« Another lurch from the grave | Main | Be helpful to someone in need. No, not me. »

Eric: What the Hell. If I'm going to lurch out of the grave, I might as well do something like analysis.

Least I Could Do

(From Least I Could Do! Click on the thumbnail for full sized pre-employment sexual harassment suit!)

Set aside the tit joke before we talk about this. The tit joke was a given. This is Least I Can Do. You either like the tit joke or you don't.

This extended subplot's been interesting to me for a number of reasons. One because it brings Issa back as a significant cast member. She's been on the shelf way too long, and she's too interesting to be on the shelf. But the other is the parallel between Rayne and Issa and their career trajectories.

Rayne is a wish-fulfillment fantasy, at his heart. He's handsome, can nail dozens of chicks a week with little to no consequences despite -- let's be honest -- not being nice about it. He's got a bitching car. He's got a great group of friends. He has wild adventures. He's... well, he's the male equivalent of the Hot Geek Amazon -- the perfect woman who's gorgeous and can quote Lord of the Rings trivia with the best of them.

And, much like Issa, he's never really had to grow up. In part because everything comes easily to him. Women come easily to him. Success comes easily to him. When he writes a bad time travel novel is goes into a bidding war between major publishers. He lives the Life of Riley, for those who remember what the Hell the Life of Riley is.

And, a few years back... he got a job at IDS industries.

One he wasn't qualified for, which he got by falsifying his references, and which put later cast member Nancy at risk of her job. All to sleep with Marcy McKean, the CEO. Which he sort of did later, but by then he was ensconced in his job.

To do so, he took a leave of absence from his newspaper, where he was writing a column. Note that he didn't quit, at that point. He took a leave. Because he was just going to sleep with Marcy and then quit. Only somewhere along the way he forgot to leave. And apparently he turned out to be pretty good at his job.

Now, Issa needs a job. And she's been pushing Rayne to get her one, because her entire adult life she's worked at a gas station convenience store. She has no job skills. She has nothing but an impressive rack. She doesn't live the Life of Riley. And Rayne has been resistant to help her -- in part because he feel she needs to grow up (and Rayne is stunningly judgmental about his friends), and in part because it would be highly irresponsible to give her a job at his company when she wasn't qualified for it. (Including, I would point out, a data entry job. Which is, to be blunt, entry level.)

In other words... she's exactly in the same position he was. Unqualified to even be in the room. The only difference was confidence and intention. Rayne's intention was to have sex with a hot chick and then leave. Issa legitimately wants a job that will give her practical skills and experience and help her start her real life.

Between that and Rayne's missing the writer's lifestyle, I have to wonder if we're finally going to shoot that gun on the mantlepiece. (Chekov's Law states that if you threaten a secretary's job if she gets fooled by a sleazeball who's faking his references to have sex with a hot CEO in the first act, you must fire her in the third). After all, sooner or later the truth has to come out. Rayne has enemies at IDS, and even if he's good at his job, falsifying his resume to get it is the sort of thing they fire you for regardless of the results.

And if he gets Issa a job... someone who knows Rayne had no qualifications for his job will be working there. Accidents happen.

Where this goes should be interesting. Though don't expect a resolution next week. Sohmer takes his time with these things. He lets them perk and build. Which might be surprising if all you've noticed so far were the tit jokes.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at February 4, 2009 11:06 AM

Comments

Comment from: Darth Paradox [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 4, 2009 1:29 PM

I'd forgotten about some of that background, at least as it applied to the current situation. Not because I've been distracted by the tit jokes, but rather because I've been distracted by how much of an utter dick Rayne is being to his supposed friend.

If this is supposed to be a wish-fulfillment comic, who includes "treating your friends like dirt" in that? We're supposed to be seeing Rayne as something of a sympathetic character, but right now I can't stand the asshole.

Comment from: E. Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 4, 2009 1:51 PM

My assumption is, this is part of Rayne's character arc. The overall trend of the current run of LICD is "growing up," particularly since they actually started aging. Right now, Rayne's (very dickishly) able to identify the character flaws of his friends and identify what they need to do to overcome them, but he's blind to his own character flaws. He had the one crisis of self that led into the Christmas Carol ripoff all entertainment forms are required by Canadian law to produce, but he still hasn't come to terms with adulthood. To date, he's coasted to it on considerable personal charm, but I suspect there's a point where that stops working for him.

Comment from: E. Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 4, 2009 1:53 PM

And LICD is not a wish fulfillment comic. Rayne is a wish fulfillment character. LICD is a guy humor gag-a-day comic with some undercurrents.

Comment from: DaiDoc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 4, 2009 3:18 PM

I am more than vaguely reassured that Zombie Eric lurches around analysing webcomics instead of muttering about cerebral tissue.

Now, let's do something about keeping the body fluids off the carpet, shall we?

Comment from: E. Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 4, 2009 3:27 PM

You think you're kidding. I have a frightening amount of mucus being generated by every membrane mentionable in polite company right now.

Comment from: 32_footsteps [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 4, 2009 7:37 PM

You know, that's not quite how I thought you'd reference Chekov's Law in relationship with LICD (though perhaps the version I was thinking of was too obvious).

I suppose the question really is this, though - how is Rayne going to benefit from getting fired for falsifying his resume? Because based on the arc of the comic, we all know it's going to happen.

Comment from: Brandon Kelley [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 5, 2009 4:27 AM

Am I the only one on Rayne's side, in this particular clash of personality? He may have been a dick about it, but he has a point. Issa has come to the realization she's coasting through life on the easiest available options due to him forcibly bringing it to her attention.

(Not that I can condemn her for it-I've found myself in a similar situation more than once)

Not only that, but once she did finally realize that she needed to pick herself up and move on under her own power...she has done exactly nothing. Rayne wrote her resume, and we're given no signs she'd looked for a job herself (Though to be fair, that may have happened offscreen before she reappeared).

The only thing we get to see her do is try and bully Rayne into solving her problems for her. I have no great love for Rayne, really-Noel is honestly my favorite character (I could go on and on about how he has a little of the best parts of everyone in the strip). But in this case, I think Rayne is right. He put his own personal feelings aside to hire Archie, after all.

If he thought there was anything even slightly redeeming about Issa's drive or ability, I have no doubt he would have bent the rules into pretzels to get her a job. As the 'Wish Fulfillment' character, that's what he does. It's my hope that this arc is about teaching Issa to -really- grow up instead of seeing Rayne finally get his.

Comment from: DaiDoc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 5, 2009 7:03 PM

You only think I think I'm kidding. I saw the note about the less than stellar functioning of your immune system. Also, everyone else in my life is a snuffling mass of congestions. Why should you be any different?

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 6, 2009 2:40 AM

Speaking of tit jokes, Jade and Miranda were in today's installment. Just sayin'.

Comment from: Totz the Plaid [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 9, 2009 2:41 PM

I agree that this could be an arc about Issa's character growth instead, but it could also be the first time that things DON'T end up benefitting Rayne. Either one would benefit the fact that the strip is about growing up.

Comment from: Totz the Plaid [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 9, 2009 2:41 PM

I agree that this could be an arc about Issa's character growth instead, but it could also be the first time that things DON'T end up benefitting Rayne. Either one would benefit the fact that the strip is about growing up... sorta.

Comment from: Totz the Plaid [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 9, 2009 2:41 PM

I agree that this could be an arc about Issa's character growth instead, but it could also be the first time that things DON'T end up benefitting Rayne. Either one would benefit the fact that the strip is about growing up... sorta.

Comment from: Totz the Plaid [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 9, 2009 2:47 PM

Oops, the double-post was accidental, sorry.

Comment from: E. Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 9, 2009 10:47 PM

Whichever direction Sohmer's going with this, he's leaving his options open. Here's the followup. While this could be fine -- Mike isn't Rayne's worst enemy at IDS -- this could still lead to Rayne's lie coming out. Mike was Rayne's enemy once upon a time, after all, and he's enough of a blue blood/snob that learning Rayne -- who does make Mike the brunt of jokes -- falsified his resume to get where he is... well, Mike would have a good week with that information.

Comment from: RMG [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 11, 2009 7:02 PM

I like how you do all of this in-depth analysis of what implications this might have on the great sweeping plot arc of Least I Could Do without once acknowledging that the "wish fulfillment" main character is forcing a woman to give him sexual favors in order to get a job to survive, what the hell. How is this not, you know, totally fucked up?

Least I Could Do: it is a bad comic

Comment from: Sean Duggan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 13, 2009 9:07 AM

@RMG - I actually read his demand as less of a "if you don't show me your tits, you don't get the job" and more of the running in-joke the two of them do where Rayne expresses his interest in Issa and she rebuffs him.

My own take on Rayne not getting Issa the job was that she didn't seem terribly motivated. The girl has been working in a gas station for years out of inertia. She asks him to get her a job. Which makes me wonder if she first bothered to even check the company website for jobs and submit a resume. Yes, it is useful to have someone on the inside, since making your way through the HR hurdles can take months, but I wasn't really left with the impression that she was even trying. It wasn't until she sabotaged his car and broke down crying that he accepted that she was serious about this. That said, it does all come off as a bit hypocritical in light of his own circumstances in getting a job.

Comment from: Sean Duggan [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 13, 2009 9:09 AM

@RMG - I actually read his demand as less of a "if you don't show me your tits, you don't get the job" and more of the running in-joke the two of them do where Rayne expresses his interest in Issa and she rebuffs him.

My own take on Rayne not getting Issa the job was that she didn't seem terribly motivated. The girl has been working in a gas station for years out of inertia. She asks him to get her a job. Which makes me wonder if she first bothered to even check the company website for jobs and submit a resume. Yes, it is useful to have someone on the inside, since making your way through the HR hurdles can take months, but I wasn't really left with the impression that she was even trying. It wasn't until she sabotaged his car and broke down crying that he accepted that she was serious about this. That said, it does all come off as a bit hypocritical in light of his own circumstances in getting a job.

Comment from: Bait [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 13, 2009 6:15 PM

@RMG

You obviously haven't read the comic, so I'm going to fill you in; Issa has a job. She is in no danger of losing it and it provides for her needs. This isn't "in order to get a job to survive" this is "in order to live in the style to which she wishes to become accustomed."

Comment from: Sehvckzec [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 19, 2009 5:04 PM

"And LICD is not a wish fulfillment comic."
~E.Burns

Uh... Yes it is. Ryan Sohmer's invincible protagonist RAYNE SUMMERS is the center of the LICDiverse whom everyone wants to bone/be friends with in spite of the fact he's a smug self-absorbed ass. The only good thing this comic has going for it is the art which puts it a couple of notches above it's misogynistic bro-in-arms Shredded Moose.

Geez Eric, you call yourself a critic? Why don't you shock the hell out of everyone and BE CRITICAL for once.

Comment from: E. Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 19, 2009 5:31 PM

Ah, the return of "why aren't you hateful?"

For the very brief recap: criticism has many meanings.

If you're looking for a review site, check elsewhere.

If you're looking for someone to reinforce your opinions, write your own.

If you think your opinion is self-evident? It's not.

If you think someone who disagrees with you is wrong? You, in fact, are wrong.

If you don't like a comic, don't read it.

If I don't like a comic, I stop reading it.

If I like a comic you don't, we have proven conclusively you and I aren't the same person.

If you don't understand what 'criticism' means in the context of 'literary criticism' instead of 'pointing out the flaws in something,' go back to college and retake English Comp.

But, to reiterate the point you quoted out of context, Least I Can Do is not a wish fulfillment comic. Rayne Summers is a wish fulfillment character in what has generally been a four panel gag comic. Attempting to refute the first part of my statement by asserting the second part of my statement is a particularly weak means of debating my statement. We expect you to read for comprehension. Cheers.

Comment from: Mr Myth [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at February 25, 2009 10:40 AM

But, to reiterate the point you quoted out of context, Least I Can Do is not a wish fulfillment comic. Rayne Summers is a wish fulfillment character in what has generally been a four panel gag comic. Attempting to refute the first part of my statement by asserting the second part of my statement is a particularly weak means of debating my statement. We expect you to read for comprehension. Cheers.

I'll throw my own disagreement in here, along the following line of thought: Are those two things (wish fulfillment comic and four panel gag comic) actually at odds?

The four panel gag is the comic's method of delivery, its format. The wish fulfillment aspect is its genre, its content.

For, say, PvP, being a four panel gag comic doesn't mean it isn't also an office humor comic. Looking For Group is a full page story comic; it is also a fantasy comic. The genre and the format are separate things. One of them is the presentation - the other is the focus of its subject matter.

Least I Could Do uses the four panel gag as its medium - but the core content of the comic is Rayne Summers. His life, his philosophy, his friends. And at the core of Rayne Summers is a wish fulfillment fantasy. There is little to nothing in the comic that is driven by showing how awesome he is or unveiling a world that seems custom-made to suit him. Honestly, if this is not a wish fulfillment comic, then what is?

Which is why I'm rather dubious about matters unraveling as you've predicted. LICD often teases with character development and genuine consequences, but rarely follows through - especially for Rayne.

What really drove this point home for me was events some two years back, when Rayne had himself a spiritual visit, and we got a look at his past, present, future, etc. The standard Scrooge deal - and it had me very hopeful to find out what made Rayne tick, and to see the potential for some genuine character development on his part.

Instead, it was an excuse to have the universe itself tell him that he wasn't a bad guy for how he treated women, and they had it coming from the start.

I mean, I won't say it was out of line with how the rest of the comic has been - it wasn't - but it left me with very little confidence that Rayne will ever have to truly confront the consequences of his actions. I could well be wrong here - we'll both have to wait and see how the current storyline plays out in the strip - but I'll be genuinely surprised if it actually builds up into the sort of development you've predicted.

Comment from: TasteMyHouse [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at April 6, 2009 10:35 AM

How can anyone even stand to look at this comic? "Show me your tits" -- The entire joke is "hahahaha women are oppressed in our society and the only value to men is their bodies hahahahaha" which I find about as funny as the 3/5 compromise.

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?