12-14-06: ...Smum?

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12-14-06: ...Smum?

Postby NinjaKitten on Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:44 am

Okay, I know what a nympho is, but... smum? And who's she (whoever's speaking, it doesn't look like Karen since there's no bubbletail) talking about anyway, Hermione or some 'real' person?

And why are they talking about friending people and "wikiality" in the first panel? So confused... :(

Helen cosplaying Hermione would be cute though.
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Postby Starline on Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:10 am

Are the lighter speech bubbles the tv?
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Postby oenone on Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:16 am

:D that was 8 kinds of cute.
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Re: 12-14-06: ...Smum?

Postby daanton on Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:19 am

NinjaKitten wrote:Okay, I know what a nympho is, but... smum? And who's she (whoever's speaking, it doesn't look like Karen since there's no bubbletail) talking about anyway, Hermione or some 'real' person?

-> http://www.wordspy.com/words/SMUM.asp

NinjaKitten wrote:And why are they talking about friending people and "wikiality" in the first panel? So confused... :(

-> http://www.wordspy.com/words/wikiality.asp

As for "friending people", it must the new way to say "making friends with people".... :smug:
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Postby Epik High on Fri Dec 15, 2006 7:43 am

Aww... I certainly hope that things work out for Helen, it's nice to see her getting compliments, for once. Of course, the change of things working out that neatly in P&A is pretty damn unlikely.

Also, since there are no names, I'm going to assume these friends of Karen are not anyone we saw at her birthday party? They're being pretty accepting... Makes me a little suspicious, but I'll hold the benefit of doubt.
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Re: 12-14-06: ...Smum?

Postby ravenb on Fri Dec 15, 2006 8:03 am

daanton wrote:As for "friending people", it must the new way to say "making friends with people".... :smug:


I assumed it meant "to add people to one's Friends list", e.g. on MySpace.
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Postby Kate on Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:42 am

Ravenb is 100% right: To friend someone is to add them as a friend on Facebook, Myspace, Last.fm... you name it.

As far as the lighter speech bubbles go, they're just general chatter from the people in the room. (Right?)

EDIT: The first time I read this strip, I took one look at the last panel and thought, "Where the heck are everyone's pants?!?" Then I reread it and realized this was probably a sleepover. Crisis averted.
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Postby Meliasaurus on Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:42 am

i didn't understand this whole strip.
i'm assuming karen asked helen to come hang out with her... helen is nervous... but friends are generally nice.

but it looks like they're still stereotyping her "geek princess" "fix my ipod?"

i'll probably read the next one and go back and read this one and totally understand it.
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Postby iRobot on Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:25 am

Starline wrote:Are the lighter speech bubbles the tv?


No, they seem to be be watching one of the Harry Potter movies.

I think those speech bubbles are the "undertow" of the chapter's tile--all the thoughts and voices running through Helen's head right now. Reacting fearful and negative at first (not understanding why or how Karen is being friendly with her) and then hopeful and positive (after Karen's Hermione comment). At least, that's how I see it.

Well, it seems that Helen is going to become Karen's "project person." I don't foresee this ending well (even if Karen's motivations are purely philanthropic--which I seriously doubt). :D
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Postby Tsarevna_Erin on Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:07 am

iRobot wrote:Well, it seems that Helen is going to become Karen's "project person." I don't foresee this ending well (even if Karen's motivations are purely philanthropic--which I seriously doubt). :D


I'm not sure where you're getting that from. They're watching a movie, and Karen is pointing out how much Helen resembles Hermione, who is on the screen at the moment. I read this as Karen picking up on Helen being uncomfortable around people she really doesn't know, and Karen doing something to call attention to Helen in a flattering and fun way, which works to some degree.

I call that being a good friend. But if people want to see this as Karen being an underhanded bitch of some sort, I guess there's nothing to be done about that. *shrug*
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Postby iRobot on Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:33 am

Tsarevna_Erin wrote:I call that being a good friend. But if people want to see this as Karen being an underhanded bitch of some sort, I guess there's nothing to be done about that. *shrug*


A bit overly defensive, aren't we? Please note, that there is nothing in my post that is suggesting that Karen is doing anything makes her "an underhanded bitch of some sort."

No, I suggested the very likely possibility--based on Karen's Hermione comment--that she may start trying to do the "old fixer upper" on Helen. Now, this in itself is not a bitchy thing to do (but often misguided),

Now, I did say that I doubt that Karen's motivations are entirely charitable and philanthropic (but that's based on the fact that Karen has solely acted in a calculating and selfish manner previously, that's not a stretch of logic), neither did I condemn her motivations are entirely self-serving and spiteful. Actually, I kinda think that there's so much more possibility going on here than either of those two extremes.

For example, Karen could be feeling completely lost amongst here new popular friends (that don't get any of the geeky stuff that Karen used to enjoy) and wants to pull a Pygmalion on Helen (a fellow geek/social outcast) so that there's someone in her glam crowd that she can actually bond with.

That sounds a lot more exciting and story intensive than either "Karen is Satan" or "Karen's just misunderstood and just wants Helen to be happy."

Now, please get off you high horse.
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Postby TheTeague on Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:14 pm

I don't know. The "Kiss me and Fix My Ipod" comment make me think those greyed speech balloons were the other girls who are all into ironic geekness because it's hip now.

I don't think Helen is stereotyped as a geek, 'cause the Omegas seem to be the outcasts of the outcast. Not even the Geek cliche' would hang out with them. Helen seems more uncomfortable because she's not as internet savy as these girls.
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Postby oenone on Fri Dec 15, 2006 1:18 pm

[quote="iRobot"]
For example, Karen could be feeling completely lost amongst here new popular friends (that don't get any of the geeky stuff that Karen used to enjoy) and wants to pull a Pygmalion on Helen (a fellow geek/social outcast) so that there's someone in her glam crowd that she can actually bond with.
[quote]

i dunno about that.. first of all, we don't know what karen was into pre-fab days... also, if they're doing a friday night sleepover involving harry potter, i'd be really hesitant to call them a particularly glam crowd. maybe they're popular... WITH EACH OTHER. :P :D
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Postby iRobot on Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:23 pm

TheTeague wrote:I don't know. The "Kiss me and Fix My Ipod" comment make me think those greyed speech balloons were the other girls who are all into ironic geekness because it's hip now.


I could be wrong, but that's my best shot in the dark on that subject.

I don't think Helen is stereotyped as a geek, 'cause the Omegas seem to be the outcasts of the outcast. Not even the Geek cliche' would hang out with them. Helen seems more uncomfortable because she's not as internet savy as these girls.


You're right that Helen isn't on the nerd end of the spectrum, I was just using geek in the generic context of a social pariah with tastes that generally run contrary to that accepted by the in-crowd.

Interesting how we've redefine various pejoratives into self-assigned labels. :D

oenone wrote:i dunno about that.. first of all, we don't know what karen was into pre-fab days... also, if they're doing a friday night sleepover involving harry potter, i'd be really hesitant to call them a particularly glam crowd. maybe they're popular... WITH EACH OTHER. :P :D


That was just the first example i drew off the top of my head. But you're right, we don't know what Karen was into. But as a social pariah, it's a good guess that she may have different tastes than just what's considered "in." Tastes that may or may not be shared by Helen. But let's not just limit this to possible shared interests, but also allow for other permutations such as that Karen in her own way may identify with a wallflower like Helen and wants, for all her desire to be the queen bee, to have someone more like herself that she can really talk to.

Of course there are a lot of other possibilities as to where this could go, but I just wanted to show that I wasn't just making a knee-jerk attack on Karen (as Tsarevna_Erin seemed to interpret).

Oh, and by "glam crowd," I meant "these pretty princess pantheresses." ;)
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Re: 12-14-06: ...Smum?

Postby NinjaKitten on Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:07 pm

daanton wrote:
Ninjakitten wrote:Okay, I know what a nympho is, but... smum? And who's she (whoever's speaking, it doesn't look like Karen since there's no bubbletail) talking about anyway, Hermione or some 'real' person?

-> http://www.wordspy.com/words/SMUM.asp


That's all I could find too, but it didn't seem to have any relevance to... anything. I mean, it kind of goes with "and nympho" but...

Ninjakitten wrote:And why are they talking about friending people and "wikiality" in the first panel? So confused... :(

-> http://www.wordspy.com/words/wikiality.asp

As for "friending people", it must the new way to say "making friends with people".... :smug:[/quote][/quote]

Oh, I know what those two refer to (consensus reality and "add me to your livejournal/myspace/facebook/latest social networking tool!") but I don't get who's saying it to whom or why or...

If it's the people in the room, I don't get why they're talking solely in buzzwords. They kind of sound like someone's out-of-touch aunt who wants to relate to her geeky niece/nephew and sound "cool" to them (but comes off as trying way too hard and really not getting it). That probably sounds kind of harsh... but, um, at least said aunt would mean well? It's not even like they're using any of the words wrong, it's just the sheer density of 'net references... okay, maybe it's just two (or both, to put it another way...) in that first panel... it just doesn't feel natural. Helen's inner dialogue makes sense, I get Karen's comment, but the floating unattributed bubbles just confuse me. And they're odd, because generally both the writing and the attributions are crisp and clear here.

At least "friend me!" is something that gets said a lot irl...

Maybe it's just meant to emphasis Helen's feeling of alienation in the group. Or maybe to avoid the cliches of "teen girl slumber party speech" that would usually be there (mostly talking about guys). Or maybe I'm just full of it. ::shrugs::

Also... if Karen's planning to pull a Pygmalion on Helen, it probably would be meant well. After all, it's been made pretty clear that while Karen may not be 100% happy now, she's a lot happier than she was pre-transformation -- why not try to give that to someone she likes? There'd probably be a selfish element to it (the power of molding others, having less of a reminder of her old days nearby, etc.) but I expect her conscious motivation would genuinely be to help. It wouldn't be any worse than Penny's or Aggie's motivations in transforming Karen, at least.
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Postby daanton on Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:26 pm

Kate wrote:Ravenb is 100% right: To friend someone is to add them as a friend on Facebook, Myspace, Last.fm... you name it.

Whatever. But I do stand corrected.
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Re: 12-14-06: ...Smum?

Postby iRobot on Fri Dec 15, 2006 4:47 pm

NinjaKitten wrote:Also... if Karen's planning to pull a Pygmalion on Helen, it probably would be meant well.


Honestly, I agree. I do believe if it does happen, there will be ulterior motives (whether conscious or subconscious--or both), but that, overall, it will be meant well. But that's why I foresee a bad ending to it. :)

After all, it's been made pretty clear that while Karen may not be 100% happy now, she's a lot happier than she was pre-transformation -- why not try to give that to someone she likes? There'd probably be a selfish element to it (the power of molding others, having less of a reminder of her old days nearby, etc.) but I expect her conscious motivation would genuinely be to help. It wouldn't be any worse than Penny's or Aggie's motivations in transforming Karen, at least.


And look at how that turned our. ;)
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Postby Freemage on Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:32 pm

Hrm...

Okay, so we've got a bunch of attractive girls ("pretty princess pantheresses") sitting around at a slumber party. But the conversation is far from the stereotype--instead of the usual clutch of gals gossiping about boys and hair and the like, they're delving deep into geek-speech and watching a Harry Potter film, to the point where character-comparisons are being made.

A thought:

Karen is actively recruiting what might, in the terminology of the strip, be called the "Betas". These folks aren't deliberately independent like the Outcasts (the circle that Aggie hangs out with), nor are they popular enough to actually determine what the 'new black' will be (like Penny's Alphas). But they also aren't looked down on--they are, in many ways, the rank-and-file of high school life, the folks who, while not popular, are the girls the Alphas are popular with, if that makes my meaning clear.

And Karen is showing Helen that she can fit into that group with little more than the "glasses and hair" trick (a classic of teen romance movies from the 80s and 90s).

Now, the question becomes, to what end is Karen doing this?

If she becomes the de facto leader of the Betas (many of whom may have undergone much the same sort of induction that Helen is now experiencing), then she's undercutting the current popularity structure of the school--how many of these girls would show up if Penny were to throw a party the same night that Karen puts out a call for a movie night? In the annals of HS popularity BS, an unattended party is the ultimate death-knell to your standing.

Now, one can argue that Penny and the Alphas could stand a little under-cutting--might make them a little more aware of just how far they've lost touch with others in the school in order to stay on top.

On the other hand, where in Karen's (hypothetical) plan do gals like Tharqa and Charlotte fit? They might not be able to make the full leap to Beta status--and even the Betas aren't necessarily immune to wanting someone to feel superior to. Karen may ultimately be forced to start making the same sorts of 'cuts' that Penny and her circle have been making all along, which would give the Irony Fairy another ulcer, if he hadn't already gone screaming from this particular slice of North American adolescent life.
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Postby Stella Polaris on Fri Dec 15, 2006 6:53 pm

Freemage, I don't think all the girls go to same schools. Karen, as far as I know, doesn't. It's not certain that the other girls at the sulmber party do.
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Postby LostPirateTX on Fri Dec 15, 2006 9:42 pm

To me, the "smum and nympho" comment sounded like a very good description of Marshall's mom, so maybe that was the reference?
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Postby Freemage on Fri Dec 15, 2006 11:15 pm

Stella Polaris wrote:Freemage, I don't think all the girls go to same schools. Karen, as far as I know, doesn't. It's not certain that the other girls at the sulmber party do.


Pah! Don't bother me with facts! This is naked unfounded speculation, dammit, not Show-and-Tell! Marshall has the heads of his former girlfriends in a golf bag shoved under his bed!!
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Postby El Durazno Muerte on Sat Dec 16, 2006 1:22 am

Arrr, the lost pirate beat me to it! "Nympho smum" does sound a bit like Charisma, and it would only make sense that Karen's friends would be gossiping about her boyfriend (or his family.)

But it sounds so derogatory... I wonder what they'd have against on her? In the spirit of random speculation, Karen might resent Charisma's, ah, promiscuity because she sees that it might explain Marshall's reluctance. Heck, it could even be one of his "weird" reasons.

I hope Helen leaves before the ninja squad comes and kills them all.
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Postby iRobot on Sat Dec 16, 2006 2:32 am

El Durazno Muerte wrote:Arrr, the lost pirate beat me to it! "Nympho smum" does sound a bit like Charisma, and it would only make sense that Karen's friends would be gossiping about her boyfriend (or his family.)


Ah, yes.... I forgot about her. That makes more sense, now.
Last edited by iRobot on Sat Dec 16, 2006 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Kitsuiko on Sat Dec 16, 2006 5:40 am

Ah converting people through fashion advice and helping improve their lives.

Seriously, has this ever gone well literarily?

Emma? Nope. The Emperor? Not so much. Pygmalion? Nope. My Fair Lady -- same thing as Pygmalion and still no.

Love Karen or hate Karen (another failed Pygmalion) this is almost always a literary red flag of doom. The person changed gets confidence enough to start to consider the fact that the first person considered them broken. Things never go well from there.
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Postby MRodriguez on Sat Dec 16, 2006 8:53 am

she compared her to Hermione. I'm not sure which movie they're watching, but Hermione is supposed to be a geeky, unfashionable know it all, not a glam queen. So no, I don't think this is an attempt to pull a Pygmalion on Helen, or else she would have used someone like Nicole Kidman or another woman with wavy-blondeish brown hair and good glamourous looks.
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