31 July 2007

Blowing a Fuse

In today's Dinette Set, obstacles litter the path to extracting any enjoyment from today's panel:
  • The reader is supposed to accept there's an entire book on replacing fuses?
  • The reader is supposed to believe someone is aware that Ma blows fuses in her house often...literally.
  • The reader is supposed to be ironically amused by the fact that Burl spent 30 minutes discussing a heating vent, and yet the panel itself contains somewhere around 180 words which are at least marginally legible. 180 god damned words. That's not humor, it's a sign of dementia.

30 July 2007

Tour de Force

In today's Dinette Set, it's as if the artist is just throwing stuff in there to annoy me:
  • In the category of grammatical woes: "You were a lifesaver" who the hell would use the past tense here?
  • In the category of drawing perspective: The only place that car could possibly exist is in an Escher painting.
  • In the category of stuff that takes too long to explain to be worth explaining: how much gas is in the car.
  • In the category of stuff that doesn't even need to be there: the car keys in Burl's disembodied arm.
  • In the category of unjustified bits of the narrative: Dale's shock-lined reaction.
  • In the category of stuff to annoy pinball: screen door pants.

18 July 2007

Scratch the Surface

In today's Dinette Set, the background details demand comment:
  • Real classy comment with those road worker T-shirts.
  • Why exactly do you need both Timmy's dialog and the increased fines sign?
  • Dear God! What the hell has happened to Timmy and Dale's faces?

17 July 2007

Meta-Post: Travel

I may not be consistent for the next 10 days as I take a vacation. I will try to post at some point during that time, but it will be light and sporadic.


In today's Dinette Set, what's most important here not what's being said but what's not being said, and from this we can determine something about each character's politics:
  • Joy appears to be a supporter of Fred Thompson.
  • Jerry, ironically is the deepest cipher. On the one hand, perhaps he may support torture and would really like to see Jack Bauer as President. Alternately, you could argue that Jerry supports Barack Obama who is black like Dennis Haysbert.
  • Verl supports Hillary Clinton, in all likelihood.
  • Burl is a bigoted idiot and, thankfully, probably won't vote.

16 July 2007

Unimagineable Horror

In today's Dinette Set, we return from a restful weekend away from the horrors of commenting on The Dinette Set to find horrors both real and imagined:
  • Burl confuses the meaning of "faint of heart" and "gullible" despite such a massive misunderstanding defying non-supernatural explanation.
  • The mere possibility of six ghosts in the next room is less horrifying than the way people's faces slowly merge into the background of the hall they are in now.
  • Most horrible of all is the sheer size of Dot, the Tour Guide; and I am not talking just about her girth. She dwarfs everyone on the room along all dimensions. If anyone disappears while taking the tour, I'm afraid their fate is all too evident.

13 July 2007

A Mighty Wind

Today's Dinette Set needs help, so in deference to Nikki, I am going to try to be nice today and help out with some suggested alternate dialog to replace this rather wordy version:
  • Random neighbor: "Our table and umbrella are broken. Did you see what happened?"
  • Burl: "Nope."
I think that about covers it...though that still leaves us with the problem of deciphering what is going on.

I mean, I suppose we're meant to assume Burl and Joy broke the man's table and umbrella. Or that the wind broke the Penny's umbrella while sparing the man's umbrella and they swapped while the man was out.

But, I'll be damned if I can find a single shred of visual or textual evidence for either of those theories.

Unless we count Burl's rather strange lie, saying the umbrella shot off when it is in plain view. But had he broken or stolen the man's umbrella, Burl would know the umbrella was sitting in plain view, so that can't possibly justify either of those interpretations.

Leaving us with only one remaining conclusion: the dialog is meant to be taken literally and we have, yet again, peered in on one of the single most boring and pointless conversations ever published in comic form.

Which, I suppose, is not a very nice thing to say.

Sorry, Nikki, I tried.

Update: regular commenters pinball and millard suggest an alternate vaguely plausible explanation. That said, there is as little evidence to support that reading as those I posited. T-shirt text notwithstanding, the rather oddly prominent hedge on the neighbor's side of the fence would seem to be a barrier to quick action on their part, if the idea of Burl climbing a fence were not implausible enough. At any rate, as both commenters might agree, additional vaguely possible explanations for this panel only further the original point about clarity, though I admit my suggested dialog would need to be amended to have Burl say "Yep" instead.

12 July 2007

Mood Swings

In today's Dinette Set, we'll use the Mood Ring to tell the story of the reader's trek through this panel:
  • Black (Stressed, tense or feeling harried) - A mood ring? A mood ring? Seriously, you want to base a panel on a freaking mood ring?
  • Grey (Anxious, very nervous, strained) - Seriously, have you never heard of Wikipedia? You're too lazy to look up what the colors actually mean? Instead you substitute some half-assed cultural color equivalents?
  • Amber (A little Nervous, emotions mixed, unsettled) - Dale is voicing what I was thinking, that a mood ring is a really unusual item? Crap, it just makes me hate myself when any part of me comes even close to being reflected by one of these asses.
  • Blue (Relaxed, at ease, calm, stoned) - actually, this happens 20 minutes later after I decided on an alternate activity to reading the final dialog balloon. Can anyone tell me what happened there at the end?

11 July 2007


In today's Dinette Set, most readers no doubt share my complete confusion about just what the hell is going on:
  • Burl saved some one's life and yet the setting for the panel is lounging in the pool? Are we supposed to draw some conclusion from this diametric opposition.
  • How does the prominently-placed life preserver figure into all of this?
  • Given the Penny's recently won second prize in a sweepstakes, what should the reader make of the fact that Joy has yet to make the mental shift and still considers $50 a lot of money.

10 July 2007

Is It Safe?

In today's Dinette Set, Burl gets chastised by his dentist, leading the reader to follow suit and chastise the artist for:
  • Rather unnaturally not contracting the dentist's dialog. What was wrong with "I don't think you've flossed?"
  • The gratuitous shot at hobos. What have they ever done to you?
  • The attempt to express nervousness through Burl's wriggling feet. What made you think you could pull that idea off with 4 movement lines when you can't even convincingly draw crossed legs?

09 July 2007

Half Life

In today's Dinette Set, the artist explores whether fractions can be funny:
  • Nope.

06 July 2007

House Welcome

In today's Dinette Set, the gang visit an unlikely-named French restaurant while...

Sorry, I can't focus on anything but the way the maƮtre d's arm is hanging over that podium. Is he supposed to be wearing the podium?

05 July 2007

Voter Fraud

In today's Dinette Set, the artist offers the following items to consider so the reader is not forced to think about the actual content of the panel:
  • The screen door pants have migrated to Branson, Missouri.
  • McDonald's and Wendy's don't offer samples.
  • Some candidate has their Campaign headquarters in the back corer of the voter registration tent.

04 July 2007

Pool of Horrors

In today's Dinette Set, we're back to the horrifying mental imagery, leaving the reader to fend off the following:
  • Questions about why Dale and Jerry appear to be squatting down.
  • Concerns regarding the appropriateness of planting a flag in urine-ridden water.
  • Worries about possible interpretations of Jerry's sly sideways glance.

03 July 2007

Check, Please!

In today's Dinette Set, I think the reader is supposed to find it ironic that Dale and Burl are arguing over who won't pay for the check, rather than arguing over who will be generous and pay the check. The sheer audacious wrongheadedness of this attempt at irony, which if fighting against every single thing we've ever learned about Burl and Dale, cause the following internal monologue in the reader:
  • Hey, look, a Paris Hilton ref...wait a minute, this is the least ironic premise ever.
  • Established in both 2001 and...hold on, does the artist really think I'm this stupid?
  • A bit of Dallas marginalia...seriously, she can't possibly think I'm going to find this ironic.

02 July 2007

Where's Ed?

In today's Dinette Set, the idea that Burl and Joy have won a sweepstakes is the thing which is the least insulting to the reader's intelligence:
  • The probability of being a second place winner is only marginally smaller than winning the grand prize, and this comic has no memory, so just let them win the damn sweepstakes, for God's sake; the rest will make more sense.
  • The reader is supposed to believe they interview the second place winner on camera?
  • Is the joke supposed to be that Burl is not good on camera? Why would the reader find that funny or surprising?
  • The marginalia exhibits an entirely unnecessary amount of sweepstakes skepticism.