Today’s strip concludes (we hope and pray and hope and wish) this latest visit from the Ghost of Distress Past. Her Royal Wryness. The VHSaint herself.
Special thanks go out to Summer for being a prop with no impact on the story whatsoever, she has already collected her prize of appearing in a full 3 panel strip this week (panels will not necessarily be consecutive).
Special thanks also go out to Les for having such an insatiable ego and such milquetoast friends and family that he will continue to receive the unearned praise he has been given for decades now.
And extra special thanks go out to Crazy Harry, who demanded nothing but 18 panels of our precious time in return for his brilliant idea of pretending Isaac Asimov invented the concept of recording video using already obsolete technology.
On the subject of 18 panels (well, 16, thanks to a couple of 2 panel strips), this new Lisa tapes origin story actually takes up more column inches than the entire original origin story AND depiction of the recording of the tapes! That took just 16panels in fourstrips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…
More word zeppelins in today’s strip… Not as bad as yesterday, but still, get your bookmarks out, folks!
You know, this is actually one of TB’s tidiest retcons, probably because it is one of the very few intentional ones he’s ever undertaken. It takes the original scene and changes its context (slightly) by depicting a previously unseen scene. Tidy. The pieces actually fit together. There are no loose ends, deleted original context, or unresolved conflict with the originals scene. See? That’s not so hard.
Heck, as a bonus it even (unnecessarily but adeptly) explains a silly detail from the original scene, why Les has a camcorder and this Hari Seldon story readily at hand as if he was waiting for Lisa to lament about all the things Summer she will never get to experience. Turns out, he pretty much was just waiting on the chance to whip that camera on out.
Tidy as it is, this retcon was no more entertaining or less irritating because of it. In fact, it makes the origin story of the Lisa tapes tremendously off-putting. The focus shifts away from the impending reality of Summer growing up without a mother seen in the original scene to the needs of Summer’s nogoodnik parents… First, Lisa wants to record the tapes so she can live vicariously through Summer’s adolescence in her imagination. Then, Crazy and Lisa hatch this cockamamie plan to let Les take credit for the idea to record the infamous tapes, which only soothes his ego and bolsters his hero complex. These people are awful and I hope I never wind up sitting next to any of them on an airplane.
Today’s strip appears to be the latest installment of one of TB’s most recent recyclable story concepts: “old person has a Lisa flashback in front of Summer”. Of course, it’s also the latest installment in his most overplayed story… but we all knew we would be back here eventually.
Just how many Lisa tapes are there? We can see 5 or 6 peeking out of the top of the box Crazy is carrying today, meaning there are probably at least 10 total in the box. The box Summer brought to him close to seven years ago was about twice as deep, also with about 5 or 6 tapes visible out of the top. This suggests that there are about two dozen tapes, over two full days worth of Lisa video assuming she recorded a full 2 hours in SP mode on each tape.
Regardless of how many of these tapes there are, they can’t be much more than conversation pieces now given that Crazy baked them when converting them all those years ago. Not that Les wanted anyone conversing about them despite having 7 or more of them on prominent display in his living room.
I suppose it was inevitable… but I had a fleeting thought that we might escape this arc without anyone bringing up the Lisa tapes. Alas, today’s strip has happened. It was a silly thought, really.
Wait, all Les Cayla sent to Marianne was two videocassettes? (apparently) Didn’t Les ask Cayla to send DVDs of Lisa’s tapes? (yes) But didn’t Les also have all of his Lisa tapes on display on the very shelf he just placed Marianne’s Oscar on? (also, yes) But didn’t Crazy convert all of the Lisa tapes to “digital” (and DVD) years ago, negating the need to send any physical media at all? (again, yes) But didn’t the conversion process require Crazy to bake (and likely ruin) the tapes because of their fragility and deterioration? (it did) Beyond that, why is she only returning these tapes to Les now instead of through a delivery company or at the movie wrap party? (because TB has panels to fill)
I suppose the real question here is, did Lisa make a tape about what to do in the event that an actress won an Oscar for playing her in a major motion picture? That might explain why Marianne wound up giving her Oscar away… everyone obeys the Lisa tapes! Sic semper videocassetta!
ComCast your eyes away from today’s strip if you don’t want the unvarnished TRUTH! If this strip doesn’t make you believe in the conspiracy between big cable and America’s ophthalmologists, then I don’t know what will. The doctor all but admits it!
This doctor, though, I feel like I’ve seen him before…
Can’t quite put my finger on where, but I’ve definitely seen him before.