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And he's swung, Tom... he's connected... it's going... going... yes! It's a CLICHE!


(From Kevin and Kell. Click on the thumbnail for full sized 'shocker!')

Every so often, even the very best of webcomics can fall into the Mister Belvedere trap. You know the Mister Belvedere trap, don't you? No? Then let me explain! The 'hapless father' on Mister Belvedere was played by Bob Ucker, who made his career out of his inability to play professional baseball. Which to me implies I have a career in show business just waiting for me, but I digress. And said father would get himself into wildly implausible situations, and have wildly implausible things happen during those situations, and then Mister Belvedere would save the day with dry British wit and something even more implausible.

Any time a webcomic falls into a contrived circumstance that would make for an episode of Mister Belvedere, minus the dry British wit, you've got Mister Belvedere syndrome. You could as easily call this "Night Court" syndrome or "Hello Larry" syndrome or "Ozzy and Harriet" syndrome or "Happy Days" syndrome.

So, Bob Eucker, to make some extra money, has returned to his roots as a professional wrestler. And he's in trouble in the ring, but he's making a comeback... but under the mask, his opponent... oh my God, it's Mister Belvedere! Oh wait, I mean it's Dan Fielding! No no! It's Lenny and/or Squiggy! No wait, it's....

You get my point. This plotline was kind of weak to begin with. Surprisingly so, given Holbrook's usual finesse and skill in setting situations up. Not too long ago, Rudy found a tape that implied Kevin was once a masked wrestler. Kevin denied it. Then, gosh, Kell lost her job for no reason at all (despite being one of the few people who knows R.L. -- and at this point, most of the upper levels of Herdthinners -- is domesticated, which makes firing her a particularly bad idea since she could tell the world and ruin R.L. But she's decent and kind so she doesn't do this. Kevin returns to his roots as a wrestler, despite being years out of shape (and described as middle aged, though the cast page lists him as in his thirties, which as a person in his thirties himself I take exception to, greying hair be damned!). And now it turns out that his opponent in the ring is R.L., because God only knows that business tycoons moonlight as pro wrestlers in spandex in the real world....

This is just plain silly. And it's beneath the standard we expect from Holbrook, who generally lays the groundwork for "sudden surprise twists" years in advance and touches on them enough so we never feel lost in backstory. It's implausible at best, contrived at worst, and takes the reader completely out of the story.

Also, wouldn't Herdthinners's investors want to devour R.L. now, for embarrassing the company and moonlighting. And losing a televised wrestling match to a Rabbit, I would add?

Meh.

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