AAR 78: "Operation Cheer-Up-Phoebe" 2:161-165

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AAR 78: "Operation Cheer-Up-Phoebe" 2:161-165

Postby jeffk on Wed Oct 13, 2004 7:55 pm

Next: AAR Week 79-80
Prev: AAR Week 77

<Edit: Added next week's link>

*sigh* Well, I did say two AAR posts a week wouldn't be the norm. Looks more like two a month.

Although our thoughts are still with Phoebe, the camera's on Joe this week, with appearances by Ceilidh and Alison. Both appearances discreetly foreshadow major plot twists ahead. ("Discreetly" as in "we never saw it coming." :-) )

BTW, I wrote part of this while the Walkyverse was falling apart before our eyes. I needed the break--no deaths and no tentacles over here.


The walls may not have ears, but they certainly have eyes.

.1: Wonder how Alan got involved in this? Maybe Joe's helped him with so many Helene stunts, Joe figured Alan owed him one. Nice side view of Ceilidh, BTW.

.2: And Helene? She's probably just being helpful.

.3: Alison?!? Either she's worried about Phoebe too--and she's the most likely person to notice, as we'll soon see--or as someone pointed out in the threads, she just wanted to parody this whole spying gig. Although she's done a fair share of observation lately--again, as we'll soon see.

.4: Our favorite angry Scottish accent returns; apparently, Operation Stalk-Ceilidh-Until-She-Cracks is a success. And how did Joe manage to find The Bush unoccupied and Nancy-free? Never mind, he probably happened to mention he was waiting for Ceilidh; her name seems to have an unsettling effect on Nancy.


.1 I like the leaves fluttering around in the first two frames. But what does Joe mean, "Some of us"?
.4 This frame doesn't quite read the same, now that we know the ending...


.1 I didn't catch this the first time, but despite his tendency to dodge the issue of their relationship...not to mention dodging the relationship itself...Joe does acknowledge they're not just friends. And Ceilidh does feel guilty about it.
.2 And that's not all she's feeling. :o I was shocked--shocked!--when the bedroom episode occurred, because that just didn't sound like Ceilidh. I forgot about this strip, obviously.
.3 Ceilidh's work is done here. And Joe's in dial-tone mode.
.4 But Alison isn't. Gee, and I actually thought her comment about Ceilidh wanting to jump Joe's bones was exaggeration.

Our first sighting of Alison's infamous psychology textbooks.
.2 Gee, Alison, isn't that kinda over the top there? Although after watching Ceilidh go predatory in the last strip, maybe she's got a point....
.3 I love this frame; I can practically hear Alison talking, pauses and all.

.1 "Among other people"? Alison drops her first hint of her favorite extracurricular activity. This little pastime does nothing for her own emotional stability, although we don't know that yet. Neither does Alison.
.2 "To a point, I suppose." Alison's being modest. It's false modesty--although we don't know that yet, either--but it's modesty.
.4 "Much to learn" about Alison's advice, or Alison being less insulting?

GAS: Geoffrey Roberts

The school-schedule strip gets another airing, and finds another well-matched script.

GAS: Joker-Mage

My biggest problem with this GAS is the Xanadu reference. Not his fault, but I once saw a well-deserved assault on the 1980 Olivia Newton-John roller-skating movie...let's just say I have an adverse reaction to that word. <shudder>

On to the forum archive. 67 posts, although this was over a longer period due to the break.

8923: 2:161: Speculation about the people participating--and not participating (Ryan must be busy, wink, wink, nudge, nudge)--in Operation S-C-U-S-C. Seems like filler, but Stig Hemmer suspects something's up. And a political fight breaks out.
8924: RevSam claims to have draw the worst AvaPr0n ever. Link's broken, so I can neither confirm nor deny.
8925: Fink The Insane seeks Tae's picture of Nancy (and her kendo stick) on a hill. That link's broken, but it's in the Avalon Art section.
8926: Davey3000 posts this week's colored strips (now starts on this page of the Lynch Vault).
8927: Discussion thread for this week's colored strips.
8928: Dusty celebrates his graduation summa cum laude. Yep, that's the really good one. And yep, if you work hard and get good grades, you too can get free food.
8929: Bevan seeks an artist for a webcomic he's writing.
8930: After plowing through the comic archive in two nights, Heslin has a number of questions. Stig Hemmer breaks the sad news that he has several nights of forum-archive plowing ahead of him.
8931: 2:162: So what is Operation Cheer-Up-Phoebe? Based on Ceilidh's clues--no appearance of token affection, apparently a solo effort, and degrading if Feebs were a guy--Dent guesses that Ceilidh will ask Phoebe to help with a "crisis", real or imagined. BunnyThor writes a script explaining why Ceilidh would have to sacrifice her dignity if Feebs were a guy, including the standard amount of Avalonian twistiness, followed by an explanation why sacrificing her dignity would work so well. There's also a vocabulary lesson on hating men, women, or all of the above. The Incredible Hatboy realizes that Ceilidh must be managing his love life. And Josh drops a hint.
8932: Suggestions for the hockey pool scoreboard.
8933: Hazy Shade of Winter, Paco-style.
8934: Deirdre fan-art from mzacher. Nope, no DeeDeePr0n this time (she's wearing an Avalon nightshirt). Nope, no broken links this time, either. Yep, very distracting.... Also a number of comments about this drawing of Feebs in the then-new prototype Avalon art section.
8935: Sir Forsyth asks for a favor: any ideas for a slogan for Propeller Beer? The owner of the micro-brewery's a friend of his. The board spins through tons of puns...gack, I don't believe I said "spins through"...and Damonk--who's had some experience with Propeller--is highly impressed at SirF's connections.
8936: CN Anime head-count.
8937: Asha needs a "good uncommon GOOD female name" for a good uncommon GOOD female stick figure. Pauline Hewitt simultaneously suggests a name and scares Asha with her knowledge of Aristophanes.
8938: The Incredible Hatboy finishes the AP European History test, and runs to the computer to collapse on top of the board. DP sees him, and raises him four more AP tests.
8939: OT: lostfactor asks Saturn when NoRTH will start (not quite yet).
8940: Jen Aside stumbles into a Sonic Shuffle nine-hour time sink.
8941: OBIT: Douglas Adams.
8942: Joker-Mage GAS: Where does the second strip come from?
8943: Josh announces that the Avalon Art section has been revamped, and asks for missing art, bad links, typos, etc.
8944: Starts with problems viewing fan-art from Tae and NegZee, ends with pro-Helene chanting.
8945: So...is there hope for the world when people make tons of money off tripe masquerading as music? But what if they stop? (In reference to some news article--link's broken, but apparently something related to the Backstreet Boys.)
8946: Monday guest comic from Tae. Not sure which one.
8947: A whole bunch of newbies check in.
8948: 2:163: The board's almost as shocked as Joe. What is Ceilidh thinking? And what is Joe thinking? And is Joe actually going to talk to Ceilidh now? Lots of reactions, including steveha's proposal for the next strip.
8949: 2:163: The board echoes Joe's reaction: "Guh? Buh?" As bunnyThor points out, if Joe can't figure out the state of their relationship, how can we? Are we watching Ceilidh's (over-)reaction to finally getting some attention after years of being ignored? And are we watching Joe's reaction to whatever happened in Grade 9? And should we get our minds out of the gutter, or simply enjoy the view from the gutter?
8950: AKA CON 2001 head-count.
8951: Asha can't view any webcomics; suffers severe withdrawal.
8952: 2:164 isn't up yet, but that doesn't stop people from reacting to it.
8953: Baka_sama317 celebrates shorter commutes and cable modem.
8954: NegZee posts a cross between Chrono Trigger and the Bradley sisters. Original sketch and Kaoru's coloring now in Avalon art section.
8955: 2:164.3: C'mon, Alison! Surely you can throw a textbook farther than that! You're not jealous, are you?
8956: Stig Hemmer writes an obituary (and a fine one, IMHO) about his grandmother who just died. Other readers send condolences and memories of their own grandmothers, now departed.
8957: 2:164.3: More debate about textbook-throwing and jealousy. Does Alison want Joe? (Debated back and forth, with points cited either way.) Does Alison want Ceilidh? (Doubtful.) Does Alison want anybody? Aardvark wonders if the psychology textbook is a bad sign for Alison.
8958: Chief_Petty_Officer_Klerk posts a colored version of the Joe and Nancy fight that wasn't.
8959: A fight breaks out over Alison's looks, but transitions into discussions on long hair in webcomics, long hair in RL, and hair comparision in general.
8960: Outtakes and rumors from the set of Spectacular Notion.
8961: Maritza's ill; wish her well over at the CRFH forum.
8962: New reader's trying to figure out what Joe needs to confess to Ceilidh. She guesses right (about "just wanting to be friends", not about Alan's alien love child).
8963: OT: Someone's looking for day-by-day stock ticker information for Dallas Semiconductor for an EVIL Econ final--gets pointers to Yahoo and the company itself. (And you thought this forum was just for over-speculation and PSL!)
8964: Chibi-Helene--no link in the thread, so I'm not sure where. Helene-chanting ensues.
8965: The Universal Monkey enters and says hi to a few friends. They say hi right back, and everyone else pokes.
8966: A recent newspost makes people wonder about Josh. Something related to Chibi-Helene, apparently, leading to speculation that he's been replaced with NotJosh from a mirror universe.
8967: More Chibi-Helene discussion.
8968: Mzacher colors negZee's MasterCard advertising, a la Deirdre. And there was much panting. But no pants <ahem> Like many of the pre-crash threads, the posting order is mixed up, so you'll see some of the reactions before you see the actual art. Despite that, I only had to read one poster's reaction to know exactly which drawing he was talking about... And Josh says there's a Deirdre twin at his office, mzacher found an Alison twin who sat still long enough for a quick sketch, and Strangeone saw a "lost Bradley sister" who looked like a cross between Phoebe and Deirdre. :o
8969: SEM Critter's at RushCon.
8970: Headcount for AvaCon/Anime North.
8971: PA news.
8972: Power Streak plows through the archive in one sitting, enters the board, gets poked, and describes the "Lord of the Dance" video. (Although IMHO, Mike Nelson is Lord of the Dance.)
8973: NegZee announces a coloring contest, based on this DeeDee art. (At least I think this is the right one. The date on the drawing matches the thread date. Description matches too. Deirdre? Check. Underwater? Check. In swimwear? Check. Experimenting with hair underwater? Check.) No working links of the colorings, unfortunately.
8974: Anime North: Working out meeting locations, synchronizing watches.
8975: Saturn posts some of his art--links broken.
8976: S-D's locked out of Nightstar chat, apparently--did he do something wrong? Might be server problems.
8977: Anyone going to Animazement 2001 in Raleigh?
8978: Missing comics.
8979: Half Spike introduces himself.
8980: Pauline Hewitt posts her own variations on a couple of strips (and the in-line link works!). And Joe thinks he's confused now...
8981: Petition to eliminate post counts from the Keenspot boards. Not much support here (none, actually).
8982: Any comic today?
8983: National Towel Day, in memory of DNA.
8984: Pauline finishes her fan-comic...and we learn the truth. (Not to mention Pauline's real target.)
8985: So....what's going to happen to the Avalon gang during summer vacation? The speculation includes R&D sex0ring (um, well...), fallout from R&D's secrecy (check), Joe Daddy returns during the summer to find Joe Mama and Mr. Bradley flirting (one out of three ain't bad), Nancy's attacked by the IRA--in Japan--but is saved by The Bush, DeeDee's pregnant by Ryan, or the Avalon women kill Tom Green in a very painful manner (no such luck).
8986: The Avs are going for the cup, and Aeire bounces off the walls.
8987: Confounded Victoria Day.
8988: Hai-Etlik colors 2:96 and 2:112, both of which are now in the Lynch Vault.
8989: What did DeeDee mean in 2:115 when she said, "This is twice now I've screwed up bad" three years ago? And wasn't that about the same time Joe Daddy left? Hai-Etlik assumes the screw-ups were "her part in the infamous Mysterious Bradley Family Event(tm)" and dropping out of university. Josh posts his archive-wide search for "Grade 9" and "three years ago", all of which are "important to the respective characters' histories". (Which gets some folks thinking about searchable text archives. The archive doesn't really get rolling 'til a year later, though.) When Pauline asks if memorizing the archives is necessary to predict the strip (a thought that interests her), Josh explains that he's trying to "create a continuity" so you can spot the clues once the series is over. Or spot the clues now and make your own conclusion, if you like.
Last edited by jeffk on Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby svenman on Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:51 pm

Better late than never...

2:161 Very effectful three wordless panels, with increasingly harried looks by Ceilidh...

2:162 I don't get it, in hindsight. Why the secrecy? Eventually, everyone will be involved anyway - is Ceilidh concerned that someone will spill the plan to Phoebe prematurely even if asked not to?

2:163 Ceilidh sure knows how to throw Joe off his track. :) That was a come-on if there ever was one... and Alison's sarcastic remark at the end is priceless as usual.

2:164.2 Actually, that's a non sequitur - Alison's interest in Ceilidh as a clinical subject, so to say, doesn't automatically entitle her to be privy to Ceilidh's intimately personal matters...

2:165 Actually, Joe follows a classic pattern here: if you want to know what makes a girl tick, ask a(nother) girl.

GASs: I'll pass on commenting this time, except that the strip about the students picking up their new timetables has obviously proved very popular for relettering.
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Postby Marcos on Tue Oct 26, 2004 8:42 pm

svenman wrote:GASs: I'll pass on commenting this time, except that the strip about the students picking up their new timetables has obviously proved very popular for relettering.

It's got a very nice variety of facial expressions to work with.
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Postby jeffk on Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:04 am

svenman wrote:2:162 I don't get it, in hindsight. Why the secrecy? Eventually, everyone will be involved anyway - is Ceilidh concerned that someone will spill the plan to Phoebe prematurely even if asked not to?

At first, I didn't fully appreciate how sneaky Ceilidh was when handling Phoebe's yearbook, and I didn't fully understand why. But now I think Ceilidh was thinking along these lines:

  • If I ask everyone to sign Phoebe's book, people who don't know Phoebe will feel pressured to write something nice, artificial, and cheesy to cheer her up. And Phoebe will see right through it.
  • Even her friends will feel pressured to write something nice, artificial, and cheesy. And Phoebe will think she sees right through it, since it'll look just as cheesy as the other signatures. And she'll jump to the conclusion that we're like the others.
  • Whereas if it looks like Phoebe started circulating the book--just like all the other yearbooks--everyone's likely to treat it like all the other yearbooks. People who don't know her will simply pass the yearbook to someone else without signing it.
  • Her friends will sign it, but they're more likely to write something natural since they won't be under pressure to Help Cheer Up Phoebe. And maybe, just maybe, Phoebe will realize that we really are her friends because we did something that friends normally do, and because we did it normally.
  • But it has to look like Phoebe started it. Too many people know I'm up to something, and if anyone finds my fingerprints on Phoebe's yearbook (so to speak) they'll immediately recognize it as Operation Cheer-Up-Phoebe, and they'll feel pressured to take the "nice, artificial, and cheesy" route.

And she goes out of her way to keep up appearances. She goes into Super Agent Girl mode when she picks up Phoebe's yearbook, she drops off the book (with a note from "Phoebe") when no one's around, she takes the book from Joe when it's her turn, and she gives it to Phoebe without mentioning the signatures.

And for the most part, she succeeds. Everyone signs it normally except Joe, who probably did figure out Ceilidh's scheme...but I'll tackle that subject in a future AAR.
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Postby svenman on Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:15 pm

Yes... I guess that makes sense somehow. I'm just too simple a person to grasp that kind of sneakyness myself. :wink:
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