(From Least I Could Do! Click on the thumbnail for full sized friendship defined!)
Look, I'm a guy. I admit it. I own up to it.
When I go into a convenience store, and I glance at the magazine racks, my eyes linger on Maxim and its ilk. Why? Because there is a healthy woman who wants to show just how good airbrushing techniques can make skin look on the cover, and that sucks my eyes to look at it. While I never regularly watched The Man Show, I have seen it... and I'd be lying if I claimed I never laughed while watching it. When I listen to Denis Leary's "Asshole," I find myself nodding to a bunch of the lyrics.
I'm a guy.
Sometimes, I just enjoy guy stuff.
Which brings me to Least I Can Do.
There are a lot of webcomics out there that try to break down the elements of relationships, of romance, of the attraction and repulsion the opposite sexes have for one another.
Least I Can Do is not one of those webcomics. There is nothing deep going on here. This is Rayne Summers. He's a guy. He likes to have sex. With women. A lot. And he's pretty damn good at it.
And... that's it.
Look -- here's the logo to the series. Notice how that logo has a funny looking letter I? That's because there's a condom over it. There's a condom. Over the letter I. In the logo. This is the kind of comic strip we're discussing here. All right? No Cerebus Syndrome. No First and Ten Syndrome. No hidden agenda. This is a sex romp, pure and simple. This is guy humor.
I read it every day. I have for months.
Say what you want -- it can be refreshing to have a "high concept" that's not so damn high, every now and again. And sex, at its heart, is funny. You have to laugh at it, or else it hits you how utterly ridiculous it is -- especially when you're not having it. There's a reason There's Something About Mary made a lot of money. The same with the American Pie movies. We can decry them as low-brow if we want. We can even be right when we do it. But the simple fact of the matter is, people laughed their asses off when they saw them in the theaters. They laughed their asses off and then they went to see the sequels. People will go to see the inevitable Wedding Crashers 2 for the same reason.
However, just because humor is low brow doesn't mean it gets a bye. If you watch G4 at all (and I'm not saying you would), you'll notice that the videogame/geek channel now shows reruns of The Man Show. No, I don't know how that tracks, either. However, they specifically show the first few seasons of The Man Show, over and over again -- the seasons where Adam Corolla and Jimmy Kimmel were the hosts. "The original Man Show," the advertisements go. "The way Adam and Jimmy made them."
There is no sign of the years that Doug Stanhope and Joe Rogan were the hosts, because The Man Show was at once pure guy humor and a satire of guy humor under Kimmel and Corolla. Under Stanhope and Rogan, it was just crass. It was bad guy humor. Embarrassing for everyone involved.
Doug Stanhope went on to host Girls Gone Wild, which is the pinnacle of bad guy humor and titillation.
Least I Could Do, on the other hand, is good Guy humor. It's cheerful. The women are all busty and beautiful, the guys all handsome (even the 'short fat guy' isn't all that short or all that fat... and it goes without saying that none of the girls are fat). A darn good case could be made that the strip is sexist. I don't think the strip pretends to be anything else, however. It's guy humor, pure and simple. I remember one series of strips where Issa, the hot female lead (and one of the few women to not have sex with Rayne) drags Rayne shopping with her. She gets him to agree to go by promising to try on and model no less than three garments of his choice at Victoria's Secret. Exploitive? Absolutely.
But I admit, I laughed when I read it.
I chose the strip up above because I think it's pretty typical of the kind of joke I'm talking about -- while being atypical in that it doesn't involve Rayne getting his bone on. Mick -- who is not very good with the ladies -- is given an opening. Now, Rayne and the others delight in tormenting Mick. This too is a hallmark of Guy Humor. This isn't the geeks winning out over the jocks. This is the jocks moving on into the world and bringing their jock ways with them. Think most 80's comedies that didn't have "Nerd" in the title somewhere, and you've got about the right idea. However, despite everything, they do like Mick, and when he's given a straight line he can't handle, Rayne steps in to give him a hand. "It's what he does," indeed. Straightforward, cheerful, guy humor.
Very cheerful, in fact. The strip doesn't really have a mean bone in its penis body. I meant 'body.' In the days following the referenced strip, an annual contest was held. You see, each Valentine's day one of the strip's readers gets to be drawn into the strip on a date with the character of his (or, technically, her) choice. This year, the winner was gay, and his choice was Rayne. Now, given everything, you might expect a kerfluffle as Rayne goes out on a Valentine's date with another man. Instead, he cheerfully went, explaining that it sure beat what the rest of the cast would be doing -- sitting at home feeling lonely. The rest of the week continued to be typical guy/sex humor, touching on but never mocking Sean's sexuality.
It's worth noting -- Guy humor is not the same as male humor. Least I Could Do has female fans. So, for that matter, did The Man Show, and American Pie, and Wedding Crashers, and all the rest. By the same token, some women scope out the cover of Maxim the same way that I do. Or scope out some magazine with a man on the cover, if they're not into scoping out girls. "Guy humor" is a quality that exceeds the XY Chromosome pair.
The strip's had three different artists over the years. Ryan Sohmer -- the writer, who's been on board from the very beginning, back in 2003 -- has gone on the record saying his favorite is the current artist, Lar Desouza. I personally disagree -- I preferred Chad WM Porter, who was the middle artist. His art was less caricatured -- more fluid. Easier to interpret. However, it makes sense to me that Sohmer prefers Desouza, because Desouza nails the "guy humor" aesthetic. The characters are generally mugging to the camera. The women are zaftig. It's like Benny Hill, only with metrosexual leads.
It is entirely possible you will despise this strip. If you don't like guy humor funny... if you don't like strips that stay on the surface... and for that matter, if you can't get around the fact that all the girls are gorgeous and it's somehow okay that Rayne nails a few dozen of them a month without consequence... then you're not going to like Least I Could Do. And that's okay. Honestly. There's a part of me that considers this strip a guilty pleasure -- on a level with flipping through channels, discovering one of them's showing Wild On or The Making of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and lingering because -- hey, look at the tits! I don't ask you to agree with that impulse.
But if you do like this sort of thing... you could do worse than looking through Least I Could Do. It's definitely Adam and Jimmy, not Joe and Doug.