The Return

My apologies for the absence last week, as life was exceptionally hectic. Given that I would have likely spent most of the week whining about the latest Sluggy storyline being lame, it is probably for the best everyone was spared that.

I’d like to start things off on a good note this week, however, so let’s talk about Penny and Angie.

Last week, it is altogether likely I would have spoken poorly of the current storyline. The premise: Aggie’s dad Nick is introducing her to his girlfriend Charisma, and her son Marshall, whom she has a major crush on despite him currently dating Karen, an enemy of both Aggie and her rival, Penny, who happens to be stalking the lot of them.

Yeah.

I mean, even from the start it seemed clear it would be one of those stories about a bunch of people embroiled in an atmosphere of extreme awkwardness, with all sides embarrassing themselves and various hijinks ensuing.

Which is fine, but is simply a brand of humor that has never really worked for me. Watching a trainwreck in action, knowing that there is going to be misunderstandings and silliness and so forth… just leaves me feeling frustrated, not amused. Which is my own personal taste, and no real fault of the humor in question. Still, it is a good comic, so I knew I would keep reading through the storyline despite it not being for me.

My suspicions about the direction of the storyline were confirmed when I saw the interactions between Aggie and Marshall. The parents own little run-in left me mostly confused.

And then I got to today’s strip, and realized I was starting to enjoy the entire fiasco. I’d say this is in part because the dialogue is finally starting to ring true, whereas the Aggie/Marshall interaction felt a bit too idealized. But honestly, it is also just due to the set-up itself finally growing on me.

I found myself looking forward to whatever was coming next, and the fall-out thereof. I found myself actively enjoying a brand of humor that normally leaves me numb.

I’d say that is a damn fine testament to the skill of T Campbell and Gisele Lagace, the minds behind the mayhem.

Penny and Angie has been running strong for two and a half years now, and has definitely come into it’s own. Perhaps the defining moment occured in this strip, right near the start of the storyline.

Didn’t notice anything too special? Penny trying to chastise Aggie, and Aggie blowing it off – doesn’t seem all that important, does it?

But if you dial way, way back, to the very first storyline, and to a moment when Penny learned that Aggie had lost her mom, and filed it away as future ammunition, imagining it was knowledge that would cripple her rival if she brought it to the fore.

Except… she couldn’t bring herself to do so. It came up, time and time again, but for over 400 strips it faded into the background.

And finally, humiliated, she breaks it out – and it is shrugged off. And that – that hits Penny hard. That’s what truly drives all the frustration and hate to the surface. That is what brings her into the entire catastrophe we have unfolding before us.

I can’t deny that sort of connection. So I really shouldn’t have been surprised that even the storyline I was dreading has won me over, and left me coming back for more.

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