Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WTF Robbie (plus open thread)

Rude. Ruuuuude.

After making such a big deal of making everything about the wedding special, I'm surprised Kurtz ended it this way (You don't have to go home...).

Mouth, meet bad taste. Ech.

Update: I might as well make this the open thread for No Regrets. Anything I could have said has been said much better by Stephen Geigen-Miller.


Jacob said...

I'm more surprised by Robbie's reaction. He obviously thought the condoms would be needed/used by the guests; as he says, "For just such an occasion." Instead of arguing the point of what might've happened had there NOT been condoms, he seems to do a one-eighty by getting angry about the clubs, statue and expense of those items, when in past strips he's rather apathetic to his wealth and how he uses it.

After that, he's angry about the the sex itself, which he just stated he was prepared for. Of all the people gathered, he seems the least likely to have any aversion to Francis "get'n sum."

Anonymous said...

That Robbie is a jerk, why go to all that trouble and then kick everyone out. Especially after Skull left.

Bryce said...

I'm surprised none of you thought about the fact that Robbie might be a little pissed when his guests have been very selfish. Thus far:

1) Brent has gone psychotic after learning that his childhood 'imaginary' friend is leaving to help another little boy or girl 'grow up.' He destroyed numerous pieces of Robbie's property in a selfish, vain attempt at keeping Skull all to himself
2) Francis and Marcy 'do the deed' in a safe manner, probably in reaction to all the confusion around them, and all the pvp staff can do is attack them, which is par for the course for the reactionary pseudo-adults at pvp. Their reaction is only exacerbated by the ordeal with Skull
3) When they find out that Robbie, who now leads a playboy lifestyle, had a bowl of condoms out for his guests to use after a wedding which, ahem, is most thoughtful considering what most folks DO do after a wedding, they rip him a new asshole. For no reason.

Robbie obviously had enough, and right he should. He has seen the brunt end of numerous attacks on his being, especially from Brent, and to have all of the supposedly 'adult' (see: infantile) characters at pvp attack his friends Francis and Marcy and then himself, all because they are riled up over Skull, he probably simply grew tired of it.

Frankly, I love the strip. It should serve as a good wake-up call for some incredibly selfish characters that lack any judgmental abilities whatsoever. I see this as the perfect setup for Francis, who, going by his reaction to he and Marcy's consummation of their relationship and pvp's reaction, is going to need all the help from Skull he can get. Much like Brent, I don't think Francis is ready for the adult world, and the reaction of all the supposedly intelligent but in reality dimwitted and emotionally stunted fucking retards around him is probably going to drive him further away from being an adult than he all ready is.

Just my take. I'm far from being a Kurtz lover, likewise I am far from being a Kurtz hater, but this arc is one of the best he's ever written, and perhaps had you wanks put a bit more thought into the subject matter, you'd have seen why Robbie reacted the way he did.

Finally someone in the pvp universe metes it out to the pvp staff like they've deserved it for years now and all you sad bastards can do is complain. Good job.

Kethry said...

I didn't like this strip, not because of Robbie's in- or out- of character behaviour, but simply because it was a let down. As we've seen many times before with PvP, we'll get a good build up to some large event (in this case, two) possibly a gag or two at the height of the arc, and then it just stops. Dead. It's as if, with all the planning it must take to get us to this point, the author hadn't thought about how he was going to end things, and so just drops it, in as final a manner as possible. Disappointing, and a sign that there is still a lot of room for the author's storytelling skills to grow.

Sage said...

About Wed strip I have a couple thoughts
1) In story I was more thrown for a loop by COLE's overreaction, because if Robbie hadn't had that bowl there the only protection would have been an old condom that Brent mention. From what it sounded like the deed would have happened anyway and his provision helped make it safer then promoting sex (i argue this with people that say providing condoms in high school and college are a bad thing.)

2) From a semantics point of view I disagree with Robbie arguing that Dateline would interview him about underage sex. They are more concerned with "To Catch a Predator" from men having sex with underage children. two underage kids having sex is not a big news story :)

3) This is likely not an abrupt end and we can't tell until tommaro as there may still be some aftermath (Jade running out of a house with her dress still on?). If theyre in the office tommarow then yes Scott didn't want to continue the arc (he posted that here about the paintball arc, i aint pullin that out of thing air :) )

Reis said...

My reading of it (if you combine this strip and the previous one) is that Robbie was going to do his usual "brush it off, no big deal" thing, until Cole started to lay into him for having done nothing wrong.

Robbie has matured an awful lot since he became rich, and while some of the others have noticed this, Cole never has. Think back to the arc where Cole needed money, and Robbie said (paraphrasing) that he would give away all his wealth if it would help, but he knew Cole couldn't accept it and still be Cole.

Robbie has gotten nothing but the short end of the stick from Cole pretty much since the beginning, and while, granted, he was kinda a worthless screw up at first, I think Robbie has just had enough.

R.W.McGee said...

Yeah, I totally understood Robbie's reaction, to be honest. He's been nothing but generous with his fortune since he got it, and putting out the condoms was frankly good to get the reaction he got...I would have been angry too.

Jai said...

I agree entirely with Bryce. Brent and Cole totally deserved that reaction.

trazorfort said...

I'm not entirely sure what kind of message Kurtz is trying to send here. On the one hand, the "infantile adults" reasoning seems to make sense, but at the same time it seems like there's mixed signals and odd character behavior.

Bleah, maybe this would be better if I were reading it all at once instead of day by day, but I'm not digging it right now.

47 said...

Hm. Careful reading shows that Robbie didn't start off angry. In the second panel he says "I should be the one who's upset" which implies that he wasn't feeling especially upset up to this point.

He works himself up in the third panel then seems to come to the conclusion that: "I don't need to take this shit!"

Maybe it was a little hard to read, but the only thing I can think of to solve that would be more panels, or perhaps having Robbie take of his sunglasses in the first panel so his escalating emotions are more clear.

An example of the non-clarity: Is Robbie raising an eyebrow in the first panel? I didn't notice that the first time through.

Cochrane said...

I don't actually believe that this ends the storyline. At least I hope it doesn't. This does seem like the perfect chance for Brent and Cole to realize that they were wrong and make apologies all round.

zofrat said...

Well, today's comic seems to imply that Robbie's the one with the problems... maybe?

I want to complain about Kurtz giving a bad impression of having condoms available, but the ambiguity is enormous, so he might NOT be saying that!

Anonymous said...

Anybody who has been reading already know that Robbie has problems. Jase left for a girl, he's alone with his millions. To find his only other friends less grateful than he hoped would have hurt for someone in his situation.

Chrysee said...

Robbie's never been able to see Skull, right? So as far as he's concerned, everyone he allowed to use his home for this wedding is just psychotic. I'd be upset too.

TheOriginalJes said...

Have you seen this morning's strip? Now I'm a little surprised at how everything is just ok with Brent and Jade. So much so that they can just leave the mess for Cole and go on their honeymoon.

I wouldn't be too surprised if this whole arc turned out to be a bad dream-sequence for Cole, to emphasis his feelings of helplessness in his own life (remember his marital problems - where is his wife, anyway?).

I'm really starting to get the feeling that SK is just trying to walk away from this arc.

Stephen Geigen-Miller said...

Today's strip ('No Regrets') threw me for a bit of a loop, too. After some reflection, though, I think I see the angle that Scott is working, here.

Today's strip, like the previous two, is all about Brent's new maturity. Essentially, Clarence the Statue and Skull were right - Brent has grown up. Whether the wedding was symbolic of the change, or actually caused it, Brent is different now.

(As an aside, whether Brent and Jade are gone for two weeks in Real Time, or Scott jumps over that time, who wants to bet we'll see a redesigned Brent come back, to further emphasize the changes in him?)

So far, so good. I'm not sure what a fully (rather than transitionally, as he's been up 'til now) mature Brent will do to the cast dynamic. Will he and Cole switch roles, with Brent becoming the grounded straight man? Regardless, this in an interesting direction, and Scott deserves kudos for not being afraid to actually change things up in PvP.

There is a problem, though, and it's the reason that I opened my thoughts with noting that these strips have thrown me, and that I only think I see what Scott is doing.

Scott's interpretation of maturity simply isn't working for me. I don't see Brent's words and actions as reflective of maturity - particularly not when he himself, as Robbie points out, just had a massive, property-destroying fit of violent rage. This over something, keep in mind, that Skull agreed to do, although he was sad about it.

Coming down on Francis and Marcy for having safe sex? I'm pretty sure those two are, after their three-year age-up, adults now, and certainly well over the age of consent if not.

And then, after flipping from rage to indignation, suddenly being, let's face it, creepily cavalier about everything that just happened? "For better or for worse" doesn't mean you can't have feelings, it just means that you get through them together.

(And yeah, Brent's Dad told him to man up because things change, but he's a dick.)

Now, this is all Scott's call. PvP is his creation, and Brent is his character. Fundamentally, he gets to decide what constitutes maturity within the world of PvP, and for Brent.

I would just liked to have seen some more ambiguity, some sense that maturity hasn't brought all the answers, just a better way of trying to find them.

But no go. Brent is clearly wearing the "Guy Who's Right" hat at this point in the storyline.

This is something that crops up pretty frequently in PVP: One character is the designated "person who is correct about this" in a given scene or storyline. They get to be the voice of reason, call out other people for their behaviour, and are eventually proven, and explicity stated by other characters to be, right.

So when Scott uses that character to deliver the authorial word from on high about how events and actions should be interpreted, by us as well as within PvP, it can grate.

Especially when, as in this case, there is so much room for reasonable, mature people to disagree.

Of course, I could be wrong about all this. Misinterpreting. Not seeing something painfully obvious to Scott and everyone else.

I'm comfortable with that, just as I'm comfortable with occasionally being put off when Scott presents his characters as correct, in context, for doing something I strongly disagree with.

Because that's the point. Scott and I differ. You can be a grown-up and a good person, and still be wrong. Sometimes there is no right answer.

Maturity, to me, is about accepting and living with the ambiguity that people of goodwill can disagree, both be right and both be wrong about the most trivial and most important things.

I'd like to see that reflected in PvP more often; I believe that, besides being more realistic, it's also fertile ground for comedy.

Anonymous said...

Honestly? I'm far FAR more pissed off by today (the 5th's) strip:

I am of the camp that sees Robbie's reaction as entirely accurate and completely understandable. You know- how old are Marcy and Francis? 16? 17? (I speak, of course, as if they were actually aging). They are old enough to be having sex, and they were entirely responsible about it- albeit during a time that had the potential to be a "mistake".

The most unbelievable thing *I* felt was the staffs' reaction to it. Sex is sex, and that sort of stuff never seemed to bother them before- but now? It just seems kind of . . . flat to me. Like the afterschool special where the parents find out and go ballistic- even though they probably had SOME inckling what life was like in their teens. I mean come on- grow up. If anything it felt like Scott was using these characters as mouthpieces for his own opinions on teenage sex. And I have to say- GROW UP SCOTT.

But I blather- the reason I hated today's strip was Brent going "And its obvious Robbie has some issues. . . " No, sorry, but no matter how much Scott wants Robbie's reaction to be symptomatic of having issues- his was the most reasonable and understandable reaction there. His only "issues" were the entirely childish and selfish behavior of everyone else there- and that is hardly a bad thing.

R.W.McGee said...

Oh MAN, it's good to be back, lol. Finally, after a run of several strips with which I had no real complaint, today's strip left me very cold. Stephen G-Miller pretty much summed up my reasons already; the strange cavalier shift by Brent in just a few panels time...and the insinuation that ROBBIE is the one with issues tossed in.

Now, this could be a false-positive, I suppose, where Brent thinks Robbie has issues, but in fact Kurtz knows that it is Cole and to a lesser degree the abandoned-by-Skull and fleeing town Brent with the issues...and he will go that way. But, if this all leads to some sit-down lecturing of Robbie (and later of Marci and Francis) then I am going to be incredibly disappointed at the opportunities missed, and the strange character bending.

I still want a few more strips to gauge how this is going to turn out...but today's definitely left a bad taste...especially after enjoying Robbie releasing the dogs yesterday.

Scott said...

You guys can't believe that Cole and Brent would be upset that a 16 year old kid had sex, even if it was safe?

I know how I felt when I found out my 16 year old nephew was sexually active. I felt like there was no possible way he was mature enough to handle the emotional aspects of being sexually active with another person. I told him he should have waited until college.

I was happy he was having safe sex, but even so that still scares me. Who knows if he grasps completely the risks involved.

I found out this weekend he had no idea that you could get STD from blowjobs.

So yeah, I'm all for safe sex and not promoting abstinence. That's my personal opinion. But shit man, that doesn't mean I want kids having sex. It's a bad idea.

I don't want most ADULTS having sex.

Anonymous said...

No, I can't really see it. Cole maybe, but not Brent.
I agree with everyone else, today's strip was off. Brent feeling Robbie has issues??? There's a difference between Maturation and self deception.

R.W.McGee said...

I can totally buy Brent and Cole having the initial reaction they did, which was well portrayed a couple days ago. I think what is harder to understand is why they would possibly lay into Robbie, who was only ensuring that any sex had was SAFE sex. Also, some people had issues with Jade's assumption that it wasn't safe sex...which didn't bother me that much I guess.

Sage said...
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Sage said...
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Sage said...

To theoriginaljes:

It was at a wedding for my sister this week and unless THEY were on fire they would have been going on their honeymoon no matter what problem was going on (save for sick family member)

To Chrysee:

I think that Scott has only explicitly said that Max is the only one that can't see Skull

It'll be interesting to see if Cole deals with these problem while Brent is away as they seem to be more of team lately addressing their problems

Sage said...

To Scott:
I agree with you fully, I didn't expect anyone to wrap there arm around around Francis' shoulder and say "Atta boy". I agree if I had a kid that was sexually active I would be angry because along with the emotional stuff (that you mentioned) no condom or any birth control is 100% effective.

The difference is that I dont think Robbie is to blame as Francis and Marci didn't say that the bowl of condoms enabled them to do it, as i assume that Francis had that old condom that Brent mentioned. I say be pissed off but at the people who did the deed not an accessory (sp?) to the crime, likely because people are irrational and like scapegoats. It would have been great if I had gotten into trouble then pawned the anger off onto someone else :).

Plus, at least from my standpoint I'm not arguing that Scott (the author) made a MISTAKE by having them made at robbie, I was more wondering why these characters would react that way in my opinion. Its like arguing whether u thought Robbie or Cole/Brent were wrong in their argument, its not that Scott made a mistake its just fodder for a discussion (like batman v. superman)

Anonymous said...

ok, since scott has weighed in here, I will respond. Scott... youre kind of a prude. I aint askin' for anders <3 Maria content either. I just think all the adults coming down on the kids uniformly, when they are in no way related to them bugged me. I can certainly see cole reacting to form, but brent threw me for a loop. I thought cole and brent were going to yell entirely different things. and jade seemed well, shrill.

on the concept of ready-for-it? well marcy seems more mature than francis. but who really was ready-for-it? thats what sex is, for a lot of peoples first time.

Bryce said...

There's a difference between a calm, collected response by adults who have known Francis and Marci for years and a violent, infantile, reactionary attack on two people when they are feeling their most vulnerable.

If "It's disturbing, even when it's SAFE sex! I don't even like it when ADULTS have sex!" is the best you've got, Scott, then I'm slightly pissed that you not only have painted your main characters into such a one-dimensional corner, but that you have also relegated Robbie to a walking, talking cliche that facilitated something you find so scary and bad.

Your characters deserve better. At this point I wouldn't be surprised if Skull came back *for* Cole because his marriage is falling apart and he's turning into a bitter, unrepentant dickshit.

Is this a webcomic or a daytime soap where adults completely lack any control over their own emotions? I sympathize with Francis for being awkward and scared, Marci for being under attack for something she is OBVIOUSLY mature enough for, and Robbie for constantly being the whipping boy of jealous, emotionally stunted fair-weather friends who never appreciate anything he does for them.

Jade, Cole and Brent could go take a running jump for all I give a shit. At this point they're caricatures and nothing but.

Anonymous said...

man, you guys write a LOT. my eyes hurt after reading all those comments

Anonymous said...

You know what all these comments need? A silhouette.

Otfayz said...

The important thing is too educate children, not be scared of them having sex.

Kids and adults are going to have sex whether we like it or not. By openly chastising them or telling them you don't want them to, you're only going to make them keep their sexual behavior more of a secret which will only lead to more problems, including STD's and pregnancy.

People may make stupid choices, but there's really no way to stop that no matter how much we'd like to. The best we can do is create an open environment that fosters lines of communication so you DON'T end up with someone who isn't educated before going into something.

I think that's what bothers me about the attitude of the characters in the comic. Of course it might be a "natural" reaction for the characters, but all of them?

Clint said...

Agreed with folks who think Robbie is justified in being pissed off. He opened up his house for a wedding and got traumadrama as a thankyou. I'd be pissed, too.

I'm still wondering why he had golf clubs laying around or why the umpteen other guests didnt freak out about the statue, but that's suspension of belief, and I'm cool with that.

What I'm bothered by in the 5th's strip is the fresh as a daisy "Hey, it's going to be fine!" look on Brent and Jade. A wedding is a freakin huge ordeal and I've never seen a bride or groom who wasn't pretty well beat by the end of it. They seem awful chipper to have had so much stuff blow up at their wedding.

Zack said...

I haven't really enjoyed this entire wedding arc. Felt way too long and way too much stuff going on for the span of like 2 days? With Jade's parents coming in and throwing everything for a loop and skull leaving and marci and francis and wow thats a lot of shit to take in for a few days. Save the drama for your momma.

I agree that all the adults at PVP have big problems. I was expecting Brent to give a high five to Francis at least and then maybe utter a word of warning, but they all just came across as a bunch of prudes. Honestly I feel the comic has taken a step back in the last month or so. So many of these characters reactions feel contrived and predictable.

And I know this has been said a thousand times before, but this used to be a great gaming strip and its really de-evolved since then.

Anonymous said...

The thing that I find a bit off about Scott's stance, is that 16 is the age most people do have sex for the first time, and you're not really a kid anymore.

In the UK for example, the age of consent is 16, you leave highschool at 16, you can join the army at 16 (although you won't get deployed until you're 18).

I don't think he is giving teenagers any credit, especially nerdy responsible ones like Francis and Marcie are meant to be.

Zaymin said...

I can't recall in the world of the comic, but do Francis and Marcy have parents? Why would Cole be "dealing" with "it"?

Maybe from a professional standpoint...

fox said...

Scott's CAD Makes Me Sad

Much better than the original. If only Tim took this direction with the comic.

Tim M said...

I've really been enjoying PvP, since this storyline it hasn't let me down in quite a while, but now...

The adults' reaction to Francis and Marcy made me wince, but oh well, I have to admit it's in character for at least Cole and Jade, and the "complimentary bowl of condoms" bit was funny. Robbie's shutting down the party didn't bother me - I thought he had the right to be upset given the circumstances (nobody's acting grateful for what he's done here).

But man, with the strip that mentions niagra falls first... how is Brent suddenly over Skull's departure after he made such a scene and was the angriest we've ever seen him? How is "this" all for Cole to "handle"? What the fuck just happened to the character development that just happened? "Despite everything, I wouldn't change a thing about today"? That cliché-tastic third panel that reduces some of PvP's most emotional moments ever to so much fluff? Hell, Brent is smiling in that panel. WTF. I can understand trying to put a "happy face" on things, but I don't buy it, the way it's presented here.

I don't even know if I feel like reading PvP anymore. I guess I'll keep giving it a chance, but man. It was close there to having a storyline that hit all the marks. Too bad.

Jai said...

I don't get it. Does Mr. Kurtz think Francis and Marcy are 16, or are they going to community college now (Per May 28th's Ding!)? Honestly, I don't know what age they were BEFORE the "level up", so I'm not sure where +3 years puts them. Or is he referencing how they weren't "of age" until AFTER they porked? That's really weird, since the instant +3 years of age apiece seemed like an obvious retcon to me, a way to explain their new, fitting appearances and pretend that they've been aging quasi-normally. The rest of the PVP cast has yet to refer to Francis and Marcy's new look, and apparently never will. Hell, those two would still look like their old selves if they hadn't had sex. I'm totally surprised Mr. Kurtz went ahead with that plot device and this storyline if he's so obviously uncomfortable with every idea behind it - even the logical one that adults of consenting age have, you know, SEX. Woah.

And since his main men in PVP - Brent and Cole - tend to lean towards his own viewpoint, Marcy and Francis are being criticized very harshly by people who are not their parents for what seems like absolutely no reason. My reaction to Francis' blurted "WE HAD SEX" would have been, "Augh, for fuck's sake, keep it to yourself! Did you really need to share that?" not "OH BOY ARE YOU IN TROUBLE NOW FOR REASONS OBVIOUS TO ONLY ME AND COLE HERE".

Anonymous said...

It can't be easy for Scott when there's so much going on at the same time.

- Cole is having marriage problems.

- Jade's mum isnt keen on Brent.

- Skull's gone

- Francis and Marcy have evolved after losing their virginity

- Robbie isn't happy

and Brent and Jade are on their honeymoon avoiding all of this.

It's friday right? Bring on Monday please!

TheOriginalJes said...

To sage: But, it just isn't a party without divine intervention (or a severe acid trip). ;D

To nobody in particular: re: Marcy and Francis (adults being upset ala SK)

They may be young, but they work in an adult, sex-charged (Thanks, Miranda) environment. It's only natural that something happen to each (or both) of them eventually.

Co-workers expect that sort of stuff. At least, when the environment is informal/casual, as it is at PVP magazine.

And, I don't see Francis picking up a hot MILF anytime soon. So, guess who's left for Francis?

I'm glad SK has some strong feelings on the subject. His heart is in the right place. But, how he couldn't understand our reactions, I just don't get.

To SK: re: your nephew's lack of understanding about STD's and BJ's -

That's a bad parenting issue, any way you slice it. Schools can offer education. But the parents are responsible to make sure it's accepted and utilized by the kid.

And, if the parents just assume that the child knows 'X' by a certain age, or that the child will approach them when the time comes; that's when it's too late. society and pier pressure have already made an impression. And the parents (even of good kids) are usually the last to know.

Anonymous said...

Re: age and adulthood.

I beg to differ. Most sixteen-year-olds I've met haven't been mature enough to drive, even though they're able to get their license (which, in my opinion, is laughably easy, considering you are being entrusted with the lives of others).

I've heard that a lot of people who had sex when they were a teenager regret it later. Now, I'm in no position to verify that. Let's just say I haven't met the right person yet. For me, it's not a question of abstinence, but what feels 'right'. If it's just physical, you can do that yourself, at NO risk whatsoever.

The Francis-Marcy thing has been frustrating on a number of accounts. At first, I couldn't believe that Marcy would let herself go as spontaneously as she did, just because she was upset. Then, Kurtz implied that it wasn't going to be a big deal, and just sort of left ambiguous. That's fine. But then, there's the whole 'Level-Up' thing, which is sort of like saying "Woo! They had sex!" And afterward, Kurtz gets all flustered when we talk about teenagers having sex.

Let's try a dramatic reversal. If Francis had been the one to break down, and turn to Marcy for comfort, going so far as to make a physical advance, would it have felt right to you?

Seejak said...

I have to say, whether or not Scott is being consistent with his characters he certainly seems able to pick a controversial topic :D

Anyway, anon said:
"But I blather- the reason I hated today's strip was Brent going "And its obvious Robbie has some issues. . . " No, sorry, but no matter how much Scott wants Robbie's reaction to be symptomatic of having issues- his was the most reasonable and understandable reaction there. His only "issues" were the entirely childish and selfish behavior of everyone else there- and that is hardly a bad thing." I think when Brent said "and I think Robbie has some issues too" he was refering to the way he completely crashed the wedding reception (which seemed pretty extreme).

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