2014-12-29

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1466 - PHONE CHECKING


I wonder which of the XKCD phones she's using to check the website.

This is one of those weird cases where I thought it was funny before realizing I'd misinterpreting it. I read the "Site's down."/"Weird." exchange in the last panel to mean that the site was actually a prank of some kind designed to mess with the type of pricks that are aware of their flaws but don't do anything about them. However, the alt-text and explainxkcd both contradict this.

The actual joke is that the site is down because it's overloaded, and all of the compulsive phone-checkers were keeping it down by refreshing so much, which is actually kind of clever. Once again, XKCD's insistence on expecting the reader to imply a large portion of the joke causes the joke to fail. A simple caption below the bottom panel "due to the amount of people refreshing, the site wouldn't come online until two hours later", etc, would work fine in getting the punchline across.

It's a point in Randy's favor that he shows the two people meeting up in the first panel, it makes the conversation seem a lot more natural than his usual material. The point may have to be taken away for the phone's teleportation in and out of frame.

2014-12-27

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1463-1465 - "Week of December 26th, 2014"

Hello everyone and welcome back to XKCD Isn't Funny after my impromptu Christmas vacation. And since, as of writing, it is the day after Christmas, I'd like to say thank you to all my readers for putting up with me for a year. I'd also like to thank Randall Munroe for giving me a place to carve my own little niche in the Internet. Thanks, readers. Thanks, Randy.


This is a comic that I actually had to think about why I didn't find it funny, which... I guess is a plus? This comic doesn't work because it's just too simple, it's just two (or three, depending on how you read it) people being stupid. That's not funny just by itself, there needs to be a context for it. A guy throwing butter out the window isn't a joke, it needs to be clarified that he wants to see a butterfly.

 
I really like that this comic has a raison d'etre, to use a phrase that's more pretentious than is really required by the situation. It's Christmas, here's a Christmas-based joke. The issue I have with this comic is that, as a hypothesis, the idea behind the last panel is flawed. If Santa Claus is indeed evacuating himself in our houses, what's stopping him from flushing?
 
Here's an idea for an alternate (better) punchline: they discuss the overall economic effects of Santa's flushing. Think about it! Santa flushes every, say, hundredth house. There are roughly 125 million (inhabited) houses in the U.S., which means that Santa would be flushing 1,250,000 times in America alone. The average cost of a toilet flush is 6/10ths of a cent, which means that every Christmas, Santa's been using up $7500 of hard-earned American money (more as we go back in time and toilets get less efficient).
 
Anyway, from this review I've learned it's really easy to mistype "Santa" as "Satan".
 
 
It's mildly interesting to me that this is the second time I've done a week's worth of reviews in one post (which isn't going to become the new standard, if anyone was worried) and both times end with an XKCD PHONE.
 
XKCD PHONE 2 is definitely an improvement over the first, with a semi-decent pun and an actually-pretty-clever intentionally stupid marketing slogan. However, most of my criticisms of the first still stand, such as the inherent lameness of the joke: "imagine if a phone was terrible".
 
At least the wall of alt-text is gone.

2014-12-22

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1462 - BLIND TRIALS


I like this one, a lot, actually. The mental image of someone getting sugar pills and thinking they're having sex is just inherently hilarious to me (although it's even better in reverse). So maybe he could have done a little more to bring that image out, but really this is fine. If I had to make a criticism, it'd be one I've had about all his comics about someone giving a public speech: I wish that we could see the audience. I wish it felt more like an important speech. The disonance between the dramatic setup and the absurdity of the joke would make the joke funnier.

2014-12-19

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1461 - PAYLOADS


I feel like I shouldn't even be touching this one, I have so little to say about it. Infographic comics in general are always a pain since I'm a "comedy" "reviewer" (those quotes are there to let you know to read them in the loosest sense possible) and infographics aren't even trying to be comedy.

Aren't horses kindof a crap unit of measurement? It doesn't specify if it's the average horse weight or anything, that seems like it should be more clear.

Really, that's my only issue with this, taking it purely as a piece of information. I can't even criticise it for being another thing Randy can hawk on his store: I'd sell out in a heartbeat if I could and I'm not going to be a hypocrite.

2014-12-18

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1460 - SMFW


Those of you following my twitter feed (those who aren't, I honestly don't blame you) are aware that I've been sick for the past few days. On Monday, when this comic went up, I was running a fever of 103.

And let me tell you: When I'm out of your mind on fever and all the perscription medication I could get my hands on, this shit is hilarious. I must have laughed for like, a solid minute at this. I also forgot to take off my socks before getting into the shower.

It's weird seeing this comic again in such a different mindset. I don't even remember why it was funny, just that it was.

As it is, I see what the point was supposed to be, but I just really don't see why this wasn't immediately scrapped. It's just really lame, with the picture serving no purpose but to make it count as a comic.

I think my issue is that the only way to tell if an acronym makes sense is to see the full phrase it represents. In this comic we only see the minimized version.

By the way I'm still working off the last of my symptoms so if this review sucks it's still not my fault.

2014-12-14

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1459 - DOCUMENTS


I'm sick today, that type of sick where it hurts to move and you can feel the fluids moving around as you tilt your head. I feel like I still have my full cognative functions, but it's entirely possible that this review will just be the bleary ramblings of a madman, in which case I'll redo this tomorrow.


Sometimes I'll read explainxkcd and I just have to wonder if it's the fans that are writing it or if it's actually some kind of giant redux of xkcdexplained. Here's a direct quote from today's page:

"When first saving a document, many programs will default to "Untitled", adding numbers to the end as more are created. However, in Microsoft Word the default filename is the first sentence of the document; if the document is still empty, the default filename is "Doc1" with the number increasing each time. In order to get such a file directory, White Hat would have to manually title all of his documents "Untitled"."

also:

"Note that when performing this type of copying on Windows 7, the new file is named "<original name>_2", not "Copy of <original name>"."


What I think this comic was supposed to be was a kind of self parody that just crashed and burned, or rather, never got off the ground to start with. That's the only explanation I can think of for how Randy could get a simple thing like how default file names are created.

Really, this comic is basically #763 over again, but even worse.

2014-12-11

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1457 - SMALL MOON


I had to ask my friend for help with this one. Rough quote incoming:
"I don't know, man, it's just kinda there. I mean, I get it -or at least I think I do, but..."
and I am inclined to agree. I'm aware that the above sentence is an extremely vague piece of criticism, but I think it does stand.

There's an amorphous concept that I've come up with that I'm not sure exactly how to describe. It's more or less "some things are just inherently better or worse than other things". Even the best XKCD comic can't compete with an entire Ross Noble routine, and I could do the best possible cover of "Weasels Ripped My Flesh", but it could never be better than "Comfortably Numb".

In other words, this is a well presented, well executed comic that simply doesn't have a strong enough foundation. That might be my personal preference or anti-XKCD bias seeping through, but-

Oh, wait, I do have one genuine criticism: "Screw you." is an unnecessary addition that takes the focus away from the actual punchline, which might be what creates the "just kinda there" feeling, when the joke suddenly defocuses at the end.

2014-12-09

XKCD Is Poorly Executed - #1457 - FEEDBACK


I've got pretty simple feelings relating to this one: decent idea, could have been executed better. And considering I've been feeling that way about a lot of comics lately, maybe my blog should be called "XKCD Is Poorly Executed", but that'd be far harder to brand, so just this one post for now.

I could see this joke being presented really well: we could see the full process behind picking up the pineapple and slowly coming to the belief that the pineapple holds the wifi somehow, and then after a longer buildup we find out the wifi is just randomly varying.

As it stands, this comic isn't really bad, but I feel like the pineapple is just a bit of "lol, random" rather than something that was actually thought about as part of the joke.

There's also a problem with the caption. "can make you crazy" just reads weirdly to me, like "I can drive you their house."

In conclusion, I watched Silence of the Lambs the other day and it was awesome, 10/10 would recommend.

2014-12-06

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1456 - ON THE MOON


I feel like I need a tag for these comics where there are two people just walking and talking, or just standing and talking. It just seems like a lazy way to format a joke, it's one step above a text only transcript. I'm not saying that every joke has to have a huge shaggy dog -style backstory to it, but I feel like Randy has this reliance on a very bland method of storytelling.

The pacing is even exactly the same as in #1345 (hey, that one also had three consecutive numbers in a row - maybe the similarity was intended?): Guy says something, girl 1-ups him, guy agrees because she's an abuser and he's too scared to argue, it's really sad actually.

This comic isn't the first time that Randy's complained about not sending people to the moon for a while, but the last time had a punchliney thing at the end, where this one just sortof trails off.

Let me show off my ignorance for a bit and make a slight counterargument that may indeed be completely wrong: we have been to the moon, we've proved that we can do it. Why would we go again, if going is the only purpose? Spaceships are expensive, if we're going someplace just to show how awesome we are, let's go somewhere new, like Mars.

If we go back to the moon, shouldn't we have a mission in mind other than 'get there'? For example: setting up a moon base so it's easier to travel to other planets and other moons in the future. Then we could set up bases there and spread throughout the universe, increasing the longevity of the race and allowing everyone to get a do-over on the whole 'enviorment' thing.

(please correct me if those last two paragraphs were just totally incorrect and I'm being a moron)

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1455 - TROLLEY PROBLEM


This is a pretty good comic! I think it's a nice use of Black Hat and the setup is done very well, just enough information to make the punchline work, but not too much where he's giving unnecessary information.

I do think it's really stupid how the desk and No Hat both completely disappear in panel 3, and how the newspaper is apparently fully rendered when that adds nothing to the joke.

Actually the newspaper being there was a nice touch, it makes No Hat have a reason for telling Black Hat, they just read about it in the newspaper. Still no reason to have it done in multicolors, though; unless if you get it hi-res it shows a full article announcing the release of Half Life 3 or something.

[Edit:] Since writing this review, I've been informed that No Hat is actually holding a tablet displaying this SMBC comic. To me, that comes off as essentially adding a caption saying "This is what I was inspired by". However, it does serve the exact same purpose as my newspaper assumption, except in a more specific way, so I am unable to justify docking points for that.

2014-12-04

XKCD Wasn't Funny - #609 - TAB EXPLOSION


Wow, I'd forgotten how big that comic was.

So! What we have here is a guy at a computer. For what appears to be twenty-two individually drawn panels, a guy is at a computer, which really does seem like a dig at the reader and other people like me who have nothing better to do than stay on the computer all day, but w/e.

At the end of this mass, which I am absolutely sure pretty much everyone just skims through because nothing happens, a guy is revealed to be looking at a website. The comic then hyperlinks to the website, thereby trapping you forever in the belly of the beast.

The reader is then actually left staring at the screen in confusion, either having heard of TV Tropes and therefore already having heard this joke because they have a whole page for it, or not having heard of TV Tropes and not getting the intended punchline.

What this comic is, is an ad. An ad for TV Tropes. If Randy had a tumblr instead of a website this would be a reblog of someone saying "Hey, just found out about this cool website called TV Tropes!".

Irregular Webcomic, which I pretty much consider XKCD but pretty decent most of the time, did this same thing in a not-terrible way: in the decription/rant under the comic, he'd link to TV Tropes every once in a while, sometimes with a little ">:D" type face, and that's really all that needed to be done. The joke everyone came to see stayed in the comic, and the link stayed in the description, with a little in joke that isn't worthy of actually being the point of coming to the site.

I'm going to say something that is apparently somewhat controversal: I like TV Tropes. Andrew does too, but he's busy making New Super Mario Bros Wii U 3 right now so you'll have to take my word for it.

TV Tropes definitely does have a creep factor going on, but let me tell you: It is amazing for finding new music. I wouldn't have heard some of my favorite artists (Mike Oldfield, Ayreon, Streetlight Manifesto, The Avalanches, Bomb the Music Industry!, Chumbawamba, Death Grips, entertainment for the braindead, [...]) if it wasn't for TV Tropes.

But even if TV Tropes was an undiluted stream of pure amazingness, I wouldn't give this comic a passing grade. Just like a standup comedian can't get away with saying "Wow, Frozen was a movie, wasn't it?", Randy can't get away with saying "Wow, TV Tropes is a website, isn't it?".

Also if anyone can think of a better name for this than "Classic Isn't Funny", please let me know.

2014-12-03

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1454 - DONE


More like "I am so DONE with Randall Munroe right now" if you ask me!

I really don't like how overwrought this entire comic is, when the joke boils down to another "I am taking this phrase literally" thing. There's a place for faux-drama, it's not when you're annoyed at a semi-common internet phrase.

We all know what this comic was inspired by. I recognize that kind of bitter sarcasm from all the times it's dribbled out of my mouth. Randy was looking at a video and, like an idiot, he read the comment section. He saw "That's it. Shut down the Internet. We're done." and instead of making a classic-Simpsons -style parody of the situation, he bitterly demeaned it.

And I am being a hypocrite here, because I have a bad habit of doing the same thing in conversations with my friends when I'm having a bad day or whatever, but I usually stop myself from posting anything like it (especially on here*).

But that's what really ruins this comic, the bitterness seeping through it: "So they did". I was going to say that it reminds me of Randy's "DO YOU GET IT?"-style political cartoons, when I realized that that's almost exactly what it is. The hairstyle of Katherine (for that is her name) is almost exactly like the girl from the horribly preachy #1370.

Also, does anyone else find it really anonying how ponytail walks in in panel five and abruptly disappears?



*although I did do something similar back on #1331 because I had just started and I AM A HACK I TELL YOU, A HACK.

2014-11-30

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1453 - FMRI


urgrrgaghhh

This is a good comic. It took me a second to get it once I'd read it but I think that was intentional and it works well.

I dislike how the poster/sheet/board is floating in place.

That's all I've got for this one.

2014-11-27

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1452 - JURASSIC WORLD


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody (who lives in America)! And before I get into the actual comic, let me just give you all some nice, [reference]-style asskissing and say that I'm thankful that I'm able to entertain you all with my insipid words.

The setup and punchline of this comic feel disconnected, like Randy was going to do something else and decided against it, or maybe the he thought of the punchline and setup separately, which would make sense considering that White Hat's namegiver disappears in the final panel (seriously, Randy, that's almost like a new level of lazy. It's one step over just ending the comic at two panels because you got bored drawing it).

Actually, why is White Hat here at all? White Hat's existence has pretty much always been as a strawman for Randy to stab, right? So why is he here in a faux-dramatic role?

This is a clear attempt at a bait and switch. What I would have done is used exact dialogue from the recently released trailer. I'd have also taken out Hair Girl to give the dialogue one tone. Because of her nitpicks on White Hat's monologue, the buildup/bait made weak and more comical, which takes away from the punchline being that all the dramatic buildup is to Green T-Rex.

Imagine a typical dubstep, you have the buildup and the drop*, just like a rollercoster. What makes it work is the difference between the softer beginning and the hard hitting middle. If the drop is almost the same level as the buildup, then it doesn't actually feel like a drop. If the faux-dramatic buildup is made fun of, the punchline doesn't feel like an unexpected left hook and the joke fails.

Also shouldn't Green T-Rex be in a cage or something else befitting a dangerous creature?



*Anyone preparing to correct me on what is or isn't "real" dubstep is encouraged to realize that I really just don't care that much.

2014-11-24

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1451 - BACKGROUND SCREENS


I actually do something kinda similar to this: when I'm watching anything animated I notice all the little animation shortcuts they use, like when they loop a bit of animation or they only animate the mouth and nothing else. Also I tend to notice certain kinds of camerawork in live action stuff for some reason, like when the camera will get close to an object so they can cut the scene in half but make it look like it's one shot.

The graph being used to express the setup in a clear way while the actual punchline is drawn out was a really good choice, although I imagine it'd get visually boring if that format was reused too many times in a short time-span. If it was just the graph then it wouldn't be a joke, and if it was just the drawing then it'd seem formless, but together they cancel out each others' flaws, rather like me and Andrew (who is currently nowhere to be found).

However, I feel like there could be more done with the punchline, more to keep it from feeling like GOOMHR (is my audience solidified enough that I can keep it initialized?) -bait. An extra line or dialogue or two could probably be squeezed in if the panel was wider or taller, nothing would even need to be redrawn.

Floorsit could say something like "No. This is more important than any movie could ever be. I have found my calling.", something really over the top and dramatic, and Chairdude could go to lock their bank account again, since they're probably married by now. Also Chairdude could get a better haircut, that could also happen, but probably not.

2014-11-21

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1450 - AI-BOX EXPERIMENT


I was listening to Mike Oldfield the other day when I suddenly realized how few Mike Oldfield references my blog has. Shortly after that, I came up with this opening paragraph. And that's where babies come from.

There are two main issues I have with this comic: the setup and the punchline.
That reads harsher than I intended it to, but I stand by it.

The setup is appreciated, since one of XKCD's most consistent flaws is its failure to tell you what the hell it's talking about, but it really doesn't explain the AI-Box Experiment well (which probably has to be done considering how short the wikipedia page currently is). Like, I got the concept that the AI could convince anyone to let it out of the box, but I didn't get that the laptop was there to communicate with it. My logic was that the AI was completely isolated in the box, with no way of communicating with the outside world since it would be too dangerous being free.

Also "the AI-Box Experiment" isn't the correct answer to "What's in there?", it should be "an AI. That laptop is there so we can talk to it. But don't because..." etc.

Panel six looks pretty impressive, but it's ruined for me by Black Hat saying "AAA! OK!!!" which is completely out of character for him, even ignoring the slow blurring of character traits that's happened over time. This is the guy who stole a Russian submarine, he's not going to be frightened off by a light show and some vocal effects.

Which brings me, more-or-less, to what I believe to be the biggest issue with this comic: the AI is supposed to be able to convince people to do anything, but instead it just shouts, not even making a threat. That's not convincing, that's throwing a tantrum. It ruins the punchline by making the AI different from what it's set up to be.

I have a final thought, but it's something I need to put a sort of disclaimer on.

I have to consider things before I post them, or else the blog just goes to mud. I have to try and keep up some veneer of professionalism (that's probably what leads to the 'I'm so smart' vibe that some people get from reading this). But there are some things that just need to be said, despite the immaturity involved in saying them. So, with that, allow me to shed any dignity I might have left and just say it: the AI looks like a butthole.

2014-11-19

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1449 - RED ROVER


This comic actually points out a real strength of XKCD: It's flexible. A lot of webcomics restrict themselves to strict four-panel setups or a specific pixel count, but not XKCD. It's willing to do stuff like this, messing with the format. The lifting of limits is what created TIME (and also any of the all-text comics but we're giving out praise right now so the next line is surprising).

However, it'd probably be a much more useful strength if it consistently had the jokes to back them up.

What this comic really needs is a deeper sense of contrast. I think what's supposed to be funny is that a massive geological process is being reduced down to a children's game, but we only get to ssee three little motion lines to repressent that massive geological process.

If we got a drawing of the Himalayas forming, really showing the earth changing from the incredible pressure and time, we'd have a point of comparison. Also while I'm dreaming, the continents should be chibified, SATW-style, and we should see them actually playing the game.

This comic just comes off like a geological history lesson.

2014-11-18

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1448 - QUESTION


Sometimes I do legitimately wonder about things, almost childlike for a few moments. What kinds of people live on those islands north of Russia? Will I ever be happy again? What would the color red taste like? (these are mostly shower thoughts) And sitting here, I do have to wonder about Randy's thought process as he made this comic.

First of all, he must have come up with the joke, which is actually a reference to an Isaac Asimov short story that I've yet to read, so I thought "Isaac" was a reference to the famous one. Y'know, the lumberjack-looking guy in Mother 3? Or, if you're more 'INDIE (Including Not-Dumb Information Existence', that guy who got hit with an apple that one time, who happens to currently be the first autofill result for "isaa".

Second, our boy Randy decided to keep the reference in, which alienated people like me who hadn't even heard of it, but that could be that the only pop culture I ever consume is a certain webcomic (cough Questionable Content cough).

And lastly, we have the bizarre choice of presentation, a drawing of a sheet of paper being the only thing preventing the comic from being straight-up text. (new tag: "could be a tweet").

It's my old problems with presentation taken to their extreme, when there is none. When the joke is dumped on us like it would have taken a crapton of effort to draw a stick figure talking to a simple drawing of a computer. The joke is rendered pointless behind a total lack of attempt to sell it to the audience.

The alt text was pretty good though.

2014-11-15

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1447 - META-ANALYSIS


It's been a while since I've seen meta humor, but that might just be because XKCD is really the only webcomic I still bother keeping up with on the regular.

This was fine as an idea, but I really dislike how it's been presented. I understand that it's supposed to be a paper, but was it really that hard to translate this to a dialogue?

(quick rough example dialogue)
Kevin: (checks mail) "Aw, damn, my paper got rejected."
Sasha: "Which one?"
Kevin: "Y'know how people have made meta-meta-analyses on meta-analyses? I made a meta-meta-meta analyses on those meta-meta-analyses."
Sasha: "Well, at least you're the first person to get a paper rejected with the comment 'Too meta'."

Really the only thing that actually bothers me about this comic is the word "meta" is used too much. A lack of varied vocabulary creates a greater sense of repetition in a reading, which makes the sentences come off as stiffer. However, that was unavoidable in this instance without changing the joke, so I guess I can let it slide. Even I'm not demanding enough to ask Randy to scrap any idea that isn't perfect.


The other day I lost a reader because I was neutral on #gamergate, and (without getting into any debates here) that was incredibly weird to me. Not that someone wouldn't want to support someone that didn't condemn what they saw as dispicable, but that they considered me someone who was at one point worthy of supporting.

Like... I'm not any kind of spokesperson. My claims to fame amount to mildly harrassing a webcomic and getting retweeted by Dara O Briain that one time. Reading this blog isn't giving me power over the minds of millions, it's looking at reactionary hack writing done by a random guy who saw there was an audience and thought serving that audience was something worth doing.

(although if anyone does want to actually support me in any way for some reason, it would be totally hype of you to buy one of my albums over at my bandcamp)

2014-11-14

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1446 - LANDING


Much like yesterday's episode, this comic is derivative of two better comics, but this time the scale's been stepped up. If you go to the off-site player (which for some reason doesn't seem to work on Internet Explorer), you'll see that this is none other than a mini-TIME, filtered through a #695 lens.

I'm not that great at HARDCORE ANALYSIS of big things, so forgive me if I don't get too in-depth here.

Now, TIME won a Hugo award and has a big thread and a religion, it's Randy's magnum opus, and with good reason. Also people who probably think lifetime movies are emotional and dramatic are still banging on about #695 from time to time. It really isn't suprising that Randy would attempt to follow up on his best work and that other one.

However, I feel, philosophically, that this is a step backwards. Like an underground artist that suddenly had a top forty hit, Randy was faced with two (main) choices: Continue to grow, expand, and be awesome, a la Chumbawamba and Semisonic; or do exactly the same thing over again and hope the same success comes along, a la a bunch of bands no one cares about because they kept doing the same thing over again and over again and over again (over and over and over and over again).

To quote my beloved Bomb the Music Industry: "There's nothing new about the old sound regardless of what you say. The world is looking on like 'Really, again? Okay, okay..'". And while there have been the inevitable gifs on tumblr and there is a sizable thousand replies currently on the thread post, this comic is missing some key factors that made TIME so big and new and cool. The image upload time was changed from a half hour to five minutes and the total story length was shortened from 3,099 pages to 142. It also, obviously, isn't the first time he's done this. TIME was really neat because it was something that had simply never been done before. Thus it was impossible for this comic to work up the suspense that TIME had that caused all the theorizing and stuff that (I am told) went on in the TIME thread.

The actual story? It's alright, I guess. Not much of an attempt at being funny other than that the comet lander talks like Beret Guy sometimes and there's a bit with the president that doesn't really work. I don't like the 'Worry' bits toward the end, just because it seems to me that people at NASA (kNown for lAunching Stuff into spAce) would have a pretty good idea of what they're doing. But then, Randy would know better than me on that one. ;)

That winky face was completely unnecessary and I apologize.

I'm probably being harsher than I should be on this, it had some interesting visuals and it obviously took some work, but I really can't help feeling like this is just Randy's best work... but smaller, less impressive, and not surprising anymore.

2014-11-12

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1445 - EFFICIENCY


Quick announcement: XKCD Isn't Funny is taking its own advice and getting an editor, Andrew Colanininero, whom I previously worked for on Cubified, the free game available through Desura. Posts will continue to be written in what I have been told repeatedly is first person, but they'll hopefully be, y'know, better.

However, since Andrew is a busy man working for Nintendo, Sega, and Microsoft at the same time, he may not be able to edit through all of my crap. Posts that we've both worked on will be tagged "Andrew and Greg" and posts with only one author will be tagged with "Greg" (or "Andrew" if he decides to fly solo for a bit).

Regardless! This comic sucks! Linkara! It takes two common XKCD bad habits and slams them together, like peanut butter and jelly only evil. This isn't just a graph joke, presenting a concept in it's blandest and therefore least funny form, this is also Get Out Of My Head Randy -bait. I looked through the forums to find examples of people saying how much they related to this comic so I could feel superior, but they're mostly debating other efficiency theories.

However, one astute poster helpfully pointed out that just #974 and #1205, which really just makes my job easier.

Since #1205 was already just an infographic version of #974, this is a distillation of a non joke version of a comic which already had issues. It's like if someone listened to Chumbawamba's cover of "Her Majesty" and decided to make a ten second version. There's a core good idea there, but it's been resculpted and then cut into forths, failing to live up to the original or the reinterpretation.

2014-11-10

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1444 - CLOUD


...
 
 

 
It's probably a little hypocritical to start this review off with a joke that maybe two people will get, but I'll make it up by including other stuff, like the actual review that people expect to see.

It seems like just yesterday that Randy was educating all over our eager, willing faces about how hard it is to make a computer identify what the subject of an image is. And now we're expected to believe that Google could make a program that instantly identifies what something looks like. I wonder how many XKCDs I could theoretically review just by replying with another XKCD.

Does that totally ruin the punchline? No, but the punchline wasn't that great to begin with anyway. It's essentially only a taking-something-literally joke. And there's an extra "keep trying, Google" just clinging on like I desperately cling to relevance.

2014-11-07

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1443 - LANGUAGE NERD


This is an alright joke. I can't really criticise it purely on the humor. It's not excellent, it's not bad, this is the first time I've seen the phrase "language nerd" but this comic doesn't need language nerdity to be a huge cultureal phenomenon to work. It's fine. It's not memorable, it's not terrible, it's fine.

Instead I'd like to point something out, look at the girl. She's talking, and the guy doesn't respond. So he's essentially there as a prop or decoration, to keep the comic from just being Girl talking directly to the audience. And Girl is really only there as a mouthpiece for Randy. This comic is basically a tweet.

Sometimes I wonder, vaguely, what XKCD would be like if it had started after Twitter and tumblr had got (gotten?) going. Like, What-if Randy had started a tumblr to put all his stuff in instead of starting his own website?

2014-11-03

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1442 - CHEMISTRY


I'm not going to lie and say the idea isn't fairly clever, because it actually is, unless it turns out that Randy copied this from an old SMBC I've forgotten about.

However, what this comic has in original ideas, it completely loses in presentation and overal performance, much like Arcade Fire. (Runners up for datsik burn include Beyond: Two Souls, Ireland, and 'that one anime with the people and the magic')

To quote Brandon Sides' rather insightful comment on my review of #1400: "People don't like to read their comics in the form of bullet points, just like no one wants comedians explaining each of their jokes on a separate powerpoint slide.".

The comic's content wouldn't even have to be changed to give it that necessary context, just take the faux-lesson a step further. Instead of presenting the idea to the audience, have a teacher lecturing a classroom. Then just add some basic dialogue to give the comic some life, which could lead right into the "typographic chemistry" punchline.

2014-11-01

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1441 - TURNABOUT


Aww, damnit. The streak of XKCDs-That-Are-Good (XTAG) has come to an end. Once again, I must raise the ritual dagger and send the stillborn comic up to the great webpage in the sky.

When was the last time we had a multi-row comic? I feel like it's been a while, the only one I can recall off the top of my head is #1337. I really feel like this one would have been a lot stronger if the dramatic shootout had just been a bit more protracted.

The shootout definitely could have used more detail though, in the first panel the guy (let's tall him "Top") looks like he's being hit, a quick depth job would have fixed that right up. And in the fourth panel, it looks weird with the other guy (let's call him "Bottom") splayed out on the ground when Top is still 'flat'.

Although the punchline isn't as bad as it could have been, since you do get a vague idea of what the apollo retroreflectors are from how the beam comes back (it's some kind of space mirror, obviously). On the other hand, it would have been pretty awkward to cram an explanation about them into a gun battle.

I feel like this is something that would need a whole action movie of setup to pay off properly, like this is the final climatic face off between Top and Bottom, all their friends are dead, Top is about to win, when suddenly Bottom remembers the moon mirros that Scientist had briefly mentioned at the begining of the film and fires upward, letting him win the fight.

To be honest, what we've got here is just too dramatic. The punchline really can't be made funny without a completely different setup, like if the above hypothetical scene was being parodied by another movie and the two spies ran into a carnival house of mirrors.

I want it to be noted that I'd actually learned about the Apollo Retroreflectors before reading this comic, but I didn't make the connection until I read the comic a second time. It's obviously my own issue, but I suspect I'm not the only person who files that information under "those mirrors on the moon" rather than "Apollo Retroreflectors".

Also, didn't Mulan do this, but with a firework and an avalanche?

2014-10-31

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1440 - GEESE


We are currently on the fourth XKCD-I-think-is-good (XITIG) in a row.

This is basically the same idea as #1405, which wasn't even that long ago. However, I'm actually going to let that go, since the joke is improved here. My issue with #1405 has been resolved, we do get to see the confusion of the troll-ed. And what I think might be my most common criticism, a lack of proper setup, is totally taken care of.

Combining that with the added punchline "Or I was, long ago..." -which is actually a really nice, clever touch- I'm taking this comic as hard proof that Randy is not only reading these but also taking everything I say to heart. So, Mr. Munroe, now that we are essentially business partners, you can start by sending me weekly fifty dollar payments for my consulting work.

And I triple dog dare you to make a good, cleansing self depricational joke on Monday.

2014-10-27

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1439 - RACK UNIT


This is the third comic in a row which I've liked or mostly liked, which my paranoid brain interprets as undeniable proof that Randy is actually listening to every piece of criticism I level at him. Which gives me an interesting question that I hadn't really truly deeply considered until now:

What if XKCD really does become regularly funny, like I've hoped?

Do I just go through the archives as "XKCDWasntFunny.blogspot.com"? Do I switch to a new webcomic? Would it be the final end of the great era of XKCD hate, like the ends of True Capitalist, Saturday morning cartoons, or The Beatles? Will the community simply dissolve, no longer bound by even my meager offerings, never again to heap praise upon my brilliant reviews and accidental puns?

I could probably keep going for a bit if XKCD really did start being consistantly funny, like the once a week when a comic was kinda crap, I could post about it, but what would really be the point. "Comedian can't always be hilarious and is sometimes only chuckle-worthy".

I mean look! That's a really good use of Black Hat, right there! Megan's resigned attitude works for the joke (mostly)! She's actually sitting on the chair for crying out loud!

Like, if XKCD becomes truly great, than I'm going to be sincerely happy, but it's going to have a bite to it. Because I legitimately enjoy writing these, I put some music on, get out a can of coke, run a draft, post, update on twitter, the next day I get home I read the comments. Lovely.

If this blog ends, I go back to my music and probably bring back my old dramatic readings, scraping by on three views a week and a comment every two months. I fade away into history, all my reviews condensed along with all the other XKCD hate blogs into a footnote in Randall Munroe's autobiography. Xeroxing Killer Cabbage Documents, I imagine it will be called. Peripubescent lying smucks won't even be considered for inclusion.

But even if that happens, I think it'll be a little while. After all, Randy's still enough of a prick to keep
up for almost two months after the book actually came out.

You don't see me putting up a special bulletin everytime I make a new song or compose the soundtrack to a free video game.

2014-10-25

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1438 - HOUSTON


I like this comic a lot. And I'm torn, because I don't want to post just "I like this comic a lot." and be done with it, but I also don't want to explain a good joke. Jimmy Carr once said on an episode of QI, "Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. Nobody's that interested and the frog dies."

Quoth Wikipedia:


Wait! I do have one nitpick, I've found one! In the second (and to a lesser extent, third) panel, there should be a little background to give the sense that it is actually mission control, providing more juxtaposition between the casual nature of Houston and the formal science that we expect.

Phew, for a second there I thought I was out of a job.

2014-10-22

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1437 - HIGGS BOSON


I could have sworn the title "Higgs Boson" had already been used already, but apparently not.

This is one of those comics that I feel awkward about criticising, because I like it, but it could still be a liiittle better with just a few tiiiiiny changes (you can't see it, but I'm doing the 'almost touching your thumb and forefinger' thing).

Honestly the thing I'm bothered most about is that the microphone is only drawn in the first panel, which, seriously, that wouldn't have been any effort at all to draw it in the other panels.

The dialogue for the two Request People is actually done pretty well, I think. It reminds me of Fobbies Are Borange a little. I'd have gone with a different phrase than "This is embarrassing", but I'm 83% sure that it's just personal preference on that.

On the other hand, the Big Voice comes off as forced, like (to use a more insulting comparison than is strictly necessary) a toddler trying to impersonate his parents telling him to go to bed. The repetitive phrasing of "Tell us..." / "Don't tell us..." is also something that should have just not been done.

But all in all, this was a good comic that was timed pretty well. Most people probably vaguely remember the Higgs Boson being discovered that year or two ago, so it's not too early to be jumping the gun and it's not too late to be too esoteric.

Full confession: Whenever I give a positive review to a comic I worry that it actually completely sucks and I've had a terrible sense of humor this whole time.

2014-10-21

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1436 - ORB HAMMER


"Orb Hammer" sounds like the name of a really pretentious trance band.

I check explainxkcd after reading every comic, just to make sure I didn't completely misinterpret things. There's a quote from the article on this comic:

"The idea of using simple language in highly technical fields began with 547: Simple and was revisited in 722: Computer Problems and 1133: Up Goer Five. [...] The idea of using simple language to create humour highlighting the absurdity of normal activities has previously been explored with 203: Hallucinations."

Not to do your job for you, explainxkcd, but you missed #444 with that last bit.

Anyway, I can appreciate this style of humor. As with It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, I can see why people would enjoy it, it's just not my thing. It's like those people that like to be disemboweled. I see what you're going for, but not for me.

The only thing I don't understand is why he'd reuse it after doing #1133. I mean, that's pretty much the highest you can go with this specific concept, isn't it?

I also think the phrasiology isn't done as well as it should be. The goal of what TV Tropes might call a "Reverse Expospeak Gag" is to get the reader to look back and go "Ohhh, that's what he's talking about."*, more or less. But here, I think that the wording was pushed a little too far into absurdity. For example, there's no "going to the moon" bit, but there is a "going back".

Y'know, some people say that you're never going to need debating skills in real life (I assume some people say that, I've never actually met any of them or anything) but the other day I was trash talking Roger Waters to my friends and this lady walks up and starts engaging me! What has the world come to when people have to 'defend' and 'argue' their positions like a bunch of proctologists?


*My favorite way of doing that remains the: "You consumed too much food matter? / Yeah, and I ate too much too." way, but that doesn't have any catchy shorthand, so I can see why it's not the path that Randy chose here.

2014-10-18

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1435 - PRESIDENTAL ALERT

`I feel like this joke has been done before but I can't actually think of any examples.

Assuming this joke is actually original, it's not executed very well. It should be more obvious from the start that the president hit the button by accident (I think the way he doesn't have his hands on the desk in the second panel is supposed to be doing this, but if it is it's way too subtle).

This might be my personal humor preferences bleeding through, but wouldn't it be alot funnier if the president was desperately trying to pretend he meant to press the button? I do like the "I didn't realize what this button did", but the two ideas are sortof mutually exclusive, unless Randy made it into another multipart thing and the president was explaining things to someone after the alert ended. That's probably too sitcommy, but I bet it could still be pulled off pretty well.

The comic also ends pretty abruptly, doesn't it? We don't even see the TV going back to the Jersey Shore documentary the president so rudely interupted. It's like he just wrote up a script and couldn't think of a good ending so he just let it

2014-10-16

XKCD Varies In Quality - #1434 - WHERE DO BIRDS GO


I'm starting to regret putting the title of the comic in all caps in my header thing, it looks like I'm just shouting out "WHERE DO BIRDS GO"

...almost like this comic said everyone was. Clever girl.

This is going to be one of my more discussive posts, because I do like this comic.

I want to point out what Randy's done here: He's done a full, almost SMBC-esque, buildup, complete with multiple screenshots and honest to god pretty good art towards the end there. And those two things helped make the comic better.

XKCD doesn't have to have great art or a huge setup every day, but a common problem I have with XKCD is a lack of effort in a certain part.

As corny as it sounds, this is the type of comic that makes me think that someday this blog won't have any reason to exist, because XKCD will be regularly funny.

2014-10-13

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1433 - LIGHTSABER


Well, at least it wasn't the fleshlight one again.

For a while I honestly thought that learning lightsabers weren't possible was just one of those growing up milestones you have to pass. Learning to use the toilet, learning to ride a bike, learning not to tell anyone what your cousin showed you in the basement that one time, learning lightsabers couldn't work, etc.

But that is projecting my own knowledge sphere onto my dear readers (all ten of you) which is something I've criticized Randy for many a time, so let's just pretend that this is a completely original idea.

A lot of the problems I have with this comic are of the small "...but wait, wouldn't...?" nitpicky variety, but Dara O'Briain can do two hours of partially-improvised standup without a single joke failing on a technicality, so I'm going to go ahead and be a nitpicky prick anyway.

So I read through this comic and my first reaction was to question why Luke just says "Doesn't." in the last panel. I appriciate the attempt at more natural sounding dialogue, but with only one word in four panels after we got seven in one in his last appearence, he comes off less 'casual' and more 'just got out of bed and hasn't fully woken up yet'.

My second reaction was: "But wait, wouldn't everything that happens in the first panel happen pretty much as soon as the lightsaber was powered on?" Maybe the two beat panels were just essential to the joke.

And while I'm complaining about extremely trivial things (Gee, that sure is a first for an XKCD hateblog, isn't it?), couldn't both the 'new lightsaber' jokes have been done with Anakin and Obi-Wan in the prequels without breaking continuity?


[EDIT:] Jhernimus Fredin on the twit has pointed out that this comic from a different place also exists. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it probably wasn't seen by Randy, but it does give an example of how this joke has been done before, and how this joke could have been done better.

2014-10-11

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1432 - THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT


At first I thought that this comic was serious, and I'm still keeping that as a possibility, but based on previous experiences with Randy's preachiness, he wouldn't acknowledge his own prickishness, and he absolutely wouldn't let his opposition have a valid point against him.

If we cut to the core of this attempt at a joke, we can see that it's just another 'delibrately misinterpret a common phrase' thing, which I have both praised and hated, depending on the presentation.

This one, I pan faster than a man in California in 1849 pans through a river filled with copies of Chinese Democracy. The phrase "For the sake of argument..." is almost always used as part of "...you're wrong, but let's pretend you're right about this one thing so I can tell you how you're wrong about the whole issue." Now that's a very vague and awkwardly phrased way of putting it, but it's 2:30AM right now and I think it gets the point across.

The thing about XKCD when it has these 'little conversation' comics is that they always start oddly. How the hell do two people get to "just for the sake of argument" when one person is being this intentionally dense?

When I first read this comic, my mind instantly went to those awful people that say we shouldn't say the word "moron" because it originally meant "someone with a mental age of eight to twelve". "Moron" and "For the sake of argument" have a meaning today, and picking on alternate meanings that don't actually exist in the normal use of them is the most pedantic and minute thing anyone could possibly complain about.

Sincerely, a guy who made a whole blog about how a webcomic isn't as funny as people think it is.

2014-10-09

Died In A Blogging Accident - LEAKED ENDING

If you've been keeping up with XKCD-SUCKS (which, if you're not, why aren't you, it's great) you're probably that our Jonnyboy has come down with a case of broken computer, and is unable to post more Died In A Blogging Accident until Christmas, which is by complete coincidence the one year annaversary of this blog.

However, in the same blog post he announced the reason for the unplanned hiatus, he mentioned offhand that he stores files in The Cloud. 8chan saw this and hacked him in mere seconds, sending the finished ending of Died In A Blogging Accident to me. This also gives me a convient thing to use as my hundredth post. So without further ado, I present:

Died In A Blogging Accident - Chapter 69 - Darkness



"No matter what happens now
I shouldn't be afraid
Because I know today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen."
—Radiohead


Rob Mason stood above his similarly-initialed counterpart. He was holding a sharpened plastic sword against Randall Munroe’s chest. Randy had started the fight with a similar blade, but it was currently stuff in a crater that had been left by a stray overvolted laptop battery.

“I… win.” Rob breathed, panting from the effort of the incredibly dramatic and entertaining battle that had just happened. “And soon,” he continued, “XKCD won’t suck anymore, for XKCD will be no more.”

It had been a long journey to this point, full of twists, turns, friends, enemies, celebrity cameos, and run-on sentences. Rob was almost sad to see it all end. Almost.

With a tempered glee, the blogger prepared to stab the webcomic artist through the heart. Randy didn’t say anything, instead racking his brain trying to think of a quotable one-liner.

The very air seemed to hold still as Rob drew his weapon back.

“Wait!” a lone voice cried out, not quite distant but not yet close either.

Both men turned their heads towards the source. It was a tall, unshaven male in a gray hoodie and jeans with dark, messy hair, making an awkward shuffle-run up the path to the summit of the mountain.

“Wait! Don’t kill him!” he yelled, a northeastern accent slurring the latter two words together.

After an awkward few seconds of stretching out the pause in the climatic death scene, Rob looked back at Randy, wondering if this was Mr. Munroe’s last resource. But Randy looked just as confused as he did.

In another thirty seconds, the unkempt surprise had reached the circle that had been the battleground for the last three chapters.

“It doesn’t have to be like this.” he said, pausing between words to breathe, heavier than would have been expected.

The two men looked back and forth between the newcomer and each other, their previous characterization melting a little.

“XKCD isn’t funny, that’s true.” The stranger began, stepping over and around the vestiges of battle. “But that doesn’t mean it can’t be. Randy, you’ve come up with some really, really good comics this last month. I just want to see that happen more often.”

The aforementioned ex-NASA employee slowly reached up with an uncertain hand to push the sharpened plastic sword aside. Rob let him. After a moment, the three were standing in a triangular formation within the larger circle.


Several weeks later, XKCD’s new editor had just woken up and was sitting down to read through a small stack of drafts. He wrote up his criticism and revisions, in a slightly kinder tone than usual, before sending them back to Randy.

The artist of the internet’s most popular webcomic checked his email, noting the changes and arriving at a happy medium that would again be sure to please his readers, old and new. Below his editor’s email there was another list of t-shirt orders, enough to pay everyone’s rent for another month. He smiled contentedly and set out drawing the first figure of his next comic – making sure to connect the head to the torso.

XKCD was funny again.

2014-10-08

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1431 - MARRIAGE


In which Randall Munroe, author of the acclaimed webcomic XKCD, takes a break from being funny to take a stand for gay marriage. He's very brave to do that in this day and age, I'm sure he lost a lot of readers over it.

The worst movie I've ever sat all the way through was The Lorax Movie. Back when all my internet content was done through YouTube, I even had plans to do a full deconstruction of it, every second of footage played before being torn apart. This was also back when I had literally all the free time in the world. (Years later, The Nostalgia Critic would do a more abridged deconstruction, but sadly this was after his weird reboot thing, so the skits had taken almost everything over.

I don't hate The Lorax Movie because it offended my sensibilities, although it did. Nor do I hate it because it defiled a great work, although it did. I hate it because it's 86 minutes of "Enviormentalism is good.". I knew that before I walked in, and I'd learned nothing new by the time I walked out.

There's a band some of my readers may have heard of called Chumbawamba, who are one of my favorite bands of all time. Now, Chumbawamba was an anarchist group, they make that pretty clear through their lyrics.

I'm going to be a big brave man and say something really controversial: Anarchy is stupid, for a multitude of reasons that would just further clog up this review were I to list them all. But I'm able to still enjoy Chumbawamba's songs because they have lots of clever melodies and well-done vocal harmonies and you should totally listen to them they're cool with people stealing their music go for it already.

If a standard Chumbawamba album was, say, seveny-two minutes of an old British guy mumbling about how much he hates capitalism, I probably wouldn't like them very much, because there's nothing there for me to enjoy along side the politics.

And I can appriciate a good political argument all by itself, but even if you lined up Jello Biafra on his best day next to Ross Noble on a bad one, I'm probably still going to pick Ross Noble as the more entertaining of the two, even though Jello may be making great points about the current copyright system that I could completely agree with.

As a closing thought, the forum chat about this comic is actually pretty interesting, with people pointing out factual errors and questioning why he'd chose to run this and all kinds of great stuff.

2014-10-07

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1430 - PROTEINS


The first thing that jumped to mind was FoldIt, but that's not directly important here, on a blog called "XKCD Wasn't Funny And Here Is Why".

I'm not sure, but I suspect that this is a preachy comic. I thought that was White Hat's job, whenever a preachy comic happens he gets droplifted in so we know that Randall Munroe didn't feel like being funny today. No such indicator in this comic, but it does appear the entire point of this comic is to start some kind of awareness campaign for the plight of protein fold predictor software makers. And if you ask me, the first thing they should do is come up with a catchier name for that job.

Also, didn't we have pretty much the same idea for a comic back in the far off time of five comics ago? I hope this isn't a new XKCD trend, just giving us perspective on how hard it is to work with computers.

2014-10-06

XKCD Isn’t Funny - #1428 & #1429: The Story Of The Two Great Lost Reviews


Back when I was an XKCD fan, I read XKCD a lot. That may sound like a redundancy, it’s really not, I didn’t just check XKCD every M/W/F, I’d hit the random button a few times, check Questionable Content, and then go back to XKCD, hit random again, and read through the archives a bit.
I wasn’t the most exciting person a few years ago.
It’s an unfortunate side effect of my status as an ex-XKCD fanboy that I can look at older XKCD comics, the ones I read time and time again previously, and I just have no opinion on them at all. I don’t find them funny, but I know I found (some of) them funny in the past, back when I also thought it was impressive I found a contradiction in The Bible.
I’ve tried to do reviews of older comics and I just couldn’t form an opinion one way or another. I’d read it so many times that it ceased to even mean anything. What was funny about it? Was it one of the ones that was supposed to be funny? Did I pretend to find it funny?
And I don’t know what it was about #1428 and #1429, but they both had that same effect on me almost instantly. Maybe I was just really sad through that week for whatever reason; I just had nothing at all, and I still don’t.

Which sucked more than it usually would, since I’d just promised to post something for every comic from then on.

My thoughts on #1428 pretty much got as far as “Well that doesn’t seem like something you should actually say in a job interview, I don’t think he would have been hired with that attitude.”, which is obviously taking the joke far too seriously (even for a blog like this), a post with that sentence as the sole idea behind it wouldn’t be anything worth reading.
The demons that live inside my skull managed to do a little more with #1429, I got a decent intro and a paragraph or two of content before realizing that although I was saying things, there wasn’t any kind of end point, there wasn’t any backing idea to it at all. And if there’s anything that producing content for the Internet has taught me, it’s not to say anything unless you’re absolutely prepared to defend what you say.

So. That’s the tale of how I didn’t update for almost an entire week. Two last things before I start working on my write-up of #1430:
1. There’s going to be something special for my one hundredth post. Possibly special in the short bus sense, but special nonetheless.
2. There’s going to be generally more variation in the content of this blog, although I’m not sure to what extent. I’m not going to start talking about other webcomics anytime soon, though.

2014-09-30

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1427 - IOS KEYBOARD


This is basically #1068 except for slightly better art and seven lame punchlines instead of one good one.

I'm also unaware of how the iOS keyboard handles dialogue, like did he just type in "And my" for the last panel or did he do the whole back and forth.

Allow me to break my unspoken "don't criticize the art" rule. I think a lot of the humor is supposed to come from the familar, dramatic characters saying silly things instead of what they're supposed to say. The problem is, the stick figure art doesn't do enough to tell us who we're looking at, we have to get it from what's left of the famous quote, which ruins the contrast.

But then, if he just took screenshots and imposed text over them, then it wouldn't be XKCD #1427. It'd be "decently funny tumblr post that probably gets reblogged by the-pietriachy #4206669".

In conclusion, meh.

2014-09-26

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1426 - REDUCE YOUR PAYMENTS


Gonna get the major issue out of the way first with this one: I don't get it because I don't know a lot about chemistry.

Now, whenever I make this criticism, an XKCD fan* will crawl out of the woodwork and yell at me for just being too stupid to understand the joke. To attempt to quote a comment by memory: "You don't get it... therefore it sucks?"

Look, I'm a pretty well educated guy, I've taken chemistry classes. I know the capital of Germany, I know all the French kings. And I too have jokes that completely baffle anyone I tell them to, because to get them you need to know the leaders of the U.S.S.R. or the history of Bionicle's development process. And when I noticed that no one was laughing at my hilarious "...and Putin is just Makuta in disguise again!" punchline, I stopped telling them unless I knew the person would get it.

It doesn't bother me that XKCD tries to be high level comedy, it bothers me that XKCD will switch between attempting to be high level and being Lowest Common Denominator trash.

More irritating is that this is just a pun on the multiple meanings of the word "reduce", which I'm absolutely positive could have been done without limiting the audience.

A last thought: Is this really something Black Hat would do? Is this menacing: Telling bad puns?


*I'm not trying to generalize XKCD fans here, the majority of comments I've gotten from XKCD fans have been well thought out and gave me valid criticisms that helped me improve my content. I have also gotten some incredibly stupid comments from XKCD fans, which are almost always funnier than the comics they're attempting to defend.

2014-09-25

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1425 - TASKS


I try to flesh these reviews out a bit, even with the small ones I try and elaborate on a point or add in a little joke or two to make them more interesting to read.

But that's going to be hard in cases like this, where my entire reaction is: "It is really understandable that computers can't recognize birds instantly.". It's not hard to explain at all. Birds are diverse in color, shape, and size, so a non-thinking machine can't (yet) look at something and go "Bird.", because computers can't reason.

This is supposed to be a 'witty observation' -type thing, right? See, the thing about those is when your observation turns out not to be true, the wit goes away.

2014-09-23

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1424 - EN GARDE


Sorry again for the late post, everyone. I don't even have an excuse this time. No "I had trouble forming an opinion on this one", or "I was busy with other, more immeadiately important things", or "I hate everything about myself and spend long periods of time crying on the floor" this time. Which is kinda sad, in an incredibly small, insignificant way, since this is actually a pretty good comic.

Good thing I was late, though. It gave me a really easy opening paragraph.

I do have an even more incredibly small quibble with the first panel, though. It should be "Okay." or "O.K.", not "OK". That's not even a grammar thing, that's just that whenever I see "OK" (or worse, "ok") I mentally read it as "ock" and get flashbacks back to my dramatic reading days. So that instantly goes my own personal bias board.

There's also the small asthetic issue of the little 'speech is coming out of something' lines around where the speech lines meet the masks. Are they really necessary in this circumstance? I can understand the logic of including them, but I don't agree with it. Yes, the sound of their voices is traveling through something, but that something is right next to their face and doesn't distort or muffle their voice in any noticible way. But like the above, that doesn't affect the joke in any real way.

It could definitely be argued that the last panel is just repeating the punchline, but I'd disagree. "I've been hurt before" is a different sentiment and idea than "I am on guard". The last panel could probably have a better second punchline, but what we've got here is a decent pun that hasn't been done to death with a well-done setup and conclusion.

Art's pretty repetitive, though.

2014-09-21

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1423 - CONVERSATION


I'm sorry that this post was late, guys, I really am. I just couldn't form any full opinion about this comic. It's just... weird, I can't find a better word to describe it.

So, two people are on some kind of date (wineglasses, oddly shaped chairs, magical vanishing candle, all standard). Guy asks Girl a causal 'getting to know you' question, Girl replies with something that may or may not be a joke. Girl leaves, that line is her entire set of conversational skills; it begs the question as to how they got to 'getting to know you', nevermind how they started dating.

Is this just another variation on 'I am so socially awkward'? If that's the case, I think Randy is doing something he doesn't often do: He's exaggerating a thing too much. There's a concept (that I don't have a clever shorthand for) where a bad writer will give a certain character overwhelming clumsiness in an attempt to make them look cute or to give them a flaw that doesn't actually affect anything. The problem is, writers that use this crutch lean on it so heavily that the character quickly stops looking cute and starts looking like they have a problem with their inner ear.

To quote The Pervocracy on similar phenomena:
I love scenes like this in books, because it plays as all sexually charged and stuff inside her head, but can you picture the scene from the outside? She's stammering and flustering and twitching because a cute guy shook her hand. It's less "lust at first sight" and more "do you need to lie down?"
Whatever.

2014-09-17

XKCD Isn't Awful - #1422 - MY PHONE IS DYING


As you can see in the now properly implemented tag system (and, y'know, the changed title), I think this is a "good comic". It's topical, accessable, and uses a nice subversion of expectations. If I wanted to, I could probably be really nitpicky and argue that the "sun cycle" should have been a little more blatant, but that's something I learned about in like, third grade or something.

Ugh, third grade. All the terrible memories just came rushing back. I had this really old teacher that really, really wished she could still use the ruler on us. She didn't let me sit with my legs crossed, she called home when I crossed my legs out of habit later in the day. A whole year of this. I actually spent more days sitting at The Bench than going out to recess, which I think explains why I'm as bitter and hateful as I am.

Speaking of bitter hate, the last panel loses me. It's just dragging out the punchline from panel three without adding anything. Well, there is "that would just make it run out faster!", but we already get that the joke is phones die and stars die, that has been established by this point. There's a difference between building on a punchline and repeating it, is what I'm saying.

2014-09-15

XKCD Isn't Funny - #421 - FUTURE SELF


The idea behind everything else in this comic is actually pretty solid. Imagine it, you're encountering a problem you haven't encountered in a while, you've been trying to figure out how to fix the problem all day, when suddenly you remember you left a note for yourself on how to fix it. Your heart filling with hope, you click on the word document... and your face just falls down as you read what amounts to "You can't fix it you moron. Start over."

I like how the joke was elaborated on a little, but I think the punchline would have been better served if the joke had been elaborated on in the opposite direction, the beginning rather than the end. The punchline would have a different, fuller, more multi-dimensional feel to it if there was a more obvious sense of disappointment from Chairsit Man.

Nevermind, checked explainxkcd. According to them, Floaty Head's working on old code when he finds a message from his past self saying "Since I wrote this code, code has changed in a way that makes this code not work, start over." which is a similar, but not exact same, thing.

Well, credit where credit is due, that does eliminate my complaint about the setup being rushed. On the other hand, it makes the "it's kinda creepy how you do that" line come off as self congratulatory. "Wow, you sure are good at predicting the future, past self.". But that might just be my hatred of psychics rearing its ugly head.

I'm going to avoid commenting too much on the fact that the joke depends on the reader knowing more about code than I personally know. I don't want to make a major complaint out of the premise of the joke going over my head, lest anyone devalue my other arguments in favor of that one. But yeah, the fact that half the joke is written in code language does make it difficult to understand for plebs like me.

All in all, this comic is a good idea taken down a few pegs by the presentation, but it still works.

2014-09-13

XKCD Isn't Funny - #1420 - WATCHES


Well, the obvious problem with this comic is
wait


 


 


 

 
Awwwww yeah, bitches. Before I write my review, I'm going to inject an entire marryjawanna! I might even add a couple meths or heroins! HAHA!
 
            bvbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb b nbh gvcg
 
sorry about that, dudes and dudets and dudet dudes, needed to use my keyboard as an injection platform.
 
anyway, i think this is a really profound comic, y'know? like... we have things... on our wrists... but then we didn't, for years and years and years, but now we're going to go around with laptops attachtd to our arms again.
 
like, what's even the point, of having arms, if society won't let the world go on just having those braclets you break and sex happens?
 
what's the point of doing anything, i mean? like... i'm just a guy with a blog really. if i ever met randdal monrue in real life, i'd just shake his hand ive got nothing against the guy i just think he hasnt ever been funny for years and years and ye
asghf/n,m
 
 
Sorry about the abrupt cut there, folks. The NYPD does not accept drug use, even if done horribly wrong. That poor wanna-be stoner bastard's going to be in the hospital for a week while the doctors figure out how to remove a full grown plant from his arm.
 
He asked me to finish up this blog post while they put him under for the first attempt at surgery, and it's not like I have anything else to do with my job as a fully licensed police officer.
 
My daughter showed me one of these things a while ago. It was alright then, it's alright now. It'd probably be a lot better if it was dialogue. The strong suit of this thing is the hyperbole of the description, if that was spread out into a full two or three panels, that'd probably be pretty good.
 
That looks like it's gonna be it, I just got called out again, some internet writer got stabbed for a cop-out review of something.