A Much-Needed Service

Sponsored by Shannon Magnan, a.k.a. Luny

To my scoobies at home, I don’t know what I’d do without you.
Sponsor A Comic For Only $5!

Sponsor A Comic For Only $5!

The Script For Today's Comic!

A Much-Needed Service
(8 Panels, some large)

Panel 1 (a long panel):
(Scene opens on a conversation between four non-character nerds, none of whom are anyone we've known before [unless you want to recycle designs from a previous background person]. They are seated whatever you think it would be fun to draw. Three of them are engaged in a very animated conversation, while the fourth is obviously in watch-by mode, bored to fucking tears.)

NERD #1: "See, the best villain in Buffy mythology is clearly the Mayor…"

NERD #2 (the rest of these are a bunch of close-by balloons, grouped so tightly as to indicate that it's almost okay to skip 'em, but not quite): "Nonsense. The addition of Angelus is all about teenaged dating! And the way he kills the teacher?"

NERD #3: "What about Glory? That scene where she torments Spike?"

NERD #1: "I couldn't take Dawn and her whining that season, she just…."

TOM (Entering the panel from the far left, dressed like a salesman, or perhaps Matthew Lesko; he places a hand on the bored nerd to draw attention to him, but the nerd does not react): "Folks, have you ever been bored while your friends go on and on about some show you've never seen? Well, be bored no more!"

Panel 2:
(Tom, standing next to a gigantic book – there's probably a visual gag to be had by altering the Cliffs notes in some way, and I say go for it)

TOM: " 'Cliffs Notes For Nerds' classes will provide you with the summaries you need to get through any annoying fandom!"

Panel 3:
(Tom, standing before stacks and stacks of DVDs and books)

TOM: "See, nerds don't like normal shows and books – they like shows with ludicrously-complex plots that take hours to get into, let alone comprehend!"

Panel 4 (a long panel):
(A class, consisting of very well-dressed people — think the Learning Annex classes, where Wall Street Businessmen go after their day shift to learn something new and maybe date people. We shouldn't need to see more than a few of them. At the front of the class is a fat slobbery guy in a torn, coffee-stained shirt [that has the amusing phrase of your choice, and the blackboard has whatever else you like], acting out a scene.)

TOM: "Our staff of trained dweebs will reenact the vital parts from the show for you, saving you valuable days of DVD-watching!"

TEACHER (posing with a yardstick): "And then Gandalf says, 'You shall not pass!' and I nearly peed myself."

STUDENT (raising hand): "Is that obligatory?"

OTHER STUDENT (looking down at a sheet of paper in dismay): "It's our homework assignment."

Panel 5:
(Two guys in a scientific lab, one with wires attached to him and a polygraph)

TOM: "We'll use Pavlovian techniques to teach you the show's in-jokes!"

NERD #4: " 'I am master of my demesne — ' "

(Scientist ZAPS him, pressing a button)

SCIENTIST: "That's domain! Try again!"

Panel 6:
(Nerd, sitting with his friends, clutching a piece of paper.)

TOM: "We'll even give you a show cheat sheet!"

NERD #4 (reading): " 'I like the witty dialogue between G'kar and, um, Lando.' "

NERD #1 (thrilled): "YES! Andreas sells the role!"

NERD #2 (also thrilled): "The way they evolve!"

Panel 7:
(Tom, standing next to Nerd #4)

NERD #4 (clutching a diploma): "I heartily endorse this event or product."

TOM: "See? Cliffs Notes for Nerds classes changed his life! Sign up today!"

Panel 8:
(An advertisement.)

"CLIFFS NOTES FOR NERDS CLASSES ARE AVAILABLE IN:

Alias
Battlestar Galactica
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
Babylon 5
Farscape
Harry Potter
Harry Potter Slash Fiction
Lord of the Rings
Lost*
Seinfeld
Star Trek (any season except for Enterprise — we couldn't get through it, either)
Sword of Fire and Ice
OMG, new Sword of Fire and Ice!
The Wheel of Time
X-Files*

Ask about our summer-long 'Bare Bones of Anime' course!

* - Warning: Coherent explanations of the plots of these shows cannot be created. It's just weird stuff happens, people! Isn't that cool? Cause and effect is for sissies!"

(At the bottom, in small, sticking up):

NERD #4: "Do you have Terry Pratchett cla — ?"

KARLA (whapping him with a stick): "Those books, you should read!"

Ferrett Says

The weird thing is that I would genuinely want this service. Though it's something that every grownup eventually has to deal with, I hate the times when the conversation wanders away from things that I know and into the weedy realm of "Fans talking among themselves in such cryptic references that you can't even begin to comprehend what they're talking about."

Me? I'm always the guy who wants to be into show X, but whatever show or season I happen to watch is inevitably the wrong show. "Oh, that's a bad episode," they say, telling me how I've apparently wasted an hour of my life watching the dregs of Lost. And then I watch the best of Lost, and it's not much better, so I've wasted another hour.

Don't even get me started on Anime. I know I don't like most Anime, for reasons I've explained elsewhere, but the problem is that fans of Anime assume that you'll like what they do… Regardless of whether you share their tastes or not. "You'll love Tentacle Invasion VII!" they cry, since the nerd paradigm is that if I like it, you must like it, too.

I'd pay for someone to sit down and explain the differences between all of these various types of Anime, so I could understand what I would and wouldn't like. But nerds being who they are, the concept of "an overview" is foreign to them, and I wind up drowning in four hours of irrelevant details and a sea of links.

(Not that I'm immune. God forbid you had ever asked me about my roleplaying campaign, back when I had one; you'd be there for weeks, desperately trying to chew your leg off to get away as I explained the real nature of Sigil.)

Some day. Some day there will come a market. Until then, have a fantasy.

Recommended Reading: