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Eric: You, madam, are tattooed. In fact, you are extremely tattooed. And tomorrow, I shall be sober.

(From Scary Go Round. Click on the thumbnail for full sized flirty ensemble!)

I love the banter between Tim and Amy. In fact, I love the banter of Scary Go Round in general. It's a strip of gigantic heaving potent banter, throbbing with barely restrained wit and aplomb.

That might be the most suspect sentence I've ever written. You don't get that kind of double-entendre from Comixpedia, kids. Okay, sometimes you get cover art of women having sex with iMacs, but there's nothing double about that entendre. That's some decidedly singular entendre action. But that's off today's point, isn't it?

The thing about Scary Go Round's banter is it's unashamed. Most banter comes across as self-conscious. There's an assumption that somehow it has to have some kind of point, or connect to the strip, somehow. I think this is because so many Americans grew up watching the "banter" on sitcoms. Aside from Seinfeld, which elevated American banter considerably, American sitcoms don't banter so much as they trade clumsy insults and wait for the laugh track. Cleverness isn't encouraged. Sex references are. Do you have any idea how boring sex references become after you hear the fourteenth reference within a single hour?

Er, let's just ignore the double-entendre I opened this entry with, shall we? Thanks.

Allison comes from the British tradition, where banter has a deliciousness all its own. If P.G. Wodehouse were writing webcomics today, he'd toss in banter like this. We used to have a Banter tradition, but I fear it remained in the past with the Algonquin Round Table. I'm reminded of Steve Martin in Roxanne:

"We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it. And I stopped because I was getting tired of being stared at."

Questionable Content goes for the heavy banter points, but for the most part we're stuck with repartee that claims its banter. You know, like pretty much any exchange between Slick and Monique in Sinfest. It's funny, but it ain't banter.

Shiny on, you crazy Brit. Shine on.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at September 21, 2004 11:29 AM

Comments

Comment from: Wednesday posted at September 21, 2004 2:14 PM

Note to self: add entendres to next article.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at September 21, 2004 4:03 PM

You see? I've had a positive impact on the world.

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