Monday, June 9, 2008

Eeeerrggghhh.

I have no criticism of today's strip (Entendre. Make it a double).

Cole is taking a somewhat conservative stance that apparently reflects SK's own thoughts on the issue. This is totally fair. Scott is entitled to his opinions, and is entitled to express them as he sees fit.

I personally do not agree with them, so we're talking about a larger issue than "do I like PVP" at the moment. I suspect a fair number of PVP fans are disagreeing with Cole right now, and whether SK knows it or not, this could become a sticky storyline -- people stop consuming products when they find out that the owners/creators do not share their opinions on some things, and sex is one of them.

I'm not saying people are going to jumping off the PVP ship with any volume, or that anyone is going to be burning Kurtz in effigy, but some of them, like me, will be thoughtful about the story.

I'm going to wait and see where this goes.

41 comments:

Alice said...

I'm a teenage mother and I'm offended by Scott pushing his views on us through Cole.

I'd be very interested to hear what his father has to say about this current story arc.

Ti Chan said...

So, the thing that bothers me so much about the sex between Marci and Francis is that everyone keeps calling them "Kids", yet they ARE now suppose to be 19, correct?

So, while it's not an ideal age for sex, it's not something most people would gasp about. By 19, especially if you're in college, it's considered rather normal to have sex. And even if we ARE still considering them 16 when they had sex, which doesn't make sense, it's still not horrifying in today's day and age.

Another thing. I do NOT understand Cole's comment "take time... getting to REALLY know a woman?" Wait, so HOW MANY YEARS have Marci and Francis known each other?! Let me explain something, if you work, dated and are best friends with someone that long, I hope you know them. It just confuses me.

Why are they upset that Francis and Marci had sex. They've had a very long on and off relationship, and after so many years, if they were to have sex, while it might be a mistake, it shouldn't surprise someone so.

Mike said...

It is exceptionally odd that the angle of criticism Cole is adopting is "taking your time to get to know a woman." Francis and Marci have been going out for, from both our view and in PVP-universe time, forever and a day.

Steve B said...

I don't think Scott is pushing any kind of conservative agenda; it's clear from Brent & Jade's long-term fornication that he's not overly concerned premarital relations.

Of course, the weird thing about analyzing this is that we're trying to map real-world years onto characters that live in a usually timeless vaccuum. "For Better or For Worse" is probably the only comic that has had its characters age in real time - the rest have characters that are eternally locked within an imaginary 12-month window, so that they can do strips with winter/summer/holiday themes, but otherwise unaging.

Scott did a little 4th-wall breaking with his "Ding!" strip two weeks ago, but we would presume that the comic/pvp rules still apply - the characters are still unaging. In fact, we might even assume, 1984-style, that Scott has re-written history and that Francis and Marcie are 19 now - and have always been 19 (given that the other don't notice much different about them).

The end result is that it doesn't make much sense to analyze the cast's reactions based on how many "years" Francis & Marcie have known each other, or how old they officially are; they live in a universe with different physical laws than our own. The way I look at it - the kids are 19 now, but the rest of the cast still sees them as 16. There is going to be a period of adjustment until it sinks into them that F&M have aged. Metaphorically, it's the standard "my how time flies, it was only yesterday that you were just a kid" theme, just made literal in the way that comics can do.

SumDumguy said...

Here's what's super offensive to me: Marci and Francis had sex. They were both there, they both consented.

So why is it that Francis is taking the heat, instead of it being approached as a decision that Marci and Francis made together?

Scott said...

Here's my really only word on this subject:

No matter which way the adults of the strip reacted to Marcy and Francis having under-age sex, I would receive outraged mail from fans.

The only honest choice to make, when writing this, it to make sure you are true to the CHARACTERS, and not any personal agenda or perceived influence from your audience.

This feels right for Cole. To me. That's why I wrote it.

Other characters might feel differently about it.

Ti Chan said...

"it doesn't make much sense to analyze the cast's reactions based on how many "years" Francis & Marcy have known each other"

But it does. If we take out the years part of my statement, it still falls into the simple fact that Marcy and Francis have dated on and off seriously, are what the normal world would consider best friends and co workers.

With all this known, Cole's statement as to "getting to know a woman", aka Marcy, is really strange. Marcy is one of the women Francis knows best. Sure, if suddenly he met someone AT THE WEDDING and decided to sleep with her, this reaction would make sense, but he didn't and it doesn't.

As to Scott's comment on Cole's reaction. For the most part, Cole's reaction the the sex over all is, in my opinion, pretty on par. Cole has always been the father figure in this world. His reaction being the parental about it is really on spot. It's just some of his comments that DON'T sound right with the situation.

The character that DOESN'T seem to be reacting as he should is Brent. Even with his new found "maturity", the fact that he's suddenly chastising Marcy and Francis' escapade. Previously, whenever Francis tried something slightly sexual, Brent was usually playing games with him or going along with him. He was a wingman of sorts, and to have him suddenly turn around and go crazy seems strange.

TWO POINTS I need to make. I realized re-reading my first post that everyone's frequent use of "Marci" instead of "Marcy" got me spelling it wrong. Also, I was reading through the char bios and found Scott calling Francis "pre-teen". Isn't pre-teen like... 12 years old, and not 16? Not as if it matters anymore.

Scott said...

That's a pretty good point.

The issue is that Marcy and Francis have been kind of suspended in time for years. Which is why I aged them up.

I guess in my mind they've only known each other for a year or two.

Scott said...

"I'm a teenage mother and I'm offended by Scott pushing his views on us through Cole."

Why are you offended? What does you're being a teenage mother have to do with anything?

Sage said...

Doesn't being a teenage mother kind of demonstrate the effectivness of the more conservative point that cole is making?

Sheesh

Sage said...

Well if you look at it that they just had sex because Marci was sad that Skull left then there reaction is appropriate. I read it as t hey started that way, but the aftermath was more that they cared about each other and that makes it more legitimate, even though they were young, and makes it more acceptable than not.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a teenage mother and I'm offended by Scott pushing his views on us through Cole."

Gee a teenage mother objecting to the restraining hand of a responsible, caring adult.

Proving again that Irony is not a small country in Europe that invented pressed clothes.

Anonymous said...

I accept a lot of scotts points on this. Cole would act this way. Jade might act the way she did. But brent is really the sour note for me.

and scott, marcy and francis have known each other for a year and cole is getting upset? I think im down on cole at the moment. whadda prude! do I need to change his diaper? I think the standard by todays dating crowd is that by the third date the majority of adult couples will have some kind of sex. Obviously we need to adjust to longer for age, geekiness and family-friendly cartoons. but a year is upsetting? feh.

cole is (and by extension scott may be) totally out of touch with the average teenage experience.

Sage said...

Sorry guys, I must be having diarrhea of typing right now.

Wasn't Reggie Max's employee before the merger? I was curious to find out that he is the receptionist now as I did not remember that happening before (but I can be wholly wrong.) Wiki says that he worked for PVP after the mergery but I thought Miranda was the receptionist.

Not a big deal just wondering.

Russ Herschler said...

I think it's just the it's easy to cast Cole as the old fart. And somebody has to take a disapproving stance or there is no humor.

Remember the storyline where Francis was sending email address to a spammer to get an ipod? Cole was very dissapproving there as well, because Francis was 'taking the easy way' to get one and not 'working' for it.

Zack said...

Yeah I really am not a big fan of Cole right now. I mean I've honestly never really liked the character and now he's just looking like a gigantic prude. Marci and Francis have known each for quite a while now. Even knowing someone for two years, and dating for most of those two years is more than enough time before a teenage couple has sex. I think Cole is taking some of the rage from his failed marriage out on Francis. Seems like he is living in a glass house at the moment and throwing some stones around.

Ti Chan said...

Like I said, Cole's reaction DOES fit Cole. He's just being the father figure he's always been for PVP, as Jade is the motherly member. Like anon said, even HER reaction was about right. But Brent, maturity and all, just doesn't seem to be his usual self in this thing, and it rings untrue for his CHARACTER.

And I still think Marcy and Francis have known each other for long enough. They see each other for a couple of hours nearly everyday at PVP, not to mention school and gaming. They've been on super romantic dates (even if JUST a bet), been together for months and share a lot of interests. By now, the one or two years should be a stable enough groundwork for a sexual relationship to blossom.

amboy00 said...

This is an interesting spot to finally notice that the grown ups of PVP are upset at Francis and Marcy for having sex. On June 2, both Cole and Brent scolded the two "kids" for their behavior.

You can call Cole conservative or pragmatic on this issue, but it isn't consistent with Scott's views at all and shouldn't be viewed as some heavy-handed channel for expressing is morality.

His characters are flawed and contradict themselves in the same way we all do. Cole may be overreacting. Francis is growing up and Cole finds himself not letting go of the young kid that was in his employ. He may be projecting his fear of attempting another relationship after the failure of his marriage.

Given the opportunity, I'm sure Brent and Jade would give the same speech even though they themselves carried on in premarital relationship for years (which they get their words in before getting kicked off of mansion property).

If Scott is using PVP as his platform for conveying anything, its that adults are typical in saying, "Do as I say, not as I do."

Jess said...

Scott I am really not happy with you! >:(

Things are getting so interesting with PvP at the moment. Marcy and Francis have gotten older and I'm really hoping it's not just their appearance that's changed but maybe their personalities as well. (even just a little bit?)

Also we've lost Skull and I'm wondering how that'll change the group dynamic. And what about poor Scratch?

Anyway, the reason why I'm not happy with you is because I wish I could still read the strip every day. Shame on you for messing up my weekend traditions! It's tough not having new strips to read.

I understand why you had to make that decision and I really hope your work on Ding! is doing better and you've managed to build up a nice buffer for PvP, but still, what bad timing when things have suddenly gotten so interesting. ;)

Blotsfan said...

I don't think Cole is speaking through Scott. Cole's role is supposed to be "the mature responsible boss", and while his traits obviously are not that black and white, this is the reaction that someone like Cole is bound to have.

The Wax Lion said...

Wow--way to provoke controversy, Kurtz! Good on ya. :)

I for one find it refreshing to have a character in a modern comic that doesn't just take it for granted that teen sex is a foregone conclusion. I waited a long time to have sex, because it seemed like a bad idea to me to do it before I was prepared (financially, emotionally, etc.) to deal with a possible unintended pregnancy. Lots of people DO wait, for that exact reason--and good for Cole for advocating for that!

There's plenty of entertainment media where the question of whether teen sex is a smart thing to do isn't even brought up; if you're that offended by the suggestion that maybe it's not, you need to get a grip, folks.

While I think it's a good point that Marcy's an equal partner in this, it seems in character for Cole to direct his diatribe at Francis exclusively. I'm assuming we'll eventually see Jade or someone having a heart-to-heart with her about it.

alice said...

"Blogger The Wax Lion said...

Wow--way to provoke controversy, Kurtz! Good on ya. :)

I for one find it refreshing to have a character in a modern comic that doesn't just take it for granted that teen sex is a foregone conclusion. I waited a long time to have sex, because it seemed like a bad idea to me to do it before I was prepared (financially, emotionally, etc.) to deal with a possible unintended pregnancy. Lots of people DO wait, for that exact reason--and good for Cole for advocating for that!"

Translation: I couldn't get laid until I was 26 and found a girl with self-esteem as low as mine.

blotsfan said...

Wow Alice, you're quite a bitch.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
alice said...

it's so easy to post under someone elses name, watch this.

blotsfan said...

I have to agree with alice on this one. boo-yah!

Jeff said...

So we are one or two strips past the wedding and into the repercussions of the teenage sex arc and suddenly everyone knows what Kurtz's views are on the matter.

Cole is a character, and well written characters have opinions and views that are different from other characters. Reggie will probably have a different view, as will Miranda, Robbie, and Robbie's sidekick (whats his face). If all the characters in the strips have the same personality, views, and all talk the same it does not make for very interesting characters does it?

Fake Scott McCloud said...

Here I am for a rare comment..

@jeff:

"... well written characters have opinions and views that are different from other characters ... If all the characters in the strips have the same personality, views, and all talk the same it does not make for very interesting characters does it?"

I'd just like to point out that to this point in the story every major character we've seen that is not Francis or Marcy (except Robbie) have had the same reaction.

Anonymous said...

Jeff:
Maybe that's the thing. So far, there have been no repercussions. They had safe, consensual sex, and both of them seemed happy about it. Meanwhile, everyone else is trying to make them feel bad about it.

alice said...

"Jeff:
Maybe that's the thing. So far, there have been no repercussions. They had safe, consensual sex, and both of them seemed happy about it. Meanwhile, everyone else is trying to make them feel bad about it."

Scott ain't getting any either.

R.W.McGee said...

I agree that this is the reaction that Cole would have, and I also think it makes sense that he would take Francis aside, I don't think he has a relationship with Marcy that would make him comfortable lecturing her...it would be amusing if in the next panel Jade's sister was congratulating Marci...or at least if SOMEBODY besides Robby offered a different reaction.

But hey, Kurtz is provoking interest, and there is no such thing is bad publicity. In my mind this is a step-up from the dog-days of paint-ball and parental visits. =)

I should note as an aside, like FSM, I also do not agree with the views Cole is espousing.

The Wax Lion said...

Wow, Alice! It's nice to meet you too. Can't conceive of a world where people actually think before they act, eh?

What on earth made you think I was a guy? I'm a 37 year old woman now, and I've never regretted waiting til I was in my 20's. And believe me, low self-esteem isn't one of my problems. If I'd had low self-esteem, I'd have slept with the first guy asked me when I was 15. :) Lighten up, kiddo, not everyone thinks the same way you do, and that's just fine.

Sage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alice said...

Or 5.) Alice is a fictional sockpuppet made to incite reaction.

Done.

You big dork.

Sage said...

"Or 5.) Alice is a fictional sockpuppet made to incite reaction.

Done.

You big dork."

What the hell you talking about Alice, I guess Skull is not the only Troll we've talked about.

Anonymous said...

ignoring all of this ~controversy~ about teenage sex, i don't understand cole's expression in panel four. what word is that supposed to be attached to, 'you'? that seems too early in his speech for that to be what is being illustrated.

Out Of His Element said...

It's none of Cole's business. What he should be doing is deciding whether the information should be relayed to Francis and Marcie's parents.

Anonymous said...

The dissonance in art style between Marcy and Francis is really annoying. He hasn't changed at all except for the weird looking chin scruff, while Marcy looks rather cute and more realistic. Francis has big alien-looking eyes in comparison.

randomeis said...

Cole's ongoing marital issues may have something to do with his reaction, there could be a bit of projection going on in that case.

TheOriginalJes said...

It seems that in today's panel (Tuesday 6/10) we don't get to see the rest of Cole's speach.

I guess the topic wasn't too important.

Anonymous said...

I think at this point I'd rather Scott just move on. While Cole's reaction may be accurate to the flat, two-dimensional role that he has fallen into recently, that doesn't exactly make it right. Frankly, I think it would have been far more intelligent, and better writing, for Cole to still disapprove, but to ask Francis if he was ready, warn him not to take it lightly, but also to compliment Francis on his intelligence in using condoms and being safe. Cole is a smart guy, and to me he would understand the need to emphasize that their use of condoms was the right thing to do and they should have been commended for the maturity to recognize it.

Also, Scott: two years is quite a while to know someone. Most teenage, or college, relationships I know of (and I'm talking about the more mature relationships) hardly wait a month before sex is on the table. And that is between very intelligent people. For Francis and Marcy to wait as long as they did, to get to know each other as intimately as you have let them know each other- that's more than enough time, and more than close enough- especially if, in your eyes, they are 18 or 19 years old now.

So really- Cole's views were wrong- regardless if the sentiment was right for his overall character. Not only is he not recognizing the good that came out of the situation on top of the bad, but he's also pointing out the wrong reasons why this situation was bad to begin with.

So either correct the mistake or drop the subject and move on to a different story-arch. I would prefer you to redeem Cole's opinion on the subject- but that's just me.

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