Wednesday, March 9, 2011


They used to date. Or something.

Zero Like Me #156:

Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 1, Take Me Alive shirt, Dracht Mettle, and Nyao Feeni-Feeni in panel 2. The creatively-titled outreach program is inspired by Yale's actual child-outreach program, "Splatter," which is an excellent volunteer opportunity that more Yalies should join. Today's guest star is Alexis Blight, who's back from Harvard, I guess. Today's setting is a local New Haven school with, like, totally mature students and staff.

Fun Facts: This comic is inspired by the legendary comedian Bill Burr as well as some personal experiences. Bill Burr has an insanely funny podcast and he has this recurring bit where he talks about how, because of his Boston upbringing, he gets mind-freaked whenever he does anything even slightly non-masculine, as a voice in his head screams, "WHAT ARE YOU A F@%?" and thus he does stupid things to over-compensate for the perceived challenge to his masculinity.

The personal inspiration is from my teaching days--kids are cool, but they have seemingly random thought-filtering abilities, so sometimes they don't say the darndest things, but other times they unwittingly go full force and ask you incredibly personal questions, just because they don't know it's kinda hecka invasive. So this is how Zero responds to teasing. Smooth.

Baa: The end of this comic is based on a conversation I overheard where some females were making fun of a less-developed female, so I'm extrapolating that it's a source of pride amongst them and some kind of slight if there's any under-calculation. But it's also an experiment in slapstick--slapstick is hilarious with males for sure, since physically injuring/endangering males is inherently funny because it's presumed they can take a beating (and if they can't, who cares?), but it's a little more challenging to pull off solid slapstick with females since it's just psychologically harder to go as violent without it seeming truly dangerous and thus more unsettling than funny, plus you usually have to play around their particular comfort, as opposed to men going for each others' throats. Off the top of my head, though, I'd say SNL's Molly Shannon as Sister Mary Gallagher was danger-ridden and riotous, as was Cheri Oteri as Spartan Cheerleader Ariana, and of course, Lucille Ball was the man.

I once heard a bit of comedy theory that says it's inherently funny when attractive females are put in dangerous or silly situations. As demonstrated in today's comic, I'd say the latter is more true when the female is the target (panel 3), but the former is more true when she's the executioner (panel 4).

In any case, comedic danger--slapstick--is particularly captured well in comics/animation, since there's less concern over participants' safety, so the comedy can run rampant and just happen. Or whatever.


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