In The Not Too Distant Future

comfyconDid you miss my ComfyCon panel? Did you miss all of ComfyCon? Did you not know that ComfyCon was a free, online convention where many of your favorite online comics artists did live panels in their pajamas? Well, you can catch my panel, #PanelRoulette, archived here and check out the rest of the watchable goodies here.

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Do you live in or around Austin, TX? Come see me and Dave from Cyanide & Happiness and Randy from Something*Positive at Wizard World Austin this weekend (Saturday and Sunday only). We’ll be at the Dragon’s Lair booth selling merch and doing sketches.

Are you somewhere between the age of 30 and 50? Then perhaps you remember the annual MST3K Turkey Day marathon. Well, guess what? I’ll tell you if you calm down! Are you calm? OK NOW FREAK OUT! It’s coming back this year! Joel Hodgson will be curating fan-favorite episodes suggested by you via his Twitter, online this thanksgiving RIGHT HERE. Now you have something to do besides stare silently across the meat-laden table at your horrible family!

If I was picking the episodes, and I was not limited to 6, I would say (in no particular order): Mitchell, Pod People, Touch Of Satan, Overdrawn At The Memory Bank, Alien From L.A., Time Chasers, Soul Taker, Space Mutiny, double feature of Invasion Of The Neptune Men (Space Chief) and Prince Of Space, Future War and Wild Rebels. I’m leaving out Manos: The Hands Of Fate because I only watch it every 5-10 years or so to preserve my will to live. Oh shit, also Jack Frost, Hobgoblins, and, perhaps most importantly, Final Sacrifice (Rowsdower saves us and he saves all the world. ROWSDOWER!).

COMMENTERS: First off, go ahead and add to my list of essential MST3K viewing or scrap it and create your own (less accurate) list.

Secondly, what piece of personal favorite geekery are you most enthusiastic about passing down to future generations?

Comments (61)

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Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 82 weeks ago

She seems to be trying to apply the logic people use on shows now on shows from the past.

Nostalgia glasses are non-transferable… such a shame.

That’s really kind of you to say, and I appreciate the encouragement.
Other Joel's avatar

Other Joel · 82 weeks ago

Your list is invalid without Werewolf. Other than that, you got it spot on

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

I know that’s a fan fav, but I believe it’s one of the ones I havent seen. THe good news is, there are still “new” episodes for me to enjoy.
Mitch H.'s avatar

Mitch H. · 82 weeks ago

Not MST3K. I lived in a commune (ok, large student apartment with a crazy-open-door policy) where they *loved* themselves some MST3K. Damn show always put me to sleep. I ended up staving off sleeping in semi-public by trolling Usenet whenever they started in on the bad movies.

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

My only regret is that their version of Gamera is the only one on Netflix…
>add to my list of essential MST3K viewing

No, as long as Space Mutiny is on the list we’re good to go. Buff Drinklots! Butch Deadlift! Slab Squatthrust! Big McLargeHuge!

4 replies · active 82 weeks ago

Don’t forget Blast Hardcheese!
Fridge Largemeat! Gristle McThornbody!
Chris's avatar

Chris · 82 weeks ago

Bob Johnson!
SmolderingMuffin's avatar

SmolderingMuffin · 82 weeks ago

Space Mutiny is, by far, my favorite MST3K episode. It’s beginning-to-end hilarious.

Fist Rockgroin!

“How DARE you insult my knowledge of ancient dentistry?!”

Wack'd's avatar

Wack’d · 82 weeks ago

Hang on…you guys didn’t skip the theme song, did you? Because if she sat through the theme song she wouldn’t be asking this stuff.

Lessee…”The Day the Earth Froze”, “I Accuse My Parents”, “Pumaman”, “Monster A-Go-Go”, “The Brain that Wouldn’t Die”…beyond that I think you covered it.

As for what I’m gonna pass down to my kids, definitely this, “Doctor Who”, and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete”.

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

I think I was already watching “Final Sacrifice” on Netflix when they got home.
manbeardman's avatar

manbeardman · 82 weeks ago

star trek the good one not the new crap ( i apologize if any one here liked the new crap )
Rebecca Daniels's avatar

Rebecca Daniels · 82 weeks ago

I have SO MUCH LOVE for this strip! This is such a fine example of deftly weaving together the family stuff and the geeky stuff. Of course, that’s your life so I don’t know why I am even a little surprised. Well done, sir.

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

RandalFlagg's avatar

RandalFlagg · 82 weeks ago

Pretty much any of the “Gamera” movies
Ive heard a lot of good things about this one, but I dont think I’ve seen it.
I’ve never been a MST-ie, but as for what geekery I want to pass along… – right there.
BoldlyGettingThere's avatar

BoldlyGettingThere · 82 weeks ago

I thought you were referring to yourself in the third person in the first panel. Oh, and are the Fancy Digital Sketches still being worked on?

2 replies · active 82 weeks ago

Yes, they are. I am the worst.
BoldlyGettingThere's avatar

BoldlyGettingThere · 82 weeks ago

No Joel, you’re the best. You’re putting so much effort into the ones you’ve posted on your Tumblr I’m surprised you have time to make the comic.
Steve's avatar

Steve · 82 weeks ago

If I ever have kids, I’m passing down my Transformers collection to them.

Granted, since I’m a guy totally into the D, having kids isn’t very likely, but I can always adopt or do it the old-fashioned way *shudder*

Steve's avatar

Steve · 82 weeks ago

In all honesty, the movie version of MST3K was probably one of the best MST3K forays there was. Only down side, no TV’s Frank. Still, Interociters aplenty, great laughs, terrific effects…they brought the A-game for the theatrical release. It was a shame what it turned into. But thousands of quotable lines and great movies made this one for the ages. Cave Dwellers, Mitchell, Pod People, Red Zone Cuba…and the shorts. Oh wow…the shorts.

2 replies · active 82 weeks ago

The short about the coils is my favorite.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 82 weeks ago

Ocassionally I say “nooooo springs!” and everyone looks at me weird.
MrPlow99's avatar

MrPlow99 · 82 weeks ago

I’ve already turned my friend’s daughter (she’s 8) into a Doctor Who fan. In fact, I’m going to visit them and watch the 50th Anniv. special with them.

I never watched MST3K regularly, but I recall Overdrawn at the Memory Bank and Puma Man.

Blake's avatar

Blake · 82 weeks ago

No love for Cave Dwellers? That’s my absolute favourite! Who could forget such incredible lines as:

“Ohhh neat, she’s making gunpower out of her own filth. Ugh!”


“It is everything…and nothing.” “Uhh, could you be a little more vague please?”

3 replies · active 82 weeks ago

Blake's avatar

Blake · 82 weeks ago

Nevermind… someone snuck some dwellers love in there. Awesome
Steve's avatar

Steve · 82 weeks ago

They never killed a puppet that big before!
Larry's avatar

Larry · 82 weeks ago

Fugitive Alien.

“This is the song, written for the train chase,
This is the chase, Rocky and Ken,
He tried to kill me with a forklift!”

Mark's avatar

Mark · 82 weeks ago

My wife has already introduced our kids. In fact “The Legend of Boggy Creek II” just finished in the back ground. I can’t wait until they are older to bust out “Ron & Stimpy” and Month python.
Those trees are loud.

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

Whatcha got there, Banjo?
Runcibletune's avatar

Runcibletune · 82 weeks ago

I think panel three is a pretty adorable portrait of your family. Uh, not that I know your family… *clears throat nervously* You just look really happy.
bionelly's avatar

bionelly · 82 weeks ago

Nostalgia’s great and all, but it seems like I’m usually most enthusiastic (and my daughter’s most receptive) when I’m experiencing new stuff along with her. I suspect that’s why (much as I love them) Star Trek and Star Wars both fell kinda flat with her, but she is, if possible, an even bigger fan of Doctor Who and the Portal games than I am.
Genera Zollinger's avatar

Genera Zollinger · 82 weeks ago

I’m not big into MST3K so nothing to add there.

As for geekery we are passing down to our children, so far it’s a love of the Muppet Show, LOTR, Legos and Star Wars. And Indiana Jones. My oldest boy at 6 is intrigued by Doctor Who – all he really understands so far is, as he said, “The Doctor wins by thinking.”

And Batman. Ye Gods Batman. My eldest is often seen in a Batman cape running everywhere. We had a wonderful moment last summer when we were walking through the park and passed a kid in a Superman t shirt and cape.

“Hey Batman.”
“Hey Superman.”

And they just kept walking. Adorable.

~G. Zollinger

maggie's avatar

maggie · 82 weeks ago

I agree – ANY Gamera. but also Santa Claus Conquers the Martians – best line ever was Crow telling Joel what he wants for Christmas: I wanna decide who lives and who dies.
Evan's avatar

Evan · 82 weeks ago

You nailed it with Time Chasers and Soul Taker. Could there even be a Thanksgiving without Joe Estevez?!

I would add Werewolf and Merlin’s Mystical Shop, though…

groklife's avatar

groklife · 82 weeks ago

I’ve got to go with adding “Werewolf” and “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” And “The Pumaman.” And “Gamera.”

Best line from “Werewolf”: “And you’re welcome to my Flagstaff, too, if you know what I mean…” Or is it, “Paul! You is a waerwelf!” Tough to call. Hilariously bad.

Parts, the movie that sued “The Island.”

Oh, and “Gamera…” Gamera is fun to eat, he is filled with turtle meat, we all love you Gameraaaaaa!”

“The pew-ma-man, flies like a moron!” Gut-buster, for sure!

Thanks for reminding me of all these funnies, Joel (and other commetors!)

I’ve got to go with adding “Werewolf” and “Parts: The Clonus Horror.” And “The Pumaman.” And “Gamera.”

Best line from “Werewolf”: “And you’re welcome to my Flagstaff, too, if you know what I mean…” Or is it, “Paul! You is a waerwelf!” Tough to call. Hilariously bad.

Parts, the movie that sued “The Island.”

Oh, and “Gamera…” Gamera is fun to eat, he is filled with turtle meat, we all love you Gameraaaaaa!”

“The pew-ma-man, flies like a moron!” Gut-buster, for sure!

Thanks for reminding me of all these funnies, Joel (and other commetors!)

Sorry for the double post. 🙁
Roborat's avatar

Roborat · 82 weeks ago

I love MT3K, however due to stupid distribution rules in Canada, I didn’t get to see many episodes. I did however, introduce my kids to Monty Python, to the point that we can watch Holy Grail with the sound off, and Doctor Who. Also made them fans of the Muppet Show, Dinosaurs, Animaniacs and Tiny Toons. Didn`t have much luck with Ultraman however, they refuse to watch it after the first episode I showed them. Can`t say I blame them.

1 reply · active 82 weeks ago

Tony's avatar

Tony · 82 weeks ago

I don’t have much MST3K experience (though if you need suggestions on how to approach its baby brother Rifftrax, I could probably help, though, that’s pretty simply “Start with the Twilight movies, then move onto the next most terrible movies you’ve ever heard of, and probably avoid movies that you actually like, not that they’ll make you hate them or anything, but that the Riffs will probably fall kinda flat. Battlefield Earth and Batman and Robin are tough to endure, even with Rifftrax, but they’re worth it.”)

As for passing on of geekery, I just decided that my 4 and 2-year-old second cousins (who are, for all intents and purposes, nieces) are getting at least Here Comes Science if not the rest of They Might Be Giants’ educational series of CDs (double-whammy of geekery, in that they’ll be getting CDs) for Christmas. It’s going to be tough to break the older one out of princess mode and into geek mode, but her little sister is ripe for being made into a geek.

And as soon as they’re old enough to not have to worry about choking hazards, I’m looking forward to introducing them to LEGO, and I’ll be damned if I let them see any of the new boxes that don’t have the alternate model pictures on them as if to say “You know, you don’t have to build the thing on the front. There are other possibilities in this box, as many as your little mind can conjure and your young motor skills can assemble…”

Spaceballs. The Fourth Doctor. Lord of the Rings. RPGs.


alex's avatar

alex · 82 weeks ago

And netflix just added 5 new ones to instant. They sense a change in the wind… that or have access to the streaming rights to the show as well as data indicating a sudden increase in google searches for “LA-LA-LA”
Steve's avatar

Steve · 82 weeks ago

Hey Joel! How do you take your whiskey?!
Iver's avatar

Iver · 82 weeks ago

When I was managing at the Music Store, I used to show the MST3K version of the short “Mr. B Natural” to my new employees once they’d finished their training as a “reward”…
marchaux's avatar

marchaux · 82 weeks ago

I can’t believe no one mentioned “Attack of the Leeches!” “He’s a mess… a CHOCOLATE mess!”
Kaidah's avatar

Kaidah · 71 weeks ago

For MST3K, I would recommend ‘The Skydivers’. It’s a personal favorite and includes a short from 1956 on why boys should take shop class.
“Did the actors do their own skydiving?”
“No, the skydivers did thier own acting.”

I’ve already passed down some of my favorite bits of geekery to my sons: Star Wars, Lego (two great things that are great together!), Calvin and Hobbes (which helped my youngest develop his reading. I don’t care what my grandmother says, reading is reading.), Doctor Who, and a general love for all things sciency or science fictiony. My kids are awesome! 😀

Breaking Bye

This is an unofficial Wheaton Comic Dareseeing as how I was trying to think of a good way to eulogize perhaps the best show that has ever been produced for television when Wil suddenly tweeted the answer. You know a finale was powerful when you are still turning it over and over in your mind a week later. I’m going to wait a couple of weeks, then watch the final 3 episodes of Breaking Bad again. I don’t think I missed anything, but I would like to see how my perspective changes when I am not THIS close to hyperventilating the entire time.

I say Breaking Bad might be the best show of all time (and it just might), but I would be more accurate in saying it might be my favorite show… my favorite THING that I have ever watched on TV. The Battlestar Galactica mini series comes in at a very close second. It might even be a photo finish or a tie for first, but Breaking Bad managed to pull off five entire seasons that never wavered, never dipped in quality, never went off the rails, never betrayed the characters or the story and ALWAYS left me wanting more without having to resort to cheap sensationalism.

But, now that it’s over, I do not want any more. It was perfect. It wasn’t Purgatory all along, and no one turned out to be a magical space angel. It was a complete and completely enthralling story with a profoundly satisfying ending… BITCH.

We’re talking about Breaking Bad (including spoilers) over in the Fancy Bastard Facebook group if you’d like to get in on that action.

COMMENTERS: What show’s ending (untimely or otherwise) left the biggest hole in your geek soul? Which finale were you MOST satisfied with?


NYCC 2013

I will be at New York Comic Con Next weekend (10/10) with Cyanide and Happiness at booth 2247!

UPDATE ON THE FANCY DIGITAL SKETCH DRIVE: If you are still waiting on your Fancy Digital Sketch, I am SUPER BACKLOGGED on these. I am very sorry it’s taking so long. Doing 50+ original pieces of finished art always sounds easy, until you agree to do it and take money for it. I am working through them, but if you need yours urgently, feel free to let me know via email.

Have you seen my wife’s Etsy store, “Science and Fiction?” Check out her Tetris earrings!

Tetris Earings!


Comments (18)

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Ryan Cannon's avatar

Ryan Cannon · 89 weeks ago

The two endings that had the biggest impacts on me was the ending of Star Trek Enterprise, which happens to be my favorite Star Trek. The second ending that had the biggest impact was the Voyager Finale, but that was probably the fact that it signaled an end to my Star Trek journey. My order is: ENT=VOY>DS9≥TNG>TOS

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

What is wrong with your brainpan, fellow Trekkie? It goes TNG=DS9>VOY>TOS>ENT (or as I like to call it, Star Trek 90210).
Ryan Cannon's avatar

Ryan Cannon · 89 weeks ago

I am perfectly fine.
I understood it perfectly, and while I might be generalizing for the sake of humor it was a completely bullshit cop out. The entire back half of that series was a god damn disaster. Just flailing around, aimless, pointless directionless nonsense.
Firefly. Now, don’t get me wrong, Serenity was a GREAT movie, and a fantastic ending to the series– but imagine the storyline of Serenity doled out in little 44 minute chunks over a five year period. The cliffhangers. The jokes. The carnage. The pain, the delicious delicious pain.

Imagine Wash getting impaled, Zoe saying, “Honey?”, and then getting SEE YOU NEXT SEASON.

So yeah, Firefly.

Gretchen's avatar

Gretchen · 89 weeks ago

The show ended was I was a year old, so I’ve caught it all in syndication or on DVD, but the ending of M*A*S*H is still up there as my all-time favorite show ending. Funny, emotional, and – by turns – both uplifting and heartbreaking. Love it.

1 reply · active 88 weeks ago

Zee's avatar

Zee · 88 weeks ago

Oh s***, same here. I forgot about the ending of M*A*S*H*. Definitely a very good ending.
sicklittlemonky 's avatar

sicklittlemonky · 89 weeks ago

Angel, by far. I cried like a baby that night, and still cry every time I watch it. The ending was beautiful and epic and satisfying and heartbreaking. Now, I realize that I’m one of those crazies who take Whedon’s shows way too seriously, but the end of Angel was the end of an era for me. Makes me sad just thinking about it. And though you could argue that the show overall had its ups and downs, the finale, and the final season, we’re perhaps the highlight of the series.

Dammit. Now I’m going to have to watch it again.

I’d have to say the endings that never got a chance to take place leave the biggest holes – e.g., Crusade, where we got part of a season of what should have been another 5-season story.

And while it invariably leaves me an emotional disaster area for several days afterward, “Sleeping in Light” from Babylon 5 is an incredible series ender.

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 89 weeks ago

There’s two endings that stick with me. One was Pretender, which had everyone in a subway tunnel which blew up, and then was cancelled before resolving it next season. The other is more recent, The Finder. I was one of about five people who actually liked that show so I’m not surprised it got canned, but they ended it on a “scattered to the four winds” note. One guy arrested and going insane, his friend disbarred, his girlfriend thrown off the force, the gypsy kid on the run instead of being forced to marry her may-as-well-be-a-brother… it was an hour long kick to the gut.

And after that Michael Clarke Duncan died. Even were he not an incredibly awesome person who deserved to stick around it also killed the tiny hope of some sort of reunion/resolution.

Now that I’ve watched all of The 4400, i really wish it would have had at least a 2 hour tv movie to wrap up the plot.

1 reply · active 88 weeks ago

seriously's avatar

seriously · 88 weeks ago

On the plus side, it did end with a kick-ass Pixies song.
Hotsauce's avatar

Hotsauce · 88 weeks ago

In fairness to Ron Moore, Head Six came right out and said that she was an angel sent to guide Baltar right in the middle of season 2. It was just such a stupid idea that nobody believed it.
neph sy's avatar

neph sy · 88 weeks ago

Battlestar Galactica did have the worst ending, I wanted to kick the tv screen in.
And I agree that Breaking Bad was perfect, unwavering with an ending that was succinct and right.
Maybe the real issue is fantastical shows like BG and Lost that have a group of writers who have to intrigue and amaze us, and get us thinking “what does that mean” “what the hell?”
So the writers come up with all sort of crazy crap that paints them into a corner that they have to write themselves out of. You have to know where the final destination is, to be able to drive the bus safely and get everyone there. Otherwise you end up crashed in some ditch, exhausted from the crazy side routes taken.

Compare this to the Sopranos and Breaking Bad – the writers KNEW how they wanted it to end. These shows were based in today’s reality, so there wasn’t a bunch of weird stuff going on to draw people in and stroke their imaginations. What was pulling us in was the lives and character development of a small group of characters, and some solid plot lines.
Since I’m not a writer I don’t know what’s harder to write. But these types of shows are certainly different and it seems like horror and sci-fi writers can have good exciting ideas, that they have a hard time executing into a story that is satisfying in it’s end conclusion and resolution.

1 reply · active 86 weeks ago

W. Alex Plageman's avatar

W. Alex Plageman · 86 weeks ago

This is why you don’t put magic/divinity in a sci-fi story, nor magic with no rules in a a fantasy story.

I’m not suggesting beating us over the head with ‘rules of the universe’ but just firmly establishing them and then not ignoring them later to add intrigue.

Xero's avatar

Xero · 84 weeks ago

breaking bad is the prequil to the walking dead

Agents Of Staying Hopeful In Event of Lackluster Developments



The big giant mega blowout HE Store sale is over, and we are putting the final touches on the new HE store which will soon live HERE.

Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Spoilers to follow!!!
I don’t think I liked the pilot of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. 
There, I said it. In fact, I’m pretty sure the only thing I actually did like about it was Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson (which was sort of a given). But wasn’t the whole show supposed to be a given? Wasn’t this a geek no-brainer? Like, no matter what: Whedon(s) + Coulson + super hero stuff + spy stuff + Marvel universe = A thing that all geeks will love until the coming of Galactus? I don’t know. It just didn’t hit for me in any of the areas I expected it to, or hoped it would.

Characters: Coulson – Great. Just great. I love Clark Gregg as Coulson and I want to see more of him all the time. Also, he’s probably still all or mostly dead.
Ward: Pretty guy. Delivers lines about being a by the book bad ass, but doesn’t seem to believe them. I hope he gets better.
Fitz/Simmons: Whedon demands a Willow. Willow was great and got greater. Topher (Dollhouse) was a better Willow than Willow. Fitz/Simmons are a lesser Topher, further divided by being incased inside of two different people who serve the function of one character. Not sure about these two. I will either love them by mid season or pray for their deaths.
Skye: Whedon has cast another Dushku. This does not bode well.
Dr. Shepard Book: Hey! It’s Shepard Book! As a doctor!

Story: What is even going on here? S.H.I.E.L.D. was this massive organization with a Hellicarrier and tons of foot soldiers and Quinjets and all these resources and now it seems to be a small government agency run out of a small government building and a large airplane that spends most of it’s time on the ground being an office. I don’t remember them establishing that Coulson was putting together a special unit or a tiny team that would carry out certain missions of importance. It seems like he’s just randomly recruiting new people to… keep doing what S.H.I.E.L.D. already does (police the activities of super heroes booth good and evil/protect regular dummies from knowing so much that they can’t get through their regular dummy lives). I needed a mission imperative or an event that creating a new team would be a response to. They hinted that The Battle Of New York (The Avengers) was an escalation point, but I didn’t see it as the impetus for “Getting Super Serious” and gathering new talent. Maybe I missed something.

Things are further complicated/confused by the fact that Skye reveals herself to be the villain/organization/terror threat they are fighting/seeking out in the beginning of the episode, The Rising Tide. Then they sort of ignore this and recruit her for S.H.I.E.L.D. for her l33t hax0ring skillz. This is where my comprehension of the story totally jumps ship. She already KNOWS what S.H.I.E.L.D. is and isn’t her whole purpose to BRING THEM DOWN?! To prevent them from keeping people from knowing the truth about super heroes? Doesn’t she make this abundantly clear? Don’t they catch her in the act of doing this? Coulson doesn’t say, “Work for us or go to that prison hole from Batman 3 for the rest of your life.” He just ignores everything and invites her to sign up for fun times in a flying car.

Then the whole, “They used everything we know from The Avengers and Iron Man 3 (super solider serum, gamma radiation, alient metal, Extremis) mixed together to make a super hero,” plot line just rubbed me the wrong way. Just seemed like a lazy tie in to the movies and an easy way to blow there “How are we going to get more super heroes/villains?” wad for the whole season in the first hour.

Writing: The pilot felt like a script that had too many rewrites and ended up with a lot of incongruous elements. The humorous moments were all Coulson’s and seemed like Whedon did punch up on a script that he didn’t write (though he does have a writing credit).

Acting: Too early to judge. Clark Gregg is great, but you already knew that. Everyone else seems SUPER green. J. August Richards seemed out of his element. Again, like a guy that knew the words he was supposed to say, but didn’t believe them. The more the “Centipede/super serum/Extremis/whatever” takes over, the less believable his performance becomes. Baby Dushku is… baby Dushku. Ward seems like a blank slate. At most I expect he will be inoffensive.

Bottom Line: I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE ANY MORE! Maybe I’m too old, or maybe my tastes have changed too much since the last time Whedon had a TV show I really loved. I didn’t care for Iron Man 3, but I loved Iron Man 2 (the one EVERYONE hates), and I wouldn’t loose any sleep if  Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t have a second episode. I found it unfocused and boring. What is wrong with me?

COMMENTERS: What did you think of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D? Mild spoilers are OK.  


This is my wife’s birthday week! Celebrate it by buying yourself a present from her Etsy store “Science and Fiction.” Check out her her latest geeky creation, a Pacman inspired necklace!

Pacman Necklace on Etsy

Comments (63)

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Kschenke's avatar

Kschenke · 90 weeks ago

I liked the majority of the pilot, but yes it wasn’t necessarily mindblowing. The plot was a little jumbled, but I thought it set up the characters well enough considering we’ve only met two of them before. Plus it’s an action show with three women of various skills in a team of six, so that’s a good thing in my mind. I’ve seen weaker pilots for better shows, so I’m at least up for the next few episodes to see how the momentum builds. Also the “With Great Power” and “Journey into Mystery” references made me happy.
Dave's avatar

Dave · 90 weeks ago

Depends, do you mean “Serenity” or “The Train Job”? I saw “Serenity” first, as Whedon intended, and fell in love immediately. I can’t say how I would have received the show as it aired. I’d say I liked the Dollhouse pilot better than this one.
Good question. Other than Firefly I probably never saw a Whedon show starting with the pilot. Buffy I came in at season 3, and Angel doesnt count because we already knew all the characters.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 90 weeks ago

Firefly got me with the first episode, but I saw it in college as part of a marathon so it was soon followed by others. Dollhouse felt like excessive scenes of Dushku being sexy but the meat of the episode grabbed me, then I lost interest around episode 5 or so (apparently it got better, but it just felt too muddy). Buffy and Angel were never my thing, I liked some bits but wouldn’t tune in.
Yeah, pilots are nearly always info dumps. Buffy had a few good gags in the first couple of eps, but took half a season to hit it’s stride and didn’t iron out character inconsistencies until s3 (and then started making new ones after that). i thought SHELD ep 2 was an improvement (albeit with the pretty darn unoriginal `team bonds’ plot) so/but i’m willing to wait & see
Gregory Lynn's avatar

Gregory Lynn · 90 weeks ago

I loved it.

Also, Willow is the Willowest Willow, so while Topher is awesome and all, he’s not a better Willow, because Willow.

1 reply · active 90 weeks ago

What about Fred. She’s a pretty great Willow. Considering she eventually becomes an Old God, she might be the best Willow.
Dave's avatar

Dave · 90 weeks ago

Ugh, I have to agree. The pilot was painful. At one point I turned to my wife, both of us fairly quiet through the first 20 minutes and said “Boy… they’re really trying WAY too hard aren’t they?”

This Sky character… I absolutely cannot get behind. During the interrogation scene Wife says “Oh no… she’s going to be a regular isn’t she?”

If I have to hear one more time “I did XYZ with a laptop” I’m going to scream.

The only characters that don’t seem like cardboard cut outs are Coulson and Mel. The rest? Throwaways at best, annoying as hell at worst.

I would like to second the question “What happened to the organization that has the resources we saw in the Avengers?” I get that you can’t show that on TV, so show me WHY this group is smaller.

Just… Yuck. Here’s hoping it’s all just a bad case of pilotitis.

5 replies · active 90 weeks ago

Dave's avatar

Dave · 90 weeks ago

Elaboration: There was not one moment… NOT ONE… as simple as Jayne kneeling down to look in on poor gut-shot Kaylee. Just a simple moment like that to give a character some personality and depth. Never happened once in SHIELD.
Exactly. The reason they arent in the Helicarrier is because it would cost a hundred million an episode, but have Coulson say “Im creating an special team to blah blah blah and we arent operating out of the Helicarrier because the Avengers are there and they need to think Im dead or this team needs to function as a splinter cell or WHATEVER.” They can still do this, but it needed to be in the pilot. Skye annoys me like Dushku annoys me and that’s because she’s all looks and attitude and no substance.
Oh and regarding Ming-Na, I love her. I really hope they do a lot with her character. She didnt have two lines in the pilot so I actually forgot her when writing my review.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 90 weeks ago

Are we supposed to know what her character IS from past movies? I get “used to do that crap, doesn’t anymore” but the whole time it felt like there was something I was supposed to know that I’d missed.
Nope – they’ve set her up as someone who’s big in SHIELD but not in the wider universe, just laying the foundations for a big character arc.
Kirby's avatar

Kirby · 90 weeks ago

I really liked it. It didn’t really flow that well together, but it did seem like they were trying to set up lots and lots of plots at once, which led it to be disjointed.

Coulson’s comment about the one agent’s family seems like it’s trying to set him up as some kind of son of a mafia don or something like that.

Who is Skye, really?

Why doesn’t this agent want to do field work?

Hill’s comment about Coulson.

Centipede seems like they’re trying to lay the groundwork for a Mr. Fix/Tinkerer character to serve as an overall villain, with someone trying to learn how Extremis and other things work.

Other than that, I think they’re trying to bring it in as this is the quick in and out team. He did say he was putting together his own team, but I don’t think they really gave a particular reason. Probably kind of a quick and quiet response team.

I think we’ll probably come back to the whole Red Dawn things. In the beginning I think she sees them as this big government conspiracy set to keep people in the dark and maybe starts to see things in a different light as things progress? Maybe it’s a buried lead? I on’t really know.

But I loved it, and I think it might be worth seeing how it progresses.

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

I agree. Especially if they delve into why Agent Mey was reassigned to a desk
DuckAmuck's avatar

DuckAmuck · 89 weeks ago

Yeah, I pretty well freaking loved it too. I thought “This is SO Wheedon.”

“She drew.. I think it’s a poo. With knives sticking out of it.”

Agent Coulson – YES! (set up for more What’s Behind the Curtain He Thinks is Tahiti.)
Cobie Smulders – YES! YES! Love her. Love her. Not wasted on not meeting someone’s mother now.
Ming Na – YES! YES! YES! Wasn’t expecting that one. Set up for her back story.
Fitz & Simmons – YES! YES! AND YES! I just hope they can not talk quite so fast so I can better understand what they’re saying – but YES!

EvilJorge's avatar

EvilJorge · 90 weeks ago

Joel, just accept that you don’t really like anything that doesn’t have an Apple icon on it and move on. It’s fine. We don’t think less of you or anything.

1 reply · active 90 weeks ago

With regards to television series, that really doesn’t come close to making sense.
thelogos's avatar

thelogos · 90 weeks ago

I didn’t hate it. But, compare it with the first episode of Firefly and how the characters in the latter were fleshed out. It didn’t good job (in fact, I’d say it was crap) of showing why “Rising Tide” was ebil. They made the group out to be like Wikileaks (/political) which is fine by me, screw the patronizing “We to need to keep secrets from you proles” (/political). I give it a “meh and a half”.

3 replies · active 89 weeks ago

Huttj509's avatar

Huttj509 · 90 weeks ago

See, I didn’t get the vibe that Rising Tide was SUPPOSED to be “evil.”

“People need to know what’s going on! I want to know what’s going on! Don’t hide reality from me, I mean us!”

“Hey, come with us, we could use your skills, you get to be on the front lines of what’s going on, cause that’s what you really want, and as a bonus, you get to see some situations where it’s probably better the public DOESN’T know about it, and thus stop spreading secrets willy nilly.”

Yes, SHIELD could probably back off hiding things behind the curtain, but indiscriminate information spewing can do more harm, especially since it gives info not just to the public, but to the actual bad guys.

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

Huttj509's avatar

Huttj509 · 90 weeks ago

To clarify, I don’t think RT’s just Skye. I think she’s a prominent/key piece in their infogathering, but I don’t think she’s supposed to be the entirety.
isn’t `rising tide’ supposed to be a wikileaks/anonymous analogue? They think they’re the good guys themselves, but not everyone (and especially not those in government) agree? Good on em for trying to have some kind of depth to motivations. One thing i love about the MU is the various organisations that variously work with or against each other depending on whatevs.
Candace's avatar

Candace · 90 weeks ago

I was not super-impressed with the S.H.I. E.L.D. pilot, either. I agree that it was derivative and lacked cohesion. Also, I wanted Skye to die so hard within about five minutes after she came on-screen. I’m disappointed she was still alive at the end of the episode and appears to be intended to become a regular character. I’m willing to give it a chance, though, because, Whedon.

I have actually enjoyed all the Iron Man movies, although I did like 3 better than 2.

The pilot got a resounding “eh” from me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the SUPERFANTASTICMEGAAWESOMEBETTERTHANSEXBESTSHOWEVAR! that every blog and magazine was hyping it to be.

I’m still going to give it a chance because even Buffy took a few episodes to get into the groove.

1 reply · active 90 weeks ago

Season 1 of Buffy is all pretty rough. It’s good that it’s short. Season 2 picks up the pace and quality pretty quick.
the captain's avatar

the captain · 90 weeks ago

How can you ignore Ming-Na Wen? I felt like there was a lot of “meh” in the episode as a whole, but Ming-Na’s bored attitude and hinted-at troubled history (with authority?) is what I want to see more of. Coulson is good at doing more Coulson. I think Skye looks like a combination of Aubrey Plaza and Summer Glau, and gives off a similar air. I hope Book has a lot of tiny cameos and that Ming-Na gets to beat up a lot of people. Actually, I would watch this show just for the latter. I don’t know; there’s something about getting so used to someone’s voice in your childhood that sticks with you.

1 reply · active 90 weeks ago

I actually did forget about Ming-Na because she had so little to do/say in the first episode. I loved her in SG:U. I really hope they do a lot with her character in this.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 90 weeks ago

The show got a solid “meh” from me but we’ll see if it finds its groove and if that’s a groove I like. Most of my comments echo stuff above me, but I will say that I liked the “throw every origin story in a blender and see what happens” nature of Scorpion. It feels like what real people would do if they had access to that stuff (which, since it’s the Marvel universe, probably involves throwing a rock and hitting a secret archive).

I didn’t like the “working for some other shadowy organization” thing though, if you have the organization to be a big secret force then just handing everything you’ve got to a doctor to inject into people seems… a bit blase. If one person gets ahold of that stuff I can see them being crazy with it but if it’s doled out it doesn’t work for me. If they make these guys into a black market “we’ll sell anything to anyone who has the money and if they blow their hands off with it it’s not our problem” instead of the currently-implied sinister agenda I’ll like them a lot more.

4 replies · active 90 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 90 weeks ago

To work on my comment a bit more, Scorpion feels like someone playing with a new toy. Since the doc got it from someone else if it was a “we want you to weaponize this” it feels irresponsible to put all the tech they obtained in one place and not develop them independently.

When I heard about this show I expected a bit of a monster-of-the-week. Investigating a cluster of cases of gamma radiation sickness in one, some Asgardian artifact (not world-ending but “how did it get here and are there more”) turning up in a pawn shop in another episode. Dealing with some new supers who have no idea how it happened (“Have you always been able to teleport?” “I dunno, I never tried before last week.”), that kind of thing. For that kind of approach to things though, Scorpion feels like something to end a season with rather than begin it.

Scorpion? I thought it was called Centipede
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 90 weeks ago

Blargh, you’re right. I should just start calling it a different bug every time on purpose, I’ll feel less silly when someone points it out.
The Biggest Unanswered Questions from the Agents of SHIELD Pilot…

1 reply · active 90 weeks ago

Huttj509's avatar

Huttj509 · 90 weeks ago

Why does a superhacker have to steal someone’s driver’s license? She didn’t. She wasn’t expecting to be rebuffed, and when she was, the license was easy.

“Well, I could go hack the DMV to find his address, but that would take 5 minutes, including the walk to the van. Why bother?”

Neil's avatar

Neil · 90 weeks ago

So I take it your forgetting/ignoring Melinda May sums up your opinion of that character.

I’m hoping the problems here are the teething troubles you get in a lot of pilots. As long as it’s better than Enounter At Farpoint there’s always hope.

I pretty much agree with your assessment.

I thought the recycled explodey super powers theme was weak (although I liked the visual of how it was implemented, on his arm). I was really put off by the brainy pair. They just seem super cliched. I didn’t get the plot line with the super hacker woman who lives in a van, either. She’s… against them? But she’s… working for them now? Maybe? Will she betray them? Will she not? Why wouldn’t she? I just… I don’t know?

My husband’s been looking forward to this show for a long time, and set it up to DVR. He came home from work and even though it was late and he was tired (He regularly works 12+ hour shifts and gets up at 5am to get to work on time) he still wanted to watch it instead of saving it for the weekend. He wound up playing Candy Crush and only half paying attention to the show.

A friend of mine pointed out that Whedon pilots are always pretty weak and the shows don’t usually hit their stride for a few episodes which seems incredibly wrong to me. I mean, the pilot is supposed to capture attention. How can you make ti weak? What’s wrong with you as a writer/director/etc if you consistently pump out weak pilots? IDK.

I wasn’t impressed by this show, will check in a few times more, but will probably end up just watching with my husband while actually reading a book or playing computer games.

Which is frustrating. I’m in general a fan of Whedon and am an old school Marvel fan and have liked the recent movies quite a bit. And then this? I wasn’t expecting The Best Show In The History Of Ever, but if the highest note for me is Ron Glass something is wrong. I mean, Ron Glass is great and all, I’m not trying to diss him and his career, but still.

1 reply · active 90 weeks ago

“He wound up playing Candy Crush and only half paying attention to the show. ”

This is also my wife’s measure of quality.

Did they make the level 7 thing clear? I need to watch it again.
I remember all of that, but “Level 7” just seems like a high level of clearance to me. Not an elite task force.
mist's avatar

mist · 78 weeks ago

I think it “goes to 11”
Tom's avatar

Tom · 90 weeks ago

I’m very surprised by the comments here. My wife and I have been Joss Whedon fans for a long time (since Buffy started, back when we were a lot younger) and were big fans of the Marvel films. We both really liked the pilot and are excited to see where it goes from here. I actually really liked Agent Ward, it made sense to me that Coulson would recuit Skye, and I totally called the method by which Coulson got Skye to trust them enough to at least help them find the “hooded hero.”

In short, we both thought it was solid, and I really don’t understand all of the criticism.

“Mostly I suspect that without someone like Tim Minear, Joss Whedon just doesn’t get much of an edge.”

You might have the answer right there. Very interesting.

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 89 weeks ago

All of the above still holds for me, but today’s episode? THIS is what I wanted. Yay.

2 replies · active 89 weeks ago

Id agree it’s an improvement. Still the writing and characterizations are very flat. Everyone seems to say everything they are thinking.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 89 weeks ago

Yeah. It felt like it was intended to be the premiere episode, they kept restating things from last time.
I literally started jumping up and down in my chair when I saw Shepard Book appear. And Coulson’s first lines had me laughing out loud. I really liked the Pilot, and I can see much greater things happening.
Hotsauce's avatar

Hotsauce · 89 weeks ago

I really enjoyed it. I felt like they had to work hard to establish SHIELD as essentially a global NSA, during a time when the NSA is really looking like the bad guys. Hence the trope reversal with the truth serum. “I know you think we’re the bad guys, and it’s really not unreasonable to think that, so here’s proof that we have nothing to hide about who we are.” I also don’t think they really established Rising Tide as the bad guys, and I don’t think they intended to. Just like SHIELD is “the NSA, if it were run by people you could actually trust”, Rising Tide is “Anonymous, with the hint that it’s being manipulated by people you shouldn’t trust.”
It seems to me that it’s Whedon’s return to a monster-of-the-week ensemble show, and I’m optimistic. Does nobody remember how extremely cheesy season 1 of Buffy was?
Mitt 's avatar

Mitt · 89 weeks ago

Generic Whedon show with predictable Whedon jokes. That schtick was cool and interesting when it was new on Buffy, but that was 20 years ago. Whedon’s act is just stale.
The acting was pretty bad too. That my be because of the bad writing. Ming Na Wen was the only one eve trying.
mist's avatar

mist · 78 weeks ago

Out of the new season I find I’m looking forward to the SHIELD stuff. It’s small enough to be friendly, the Whedon0-esque billion plot subline thing is confusing and will weaken the show, but make for a better story over all. Hoping he keeps away from the Whedon cliches (super girl, super tech expert) and concentrates on the world, the people, the story. I find the tech-twins a bit annoying, and strongly suspect one (or both) of them is going to make the “pull team together” sacrifice to be replaced by a single uber techy. I think they’re supposed to be kind young and hyper but they just come across as immature, and much of their tech stuff can just be “starttrekked” (buzzword and faked props) away. They’re interesting characters but very shallow.

1 reply · active 78 weeks ago

mist's avatar

mist · 78 weeks ago

Just to show I’m not just being a whiny dick – What I’d love to see connected to the SHIELD show is a Fitz&Simmons offical website/webinar connected to the show.

A lot of the geeky tech is cool and the pseudo babble works as a plot device, simply because exposition into what makes things tick would kill the story momentum – yet the geeks would love to poor through the designs and inventions and crazy ideas. Stuff that can be done online without disturbing the online flow of the show.

It could even be used as an open-source skunkworks platform for “Whedon-SHIELD” development. Writers could put up “real world” (ie story) devices and situ-reports, (just the tech side) and say “we need Agents to be able to scan in real time and transmit holographically” F&S & team, lets brainstorm some solutions. Then whatever fits the story best could be used on show…and to get your tech buzz without F&S having to sound hollow with pseudo-babble, they have an following coming up with good sounding ideas.

Breaking Todd

The BIGGEST MERCH SALE I HAVE EVER DONE  ENDS THIS WEEK (9/21/13)! GO NOW to the HE STORE $10 Books! $9 Shirts! 

Apologies to non-Breaking Bad fans, both for your inability to understand this comic and for your questionable life choices.

It takes a special kind of psychopath to stand out from the crowd on a show like Breaking Bad, which is essentially STAFFED by monsters, murderers and human personifications of the abstract concept of evil. But then there’s Todd.

Todd is perhaps the most frightening monster ever introduced on Breaking Bad. His motivations for murder aren’t greed or thirst for power or… ANYTHING. It’s just something to do. Something he’s seen his entire life and something that sometimes just needs to be done. He’s Patrick Bateman without the charisma. “No offense, but I’m murdering you right now. There. You’re dead. Ok, I gotta go. I’m supposed to help my uncle with some white power stuff.” That shit is stone cold real deal broken murder brain type shit. I’m starting to wonder if this whole series has been Todd’s story and we just don’t know it yet.

COMMENTERS: Whether you watch Breaking Bad or not, you are probably going to be murdered by Todd. It’s just a statistical inevitability. I have been told that the actor who plays Todd was some dumb football player on Friday Night Lights. What other actors have surprised you by going from an innocuous role to a murderous one? 

Thanks to @scottberry for inspiring the alt-text for this one.

NOTE: The Mobile Alt Text button broke when I put the big store sale banner in the site. As soon as the sale is over I will put the button back.

Have you seen my wife’s latest geeky jewelry creation? DNA Necklaces! 

DNA Necklace on Etsy


Comments (22)

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Bean's avatar

Bean · 92 weeks ago

Heath Ledgerrrrrrr.
@TheArtimus's avatar

@TheArtimus · 91 weeks ago

Seeing MIchael C Hall go from playing David FIsher on ‘Six Feet Under’ to the lead on ‘Dexter’ was quite jarring.
Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son.
He was the only reason I went to go see it. To see the “Home Alone” kid being evil was fantastic!

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

Yeah he was sufficiently terrifying in that.
They’re actually the same character. Gordie was never OK after that summer.
I hear the dad from Malcom in the Middle went on to tackle a much darker role. . .

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

“… a show like Breaking Bad, which is essentially STAFFED by monsters, murderers and human personifications of the abstract concept of evil.”

And that right there is why I have absolutely zero interest in watching Breaking Bad, no matter how good everyone says it is. I know (judging by today’s media) I’m in the minority here, but I really don’t enjoy watching people be horrible, to themselves or to each other, or just generally acting like shitty human beings. It also means I have no interest in 90% of what passes for comedy these days either.

Anyway, sorry, I’ll get off this soapbox now.

3 replies · active 91 weeks ago

I read an article about a kid with cancer who was a huge fan of Breaking Bad and eventually became friends with Bryan Cranston (or at least pen pals). The weird thing was the reason he identified with the show was that Walter “took charge” of his life when he got cancer and refused to let the disease determine his fate. I won’t begrudge anyone with cancer something that makes them feel better or have the strength to survive, but I cant help feeling this kid COMPLETELY missed the point of the show. Beyond his willingness to survive, there is NOTHING about Walter White that should be emulated or looked up to my ANYONE. Cranston sent him a signed photo that said something like “When you can’t find the strength to go on, ask yourself What would Walter White do?” He seemed to leave out the part about “Then do the EXACT OPPOSITE.”
Mitch H.'s avatar

Mitch H. · 91 weeks ago

Jesse Plemons played a *very smart* football player – Landry – to the point where his motivation for having joined the team was really poorly justified. It wasn’t as if he was a particularly talented player, either. He was just the Cinderella-trope quarterback’s top-of-his-class nerd sidekick who just drifted into playing football because that’s how you become a character on Friday Night Lights. I think he ended up drifting from defense into kicking. And then there’s the time Landry beat a rapist to death with a length of pipe…

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

To be fair, I’ve never seen FNL. I’m sure he’s very smart and talented.
Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 91 weeks ago

I’ve been watching old episodes of Mission Impossible and I think I’ve seen William Shatner show up as three different bad guys (also Sulu as a biochemist and Spock as a main cast character for a couple of seasons). Law and Order is also a good place to see familiar faces play criminal psychopaths.
lou's avatar

lou · 91 weeks ago

Imagine how people felt when they saw Christian Bale, child star of “Empire of the Sun” and “Newsies”, grow up to take the role of Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho”.
I’d like to add Mark Hamill going from Luke Skywalker to The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series and the Arkham games.

1 reply · active 91 weeks ago

Bruceski's avatar

Bruceski · 91 weeks ago

The voice I have no problem with (since he’;s an amazing voice actor), but the first time I saw a video of Hamill doing the voice in public… yeah, total cognitive dissonance. I understand why he prefers to keep it behind the screen.
Here’s another good one — I haven’t seen the full movie, but Michael Cera in the trailer for MAGIC MAGIC is about the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen.
Todd from ‘Breaking Bad’: I’m an Ambush Predator

Read more:…

Oh you mean ‘Breaking Bad’ isn’t the sequel of ‘How I met your mother’, in which the guy tells his kids how he broke up with their mother? Damn! I know nothing of TV programming!


The BIGGEST MERCH SALE I HAVE EVER DONE  ENDS THIS WEEK (9/21/13)! GO NOW to the HE STORE $10 Books! $9 Shirts! 

A guy is suing apple because he has to pay for each half of season 5 of Breaking Bad separately, and because he has nowhere to be, nothing to do, no one important in his life and an unlimited supply of money that he was just going to shovel into a furnace anyway. I believe his argument rests on the definition of what exactly a “season” is and how it relates to something called a “season pass.” Paying for “season 5” should entitle him to all episodes of the 5th season of the show, but what’s wrong with doing things the old fashioned way and just getting pissed and pirating the other episodes? You know, like our grandparents did back in The Great Depression? There’s no reason to get lawyers and the media involved, when there is vigilante pirate justice available just a few clicks away.

My guess is the “season” was determined by the network/producers of the show based on how they will eventually sell it on DVD/Bluray, and not by Apple. The right thing to do would be for Apple and the producers to reach an agreement to sell the season in the same fashion they have sold previous “seasons,” regardless of how the show was aired or how it will be sold in hard copy. The right thing would also be for the litigious dude in question to jump up his own cramhole.

COMMENTERS: What do you think about this split season iTunes double-dipping? Justifiable outrage on the part of a swindled consumer, or clerical error that shouldn’t result in a ridiculous lawsuit?

NOTE: The Mobile Alt Text button broke when I put the big store sale banner in the site. As soon as the sale is over I will put the button back.

Have you seen my wife’s latest geeky jewelry creation? DNA Necklaces! 

DNA Necklace on Etsy


Comments (6)

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StephC's avatar

StephC · 91 weeks ago

This comic and the Alt text in particular express why I left my last job. Too many rich accountants bitching over a price increase of $50 for software that they can use to charge their clients $200 for using. They took it out on the front line customer service reps like they made the price list.
You mean Shell Corporation is suing Apple Inc.? I’d be…