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Originally the dialogue in the last two panels was much longer and went into much more detail about bad episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager." For the record, my least favorite episodes are actually the ones from later in the series where Janeway had a holographic Irish boyfriend, a character my friend Jaye referred to as "Janeway's Holodeck vibrator." My favorite episode is the one where the Doctor gets stuck on this planet where time moves differently and becomes an opera singer.

I will now open the comments to further discussion on this crucial topic.

Man, "transformation" doesn't fit comfortably into that balloon at all. Long words are a pain in the butt sometimes.

Speaking of discomfort, this has got to be a weird situation for Dave. It's really strange when someone you find attractive starts turning into you, unless you've been married for a few years, in which case it's probably inevitable.

Ha, "old Battlestar Galactica"! "Tapes"! Truly it was a different and primitive era.

As overly wordy as this is, I still like this strip. Mainly because I watch a lot of bad sci-fi movies. Why do genetic accidents always turn folks evil?

Dave's smoke is getting kinda fancy, too. I was getting bored drawing cigarette smoke all the time.

That's a great Charlie Brown sob in the last panel. If I were drawing it today, I wouldn't do a thing differently. Also, it's great that Mell says "yoinks."

Obviously, these strips are based on David Cronenberg's remake of "The Fly," where Jeff Goldblum records himself turning into a fly-man. I always liked that part of the movie. He's so nerdily stoic about the whole thing, even when he starts vomiting on his food to digest it. Oh, David Cronenberg. Never stop being messed up.

That's another "Caution: Gerbils" crate in the background. Obviously the lab requires crateloads of gerbils.

This strip is based on college.

69 comments:
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Spoilers follow?

I always liked the Irish boyfriend. XD But if it was going to be really awesome, they needed to go way, way further with it. As it was, an object that doesn't miss you when you're gone is a pretty apt metaphor. (I loved the bit where she had an ethical quandary about the fact that she could reprogram him.)

I also liked the opera-singing Doctor. Tuvix was indeed not great, but the one where Tuvok gets a head injury and starts acting like a kid? That was pretty awesome. So was the one where the Doctor was inside Seven of Nine's body.

My least favorite episodes were the ones near the end of the series when Seven of Nine and Chakotay were suddenly in love. That was both alarming and icky.

Dr Sophie (sqbr) says: The time-moves-fast episode has a lot in common with "Dragon's Egg" by Robert Forward: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Egg
(I'd say "It steals the plot completely" but my Trekkie husband gets all sad face at me when I say that :) Also the episode does have its own unique good points) 
Rockphed (rockphed) says: Having only seen voyager when it played really late at night when I was 15, I honestly haven't seen any of those episodes. *hides head in shame*  Wait, I have seen the time one, which I thought was pretty rocking.  Also, the doctor had a kid somewhere in there, didn't he?
Rachel (admiralshazbot) says:

The main plot of the episode "Prophecy" sucked, but the B-story was awesome. First some Klingon chick wanted to mate with Harry Kim after he restrained her in a fight, then Neelix wanted to get it on with that same Klingon chick, so he was all "Hey if you pretend to get beaten up by me she'll totally think I'm hot!" and then Klingon Chick and Neelix went back to Tuvok's quarters (because Neelix was bunking there while Klingon guests had his room), and Tuvok got all pissed off because they destroyed his stuff in the process of having rough interspecies sex.

My mom's favorite episode is "Course: Oblivion", the one where the whole crew discovers that they and their ship are actually duplicates created on a planet the real crew encountered the season before. I say that episode doesn't come close to the one where Janeway had to play Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People.

Eve Elliott (stroth) says: Gah. I watched the first two episodes of Vager and then could never watch it again. There's bad science, then there's star trek science and then there's escaping a black hole through a crack in the event horizon after being lead there because the time dialation was reflecting events from the future. No. Just... no.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: DUN DUN DUNNNNN!

Oh, and except for a few scattered episodes, I've never watched 'Star Trek'.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I'm old enough that I watched the original series when it first came out.  Its main competition was "Lost In Space".  When I heard the premise for the "Voyager" series, my only thought was, "They've taken 'Star Trek' and turned it into 'Lost In Space'."

I think I watched half of one episode.  I couldn't stand it.

Karen (brownthrasher) says: I stopped watching Voyager when they found Amelia Earhart and she didn't want to travel to see the rest of the universe.  My disbelief snapped at that point.  Luckily, DS9 was still on and was pretty cool.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Didn't Doctor Who kill Janeway and drown her children with the Thames?

I could never figure out whether ST:V was ST:Lost In Space or ST:Dusty's Trail.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

On a complete and total change of topic: this month's Scientific American has a short article on how giant gerbils from Kazakhstan are saving South Dakota from the bubonic plague.  I kid you not.  Not on-line till next month, pg. 22 of current issue.

 And Paris and Janeway having reptile sex after exceeding warp nine was about the stupidest  plot idea for television in history.  "Gilligan's Island" was more scientifically saound.  But anything that put Jeri Ryan in a catsuit was worth doing ;)

That Guy (jsw) says: Not to say that "evolving" into newts isn't completely idiotic, but it's still more realistic than the floaty/glowy "energy beings" that all too many other bits of sci-fi say that we'll "evolve" into.
Decalon Gryphon (decalon) says:

I think the best eppisods of Voyager were the ones focusing on the Doctor. Even from first season with the Beowolf holodeck plotline (where Grendal took HIS arm) all the way to the one at the end of the series where someone stole his hollonovel since he wasn't a real person. I don't know what it was about the Doctor, but when the wrote stuff around him it just seemed to shine.

The best one has to be the '500 years later' episod, where a speices with no real understand of Voyage finds the doctors back of system and turns him on, only to find out everything they thought they knew was wrong.

Jaye Brown (illogicalv) says:

Look, if Janeway is going to announce that she has a boyfriend who malfunctions, I am not responsibly for my snark.

I always hated the episodes with the doctor. If the computer program is having an existential crisis, wouldn't it make sense to...turn the program off?

fluffy <3 (fluffy) says: @Ed Gedeon: What I found interesting about Voyager is that apparently, Lost In Space was the result of CBS listening to Roddenberry's pitch for Star Trek and then modifying it just enough that they didn't have to pay him for it. So Voyager was basically going full-circle.
Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says: I liked the whole <s>vibrator</s> Micheal O'Sullivan arc, as an adjunct to the EMH's arc development, which actually wasn't reflected very well in any other aspect of Voyager except perhaps in Author, Author. As the series went along the characters' recognition of the EMH as a fellow sentient, independent being wasn't reflected in their interactions with any other holographic beings, especially in that two-parter about a hologram revolt which really bugged me. A lot of what bothers everyone else about Voyager didn't phase me, but the dichotomy between how Janeway's crew treated their doctor and how they treated other holographic beings really troubled me. The crew of Voyager ought to have suffered a severe culture shock on their return, in the contrast between how they viewed holograms and how the rest of Starfleet and the Federation did, and in my fanfiction that's what happened.

I'm serious.
kicking_ k (kicking_k) says: I don't believe I have ever seen an ep of Voyager. TNG, many. DS9, quite a few. But nobody I have ever lived with liked Star Trek, and it was on at teatime. And I cannot, to this day, programme a video recorder.
Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

@jsw:

Not only a lot of other sci-fi, but also all other Star Trek episodes that deal with the idea. In every series.

Andy Holloway (garran) says: Paul -- There was actually some cultural drift while they were away, though, as attested by the generally uncontested acceptance of Vic Fontaine's sentient personhood on DS9. He remained a thoroughly second-class citizen, of course (along the lines of Cherryh's azi, to make a more obscure comparison), but that's not really incompatible with the Voyager crew's treatment of the doctor, which was always a little patronizing.
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Actually, Andy, your Cherryh reference helped me understand. I haven't seen much of Voyager, but I've read plenty of Cherryh. Especially Cyteen.
Oh, and the sequel to Cyteen came out last month. It's called "Regenesis"
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Huh.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hey, wait a sec... where did Helen get a pair of those glasses?
Pat Stephenson (pat) says: It's obviously just part of Dave.  Though, Helen-Dave's should probably be [SPOILER] just like Dave's were after he [SPOILER] near the end of the comic.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Helen seems strangely calm about this increasingly illogical and frankly quite eerie transformation.
crazy dave (crazydave) says: @Leon: She's clearly inherited Dave's acceptance of all the weird stuff happening.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Spectacle POING Power...ACTIVATE!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "You Can't Hide Your Lyin' Eyes", The Eagles)

Now your eyes ... need stronger specs!
And your lungs ... are total wrecks!
Though you've not yet changed your sex,
You seem so vexed your eyes need stronger specs!

Noah Ramon (bibulb) says: Well, of course OLD Battlestar Galactica is on tapes! If it were NEW Battlestar Galactica, it'd be Tivo'd!
kicking_ k (kicking_k) says:

@ unnatural20 : So which is the best Cherryh to start with? It's a bit difficult to get her books over here and I can never tell what order the series comes in from the dustjackets.

@soitbegins : I assumed she just pinched Dave's spare pair off his workstation.

kicking_ k (kicking_k) says:

Argh! And I've just noticed that Helen's wearing a Dave-alike flannel and has been since (checks) Friday! Where did she get that?

Mind you, I'm wearing a Dave-alike flannel at this very moment. And I don't think that implies anything sinister, except that it's cold.

james m (ruasonid) says:

I'm personally thinking that Helen pinched the glasses from Scott McCloud after he somehow escaped from the prison he was sentenced to back when:

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/narbonic_plus/series.php?view=archive&chapter=18407

The tale of this second encounter was, of course, redacted from the official run. McCloud has nefarious powers. But Helen may have swiped the flannel offa him too.

The real question is, once she takes off her own glasses, does Helen have any pink still on?

Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

... Considering what the relative opacity of Dave's lenses seems to indicate, it is somewhat distressing that Helen!Dave's seem to match his.

(I also wonder about that issue during the "Unstuck In Time" arc, but we'll get to that discussion when we get to that arc.)

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ooh breedy!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Dave, opportunist. My head shakes dismissively for you.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Another Saturday Night", Sam Cooke)

Oh, all the sci-fi you watched
Is now coming in handy!
It's fine and dandy 'cause you know her fate!
Except she knew
If she turned into you, man,
You'll have no chance to mate!

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: T-shirt opportunity: Smoking Helen and the words "You can't fight your mutant nature."
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Leon:  Yeah, there's Genre Savvy, and then there's Genre Conniving....
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: .. and then they kill their breeding partner.  Maybe Dave should just show her where he keeps his inflatables.
Paul Anderson (pmanderson) says: But Dave's smoke curls make him look so like the narrator of the The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I've got to wonder what kind of suggestions Helen's really hoping to get here. After all, she's the resident mad geneticist. Maybe Artie might have some useful input, but I think he's really too sane to solve this kind of problem. We've just seen what kind of suggestions Dave has. And what's Mell going to say besides, "Don't."?
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: You think Dave has inflatables, John? I think he's more the type to be lonely all by himself.
James Rice (jhrice) says:

I think Helen shows more emotion here than in any other Narbonic strip.  It's possible that this is the most emotion that any character in Narbonic ever shows.    Poor, poor, Helen.

 I really like Helen's slump in the second panel.

  

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: You mean Dave's slump. :)
Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Gosh, it's a rare storyline when Helen isn't the jolly optimist who's self-assured that she has or will have everything under control.

A small problem with having the gender-swap and zombification storylines early in Narbonic's run is evident in panel 2, where, in the middle of a stressful and dramatic scene, Helen or Dave gets to blithely say "I've been male before" or "I've been dead before" as matter of conversation. The incongruity of that sentence, while entirely consistent for the characters themselves, jumps out at even the slightly credulous reader, who rolls their eyes and mutters "Oh, webcomics!" in a patronising fashion.

Instances of the word "dude": 14. This includes the previousmost instance, which I hadn't recorded at the time.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Waaaah!
kicking_ k (kicking_k) says: @Leon : Well, she's turning into Dave. His default seems to swing between "resigned" and "upset".
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Lady Madonna", The Beatles)

Lady McGendered!
What's it gonna be?
Grow the Amish chin-strap, or full goatee?

Lady McGendered!
Now you're feeling down ...
Look at you all sobbing like Charlie Brown!

Panel one, you're calm and so collected ...
Panel two, you're dealing with your fears ...
By the end, reacting as expected ...
See flying tears!

Lady McGendered!
Sobbing, in a funk!
How will you react when you've grown some junk?

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Leon, who is this reader? Does he hate joy?
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: Rub it in, Mell; rub it in...
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I'm pretty sure that if there were a reader so lost to awesomeness, he wouldn't see Narbonic when he looked at this page, anyway. He'd see, I dunno, "Extreme Makeover: Web Edition" or something.
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

Yes.  Also puppies, rainbows, sunshine, and the number 824.

Um. . .didn't mean to say anything offensive/mean/etc.  Didn't think I did.  Apologies all around. 

 

Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says: Previous comment deleted.  Mea culpa.
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

Leon, people who roll their eyes and say, "Oh, webcomics," deserve the world they live in. I wouldn't worry about them. 

History and texture are what make a continuing artform, like comics. They are what make such forms different from static forms like one-of movies and statuary.  

Pat Stephenson (pat) says: Is it just me or is Helen's body language turning into Dave's as well?  I mean, it makes sense.  She's turning into Dave, after all.  (One of the things I like about this comic is that the characters are all individuals in personality, in looks-when they're not turning into each other- and in body language.)
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Is it really Day 11 of this storyline? Hang on.. 1, 2, 3... ah, so it is.

MMO freaks are a little bit disgusting, aren't they?
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"Leon, who is this reader? Does he hate joy?"

Something that I should hasten to emphasise is that the delivery of the line in question is significant. When it is, in itself, a punchline, such as Dave's "I died once" here, the inherent discordant absurdity of these collated facts is boldly acknowledged. In Thursday's instance, though, the fact of Helen's past transformations is brought up simply as premise. This incongruity between that whimsical past event and this emotionally charged (albeit comparably silly) event is left unevaluated!
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Now why is the crate upside down?
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: So it: "Rotate your stock" :-)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "I Feel Fine", The Beatles)

Mell, calm down, don't throw a fit!
You must be strong, you know that it's
For science!
I'm a demi-Dave, but not by design!

Ev'ry night at nine, I fight
Those mutant trolls online (they might
Be giants) ...
I spent thirteen hours now playing online!

It's so nice
Since I joined a guild!
Good advice:
"Don't get yourself killed."

Now I pause 'cause I must choose, you know;
Which restroom should I use?  It's so
Confusing ...
I will build a new one, label it "Mine"!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: So It: The gerbils are escaping. Slowly.
Mark H- (eyeharvester) says: @Tiff: You do realize that I'm going to have to kill you now, correct?
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: @Mark: The easiest way to find me will be at the SDCC hanging around Narbonic/Skin Horse, Paradigm Shift, Templar AZ, or Girl Genius.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

In this case, it's hard to improve on the original lyrics to The Archies' "Sugar Sugar", but hey, we gotta try ...

Caffeine!
Oh, caffeine caffeine!
Caffeine is what I like
'Cause it makes my heart rate spike!

Sugar!
Goes good with caffeine!
Mell, keep on filming this,
Or the good parts you will miss!

If I do not have caffeine, my heart will stop a bit!
Watch my EKG go flat!
Mountain Dew with Circus Peanuts, there's no topping it!
(Are you gonna finish that?)
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh!

Pump a little caffeine in me, baby...
Pump a little caffeine in me, baby...

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: ................um.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

This is, according to what I read on Wikipedia yesterday, about as close as this storyline comes to aping the movie. It occurs to me also that this sort of scene really couldn't work with anyone other than Helen.

(Actually, it could probably work with Artie.)

I assume, by the use of Mountain Dew as digestive enzyme, that the details in this episode are slightly exaggerated. Even so, I fear that for some people this is only a minor departure from their culinary reality.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Did she get the  Circus Peanuts out of the vending machine?  True geek food comes out of vending machines.  If there's ever a geek Iron Chef, th secret ingredient will be Snickers bars.
Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says: Fourth panel cracked me up twice!
Chris Brunner (cjbrunner) says: I once tried dipping Circus Peanuts in Mountain Dew and eating them based solely on this strip. All told not too bad, actually, but than I am a computer programmer so I may be predisposed.
Chris Gleason (christhebkitu) says: This was my favorite strip of the entire run.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: I actually think it's even better when they have V8-tabasco drinking competitions.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile