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.



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.


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.


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.


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?"


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.


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.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1420 - WATCHES

Well, the obvious problem with this comic is




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
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.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1419 - ON THE PHONE

I like this comic, I think it's well put together, with decent art, a nice subversion of expectations at the end, and [insert third thing to make the list better here].

It does have some issues, though, which are mostly minor nitpicks but what else would you expect from a hateblog.

Firstly, I don't think it was a good choice to have the other person perpetually offscreen. Especially since the little 'speech coming out' thing changes height in every panel, and it's always to the left even though the onscreen person is moving left.

There're also some little "but wait..." things.
"But wait, wouldn't she notice the other person building the giant obelisk?" That is a needed concession for the joke to work, though, so I'll let it slide.
"But wait, what do teapots, hammers, and weird stacks have to do with worshiping Ba'al?" I might be misinterpreting it, but the last panel made it seem like the phone was just an excuse in every previous panel, which doesn't make sense unless Ba'al The Soul-Eater is the god of awkward teapots and cold hammers.

I have a final musing to conclude, but I'm not sure I can word it correctly. Basically, was Randy going to write another 'Get Out Of My Head Randy' relatable comic, and then when he was writing it, change it intentionally?

This is completely wild speculation on my part, but I'm wondering if, since #1393 and #1408 subverted his also done-to-death "I feel old" schtick, he's realized he has a lot of repetitive material. Is it possible that, like my noticing I open a lot of paragraphs with "I" and "There", he's taking steps to avoid becoming completely repetitive? Is it possible that he reads my blog and said to himself "This Greg guy sure is smart, no wonder he got retweeted by Dara O Briain that one time. I should take his advice."

Well, probably not, but it does look like our boy Randy might be actively trying to improve on the originality front. Let's hope he is, and let's hope it sticks.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1418 - HORSE

Well, the readers have spoken (by the way, thank you all for feeding my fragile ego), you're gonna get a review for every single XKCD that happens from now on, regardless of the circumstances. Woo!

The first thing that jumped out at me when reading this comic was that it was essentially a rerun of #1031, but with worse art.

Before I started this blog, I did click through the archives of xkcdsucks and xkcd-sucks, both to see what running an XKCD hateblog would entail and for the entertainment value. The thing I noticed when I was reading them was that they tended to be much less leniant on originality than I am. For instance, Gamer_2k4 criticized #1393 for using the same premise as a lot of other comics, while I (geez that's a terrible review, it barely explains my position at all) praised it for taking an old concept in a new direction.

There's another example I can think of, but can't find the actual post, where Carl said that two comics that both centered around an innocent mistake resulting in large consequences, which to me seems like decrying an entire section of comedy tropes.

So I do feel a little hypocritical when I look at this comic and say "What? That's it? He just changed the words he was using in his browser text replacement." and it does take a bit of mental self-justification.

For one, the entire joke remains the same. 'I replaced word A with word B, now sentences with word A seem like they're about word B and it's funny because the sentences look absurd.'. That idea, just by itself, reminds me of the hilariously badly written, typo-ridden fanfiction that people like The Holy Cabbage would do dramatic readings of. More to the point, what has been changed from #1031 to #1418 aside from the words? It's the exact same plot, just with a different starting point. Actually, since #1031 showed the screen he was reading, this version of the joke actually has less detail in it.

Explainxkcd points out that the joke is also the same in #1004 and #1288, and I'd really like to bring everyone's attention to the latter of those two. It's just a list of these things; common words that, when changed to other words, make sentences look silly. And really, when you've made a list of varients on the same joke, why even bother continuing with it? You've already admitted you're just repeating the same idea.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1417 - SEVEN

This is a comic that I honestly don't have much of an opinion on. It seems to me that Randy was trying to remake the old 'list something and get distracted' gag, of which I am unable to come up with a catchy or easy name for, so as a quick example:

"The seven dwarfs? Yeah, there's happy, sleepy, muddy, dizzy, smarty, moron, sexy, and rapey. Plus there's deadly in some versions."

The spin (if it was intentional) on the joke just doesn't make sense to me as a joke, and I fully admit that could just be some mental block on my part. I checked the forums, I checked explainxkcd, I just don't see what Randy was trying to accomplish with this one.

I get that all the things in the thought bubble are one of a different set of seven, I just honestly don't understand how that's funny.

Also here have a fun fact about the names of the seven dwarfs.

I know that this review is kindof a wash, so here's a question to my readers: In cases like this, when I don't have a huge amount to say about a comic, would you prefer me to
1. Not post anything, I should save it for when I've actually got something worthwhile.
2. Pad it out with talking about other things, like webcomics that aren't XKCD, my life, etc.
3. Just keep things the way they are, there's nothing wrong with having some not-as-good posts.
4. One of the above, but for a better reason than I came up with, I idiot.
5. Other (please specify): ______________________________________________.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1416 - PIXELS


I almost feel bad for the review that's about to happen (well, about to happen for me, it's already happened for you and you're about to read it hopefully), it had to be hard to program in a new comic format that could fail on IE, Chrome, and Firefox.

Oohhhhh, brb, I have to take a shower after that [sic] BURNNNN!~!

Okay, back. I didn't actually cool off much, it's been really hot out lately and my house has solar-heated water. Ugh. I hate being well-off.

If you're interested in seeing all the hidden panels, I recommend just going to the archive at explainxkcd, so you don't have to do deal with the interface that is alternately laggy and non-existant.

The original panel I used as a header is an allusion to the "turtles all the way down" idea, which I remember finding pretty interesting the first time I heard about it, at the end of


Tasty Planet 2, avaliable for Mac and PC at bigfishgames.com.


Tea loving readers may also remember it being mentioned on QI Series A, Episode 2, avaliable on YouTube here (about twenty-three minutes in) until it gets taken down by copyright again.

The first thing that most people who've sacrificed enough cows to their computers to make this comic work properly will see is an incredibly disappointing "BOOK LANCH". Yes, we know your book's launched, Randy, you've had a banner ad up under the XKCD logo for the past few weeks and now it's been updated with this:
There is, irritatingly, a fairly well done joke as one panel about the book launch, where a person puts the book on a rocket and launches it into the atmosphere; he then slowly realizes that it was the only copy. However, the gimmicky format and unneeded detail ruins the pacing, even separating a line of dialogue into a separate set of scroll-ins, and depending on where you scroll in, you may not see it at all.
Next on the explainxkcd list of minigags is "Needs More Struts", a throwaway reference to Kerbal Space Program. It makes sense only to people in that gaming group, and as has been established recently, gamers are just the worst people, so we can safely ignore this joke.
Then we have another reference, this time to a thing by Douglas Hofstater where he wrote a word out of smaller words, made out of smaller words, made out of tiny renditions of the largest word. Again, no new commentary is given and no joke is added. It's just saying "Remember that thing? Yeah, haha. That thing was great.".
Fourth is a joke about the Time-Turners from Harry Potter. The joke is supposed to be "J.K.Rowling regrets bringing the time-travel element into the series. She probably wished she had a time-turner once she realized the mistake she'd made.". But the way it's phrased makes it come off more like "Time-turners were a terrible idea, J.K.Rowling should use one to stop herself from inventing them.", which is a much more pompus way of making a decent single panel joke.
Number five: "How do we know anyone really wants to live in Stockholm?" and "Well what would you expect to come out of a fire hydrant?". The former has been done before, although not to death. The same can't be said of the latter.
There's also a few assorted doodles, none of which are worth looking at.
And that's it. A big, laggy, complicated, hard to navigate, new format that I'm sure took a lot of effort to make, but without anything tying any of the jokes together in any way, it just feels like a larger version of the 'made in five minutes for a contest' series.


XKCD Isn't Funny - #1415 - BALLOONING

I legitimately dislike reviewing this type of comic. There's only so many ways it's possible to say "This isn't original, like, at all. This has been done to death." before it starts becoming hypocritical.

(There's also the fact that the last time I made a "This is so old and overdone." type review, I lost half my readership, but I know that's my own damn fault.)

Honestly, I'm already having trouble thinking of other things to say. This joke's been done, many, many times. "What if Spider-Man acted like a spider?" And that's it.

Kinda weird that he called the comic "Ballooning" when the joke really has nothing to do with ballooning. I can see why he wouldn't call it "Spider-Man", because it'd spoil the joke, but why "Ballooning" of all things?