I legitimately agonized over what to write about this comic. How could I possibly begin to discribe the level of non-humor that this attains? I tried putting the word "uninspired" in a list-type sentence, but couldn't figure out what other words to add. The joke is literally (literally in the literal sense) "space is up, we don't normally go up". I just... can't. I can't do it. I don't have the ability. If someone wants to do their own review of this, I will gladly post it, but the only thing I can think of that could even slightly encapsulate this horrendous insult of a post would be to mockingly praise it and end with an insult.
GOOMHR Randy! U are ROCK! I never noticed that space went UP before, y'know? Until now I hath lived a life of two dimensions, wasting my time among the width and breadth, when I could have been realizing the true potential of: ...: HEIGHT! OMG GOD! Also you drew a grass arund the the sign you are truely the worlds GREATHEDDST artists of our world (bob russ can suk ma penis). i like how the roads are real roads, this was the greatest comic of all time the cheese was on FIRES today i think your baby is weird as hell please love me randy you are the only one who will accept me
Go develop a castration fetish
I'm slightly conflicted about this comic.
The setup is only a little bit sloppy, it's easy enough to tell that Standy is a teacher and Sitty is a student. It does come a bit out of left field if, like me, you don't quite remember what the "Imagine you're drawing at random from a..." was from, but it isn't really necessary, not really. It's just that a "Today, we're doing probability, so..." at the beginning of Standy's line and perhaps a more obvious height difference would make the setting more immediately apparent.
On the other hand, I have never heard the word "Urn" used in a non-dead person's ashes sense, which makes the punchline look really forced. It doesn't help that the punchline was really weak to begin with: "What if a student acted snarky to a teacher?". If Standy was doing a physical demonstration and Sitty pulled out some ashes, that could be a pretty decent next step to a punchline. SMBC-esque even:
Standy: "...so if you reach in, there's a two in five probability that you'll pull out a red ball. Does that make sense?"
Sitty: "Um... there aren't any balls in here. It's just a bunch of dust."
Standy: "Ash, actually. Your grandfather's."
Sitty: (increasingly alarmed) "Wait... what?"
Caption: "It was at that moment that Sitty realized why she was the only one who'd signed up for statistics with Mr. Munroe."
Alt-text: "I'M PLUGGING IN MY PHONE BUT THE BATTERY ON THE SCREEN ISN'T CHARGING!"
I'm going to start this review off positively, to counter the negative cloud that's been hovering over the Internet lately:
I like the red circle, I think that that, combined with fading out the parts of the post that aren't the battery meter, works really well to convey the joke.
(switching back to the negative now)
Too bad the joke is SHIT!
To me, this honestly just comes off as the start of a sad confession of a recent diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder, like the "Mom? Dad?" before the "I'm gay.". "Um.., y'know how I always get weird when a phone isn't fully charged? Well..."
Unlike "TRAIN", where the joke was clearly "This isn't how things actually work, lookat me, being stupid."*, the joke here is almost certainly "Aren't we all like this fellas?", just begging for someone to type GOOMHR! (no one actually used it, but they said things that were close enough)
I actually like the alt-text better than the comic, since in the alt-text, he is actually making a "look at the stupid" type joke.
*It was also cute enough to cancel out its slight pretentiousness.
When I did my first writeup of this one, I gave it a positive review. "Good job on this one, Randy." I said, calling it 'clever' and not 'uningaging', 'sorta neat i guess' or even 'meh'.
It was only when one William D posted the surprisingly insightful (and, perhaps just as importantly, brief) comment: "Clever doesn't equal funny. This xkcd was like reading Ikea instructions."
I used to be really into Slenderman. I liked the whole mythos of it, the format, I had this retrospectively-pretty-crappy idea for a mini-series of concept albums about it. Then, one day (I think on tumblr) I saw/heard someone wonder if Slenderman put his suit on in the morning, if he had to get it dry cleaned, etc. It was like a switch had been thrown. What was ever scary about him? He's just a tall guy in a suit with no face. (Dreams In Darkness is still awesome though)
Reading William D's comment wasn't quite that drastic, but it had the same sort of "look at your hands and wonder where you went wrong" effect on me. My blog is called "XKCD Isn't Funny", not "XKCD Isn't Good", and I was two or three urls too late to get any decent variation on "XKCD Sucks" (EDIT: I have since realized that xkcd_sucks.blogspot.com is avaliable but WHOOPS guess I should have thought about that before I got an actual audience on this account).
And this XKCD isn't funny. It is clever, sure, I'll let it keep that praise. The problem is, it doesn't actually have a punchline. It has nothing that takes it beyond "So I had this idea and isn't it kinda neat?". It may indeed be true that the idea is kinda neat, but it's delivered in such a dry way and doesn't have a point. The reaction isn't so much laughter as it is "That could actually work, huh, cool.".
Anyway, a sincere thanks to Will for putting me back on track.
This isn't funny because it isn't trying to be. It's trying to make a political point and get what xkcdexplained termed "agreement chuckles"; the small, hallow laughter you get from political cartoons smacking down strawmen of the opposing viewpoint. Y'know, exactly what this comic is?
It's such a blatant straw(wo)man, too. A lot of people who fear for the future because of the Internet point to the rule34, the 4chan, the BDSM porn, etc, saying that growing up with those things as part of one's environment would lead to problems in adulthood. I don't personally agree with that argument, since parental controls are a thing, but that is a legitimate argument against Internet culture. Another argument is that with all the "like"s, "+1"s, etc, the Internet encourages people to be attention seeking. And you know what? I don't have a counter argument for that yet. Every time I see the little 1 appear that symbolizes a comment on this blog, I smile. Someone is talking about something I wrote. Look at how awesome I am, I got linked to by both the xkcd sucks -es.
That is not what is portrayed here. This is a gross misrepresentation of the argument. Instead of "Children could see shock sites!/Everyone just wants attention!", we have "Old people are willfully ignorant!/Teenagers could have embarrassing photos online!". Of course the adult is going to pick the second one, and of course the kid is able to counter that. It's one of the weakest arguments that could be made on the subject.
I suspect I've missed some problems with this comic in the haze of stupidity, but in all honesty, this comic doesn't even deserve a thorough deconstruction. Its a preaching-to-the-choir, hugbox-inviting (hey people who like Internet webcomics about Internet memes, did you know the Internet is good?) comic that misses any actual argument in favor of congratulating itself on being so smart, and it reads like a passive aggressive comment about an argument that Randy lost.
The joke is that instead of using TMI in its traditional sense, Randy is overwhelmed by the amount of information that is available to him. This joke fails since "just... everything", while good in the sense that it doesn't slowly explain the joke to the reader, is too vague and pretentious to work as an actual punchline. "True.", added from offscreen, its speaker forever shrouded in mystery, comes off as a self-congratulatory "Look at what an awesome statement I made, guys!". The art adds nothing, showing the same figure at his computer for three panels in a row, and the alt-text just repeats the joke in a slightly different form. 2/10, rated that highly only to leave room to go further down.
I assume we've all already made the "well this is one of the worst xkcds I've seen in a while" joke in our heads, so without further ado let's step through the gateway into the actual criticism.
At the most basic level, the joke fails due to the preachy nature of it. "THE MEDIA IS DOING IT WROOOOONG" and that's it. It would have been a little bit funny if two people were watching television, the guy said the line, and one person suddenly started destroying things, or embarked on a long quest, etc.
My second point might just be my own Personal Problem™ but the way I intook the information the reporter was giving was "...one of the most recognizable things in a place" rather than "...one of the most recognizable of an unusual type of structure in a small location". If the hedging was more hyperbolic, that would have made it easier to understand, but I fully understand this could be a Greg Thing™®©℗‽❧
It might also be that I prefer my news in the written word, just so I can listen to music or whatever while I do it, but I have really never seen this happen. It might have been funny if Randy was trying to play it like he was complaining about something that never happens ("Pet Peeve: Having a 10x scale of Superman fall on your house", and then the alt-text could be "Seventh time this month. No wonder the house was so cheap.") but as it is, since I've never seen reporters do this, combined with my misreading of it, almost makes it seem like he is actually making a problem up to complain about.
Also, why would reporters be talking about either of the guys who designed the Gateway Arch? They've both been dead for a while, and the better-known of the two (judging by length of their Wikipedia entries) has been dead since the sixties. Reporters are supposed to talk about current things, right? I haven't been misusing the word all this time?
As a final note, Kris Wilson, author of a similarly preachy comic released today, is a classy person and is able to accept criticism well.
Reading this comic was a weird experience for me, since I was actually grinning by the end of the dialogue, but it faded as soon as I reached the caption.
I'm going to admit up front that this review is going to be even more subjective than usual.
To start, I just really like people presenting terrible ideas with a straight face. Like on The Dismal Jesters or Ninten Speaks (although the latter hasn't updated in two years or so), where Jim/Ninten will tell Jonathan/the viewers of an idea they had. The idea is always ridiculous, mostly unsound, and usually illegal. They then proceed to defend it, often to the bitter end in the former's case, against actual logic.
So, that out of the way, the only problem with the comic I had pre-caption was that there wasn't any argument from the girl (come to think of it, it's weird that she just stands there with no reaction whatsoever) for the guy to defend his stupid idea from, but even that I probably wouldn't complain about too much.
The problem with the caption is that it essentially amounts to "Look how stupid I am for thinking up this terrible idea!". It's like saying "Don't worry, I know this is all made-up, I'm not actually in any danger. The humor of the terrible idea comes from the absurdity of a person saying the terrible idea. No one would pitch an idea like that in real life, they'd be arrested. Saying "that was a joke" is like an actor saying "Phew, good thing that was just a movie!" after a tense action scene, it shatters the illusion.
I'm pretty sure that this is something that is limited to just my experience, but I really don't like the way the speech is formatted in the first two panels. It's like reading a Facebook status by one of those awful people that uses "..." in place of all other punctuation.
to give an... example... look... this is annoying to read... because... makes you pause... every ellipsis
But, like I said, that is probably just me, and I'm afraid that's going to be a common theme in this review. I got that the joke was "what if something was written on the universe?" but I had to look up what the actual full joke was, which is disappointingly "this science thing looks like a basketball". Spalding is apparently a company that makes basketballs.
The joke could be salvaged by making the setup less awkward and making it more obvious that the word is supposed to be a company name, like taking the actual logo and putting it in.
Honestly, this is just a lame comic. Lame attempt at philosophy, lame attempt at a joke, and I've really got nothing to say other than I'm sorry for the late post, I was busy at a thing.
This is an easy comic to critique, which is disappointing for reasons I'll get into in the next paragraph (FORESHADOWING). The joke is here that Person A asks for a simplification using metaphor and Person B takes the metaphor literally. Certainly not terribly inspired, but y'know what, if it's that instead of blatant PSAs, I'll take it. There are really only two problems separating this comic from the "Hey, that's actually kinda funny" reaction I hope for every time I load up XKCD:
1. "Doing tons of math for my thesis." isn't actually a statement that needs simplification.
2. The punchline isn't elaborated quite enough. One more line, like "Come on, let's get you to the help desk, we'll find them, don't worry." would have made everything much clearer and therefore funnier.
Anyway, as I cleverly hinted at six sentences ago, I was disappointed that this comic was so close to being good. I'm just going to say it: xkcdsucks linked to me. That's just stupid. If this was a movie this would be the point where the suspension of disbelief would be broken. That's like if deadmau5 talked about how awesome No Rest Records was on Twitter, or if a garbageman was accidently promoted to CEO.
So... here we are. Welcome, all you xkcdsucks-ers to my little blog. I hope you enjoy yourselves with all your comments and such.
It's mildly amusing to me that this was the first week I deliberately delayed my post on, since xkcd-sucks gave me a very much appreciated plug today, calling me "timely".
Anyway, regarding the first two comics... I like them. I think they're decent. Monday's comic actually made me smile warmly at "...and search". It's just completely absurd, but intentionally so. It's even paced nicely, going through the list in the reverse order of popularity/usefulness. As a bonus, I have no idea what the hell the 126.96.36.199 DNS server is, so it's an example of obscurity being used well for comic effect, like the stock lines "'Remember what happened to [X]?' 'Who?' 'Exactly.'"
Wednesday's was a slight step down, but not enough to make me dispair at the depths being plunged. I admit that this is probably just me, but I do tend to attempt to be philosophical in wide fields and other places that seem to have that sort of atmosphere. It's something I could see myself doing, bringing up that fact and making a joke when the person I was with failed to return my musings. The joke is pretty much just "No one goes on Livejournal anymore" but the art, setup, and yes, the post-punchline dialog (people don't go to websites for peace and quiet, you silly) add to it enough that I couldn't criticise it with any honest vitriol.
I was honestly looking forward to Friday's comic. I thought it could be the next Golden Week, after 734-736. Admittedly, it's not quite that level, but if XKCD stayed around the average level of Monday and Wednesday, this blog wouldn't exist, so my point stands. Sadly, to the yin must come the yang, to the day must come the night, and to the finding out Mike Oldfield is releasing a new album must come the finding out that Renard Queenston is a rapist. Likewise, to XKCD#1361 must come XKCD#1363.
I've probably been hyping it up too much. It's not terrible, like the legendarily bad 631 or my personal most-hated 1357. It's really more uninteresting than anything, which is a shame, because there's a decent joke that could be made off of the same basic idea.
There would be three panels in a row. One would have the phone saying "Hi!" excitedly, with someone asking "...and it does that every time it's exposed to the light?" and the phone's owner responding with a despondent "Yeah....". The second would have the phone screaming after being jiggled around in a pocket or dropped two feet. The third would have it asking its owner to watch a romantic movie "...you never spend time with me..." etc. The caption would be "When Siri goes too far.", or something to that effect. Not gut-bustingly hilarious, but it's something that I'd definitely give a pass on criticising. As it is, we've basically got a picture of a phone with "Wouldn't it be funny if a phone was complete shit?" written around it a few times.
Adding insult to injury (or possibly injury to insult, depending on your priorities) the alt-text cuts out mid-word for me, ending on the "e" in "nausea", sans ellipses, dash, or any other indication that it was intentional. This might be just because I use Internet Explorer as my browser of choice, but even so, Randy managed to make the alt-text so long that it cut out. At that level, that's enough material to make another panel, if not another comic.
Anyway, welcome to all the xkcd-sucks-ers that have come to my humble blog. Feel free to comment with what I did right, what I did wrong, why any or all of these comics were good or bad, what I should have for dinner tonight, or your favorite leader of Soviet Russia (mine's Gorbachev). Only those things though, anything else would just be craaaazy.