AAR 86: "The Farewell" #5: 2:196-200

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AAR 86: "The Farewell" #5: 2:196-200

Postby jeffk on Mon Dec 20, 2004 10:44 pm

Next: AAR Week 87
Prev: AAR Week 85

[Edit: added Next link]

This week, Alison confronts her shadow. Or confronts her need to confront her shadow. Or something.


.1: Joe and Alison arrive at Iain's place, and Alison picks up where she left off from the last party--by insulting Iain.

By the way, where would an exchange student normally live? AFAIK, exchange students in the States usually stay with a host family. From Joe's remark, I assume Iain has a place to himself. Is that the norm for Canadian exchange programs? Or is it time for me to repeat to myself, "It's just a webcomic; I should really just relax"?

Like that's stopped us before.

.2: Joe calls Alison on her behavior. Watch how the tables have turned; Alison usually dishes out the blunt advice.

Or maybe Joe stopped her because Iain's not around, and insult contests just aren't as entertaining with only one contestant.

.3: Alison's not handling this very well, is she?


.1: Good...very good start, Alison.

.2: Keep going, Alison...sounds like you have been trying to figure out what triggered your temper.

And while she's doing that, let's pull an Alison ourselves, and attempt to analyze her. At first glance, we've got conflicting readings on Alison:
  • During Ghada's party, Iain said she's stuck up, and needs a boyfriend. Probably because she disapproved so strongly about his flirting, but hold that thought a bit.
  • In this frame, Alison says she's spent her "whole life trying to be inoffensive and accomodating to others." Doesn't sound like a stuck-up person to me, but hold that thought, too.
  • During their OAC year, however, she's a lot more "stuck up" than "inoffensive and accomodating".

Some of the posters--I forget who--put the pieces together rather nicely. (I'm paraphrasing off the top of my head, because I haven't re-read the forum for the "thread dive" section yet, and I'm not sure how much is their stuff and how much is my own. Anything I get right came from them; anything I get wrong is my fault.)
  • Alison's smart--in particular, the kind of smarts that make academics a snap for her. I don't think anyone ever talks about her grades in the strip, but let's face it--it's pretty easy to draw certain conclusions about a Grade 12 student who studies her friends with a psychology book in hand, even if the book's heavy and she throws like a girl. Think Hermione--"But that's what she does--when in doubt, go to the library." (Did I get the quote right? I'm too lazy to look it up right now. Besides, I'd just start reading the entire series again :-) )
  • If you happen to be blessed with the kind of smarts that make academics a snap, you quickly realize that you can do certain things that your classmates can't. You're more likely to understand what's happening in class when everyone else is struggling, you're more likely to breeze through exams when everyone else is struggling--I'm not sure where Ghada fits into this :roll: --and your grades are more likely to be better. Given all that, it can be awfully tempting to feel just a little proud and superior--at least sometimes.
  • However, you also quickly realize that above-average grades aren't necessarily a ticket to popularity--especially if you rub it in.
  • People blessed with those gifts handle those gifts in different ways. Some people figure, "If you've got it, flaunt it!" Others--like Alison--don't flaunt it, even if they know they've got it. Even if they believe they're superior--and during the OAC year, we see plenty of evidence that Alison believes it--they try hard to mask it because they understand that's not appropriate behavior in this culture. I think it's significant that Alison says, "I've spent my whole life trying to be inoffensive and accomodating to others" (italics mine). Deep down, she may be fed up and/or disgusted with her peers' unenlightened behavior and choices, but she tries not to let it show.
  • I take that back. She does let it show when she gives advice. Most of her friends know this, but she controls it so that it shows up as sarcasm rather than disgust.

.3: Until Ghada's party, when her facade and self-control gets blown to bits. And it sounds like it's fixin' to blow again.

Returning to the lecturer's podium for a bit, it's interesting that she says that Iain becomes "the popular one". Friend-wise, Alison seems to be in better shape than the stereotypical brainy student. She's connected with the other Avalonian cast members--connected enough that they come to her for advice--and her New Year's party has become a tradition with the group.

However.... Despite--or because of--his skirt-chasing, Iain appears more confident in the opposite-sex relationship dance than most of the other Avalonians, including Alison. Which is usually how we grade popularity in high school, and it takes a long, long time to get over that. (If ever.) Sure, Alison has all these friends, and she tries to be a nice person, yet Iain's more willing to jump into courtship, even if Feeb's threating bodily harm.

I also occasionally get the vibe that Alison's not quite as comfortable interacting with the others--when she's not giving advice, that is. I can't find anything in the strips to back that up, though, so I could be all wet on this--but if I'm right, it would explain why she's so disgusted that it comes so easily to Iain.

.4: Alison CHOP! (Sorry, had to say it.) Although she probably shouldn't have chosen a relative of The Bush for her victim; we all know The Bush is the second-most powerful character in Avalon. (Cecil's first, of course.)

2:198: Beware the power of Helene!
.2: My favorite line in today's strip: "I hate the stuff, but I'm Canadian, so I had to get you something maple..."
.4: And we thought Alison was going to hurn Iain....

2:199: Time to say goodbye. Ceilidh leaves on a friendly note, Helene's managing as best as she can, and Ryan (this is Ryan, right?) follows the Standard Manly Farewell Protocol. And it's now or never for Alison.

2:200: And at the last minute, she chooses "never."

And she knows it.

And she doesn't like it.

OK, this was strange...although he did an excellent job of writing dialogue that matched all four strips.

Off to the forum:

9243: 2:196: Beer and Alison: a good combination, or a bad one? Bad: Bad decisions, maybe she's already hitting the bottle, hopefully Josh isn't about to pull a "No Regrets" a la "Roomies." (Josh shoots down the "No Regrets" theory. He drew it, then realized the accidental parallel to "Roomies", then decided to leave it intact because the beer reference isn't critical to the plot.) Good: Maybe she'll loosen up, and not be so uptight. And davey3000 mentioned lap dancing before his train of thought derailed.
9244: Is Joe channeling Ceilidh?
9245: Reference to that day's SporkMan strip. Link's broken, and http://www.archive.org seems to be acting up.
9246: 2:196: What's going to happen next? WARNING: Bad Mental Image. Or two.
9247: On-line personality disorder test results. Some more accurate than others.
9248: This week's colored strips from davey3000 (now at the Lynch Vault).
9249: Nrg Spoon: "I like when people don't know what I'm talking about)".
9250: 2:197: Is it "schadenfreude" if the pain is good and necessary for the other person? Or do you have to think the other person deserved the pain? And is Alison really putting her face through the chair back? Isn't that painful? Coldacid confesses he feels pain over Alison's pain. Does the Avalon Love Polygon need a few more points? Parliamentary jokes are declared Out of Order. Gad, I don't believe I said that. Will Alison change as a result of this catharsis? Opinions are calmly discussed over unopened whoopass containers, which, fortunately, remain unopened.
9251: Engsoc.org? NewSpeak, anyone? Conversation somehow turns to industrial wastes. (I've seen HF first aid kits, but never in action, praise God.)
9252: TW adds Alison to his list of Key Avalon Characters He Cares About. Possible Alison outcomes are discussed. Followed by so many anti-twistiness spells and counter-spells I'm surprised Josh didn't throw Alison, Deirdre, and Ryan into a box with Schroedinger's cat, just to keep anyone's speculation from coming true. Maybe Phoebe's not the only person who could use a little happiness in her life? Or is it OK if Alison just remains blissfully cynical?
9253: Web update from lostfactor.
9254: 2:197: Alison CHOP! Followed by a couple of others.
9255: Usa-chan praises NegZ and Mzacher's drawing (not sure which one), and coldacid is reminded that meowing and pawing is generally considered bad form in job interviews.
9256: Thanks for the interview clip (no link, AFAIK).
9257: Where's Nick? (Way busy)
9258: Who's Done It? And with whom? The Ryan/Deirdre debate is reopened, and Atlas_v1.1 attempts to trigger interesting mental images (and succeeds, because Atlas_v1.1 is an evil, evil person). (As if it's difficult to trigger interesting mental images around here.) Phoebe and/or Todd are also discussed. KAH makes his first appearance (I assume, since he gets poked).
9259: Aeire needs the Avalonians' eye colors. For somethin....
9260: Should we read anything into characters' striking resemblances? If not, is that going to stop us?
9261: RJ Shep spells out the twistiest Alison/Iain theory yet (I think), causing coldacid to mention the "gala" potential. (Confound it, where did I put the bleach and steel wool?) RJ follow up with art (links broken).
9262: 2:198: Death (or at least Maiming) By Huggle! Wapiko leads the traditional Helene chant while waiting for Nick to step in.
9263: Aeire comes through with the "somethin" she promised a few posts back--probably this, judging from the comments. Ooooooh....eyes...must stare deeply into the eyes....
9264: 2:198: Usa-chan cheers Helene on.
9265: "Voices of Avalon": filk from Consul.
9266: 2:198: So who's going to miss Iain as much as Helene, and who just wants to catapult him back Down Under? And will that stop him? Fool mourns the pain over his recent loss. Plus the threat of U-Sister Twin Pain when they discovered exactly what he lost.
9267: 2:198: So is Walky-fication occuring? Or should we wait until Nancy starts drawling?
9268: Soul Calibur Jam! Several links are still up, but several are broken (and I'm curious about this one, although I'm not sure I should admit it).
9269: Soul Calibur Jam tech thread. Scrambled Eggs are explained.
9270: Watching Princess Mononoke triggers a call for favorite strips.
9271: Date check on 2:198.
9272: Was Angelica reading Not Damonk's Avalon strips? Branches off into old kids' shows.
9273: Brian asks for feedback on his GAS submission.
9274: 2:199: On "damn marsupials" and Fool's clothing.
9275: 2:199: Iain and Alison are alone now...what's next? (Atlas and davey3000 mention ropes.) And why is Ceilidh wearing The Necklace? And why wasn't Alison confrontational with Iain before? (Josh: Because Alison never realized she had a problem before.) And then 2:200 comes out, and everyone freaks out. Eyeless Blond pins Alison's current problem, and Josh confirms it. KAH: "As the-X points out, it would make little sense [for Alison to tell Iain she doesn't like him because he's border-line obnoxious but popular]. So what would she tell him? Perhaps that was part of the reason she avoided the confrontation. One thing is clear, of course: the most important confrontation she must conduct now is with herself. Finding out what she has buried and how best to deal with it."
9276: Avalon theme song?
9277: Bennigan's CHOP! (Sorry.)
9278: Cool things about Canada. With a brief side excursion to South Mountain, which isn't in Canada, but is still pretty cool.
9279: The "Violent Girls" Newsbox.
9280: 2:200.4: Why does Alison look like that? Is she off to discover what her shadow is all about? Or is she pissed off because she told the shrubbery more than she told Iain (and did more damage)?
9281: Spelling Hooper's name.
9282: More sightings of Josh's TV interview. And what's more boring: network-hopping among TV stations, ballpoint pens, or Tcl/Tk? And why should authors/directors get to decide what's canon?
9283: Josh and saturn trade fanart. Saturn's art appears to be here.
Last edited by jeffk on Mon Dec 27, 2004 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AAR 86: "The Farewell" #5: 2:196-200

Postby Fool on Tue Dec 21, 2004 8:59 am

jeffk wrote:9274: 2:199: On "damn marsupials" and Fool's clothing.

We found out just last Sunday that coldacid still wants me.

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Postby GrassyNoel on Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:44 am

Poor Alison. Freaked out at the last second.
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