Mad Science Is Decadent and Depraved: July 12-17, 2004

Why did I keep wanting to do storylines involving large groups of identical characters? What was wrong with me?

Oh, well. The best part of this strip is Zeta’s paisley pants. Those are awesome.

I think I just picked Winnipeg because it’s a funny word. Also, it’s mentioned in my favorite episode of “The Simpsons,” the one where Bart rents a car with a fake I.D. so he can drive his friends to the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. Sometimes a lot of thought goes into these decisions, sometimes…not so much.

Drawing Professor Madblood over and over gets real old, real fast, a lesson I should’ve remembered from the Moon storyline.

This is one of the strips you could probably show people to determine whether or not they’re likely to enjoy Narbonic. It sums up my entire sense of humor, somehow. Also it makes no sense unless you’ve read four years of archives.

Dave fiddles with his tie a lot. I’m not very creative about coming up with things for characters to do with their hands. Also, I think guys fiddling with neckties are cute.

That’s a pretty tasty-looking cake in the last panel. It’s like a prop cake they’d give a Muppet.

Yeah, this storyline is basically a collision of some of the strip’s weirdest and most disparate elements, in an effort to make sense of it all. Also, man did I have to squeeze a lot of long words into that second panel.

Who could have guessed that Dave would eventually get to the point where he could command a robot army? Admire him. He worked so hard to get here.

30 thoughts on “Mad Science Is Decadent and Depraved: July 12-17, 2004

  1. Because large groups of identical characters can be made by drawing one and copying it over and over, and the complexity of the previous storyline made you forget that this isn’t actually true?

  2. Am I the only one who sees a “Daniel Barkalow” commenting here and wonders if it’s Dave Barker under a poor alias?

  3. “Dave, are you free on the weekend?”

    “No, I’m time-and-a-half on the weekend, plus expenses.”

  4. Adam: I’m Computer Engineer Daniel Barkalow (MIT, ’01). I’m different from Dave Barker in several biographical details!  Although, now that you mention it, I’ve never seen both of us in the same place at the same time…

  5. (TUNE: “Legs”, ZZ Top)

    Winnipeg!  Dave, we want to go there!
    To Winnipeg!  They’ve got lots of snow there!
    Don’t want to kill!  For civil disobedience,
    Need free will, need it with expedience!
    Though we act alive,
    Still, we cannot drive!
    Need an I.D.!

  6. Two dozen Madblood robots should be a committee large enough to prevent decision-making.  It works that way for people, anyway.

  7. The first time I saw this particular comic I just about fell off my chair laughing. At the time, I had two friends in Winnipeg who were in the computer business — one doing CAD and the other doing (IIRC) something with mainframes. Both are now retired and one moved to Toronto.

  8. Wednesday:

    All they want is to convince Dave that they would, ideally, be overwhelmed with longing right now. Dave, fortunately, understands completely.

  9. (TUNE: “Locomotion”, Little Eva)

    We’re not free the way that we believe we ought to …
    (If our eyes could … moisten with emotion …)
    Can’t re-write our program ’cause we’re programmed not to …
    (If our eyes could … moisten with emotion …)
    We just want to be alive, don’t make us beg!
    We’re just asking you to drive to Winnipeg!
    And you know, you know, oh,
    That some emotion we’d show!

    We’re rather out of luck, although we had to try, since …
    (If our eyes could … moisten with emotion …)
    They won’t rent us a truck without a driver’s license!
    (If our eyes could … moisten with emotion …)
    We’ll drive through Manitoba and Saskatchewan,
    We’ll even put a Gordon Lightfoot CD on!
    And you know, you know, oh,
    That some emotion we’d show!

    You get to drive a truck now!
    Come on, Davey …
    You’re oh … so slick …
    Oh, by the way, can you drive stick?

    You’re truckin’ down the highway, yeah, and truckers rule now!
    (If our eyes could … moisten with emotion …)
    The closest you will ever get to being cool, now!
    (If our eyes could … moisten with emotion …)
    We know you won’t get thinner in that northern scene,
    ‘Cause when we stop for dinner, you can have poutine!
    And you know, you know, oh,
    That some emotion we’d show!

  10. Does it strike anyone else as surreal that we’ve gotten to the point where “I can’t talk right now, I’ve got to drive a truckload of androids across the Canadian border” could conceivably be said by someone in the course of legitimate business?  Different meaning, to be sure, but still…

  11. (TUNE: “MacArthur Park”, Jimmy Webb)

    Mell, she graduated, got a cake …
    She’s in boot camp, I’ll be all aloooone!
    Dave some ‘droids to Canada must take!
    Gee, I hate to be a hassle,
    Though I got the icing tassel!
    And Dave’s saying, “Please, now save a piece for me!”
    (We’ll see …)

  12. “ALL ALOOOONE”, Helen? What about Dave? What about Artie? What about your etiquette slime that you’re about to make?

  13. Personally, I love how Helen’s epic wail about being “ALL ALOOONE!” still ranks lower in the crisis stakes than the cake.

  14. Why do I love the last panel so much?  There’s just something about a girl with a superintelligent gerbil on her head …

  15. At first, I thought the last panel was a reference to the “Taking The Hobbits To Isengard” video on YouTube … except that this comic was originally posted a couple of years before the video.  Maybe Shaenon inspired the YouTube video … or maybe she inspired Peter Jackson.

  16. It’s the three panels of identical non-expressions on the Madbots that just raise the hair on the back of my neck.  It’s like being the fifth person that morning to give a PowerPoint presentation, you know that there’s not a single human reaction left in the room.

  17. It’s unlikely that she inspired Peter Jackson, seeing as this strip came out over six months after Return of the King hit cinemas, unless of course you’re referring to the little-known deleted scene in King Kong – although they were really cyborgs rather than robots, and it was Australia they were headed for rather than Canada, and Naomi Watts doesn’t have a beard. Oh for a super special extended edition of the dvd…

  18. If I ever do get around to making a song about this Arc, the dialogue from this strip is going to be the spoken word intro.

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