely original, accurate, or terribly cerebral approach.

But, what the fuck do you care? As long as Kurtz's cock is in your mouth, you're happy.

evan said...

I'm holding off on my criticisms of the current storyline, I think because this one is actually a storyline. The paintball arc was more of a bunch of gags cobbled together to create some sort of continuity. With this arc there doesn't seem to be enough in any one strip to really critique. That may be criticism in and of itself, as a lot of anonymous posters seem to feel. But I enjoy longer form story telling as a rule, and until things play out a bit more I think getting upset about the direction the story is going is a bit premature. yes, the mother is an archetypal character, but that doesn't make her a BAD character. If an archetypal character is used well it can work. It doesn't need to be a new story to be a good story, it just needs to be well told.

Jai had some potentially good points about the artwork. I say potentially because I freely admit that I know nothing about art and wouldn't notice even if something were truly horrendously out of proportion.

I think we are, however, far enough into this arc to address a potential issue I had with the setup strip Smooth As Silk. Once Brent began talking about promising themselves not to be "That Couple," it intimated that the following story was going to be about him being wrong about that. I suppose that could have been a red herring, but I think it was just the dialogue Scott came up with to transition into Jade's "the wedding's canceled" line. It's a little bit sloppy. The focus was supposed to be on the fact that everything was going smoothly, but it veered a little bit to the "we're planning it small" idea.

@ Sage:
It's keeping you guessing and you keep being wrong doesn't necessarily mean that it's because it's a good storyline. I'm not saying it's bad... it's just that each individual strip doesn't give us enough to accurately predict what is going to happen next. The new events aren't so much surprising as they are just the beginning of a story.

@ a bunch of people:
I don't think that Scott writing a longer form story arc here has anything to do with responding to the minority of fans asking for that sort of thing. I really believe that it is something that he would really like to do more often with his strip. His story arcs and character development through said arcs are one of the major things he defines as being the reason he is better than Buckley. So, when you say "Don't write these long form stories. keep writing the dick and fart one a day gags like you want to instead of bowing to peer pressure" it doesn't really hold up too well. He's very happy with the fact that his strip is able to lend itself to longer form, as opposed to something like Penny Arcade where they are sort of stuck with gag-a-day. While I do see Scott sometimes bowing to criticism that he doesn't necessarily agree with (read: the "experiment" with Francis breaking the fourth wall to see how TSFM would react) I don't think that is in play in this instance.

@ Scott:
If you happen to be reading this... Maybe writing compelling drama's not as easy as you thought, eh?

Anonymous said...

Jade's mother's speech doesn't make sense. She's saying "Miranda can marry well because she's prettier, but you can't so I object to your marriage." What, if Miranda married an artist she could make up the extra money by also marrying a doctor? There is no cohesive flow to her statements.

Given her ability for holding an argument, I think she may have attended a public school herself. And dropped out.

Irony said...

Note that the latest strip, in which Miranda's mom accuses Brent of having attended public school, also has multiple errors in the text courtesy of Mr. Kurtz.

What amazes me is that often Kurtz won't even correct the errors by uploading the strip with changes. It'll just sit there.

Sage said...

That was vaultkeeper that said the strip kept people guessing, not I. Even though I have guessed at the next strip, and been wrong, I dont' think it is keeping people guessing.

I like, you have held comment, (until you referenced the wrong post to me), because if you look at it we're still in the middle of the "scene" with Brent and the Fontaine women. There are a lot of confusing elements so far, like how would Brent be after money he didn't know Jade had, and how a doctor/lawyer that Miranda would marry wouldnt be equally after the family money. Also, is cole getting himself a sandwich? Its a fairly archetypical story and we'll have to wait until the end to see the full crappiness/excellence of it.

At the one anoynmus poster scott does pay attention still as he posted here:

Though i still hope Brent goes off on (the as of unnamed) mother.

evan said...

Sorry Sage. You're right... that wasn't you who said that.

Anyone who doesn't understand the logic behind the recent dialouge is just looking for things to be upset about. Jade's mother says Brent is just marrying jade for her money, Jade responds with 'I've never taken handouts from you.' She's not saying she will never have money... but that's not what the mother cares about anyway. Jade's mom was talking about the family money. We know this because Jade knew it and responded to it. That's how new characters are built.... Or in Lost they don't bother interjecting character history through the storyline... they just break out of the storyline and literally show it to you in a lazy flashback format that got old and boring an had to be replaced with future sequences tat just barely don't work very well.

Oh, right... PvP... Sorry.

Jade's mother's comments later in that same strip are "You'll have to (take handouts from me) eventually if you marry an artist. Now, i never worry about your sister...she'll land a docto or a lawyer. Bu you're not pretty like she is sweetie." This doesn't mean that "since jade isn't pretty enough she shouldn't be getting married." It was more meaning "This guy's a loser. Now, I never have to worry about your sister, because she's so much prettier than you are that she'll land a doctor or a lawyer. But still, you shouldn't settle for just ANYONE."

@ Irony:

Yeah... it wouldn't kill him to proofread the like... paragraph a day before he upload it for spelling and grammar.

Sage said...

But also, is Cole still getting a sandwich?

It would be funny if Scott panned right showed Cole with a snifter of Brandy going "Delicious . .."


Anonymous said...

"While I do see Scott sometimes bowing to criticism that he doesn't necessarily agree with (read: the "experiment" with Francis breaking the fourth wall to see how TSFM would react) I don't think that is in play in this instance."

Less 'bowing to criticism' than intentionally hobbling his own creation in a childish attempt to prove someone wrong. And that's before you take into account how Scott missed the point in the first place.

Man Cellulite said...

I bet Scott is like a self conscious woman, and always orders a salad at restaurants when with mixed company. Or claims he's not hungry and fills up on a dozen glasses of coke.

Steven said...

New strip(s). Deus Ex Machina is right-- now that they've got rich friends, Brent and Cole never seem to accomplish anything on their own.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, they never really accomplished much in the first place.

Jai said...

Heh. Honestly, financial threats have got to be the LEAST of the PVP crew's concerns when they have a mythical troll friend (Good for introducing mythical treasures of excellent real-world worth), a ridiculously wealthy slacker friend (Honestly, he SHOULDN'T want to help them because he got snubbed worse than Reggie in the paintball story! Heheh), and a time-travelling DeLorean (How do you think they pay for wrecking their General Lee every time they drive off a big ramp with it?). They mostly sit around and play videogames all day at the office (When was the last time a storyline involved them trying to write articles or be productive?). It's a joke in itself to think that they can't do anything that they feel like doing. Cole's "Oh, right! The fabulously wealthy guy who used to work here might be inclined to help out!" reaction in Deus Ex Machina is, therefore, quite comical. Brent and Jade could very easily have just immediately rubbed their happy-go-lucky, we-can-do-anything lifestyle in Jade's mother's face as soon as she decided she would "ruin" their wedding. That's not something you see very often in wedding dramas. As for breaking point and Mr. Fixxit, well . . . I think the former would benefit from Jade having something more shattering (Or revelatory . . . or relevant) to say than "You're a mean person! So shut up!" and the latter is the same type of easy joke we've seen a lot of. And, since I can't imagine why the obvious deux ex machina possibilities of normal PVP life have STILL not occurred to him at this point, it makes Brent look stupid.

The Wedding Planner is a welcome return to strips-with-punchlines (I admit, there is a part of me that wants to see Francis crack wise about "The butler wanting to marry Brent & Jade"). :) And I'm digging the way these last few strips have been drawn, too.

Sage said...

You forgot the most recent financial deus ex machina for PVP. Remember Cole now gets a check from the government as a "protective habitat" for the panda that allowed Cole to break away from Max (how conveeeeenient). With all the checks theyre getting (even though I don't remember Skull brining any "troll treasure :) ) it does make sense they can wreck anything.

It would have been funny for them just to list off that they really dont need money because they have rich friends and are being paid by the government then the mom going "uh, well ok then"

Btw do you think Jase will show up at the wedding with the girl he and Robbie fought over to create some tension? (dun dun DUNNNN)

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