AAR 88: A New Beginning #2: 2:206-210

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AAR 88: A New Beginning #2: 2:206-210

Postby jeffk on Tue Jan 18, 2005 8:19 pm

Next: AAR Week 89
Prev: AAR Week 87

[Edit: Added Next link]

Last week on Avalon, Ceilidh drops the smooch-bomb and an invitation for Joe to meet her that night at Tim Horton's. Thereby putting a ton of potential plot threads in play--Joe and Ceilidh threads, possibly Ryan and Deirdre threads, or a mixture of the two. And leaving everyone anxious to find out what's going to happen next.


.1: OK, we've got Joe and Ceilidh at TH...and Deirdre is there, in full-bore bored mode. Is Deirdre and Ryan's relationship about to become public knowledge? (However, Deirdre is fully clothed, which shoots down some of the board's more interesting ideas about What's Going To Happen At Tim Horton's Tonight.) But someone's coming to the door...

.2: And it's Ryan, and Deirdre seems awfully glad to see him! Enough to get a reaction from our otherwise-distracted couple. And enough to continue the ongoing "are they or aren't they" debate; at least one poster points out that her mood brightened way too much to be merely leading him on.

.3: Ryan is plainly not as pleased with the situation. I take that back--he may be pleased to see Deeds, but Ceilidh and Joe are another story. Which is somewhat surprising on one level, since he tried to talk Deirdre into going public a few weeks back.

Although come to think of it, Ceilidh and Joe are present, meaning Deirdre's going to stay fully dressed, which probably shoots down some of Ryan's more interesting ideas about What's Going To Happen At Tim Horton's Tonight. :-)

BTW, Ceilidh still has The Necklace on.

.4: Oooh, I just learned a new euphemism.

And now that I think about it, Ryan's behavior does make sense. On the one hand, he's willing to let people know that he and Deirdre are an item, but he's not willing to go into, er, exact details. I think I understand Ryan's type, because I'm Ryan's type, to a certain degree. Ryan may be so passionate and/or perverted when he's alone with Deeds that Iain would blush...but that doesn't mean he wants everyone else to know about it.

Exhibit A: His conversation with Iain. If a stereotypical 18-year-old male found himself in regular hot, hot, sexengs with a woman four years his senior, what would he say if a classmate asked him, "Ya not gettin' any?"

Right. Probably something to the effect of, "Ever meet Phoebe's older sister? Red hair down to there and huge...tracts o' land? I'd give you the details, but I'd sound like an X-rated Green Eggs and Ham, and you wouldn't believe me, anyway." Something tells me Ryan isn't going to say that :-)

Exhibit B: DD/R's first public appearance, watching hockey with the others. Although it was Ryan's idea for Deirdre to go public, he's clearly annoyed at the attention once they get to Joe's house. Either he's annoyed that everyone's shocked that he's actually got a girlfriend--let alone someone four years his senior, let alone Deirdre--or he realizes that once everyone gets over the shock that he's actually got a girlfriend--and that it's Deirdre--their imaginations start running rampant. And he'd rather not go there, even if (especially if) their imaginations are right.

Anyway, back to the scene at Tim's. Ceilidh and Joe are there, and Deirdre's obviously not acting like "just a friend", and Ryan's embarrassed about the implications.

And they probably did have some interesting plans of the "X-rated Green Eggs and Ham" variety, and it's almost as if Ceilidh and Joe caught them.

So. Why didn't Ceilidh and Joe catch them? Well, look at the next strip:

.1: "You're probably wondering why I've called this meeting."

I mentioned last week that Ceilidh's theoretically old enough to be my daughter. So I won't comment on her legs under the table; I'll just pause for a moment so y'all can do so.

.2: Joe does not like the way this conversation is headed. Primarily because it hits too close to the mistakes he made in Grade 9, I suspect, but I wonder if he suspects that Ceilidh sees a bit of herself in Feebs.

.3: Ceilidh sees a lot of herself in Feebs. And a lot of her Grade 9 photo in her Grade 12 self.

She's putting her cards on the table....

.4: ...soon to be joined by Joe's doughnut. And our jaws.

Here it comes. Cards on the table, heart on the line--and any other cliches you can contribute--and she's putting Mr. Dodge The Issue in a position where he can't dodge any more.

2:208: Time to admire Josh's work:

.1: Ceilidh's scared of Joe's answer, too. Even now, she probably suspects that being just friends might be exactly what he wants. Perfect dialog, down to the pauses. Nervous, timid face. Hands clasped in her lap. (And quit trying to look down her dress! Yes, I mean you!)

.2: She's waiting, and nervous. Joe's in "deer in headlights" mode, and his mind is saying, "No." When it's not shouting it.

.3: But that's not what he says. And he's not terribly pleased to say it, either.

2:209: Now what do we have here?

.1: They're at Ceilidh's house, and they're soaked.

Hmm. Ceilidh's hair looks pretty good soaked.

.2: "I should have thought to bring an umbrella." Which indicates that she was aware of weather conditions in advance; otherwise, she would have said, "Sorry, I guess I missed the weather forecast." Accidental brain cramp, or intentional set-up? Even now, I'm still not quite sure...but I'll tackle that subject next week.

But I wasn't suspicious about that on my first trip through the archives.

.3: OK, here's where I started being suspicious about something on my first trip through the archives. If I recall correctly, here's what I thought when I saw the strip for the first time:
  • They're wet.
  • Ceilidh's dress is clinging to her.
  • And showing a nice amount of leg.
  • It's late.
  • Joe's staying for a while.
  • They're going upstairs for towels.
  • Aren't the bedrooms usually upstairs?
  • Strange. If this was Hollywood, this would be the setup for Wacky Teenage Hijinks--probably:
    1. mad, mad sexengs,
    2. a parent walking in on mad, mad sexengs, or
    3. a parent walking in on something that looks like mad, mad sexengs, but isn't.
  • But that's not likely here, because:
    1. Avalon doesn't go in for mad, mad sexengs. It's Walky, maybe. But Avalon doesn't have Squad 48, so no.
    2. And Avalon's Joe isn't like IW's Joe where PMHP is concerned, so no.
    3. And Ceilidh isn't remotely like Squad 48 where PMHP is concerned, so no.
    4. And besides, we already know Joe's hesitant about his relationship with Ceilidh, so there's no way he's going to initiate anything intimate.
  • So what is going to happen next?

Stepping away from my first-reading thoughts to now, Joe's been wise-cracking and yakking ever since he got to Ceilidh's house. I wonder if he's still generally nervous because he regrets telling her "yes" at TH, or if his Wacky Teenage Hijinks alarm is going DefCon Red.

2:210: Thoughts when reading this for the very first time:

.1: Erm, no, Ceilidh. Sponges usually aren't that flattering.

.2: <snerk>

.3: Huh? How many 18-year-olds worry about their front lawn? Besides, you don't have to mow deserts!

  1. HOLY SH...
  2. SCROLL UP! SCROLL UP! (Did I mention that I first read this during my lunch hour on my office computer?)
  3. <looks around, makes sure no one's outside my cube where they can see the PC screen>
  4. <surreptitiously scrolls back down to 2:210 again>
  5. Holy sh*t, Ceilidh, what are you thinking?!?

And I thought I had problems figuring out what to write about 2:205.3 last week. They don't make a :o emoticon big enough to do this panel justice.

I almost chickened out of writing something about this comic. (I'm trying really, really hard not to refer to 2:210 as a "strip" :-) ) I was tempted to either list a whole bunch of pointers to posters who said it a whole lot better than me, or simply pull a Wayne's World and cry "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!" while bowing to Josh. But I'll see what I can do.

I won't tackle the question of what Ceilidh was thinking here--I'll do that next week--but I will say this one's even more stare-worthy than 2:205.3, and not specifically because it features a nearly naked female. Yes, yes, it does features a nearly naked female, but that's not enough to explain my reaction.

I think it's because I didn't expect Ceilidh to go this far, this fast...in fact, I wasn't sure what she was doing, and I'm not entirely sure now.

I agree with the post--and now that I need the reference, I can't find it--that didn't beg "PAN LEFT! PAN LEFT!" so much as "PAN UP! PAN UP!" Sure, the "screen" has panned as far left as possible without entering AvaPr0n-land, but we can't see her face either, so we're forced to speculate what Ceilidh's thinking.

We see roughly what Joe sees at that split-second--a nearly naked Ceilidh, but no frontal nudity, no indication of Ceilidh's intent, and no other cues to guide Joe as to how to proceed.

Very well done, Josh.

Of course, this also happens "happens"...yeah, right to be the Friday strip, which meant everyone got to stew all weekend, proving once again that Josh Is Evil. Joe only had to stew a few seconds waiting for Ceilidh to explain.

GAS: My appreciation for this one is somewhat muted by its position within the archive. I usually use the weekly pages to read the archive, and it's really hard to concentrate on anything with 2:210 right above it.

On to the forum, and as you might suspect, there's speculation aplenty. I tried to write summaries of a couple of speculation-heavy threads, but changed my mind. Frankly, I think you'll find it more interesting to read everyone's real-time reactions than someone's after-the-fact summary, so I've italicized links to the major analysis-and-speculation topics.

9315: 2:206: Much cheering for Ryan and Deeds. (Almost said "Much rooting", then remembered what that word means Down Under. Feel free to make your own double-entendre here; I couldn't decide which one to use.)
9316: 2:206: Newbie hem reports in, and (between all the poking), asks a number of questions about Ryan, Deirdre, and Phoebe. Are there enough cast members to pair off, or do we need more? And was Deirdre being cruel by teasing Ryan in front of C&J, or was it just harmless teasing? Leads to more "do they or don't they" speculation.
9317: AvaCon @ AnimeNorth: TomServo volunteers to bring entertainment, the worst he can find (la, la, la).
9318: Newbie checks in. <# include "standardPoking.txt'> I'm not sure if this was started in another thread, or if we're missing some posts, because it looks like this topic started mid-stream, and I can't find the start of the conversation anywhere.
9319: Another newbie (TheOges), another round of poking (the usual suspects).
9320: Coldacid looks back through the archives a bit, recognizes himself.
9321: 2:207: Is Ceilidh trying to play "relationship by guilt trip", or are we reading too much in what she's saying? Are Ceilidh and Joe so wound up that they completely missed the significance of Ryan, Deirdre, and hot, hot doughnuts? Fool and KAH belly up to the Bloody Well bar. A couple of "dirty pool" definitions.
9322: 2:207: More reactions to Ceilidh's decent (for now) proposal. Courtship language of decades past (or whenever "going steady" was popular). Rampant shock, and not just Joe (although he's been in a near-constant state of shock the past several strips). Rampant jealousy. KAH points out that "they're all too unsteady to 'go steady'" and spells out Joe's predicament--"does he love her too much as a friend to want to become romantically involved with her?" So when is Josh going to cut over to Deirdre and Ryan, just to torture us? Myriad proposes one possible outcome involving spatulas and Jedi mind tricks. Cody-Sama is Lord of The Dance. (Mike Nelson wasn't around.)
9323: 2:207: The shoe--and Joe's donut--has dropped.
9324: Con housing arrangements. Art imitates life, and some of the forumers imitate art, to 40 places.
9325: Josh asks everyone what plot points are currently dangling, because he's not quite sure "what everyone doesn't know." Lots of questions, only a few answers (Cecil's gender, the meaning of PSL). Some folks are wondering if Ceilidh and Joe have done anything off-screen between "The Date" and "Going Steady" that might explain Ceilidh's behavior. "If their high school lives are like this, what about their college lives?" "Same thing, more beer." How did Ryan and Deirdre get hooked up?
9326: Broken links reported in the archive.
9327: What's the "New Beginning" from the chapter title? Ceilidh and Joe, or something else? Star Wars puns leave people wishing for clones to attack, provided they're the right clones.
9328: 2:208: Joe said yes! And where's his donut? (Several theories.)
9329: DW got his Avalon book just as the power went out. Others get the book also (minus the power outage); others are minus book, cash to purchase book, or power outage to force them away from the computer.
9330: 2:209: Two comics today--woo-hoo! Woo...huh? C&J are alone? And soaked? In her house?!? What's next--kisses? PMHP? PSL harboured for soaked Ceilidh. Aardvark checks the calendar, and gets worried. John Campbell checks the calendar, and gets excited. Both are correct. "Is anyone else imagining Josh in his mysterious Canadian fortress, rubbing his hands evilly and cackling because Joe and Ceilidh are finally together, but for all the wrong reasons?"
9331: Lots of nervousness about C&J's relationship, given C's explanation and all the "NO"s in Joe's head. NegZ adds to the nervousness (link broken, and I can't seem to find it in the usual places). And Tangent seems to be familiar with the <cough> side effects of towel fights <looks at ceiling>. TW suggests we may be seeing the dark side of some of the early running gags; OTOH, Freemage remembers that Josh was surprised by his (Freemage's) initial dark interpretation of Avalonian personalities, and decides that Josh "doesn't ignore the downside of adolescence, but he doesn't wallow in it, either." Josh concurs, although he admits that "my brain is writing comedy, but my hand is drawing drama....I just like to think that the characters can be real, but not horribly depressing because of it. There's a reasonable personality and history behind each character on paper, which guides their actions in the script."
9332: 2:209: Ooooooh...it rained today in RL, too! Josh is good! And why is Joe staying with Ceilidh when he lives next door, if he's so nervous about their relationship? Is it because you're supposed to spend more time together when you're going steady, or did the wet summer dress short out his brain? In an attempt to short out even more minds, posters try to predict what happens next, mostly speculating on Joe and Ceilidh in (and out) of towels. Warning: Neon Genesis Evangelion spoiler in the thread.
9333: "Yes"? Is Joe about to pull an Alan by not being honest with Ceilidh? Or is he just scared? Was "yes" over "no" a matter of fear over reason, or heart over excuses? "Towel whipping" = "sweet, sweet doughnuts"? "Ceilidh's wet hair" = "even hotter than Ceilidh's dry hair"? Brian throws up his hands, gives up on attempting to predict what Josh is going to pull next, and agrees on the whole wet-Ceilidh thing.
9334: "Avalon Bebop" fanart from mzacher. Link not broken, but it's also in the Avalon art section just in case it ever does. I've never watched "Cowboy Bebop" so I don't recognize the costume. Still appreciate it, though....
9335: Should we limit comic discussions to one per day, to make discussions easier to follow? OTOH, the multiple threads usually branch out to separate discussions, anyway. And as Josh points out, most discussions usually span multiple strips.
9336: 2:208: Why was Joe thinking no? Lots of theories. Josh says "all I was trying to get into 2:208 was that that he *knew* he shouldn't string Ceilidh along, but he just couldn't let her down"; OTOH, his subconscious might have other plans.... Quotes du jour:
  • Hormones vs brain. A battle as old as time itself
  • As an aside, also note Deirdre's face in 2:206.2. Anyone who still thinks she's just using Ryan or is stringing him along, you're reading the wrong comic. ;-)
  • [Josh]If it looks like Joe is "whipped," I wanna know how, so I can kick my subconscious's ass. ;-)
  • True story: I have known the details of the sex act since I was 8, thanks to reading a book on human anatomy. But I didn't understand how that stuff could happen by accident... the book didn't explain that sex is fun!
9337: "Cowboy Ceilidh"--nope, not what you're thinking.
9338: Emoticon-art, I think. Red-X Art, nowadays.
9339: 2:209: Uh, oh...Ceilidh and Joe are alone, wet, and at her house. Hot hot sexengs on the way? Reactions range from fear to mistrust to panting. IAMCANADIAN screws up Josh's plot.
9340: Even more Red-X art....
9341: Who is the protagonist in Avalon? Celiidh? Joe? Cecil? Is there a protagonist, or is it possible to have a protagonist (or an antagonist, for that matter) in an ensemble cast? Other examples from literature are examined.
9342: Is it us, or are a lot of webcomics jumping into the gutter at the moment?
9343: 2:210.4.


The board proves to be more loquacious than Joe.

Seven pages more loquacious, in fact, as the board drops its collective brains on the floor with a loud "thunk", picks them up, screws them back in place (pun not intended), then tries to figure out what Ceilidh intended. A few people realize that Josh's two-comic-in-one-day gift was, indeed, a set-up for the Mother Of All Friday Cliffhanger Plot Twists. A question on C&J's age branches into a review of Canadian high school grade levels.

  • <assorted variations on "Hoooooo", "Oh.... my.... God....", "Holy invisible flying monkeys batman!!", "Holy crap!" etc.>
  • Damn, I wish I had a girlfriend as nice and beautiful as Ceilidh! Hell, I wish I had a girlfriend :
  • Reminds me of that Miles Vorkosigan line "Most people can't tell the rapid exploitation of a belatedly recognized opportunity from deep-laid planning."
  • "Perhaps I didn't adequately explain the fundamentals of the 'going slow' plan..."
  • I'm also quite suprised at how many gentlemen there are here. Finally! A place where I can be myself and not get called a pansy :-)
    (The sound of my head impacting with my desk after viewing the comic)
    The twistiness is EVIL!
  • Yay! Elbows!
  • Dear lord, I go away for two days to watch the land of my ancestors humiliate themselves in the sporting arena in a sport WE invented!!, and the strip and the forum go in a direction I had no idea was even POSSIBLE.

9344: General enjoyment over the recent story arcs, and not just nearly-naked Ceilidh in the bedroom, either. General admiration over the wide variety of shocked-Joe images in the past couple of weeks alone. General acceptance of twistiness-induced insanity.
9345: 2:210: The Truth About Ceilidh, with graphic evidence. Gives new meanings to "mountain-roasted" and "full-bodied".
9346: Josh wouldn't pull a Bobby Ewing on us, would he? Potential evidence cited.
9347: Web site update from lostfactor. Shorter than normal, due to Ceilidh-induced dain bramage.
9348: Should Josh produce a non-censored version of 2:210.4, or should we just wait for the fan-art?
9349: 2:210.4: Does Ceilidh have any, er, experience in these matters? (No)
9350: One poster's going off-line, begs for help. Be careful what you beg for. Especially from someone who's already in ISB mode.
9351: Where's The Necklace? Ceilidh was wearing it in 2:206.3 when Ryan arrived ISO sweet sweet doughnuts, but not since C&J sat down at the table.
9352: 2:210.4: Particularly suitable soundtrack entry from new Weezer album.
9353: Shaden enters (let the poking begin) and figures it all out. Effects of poking on external Fourth Walls.
9354: Kyosuke arrives. Josh taunts and thanks. Poking leads to POKEing, which leads to game discussions. (Last time I visited the Smithsonian--about seven years ago--there was a C64 in their computer exhibit. I spotted a couple of other Smithsonian visitors chuckling nostalgically, so I joined them.)
9355: Another newbie pokes, er, checks in.
9356: Another newbie--sure seems to be a lot of them this weekend!--checks in after a full forum dive to thank Josh. The Avalon Forum snack bar is open. Josh reports that avalonhigh.com's traffic spiked up 400% from normal when 2:210 hit--how did all the newbies find out about the, er, rain on the front lawn w/out a Newsbox?
9357: Quattro was at UTARPTA, but was too shy to introduce himself. "Whole magical girl thingie"?
9358: Renimar's working on an Avalon Code parser; requests examples.
9359: Rush GAS commentary.
9360: Counting down (and then up) to Monday's strip, and all systems are go. Especially the PSL systems.
9361: Missing weeks.
9362: "Crazy people from Avalon" at Otakon?
9363: Helene fan-art from Asha.
9364: More people waiting nervously for the Monday strip.
Last edited by jeffk on Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ParkRNDL on Wed Jan 19, 2005 4:49 pm

Ahhhh. 2:210.4.

Somehow, this transcends PSL for me.

I wasn't exactly promiscuous or particularly advanced for my teen years ('least I dont THINK I was,) but this brings back fond memories. Not of bawdy stuff that you tell and retell in the locker room, but of being 16 or 17 and really in love this time and trusting and being trusted and that kind of breathless excitement that goes with it...

jeez. that's half my life ago.

i wonder how she is these days...

The Wolfman is EVERYWHERE...
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Postby Mcfarlane Salsa on Fri Jan 21, 2005 11:18 am


Heheh. Ryan just makes the mark of hiding his relationship. Strange, since later he tries to reveal it, although it's Deirdre who "acciddently" introduces them to Phoebe.


Talk about a sucker punch. Although, this is more a small knock compared to what coming.


Ceilidh wants a hot cup of Joe, but Joe knows he'll just burn her mouth and leave a dirty aftertaste. Giggidy-Giggidy-Giggidy. </Quagmire> However, he willing to give it a try, which shows that he wants something rather than nothing, like his father.


Uh-oh, something's going down in the Macfarlane household. Will they make Sals-*gets shot repeatedly*


In a similar situation as ParkRNDL, only I'm at school and shouldn't be looking at this stuff. So it's "read fast, don't... linger... on Ceilidh, just get... the story..."

Of course, next week gets even worse. Or better.

And after that, I'll give you a little present.
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Postby svenman on Thu Jan 27, 2005 5:26 pm

Been a while since I found the time to post here, but this time I've really got to.

2:206 Funny how Deirdre, for all her reluctance to "go public" about her relationship with Ryan, seems to be perfectly willing to spill the beans for the sake of a simple gag. Anything for a laugh, huh Deirdre? But now it's Ryan who slams the brakes on - this is not the way he wants it done.

Ceilidh, of course, doesn't get it. :)

2:207 Joe doesn't look like he saw that coming.

2:208 Big mistake. Biiig mistake. Huge. (Anyone spot the movie quote?)

The missing donut is pretty obvious with 2:207 directly above it on the weekly page - a classic continuity error. But how many people would have spotted it in the original one-strip-published-a-day-on-the-front-page format?

2:209 Change of scene, a bit abrupt, but leading up to...

2:210. Hot... hotter... hooooooo.

This was the strip that got me reading Avalon. Somewhere in the forum of another webcomic was a post linking to that strip - I don't remember the context anymore, but I clicked on it, a few days after 2:210 actually had been published. Attention-grabbers don't really come any more effective than this. :) I read the few following strips published in the meantime, then I read a few weeks of backstory because the plot had gotten me interested, then I started from the beginning of the archive, and from then on I was a regular follower...
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