Saturday, June 06, 2009

Creepiest Luann Contest

The annual comics competition is over and Margo from Apartment 3G can be safely crowned as the Kinkiest Komics Karacter. However, as I was doing my 'research' for the MILF division, I had to read a lot of Luann and I kept getting that icky feeling that makes a middle-aged guys like me squirm. The characters in Luann are on that molasses slow growth trend where they grow older, but never quite up. Luann is now arguably either sixteen or seventeen and her older brother Brad is a professional firefighter living next door to his parents, which is at least a step up from their basement. But they keep getting into jokes that just don't seem right either for high school or the comics page.

In trying to be hip and with-it, the strip often just ends up creepy and disturbing. Just since October there has been a parade of storylines and situations that put a pit in my stomach. Let's have a look.

Gunther Gropes Luann

Ever since Aaron Hill disappeared to his Asian honey in Hawaii, the main rival for Luann's heart has been uber-geek Gunther. It seems that in addition to being a plaid shirted dork, he has madd cosplay skilz. He volunteers to fit Luann for a sexy costume and gets to cop a feel in payment. And in bonus creepiness, Luann finds that shaking her goods should get her more goodies from the dads doing door duty on Halloween.

Brad's Blue Balls

Big brother Brad has been lusting after firefighting tramp Toni Daytona for years but he is still too nervous to seal the deal. But his insecurity doesn't prevent him from mistaking the location of her eyes during the shooting of the sexy firemen (and one woman) calendar. Finally he gets up the courage to ask her over, but usually when a guy has a girl over for breakfast, he nudges her awake instead of answering the doorbell. Then he injures himself rescueing her from a fall, for which she is VERY grateful. One would think some injury recovery would include some mouth-to-mouth. Instead she scalds him with soup.

Elwood the Big Pimpin' Gnome

In order to come up with a plausible romantic rival for Gunther, the strip has introduced Elwood Druitt - drop-out millionaire. Between his short stature, pimply face, and Elvis pompadour he should be an automatic gross-out if it weren't for the big bucks he can throw around. He literally pays for a date with Luann. He has also taken to stalking Luann at her storybook reading gig and openly wonders about her fertility.

Tiffany T&A

Whenever some fan service is called for, the comic features Mean Girl Tiffany who always has some sub-sitcom scheme that involves her being scantily clad. Presumably the same age as Luann, the Tiffster looks and dresses more like a pornstar. Her bling even has its own soundtrack.

Are You Trying To Seduce Me, Mrs. DeGroot?

That is quite a cougar growl Luann's mom has. Featured playa T.J. has been promoted from annoying sidekick to roommate and his omnipresence has not escaped the MILFy Nancy DeGroot. She starts by leaving the door unlocked while taking a bubble bath. Then she paints suggestive come-ons on the wall. She also starts asking lots of personal questions about his past, presumably to get a grip on his medical history. The soundtrack to this storyline isn't porno music as much as it's Simon and Garfunkel.

Delta Lewinski

The biggest storyline of the last year has been about the school trip to Washington, D.C. and the travails of token magical negro Delta to be allowed to come along. This mcguffin has led to the Elwood story since he ended up donating the bucks to help it happen in hopes of Luann's 'gratitude'. It also set-up the aforementioned dunk tank incident. Delta does finally make it to DC and the pay-off for the whole year-long arc is that Delta gets to ask Barack Obama directions to the bathroom. Does anyone remember any tales of presidents and a young woman in the executive washroom?

This is where I need your help. Which of these is the creepiest storyline? Feel free to factor in underage inappropriateness, clumsy innuendo, head-banging-against-wall idiocy, sheer tone deafness, and overall ickyness.

My real fear is that since all of these strips are since October that we have enough upcoming awkwardness to make this an annual event.


john said...

How about "all of the above?"

yellojkt said...

Nope. Too easy. You gotta make some hard choices.

DemetriosX said...

Gotta go with Elwood here. Gunther and Luann are the same age, so there really isn't anything all that squicky about him copping a feel. Brad and Toni are adults, even if he is too shy to actually make a move. Tiffany is underage, but this is pretty much in the same category as Gunther; she's flaunting, but for teenage boys. TJ and Mrs. DeGroot could contend, but I'm thoroughly convinced that he secretly pines for Brad. Delta is reaching big time and you're obviously just trying to avoid excluding her. (She had her crush on teacher storyline a couple of years ago. That would have worked better.)

Nope, got to be Elvis the Love Gnome. He's creepy and icky enough all on his own, but Bernice also discovered that he has zero presence on the Internet. Pretty strange for a guy who supposedly made his money in IT, games even IIRC.

Two guys with mysterious pasts is a bit much for one humorous strip. I hope Evans gives us some resolution on at least one of them soon.

Anonymous said...

I'm going with the Mrs. DeGroot/seduction storyline for the simple reason that it would make an entertaining storyline in an online comic but because of the Wholesome Censors, it has to be printed on the page in some sort of code.

I bet the original strips (pre-Wholesome Censors) actually depict TJ and Nancy getting it on like little short-eared bunnies and all we see are the leavings. And by 'original strips' I mean, somewhere deep inside the dank dark recesses of Evan's mind.

The others are just Evans' way of saying 'I'm too puss to try to defy the Wholesome Censor so I'll just do my usual Half-Assed Storyline Cop-out.' :P

Cedar said...

What always bothers me about the sexy Tiffany strips is the way Evans obviously loves to draw her young, sexy, teenage body, but at the same time, we're supposed to judge Tiffany for the crime of having a young sexy teenage body. How dare she! What a slut!

I voted for "Gunther gropes Luann," but I'd vote for any Gunther storyline. I loathe him. He's like a larval Anthony Caine--needy, judgmental, insecure, prissy, pretending to insult himself while looking up through his hands, waiting for someone to say, "Oh no, Gunther! You're wonderful!" In an attempt to make him "likable," Evans has just thrown a little "tragic" backstory (his dad left him! he was raised by a single mom!), given him weird, infantalizing hobbies, and decided that bratty, babyish passive aggressive pouting is the best response everything that goes wrong in his life, from his mom being hurt to Luann being out with another guy). In the same way Tiffany seems to be older, Gunther still seems like he's from some kind of middle school comic. The most recent storyline involving Gunther jealous over Elwood has him acting more like a BFF who's upset that Luann is spending time with someone else than a romantic rival.

Worse to me is the constant hints at how Gunther "deserves" Luann. Why? Not because she likes him, or because he's smart and interesting, but because he was there first. Just like Anthony!

Cedar said...

PS--You forgot the "Bernice is in love with her brother" storyline.

yellojkt said...

The Bernice and Bro story was pretty creepy but I think it fell before I started collecting these. I just can't imagine what Evans can come up with to top these.

YhuntressE said...

I went with the Ms.Degroot since she does sorta seem to have this tight hold on her son and over-worrying about a certain co-worker taking his innocense. If that aspect wasn't there, maybe Brad would be able to put the moves on Tori.

john said...

Cedar: precisely. The only thing Gunther's missing is the pornstache.

Now, whether "Luann and Anthony 2.0" is creepier than "Luann and her greasy midget sugar-daddy" is a tough call; it really varies from one day to the next, depending on what fresh horrors are introduced in which storyline. I gave my vote to Gunther, but either one is a worthy contender.

Anonymous said...

Had to go with the wee mack-daddy, as the plot was about selling yourself to help your friends. I kept on expecting Luann to get dateraped and Elwood to protest he already "bought" her for the night.

Dimestore Lipstick said...

The Elwood plotline, because Evans made it out to be this dire situation that Luann just HAD to go whoring herself because was the only way Delta could achieve her big dream of going to D.C.

When, as someone over at C.C. pointed out, the whole situation could have been resolved by each member of the class kicking in a reasonably small amount of cash.

Does the cartoonist really believe his audience is dumb enough to fall for his outlandish rationalizing?

SkittlesGenesis said...

I voted for Elwood, BUT if you'd included the Gunther storyline where he was whining about his dad abandoning his family and hinting seriously that it's JUST LIKE how Luann doesn't love him, I'd have switched accounts three times to continue voting for him. That storyline made me want to burn my monitor.

yellojkt said...

There was also Luann going over to Gunther's house and doing his mom's laundry while she all but threw condoms at them. But I had to go with just one Gunther/Luann creepy moment.

sugarpie said...

Sorry, I forgot to post here (though I made my point on the CC site).

I may have to revise my vote for the Gunther/Carrie story line. Originally I voted Gunther since he is the most unstable of all of Luann's little rascals and seems most likely to go all berserker what with the with his sewing scissors always ready.

On reviewing I think it's the Elwood arc. Evans has lavished too much slobbering perpetrator-ish attention on the library full of Luann's little wartlings. Evans has the girls looking like Jonbennet clones and the boys like mini Abercromboids. I wonder if he's not tracing over some of the photos in his most recent copy of 'Lolly-tots'? Yep, I change my vote.

Anonymous said...

Hate to find myself in the majority, but I've got to go with Elwood.

All the other arcs could be explained by the quest for plain ol' physical gratification. Elwood's apparently serching for the right set of loins to pump out his master race, which cranks up the creepiness to another level.

Though I'm really hoping for a future panel with Luann in the bunny ears crowded into a corner of the library by Elwood and his devoted band of munchkins: "We accept you, we accept you..."

gnome de blog said...

Actually, Evans seems to have lightened up a bit. In the past he regularly featured stories (the Bernice-Ben-Luann triangle, Bernice and the guy in the wheelchair) linking high school girls and adult men. At least he's keeping it in the same age group now.

If I remember right, Elwood is younger than Luann. When he was introduced a couple of years ago he was a freshman. I presume, since he has a limo instead of an overamped hot car like any normal teenage rich guy, that he's still too young to drive.

Anonymous said...

Not only do I vote for Elwood, for the compelling reasons already cited, but I contend that his is the only genuinely creepy story out of these choices. He's obviously a poseur, but the horrifying details are not yet clear.

Delta asking bathroom directions is a nonstarter. Brad not having a sexual relationship with nontramp Toni is also not creepy, whatever else you may think about it. Luann's and Tiffany's penchant for showing off their figures is not a particularly surprising or creepy attitude for an attractive teenage girl. Mrs. DeGroot teasing her son's friend does aspire to creepiness, but that's all, if there's no more to it than that.

And I don't hate Gunther the same way that, like all right-thinking people, I hated Anthony. I don't think Gunther is shoved down our throats the same way Anthony was. He's a contender for Luann's affections, but he's not going to get them, because teenage Luann is never going to settle down with any one guy.

Justin R. Damm said...

I voted for Elwood, because he is attempting to make a prostitute out of Luann, but you forgot to mention Bernice! Bernice was not only romantically interested in her own brother last year, she often hits on Delta! Bernice is the desperate creep of the strip. While everyone else is practicing their half-lidded come-ons that never go anywhere, Bernice is in the corner hiding behind the curtains.

Jeff R. said...

Anyone else here long-time enough to remember Bernice's lesbian sexual harassment plotline? Outcreeps the current crop, I think...

john said...

Bernice was also the one pimping out Luann in the first place, if I recall correctly. But I think it would be unfair of us to blame her for her actions, when Evans so obvious makes the entire Luann universe go through contortions in order to make his supposedly-titillating storylines happen.

Unknown said...

This contest ought to be classified by the FDA as a vomit inducer.

Cedar said...

Jeff R--Oh yes! I do remember that! She was super-jealous around Bernice and Zane, and we were originally led to believe that she was in love with Zane, but she was actually in love with Bernice (Because she was a feminist, and feminist = gay). That was 2003 or so, if I had to guess, and you're right--it's probably one of the most inappropriate Luann storylines yet.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Luann is in our local paper. It's nice to know we aren't the only ones who are like..."Huh...really??" It appears alongside the Amish recipe column and the conservative advice column written by prudish middle aged women (almost as disturbing as Luann). Today's Luann features the girls debating whether they are foxy enough to go visit wounded soldiers!