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I hate doing gags that rely on the readers remembering a character or incident from the past, because, y'know, maybe they don't. In case you don't remember, this is Seth, from Dave's gaming group, who previously went on a date with Girl!Dave way back in 2001. If anyone from the gaming group was going to get a larger role in the strip, it was bound to be Seth, because he's the only one not directly based on a real person, and also because I adore tiny, angry nerdy guys and want to draw their adorable scowling faces into my comics all the time.

Seth calls Dave "David" because Dave is on the outs with the Dave Conspiracy and has had his identity as a Dave revoked. Only his coworkers at the lab still call him Dave.

Seth's tie-over-a-T-shirt look succeeds in making Dave look suave by comparison. Dave also appears to have put more work into his hair.

I'm sorry for doing gags about how gamers are lonely and desperate for female companionship. I would feel more sorry if these strips didn't tend to elicit a lot of positive responses from gamers. Anyway, by the time Dave gets around to rejoining the table, he's the only single member. Because he's wasted his time going into space and getting lost in time and stuff.

Anyway, it turns out Seth is mistaken about the availability of the gaming group's new member. He's doomed to remain mistaken for a good long time to come.

I like that Dave thinks he's hot, but only as a girl. Anyway, even though this strip requires knowledge of the whole "Gender Swap" storyline from three years previous, I still think it's pretty funny.

Seth is sweating all the time.

This was a plotting issue that bugged me: I'd previously established that Mell had become popular on campus by concealing her evil and violent nature, so why couldn't she get a better date than Seth? (I feel kind of bad about talking Seth down here, but come on, the guy is clearly putting no effort into the date. Also he sweats all the time.) This was the solution I came up with. It's also possible that Mell didn't want to reveal her double life to anyone who mattered. [SPOILERS] As things turn out, Seth won't be walking away from this party, so the secret of Mell's evil internship is safe.

For the very interested, it was established that Mell and Seth attend the same college way, way back in Seth's first appearance, in this week of strips.

I wrote this strip at the last minute and wasn't sure about it, but it ended up being pretty cute. Seth and Mell have a weird, awkward chemistry that I like; it's too bad I didn't have more opportunities to throw them together. The best part is Seth being only mildly annoyed at being shot by a futuristic laser rifle.

I know I did this basic joke several times over the course of Narbonic, but it's better here because the characters are in their little wintertime outfits. Helen looks especially good with the coat thrown over her fishnet stockings. It's also great when Dave wears a hat.

41 comments:
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

Dave is honestly surprised that the girlbeast devilblessed despoiler is capable of suppressing her bomblust delirium to manifest any sort of normal interpersonal affection.

Meanwhile, Mell's expression says that Dave should really have kept his bewonderment out of earshot.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "I'm Like A Bird", Nelly Furtado)

Mell got here now, not too late ...
She's asking where you are ...
Holy cow, and she brought a date,
Though it may seem bizarre!

It seems like white is black!
And Palin loves Barack!

Mell's got a date!  He didn't run away!
Although ev'ryone mocks him!
Got a collar that shocks him!
(It's hidden in his necktie)
Mell's got a date!  He didn't run away!
And at Dave he is flaming,
Dave missed ten weeks of gaming!
(He's terrified and no lie ...)

Daffyd Wagstaff (lord_killerfish) says:

@Leon: Never a truer word hath been spoken aloud regarding the finangler of technological wonderment and the lady of destructive tendancies. Bravo!

Also it doth appear young Seth is of the same stature as our feared, yet beloved Miss Kelly. Mayhap this puts him at the height of five feet and ten inches? Truely I must confess I only recall that Dave stood at around six feet.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Mell is about five-six, as is Seth. Helen's the tall one.
Daffyd Wagstaff (lord_killerfish) says:

Thanks Shaenon. Have a free expired coupon for yoghurt (or was it a coupon for free expired yoghurt?) as thanks.

...

Sometimes I don't even notice when I'm being bloody weird. It honestly scares me sometimes.

Paul Anderson (pmanderson) says: Free expired yogurt, of course; this strip is all about little tastes of culture.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Dave is so starved of male companionship that he's willing to forgo his own masculinity. Hmmmmm.

Trivia: Mad scientists relish the punch-spiking event of a party. Oftentimes they crowd around the bowl to watch the insidious substance defile the earth-bound liquid in a cacophony of fizzes and sputters, winks of vapour or bursts of short-lived froth. The more chemistry-endowed can be seen straining their noggins to deduce the composition of the compound just from the duration and ferocity of the reactions, so as to anticipate the havok that will soon be unleashed on their stomachs and bloodstreams.

(All this, of course, completely misses the central point of punch-spiking in a way that only socially inhibited hypergeniuses could.)
Daffyd Wagstaff (lord_killerfish) says:

Most of the parties I've attended have had the punch pre-spiked. It saves everyone the bother of having to spike it later.

 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Ladies Who Lunch", Stephen Sondheim)

Helen is spiking the punch,
Asking Mell to choose ...
Guys will either grow extra eyes in a bunch,
Or their bones will ooze
Now look at Seth,
We can't ignore him,
Talking to Dave ...
The hand of Death
Is reaching toward him,
Failing his save!
(Did anyone here roll his save?)
Not Seth or Dave ...

Look at the D&D geeks,
Isn't it a crime?
Seth complains that Dave's missing too many weeks,
Lost in space and time!
Poor Dave, disgraced!
He's been replaced
By an authentic female!
We see him think
He needs a drink ...
A spritzer or some cream ale!
Heeeeeeeeeey!
He can be female!

So watch for the intern who thought
Dishing pain is fun!
When she tried out tabletop gaming, she brought
Her Big Freakin' Gun!
The girl that all the fanboys have liked!
To cause some death and mayhem, she's psyched!
She tells us that the punch has been spiked ...
Ev'rybody run!
Run!
Run!  Run!  Run!  Run!  Run!  Run!  Run!

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Punch-spiking should also be done visibly, unless you're still in undergrad.  I once attended a Math Department party with two punch bowls.  They were labeled: "Trivial" and "Non-trivial".  Of course.

Daffyd Wagstaff (lord_killerfish) says:

That's not sweat, that's excess testosterone gushing from his forehead!

Or it's a gladular condition, one of the two.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: *snerk*
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Dave knows Seth pretty well, it seems.

Silent penultimate panels: 23.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Now I can't help wondering ... while Dave was female, did she go out and buy a shower massage?

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Of course he's sweating.  There are entities about lacking the Y chromosone.  You never know what they might do.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Johnn-- In the Narbonic universe, this is a perfectly legitimate fear.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Having had his mind reduced to cinders by the revelation that Mell is capable of dating, our hero is again mentally cremated at the news that she's not very effective at it. Even Mell's wicked benefactor gods have an upper extent to their unjust generousity.

"Sweet-talk those bullseyes" is a pretty great line.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "You're So Vain", Carly Simon)

Well, she walked all over campus,
She had a smile and a friendly word!
But all the bullseyes repeat the same cliches
That ev'ryone's ever heard!
Well she's like a sister to them all ...
It's pat-ent-ly absurd!
"Gee, how I wish that my girlfriend was like you,
Girlfriend was like you!"

And ...
Mell's so nice,
The guys don't ever think about dating!
She's so nice,
The guys walk off, they're leaving her waiting!
Waiting!  Waiting!

Daffyd Wagstaff (lord_killerfish) says:

Ah the double edged sword of popularity, how it cuts down the humble and the mighty at the same time.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

I always assumed that sane guys recognized the 'gun-toting crazy' in Mell and used the standard lies guys say when they want to dump a girl without causing her to go Fatal Attraction on them.

So "Gee I wish my girlfriend was more like you" is guy code for "let me get away from you before you boil my bunny off".

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Likewise.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

This is definitely something of an upturning of convention: the young lady has chosen her date solely for his Igor-like repulsiveness.
Daffyd Wagstaff (lord_killerfish) says:

I don't know what that weapon in Mell's hand is, what it does, or what the potential mass destruction it can do. All I know is that I want one.

(Oh, it's a futuristic laser rifle. I still want one.)

@Leon: We prefer the term "homely charm". It sooths the bitter sting of life.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Big Freakin' (tm) Gun count = 38

(TUNE: "Rich Girl", Hall & Oates)

You're a henchman!
You're a slave to her will!
'Cause you know you can't fight her anyway ...
You can assist her, she'll be a villain!
You can't resist when she starts her killin'!

Be a mensch, man!
Now you better hold still
While she's shooting you with a laser ray!
Stop whining or she might shoot again, friend!
Shoot you again!

Oh, you know ... oh, you know ...
That she's hot!
By the short & curlies you've been got!
So you'll go ... where she goes ...
You're the type she seeks,
You're so mild and meek,
You're so wimpy and weak!

Yeah, you're a henchman!
You're a slave to her will!
'Cause you know you can't fight her anyway ...
You'll be abetting a homicide now!
Helen and Dave gonna step outside now!

'Cause this wench, man,
You will follow until
All the world is completely blown away!
So sexy in her dictator's cape,
Yeah, there's no escape!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

"You can be my first zombified slave" is probably a pickup line for a D&Der: you lose all your charisma, but boy do you get stamina points!

Lenore Hoyt (landsnark) says:

Wednesday's strip:

OH MY GODS HAS IT REALLY BEEN THREE YEARS SINCE GENDER SWAP?

Ahem.

Sorry I'm late, I was unavoidably detained.

James Rice (jhrice) says:

In looking at panel two, I think there should have been to sweat drops in the shape of a heart.

 

Rob (rrreed) says: Not certain if anyone's ever linked to this short. Seems applicable.

Expendable
Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Rob: is that Number 21 and Number 24?

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

David Malki! The hell!

You gotta respect a guy who can credit himself as director, editor and AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY PILOT.
James Rice (jhrice) says:

Hey, Expendable was fillmed just down the street from me!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

Fishnets in the snow?!
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hey, it is an awesome outfit. With the fishnets and the heart cap.

I've no idea how her legs stay warm, though.
Bo Lindbergh (blgl) says: Electric fishnet?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Riders On The Storm", The Doors)

Fishnets in the snow ...
Fishnets in the snow ...
She's looking good, although
The wind chill's ten below!
With a hat that's full of hearts, a head that's full of smarts,
Fishnets in the snow!

Office party's a success!
She expected nothing less!
There's Mell, who's in a dress,
And there's Seth, who's in distress!
Mell's shooting at her date!  Oh goody, this is great!
Party's a success!

Helen with her smile ...
My heart she will beguile!
For her, I'll do things vile!
I'll go that extra mile!
Just to see that evil smile, that makes it all worthwhile!
Helen with her smile!

Fishnets in the snow ...
Face that's all aglow ...
I love her, though I know
That she'll only cause me woe!
But still, without a doubt, I'll fan-ta-size about
Fishnets in the snow!

Fishnets in the snow ... fishnets in the snow ...
Fishnets in the snow ... fishnets in the snow ...

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Helen is entertained... henchmen are doing all the work... plus there's punch! Sounds like a success to me!

Pete (westrider) says:

I've had parties where I would have considered this a success...

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

@Ed: Another excellent effort, and to one of my favorite songs....

Connor Moran (potatoknight) says:

Wow, right around this week was when I started reading Narbonic--these strips were on the front page as I was archive trawling.  Just about six and a half years reading daily Narbonic and later commentary--that's kind of nuts.

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile