Tag Archives: Keisha

To His Coy Mistress.

Today’s glurge filled festival of pathological coddling gives me the opportunity to delve into something I’ve been wanting to examine for a long time. But it’s going to be a challenge to talk about, because I swore that I wouldn’t talk about CERTAIN CHARACTERS by name this week.

Let’s talk about Cayla.

For the last several years, whenever she’s appeared Cayla has been the target of a strange mix of pity and ridicule in the comments. And it’s earned. Because Cayla’s presentation in strip is the most conspicuous manifestation of just how twisted and weird the enshrinement and cult of Dead St. Lisa has become. She is a consolation prize. A tacked-on coda. But rather than be resentful of her situation, she has become a priestess and mouth piece of her glorious predecessor.

The external reason for Cayla to be this way is that she’s been written to be a benign gift to the author avatar. She’s built for comfort, not conflict.

But it is so strange to follow Cayla’s journey, and try to imagine a real, flesh and blood woman choosing a similar path. If there was such a woman as Cayla Williams, who would she be?

What do we know about her personality and her history prior to her entering the strip? She comes from an athletic family, who cared enough about her to attend her wedding, but whom she hasn’t seemed to worry much about since. She has completely adopted Funky, Harry, Holly, and crew as her circle of friends, so must have had no close friendships extant before her move to Westview. She worries about her financial matters, while being a shopaholic. She’s class conscious, and seems to want to buy the good opinion of rich people. Current insecurities and prior blows to her ego seem to have hampered her confidence. A previous romantic partner left her with a daughter to raise alone.

Soon after moving to Westview she saw what she wanted and she pursued it. Of a hundred different seats that were open with no asking, she had a particular one in mind.

And from very early on, she knew that she would be jostling for position with a corpse in a race she might never win.

But she went after it anyway, even duked it out with a younger woman. She was pretty bold with her intentions.

Why? What did Cayla want?

Well, one thing she seemed to want was financial security for herself and her daughter. She was looking for someone to ‘pool resources’ with.

Who do we think brought more money to this pool?

Second, she seemed to want people that she could care for, that would be emotionally dependent. She seems to genuinely enjoy being needed. This would fit with her underlying lack of confidence.

In fact. She enjoys being needed so much, that she seems to put herself in a position to both be needed, and remain needed. She wasn’t just looking for someone who appreciates a kind heart. She wanted something to prop up, because when something is leaning on you for support, your position is secure. They can’t leave. And the type of support she offers often promises future financial or social gain on her part.

So of course she is willing to jump on the Dead St. Lisa bandwagon. Her affection for her predecessor might even be genuine. That dead woman is the source of all her current and future security. And it could be she is content to have a decoy and mirage to distract her meal ticket. Some people find too much romantic attention smothering, better to shunt some of that off on a ghost. Let the feelings you elicit be lukewarm, safe, and necessary. Keep feeding the muse of pathos by offering those threesomes from beyond the grave.

Because. Let’s be real for a minute Cayla. You don’t care if you’ll never live up to Lisa any more. You only cared for a moment, when you were worried she’d keep you from scoring the prize that matters. Lisa’s dead. And the helpless withering worm left in her wake needs you. You’ve made sure of that. Yeah, sometimes he’s annoying and insufferable. But he produces, and he provides. You can give him pleasure, and you can give him pain, according to your whims. And either way, he’ll wake up needing you tomorrow just the same. What you really get off on is the control. You like watching him fawn, but you love watching him squirm.

And that is my headcanon for Cayla. She didn’t want a healthy and whole husband to love only her. She wanted a meal ticket just broken enough so it wouldn’t run out on her. And she’s carefully cultivated the relationship, keeping her victim just neurotic enough to maximize her comfort, security, and enjoyment.

Canon

It’s been an interesting two weeks folks. Hope you enjoyed! Beckoning Chasm will be in on Monday. I’m interested to see how he handles Batiuk’s upcoming homage to ‘The Day the Clown Cried,’ we’ve seen presaged in the banner.

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To Have and Have Not

Link to today’s strip.

First off, kudos to unca scrooge and others who noted that the joke in yesterday’s strip had to do with men being last-minute shoppers, while women were ahead of the game. The presentation was unusually subtle; generally, Tom Batiuk can’t help but have one of his characters point out how clever he is.

And the joke would have worked fine…in a sitcom made during the early 1960s. But here in the technical vastness of the future, we can surmise that surely humor is very different.

Take today’s thing. It seemed pretty obvious from the outset that the pun being avoided here was something Batiuk was aching to use. The fact that he now denies himself is quite odd. Including it would have made at least one joke, no matter how poor; keeping it out just makes today’s strip one more pointless episode in a long string of them.

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Wrappin’ Around

Link to today’s strip.

I’m going to guess that the “joke” here is that people get more frantic and desperate the closer the holidays get.

There’s not a lot of visual evidence for that guess, but that’s what I’m going with. In fact, panel two seems to have some of the same folks as panel one–sky-blue coat lady and blonde, for example. I guess it could be a second shopping trip, but you’d think Tom Batiuk would want to spice it up with a little variety.

At first, I thought the bald guy near the front had brought an upright vacuum cleaner to be wrapped–which would have been a good choice a day or so ago–but on closer inspection it looks like a sauce pan. Seems like an odd thing to want wrapped, as I imagine they mostly come in their own boxes, but I don’t know–maybe you can buy them loose. Fine.

What I really like is the guy in the front of the line. What a face of absolute despair. I like to imagine he’s saying “I don’t have any family or friends, so I don’t have anything to be wrapped. My dearest wish is to have something I need wrapped.” Everyone angrily waits for him to collapse, or to shoot himself.

Callow youth even furiously checks his watch. It’s been eighteen seconds, damn it. Do what you’re gonna do and let us get our stuff wrapped.

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Nothing Is Ever “Done”

Link to today’s strip.

Ah, the weariest season of the year is all-year-round in Westview. I’ve never seen a parade of miserable, hateful creatures such as this strip sports.

I can’t imagine writing this kind of stuff year after year; no wonder Tom Batiuk prefers to wallow in old comic books. It’s probably why he puts the least amount of thought possible into this strip, because who wants to think about these people any more than he has to? At least the Flash has clear heroes and villains, rather than the doomed naysayers that populate this “comic” strip. No wonder it’s so badly run, as no one wants to run it.

No character is ever happy in this strip, because they know if they are (like Adeela getting her driver’s license) then they are going to be immediately (and improbably) thrown into a hellish prison. Or forced to wrap Christmas presents. There, I imagine Tom Batiuk thinks, that’ll learn ’em.

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I’ll Make You A Star

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, what is that thing the woman wants wrapped? A big star with tassels? Why would you want to give that as a gift? It’s both awkward and unattractive, and while I don’t want to judge anyone’s taste, I can’t see it going well with anything. A star for the top of the Christmas tree? Wouldn’t you want that before Christmas day?

I guess the thing is huge and unwieldy and thus difficult to wrap, which might be why Tom Batiuk thinks it could be part of a joke. But if someone handed that to me and told me to wrap it, I’d say “Okay, it’s an extra three dollars for the box.” Because that’s what one would do–put it in a box and wrap the box. It’s just that simple.

I guess the customer could insist that it be wrapped as is, and the customer is always right, but let’s get a quarter-inch closer to reality: no one is going to spot this wrapped thing and exclaim, “Oh boy, you got me an XBox!”

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Respect Your elf

Link to today’s strip.

Wow. This strip really gives “nothing” a chance to stretch out. I mean, I cannot think of a single thing that’s worthy of comment here.

It’s not funny. It’s not educational. It’s not poignant.

It’s nothing at all. As Spock would say, “It occupies space.”

It would be one thing if the elf costumes were outlandish or otherwise goofy, but they aren’t. They don’t look embarrassing at all. I guess one could question why they’re dressed as elves in the first place–it’s possible the kiosk is labelled “Santa’s Wrapping Workshop” but the name is obscured by that deathless dialogue.

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Sidelong Glance

Link to today’s strip.

Why does Tom Batiuk use these stupid sideways strips? While it makes less work for Ayers to draw them, it makes more work for the reader, and there’s never any reward for doing so.

Batiuk might say they make his strip unique, as no one else does this. That’s true–no other comic strip artist does this. The reason they don’t is very simple–it’s an idiotic idea that adds nothing, and subtracts a great deal. Much like an ermine violin, it’s an impractical thing to have. Here’s an idea: why not make up a completely new language for his characters, with no translations available? That would be unique, too. And it would save time for the reader, since he could just skip the whole thing and move on to Garfield.

I guess striving to be unique, even if that makes the strip more difficult, is his goal at this point. He certainly hasn’t been trying to make his characters interesting or his stories anything other than dull.

As for today’s entry, well…when I was in college, my father would arrange summer jobs for me between years. It was decent work, and it gave me some spending money. But he never did this during Christmas break, which is (I assume) why Summer and Keisha are there now. It seems like a rather mean trick to play on a kid.

One might argue that this gives Summer and Keisha some work skills, showing up on time, knowing your tasks, etc. Except I feel certain both of them have worked at Montoni’s, so they’d already have some idea of those things.

Any excuse to ruin someone’s holiday, I guess.

By the way, I refuse to believe the person “on the left” is Cayla. It doesn’t look anything like her.

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Aaugh!

Link To Today’s Strip

Wow, it’s an EXTREMELY RARE and wildly abrupt mid-week arc shift, as suddenly the seldom-seen Women Of Les make an EXTREMELY RARE guest holiday appearance. Good ol’ Summer hasn’t changed a bit, still slobbing around in her trademark hoodie like it’s 2011 all over again. For those both of you keeping score at home, Summer and Keisha are in their EIGHTH year of college. I don’t know what they’re majoring in but it must be pretty grueling stuff.

Once again, Summer left for college eight years ago so Les needs to get the f*ck over it already. Don’t they have DVRs in Ohio? Les is one of the few FW characters who’s annoying even when the other characters are just talking about him. What a dick.

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Coffin Corner Kick-ed The Bucket

Fortunately, today’s strip stays in one time line. It also quotes one of Bob Dylan’s best-reviewed songs. Well, that’s two positives to the… end-ish? of this very maudlin special story arc. FYI: A donation has been made to the Boston University CTE center, presumably so readers will remember what this story arc was about last month.

So was Bull a member of the local Dylanist congregation or is that the only house of worship in Westview anymore? Both?

And with that, I am relieved… both to be done with my posting stint and, come tomorrow, by the incomparable Spacemanspiff85.

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Memories… Summer good, Summer not

It’s back to the WABAC machine in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about the flashback to “five years ago…”, I’m talking about Bull’s funeral, which has itself moved two-and-a-half years backward in time in order to accommodate a five years ago flashback featuring players Bull last coached in the spring of 2012. Well, at least we are getting something that is actually about Bull in this one… that’s so damning with faint praise that it could keep an ocean at bay. (“Billy was a special blogger”, they said at his funeral.)

Also, I tagged both Keisha and Linda in this, because I’m not sure which one of them is standing next to Summer in panel 3.

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