Oh, my God
I had no idea Mulligan would turn out to be such a pig. In hindsight, I'm not shocked, but still, wow.
I always think about the part where Peter thinks about Mulligan that he was one of the few that didn't fuck anyone over, but him telling Christo about Michelle was a scumbag move, even if his intentions were good- but I sincerely doubt that.
I applaud you, Gibson, for gritting your teeth and managing to write this. I'm sure you wanted to take a hot, hot shower as you wrote this, but it's really an important thing to be able to do- write douchebag characters.
I second everything Xasswuwe said. I really want to punch Mulligan in this page, so...excellent writing and characterization! This is why I love this comic: because your characters provoke very strong feelings of all types in me.
Why the hate?
Yes, Mulligan is being crude, but in a humorous way. I thought it was clear that Mulligan was joking by the second panel when he answered in blatant, non-chalant, sexist manner even though it's clear he isn't sexist. In the third panel, he's makes a nasty grilled cheese-pussy joke (how can anyone be serious about that?), he retorts, antagonizes, and teases all while having a cheesy grin across his face. That's not being a douche bag jerk, it's just being a super-lame-it's-actually-fun comedian.
And as far as the Christo and Michelle thing goes, he wasn't fucking Michelle over. He never made any promises to her, and they weren't even really friends. Christo however was his friend, and he just did what everyone else wanted to do, but didn't think was their place. Having no attachment to Michelle, he didn't have their dilemma. It was a shitty move on his part, but he didn't fuck Michelle over. It was news that was bound to come out eventually, and Christo and Michelle did get past it, sort of, so you can't hold that against him.
I'm sorry, but...
How is it obvious and clear that our boy Mulligan is just having a gas? I can't quite understand how it's clear he's not sexist. He seems like a complete and total sexist pig throughout the whole comic. And frankly, I've been around plenty of sexist men, and that's how they are a lot of the time. Disgusting joke after disgusting joke.
And it's not fun when you're making vagina jokes and telling a bitch to make you a sandwich and making jokes about someone "knowing their price" is absolutely horrible. Any human being with a shred of dignity and an ounce of self esteem would dump the fucker, no matter how much free weed they get from him. Just because he was grinning doesn't mean he has good intentions- I see that completely and totally as being a sadistic, cruel grin. He knows he's getting into her head, and he thinks it's funny that he can fuck with her and then fuck her.
And as far as Michelle goes, she is Mulligan's friend's girlfriend. I always am expected to treat a friend's boyfriend or girlfriend with all of the decency and respect that I would treat the friend with, if not more- because it's obvious that my friend cares about that person and doesn't want them fucked with/humiliated by me, especially since that's awkward for the friend.
Mulligan intentionally did something to embarrass Michelle, and I don't think he did it so much out of concern for Christo as malice against Michelle.
He completely fucked her over. He revealed something big about her to her boyfriend without giving her a chance to come clean, or better, staying the fuck out of it. When Mulligan wants to look at strippers, they're hardworking, honest women just trying to make a living. But when one of the strippers belongs to one of his buddies, she's a tramp that needs to be exposed.
He either should have remembered what he said before about honest hardworking women and kept his hairy mouth shut, or confronted Michelle first.
It can be completely held against Mulligan, because he should have minded his own business. He was fine with Alexander mooching off of Patrick- and I'm wondering if it's because Mulligan didn't get as angry with Alex because he wasn't a woman. (Would he have gotten as pissed if Patrick was dating a lady?)
But as soon as Michelle does something socially unacceptable- but is completely and totally just work for her, which Mulligan previously claimed to understand- then Mulligan has to try and sabotage her relationship.
There must be some unwritten law in baby Jesus's book that you don't fuck with other couples without a really serious reason, and then you can't pick and choose which couple you'll fuck with- or "help by nearly breaking them up"- you've got to commit to the position of being "couple police" if you've decided that's what you've decided to do.
I think Mulligan is pretty much a "bros before ho's" kinda guy. He respected Michelle's profession, but when he felt she was threatening his friend, one of his "bros", then he stepped in. Simple as that.
As for his crass attitude in the current strip, yes, it might be deemed uncalled for, but I think he's just talking trash since he doesn't consider what they have to be any kind of relationship. Hell, she admits it herself by saying she's only there for free pot. If she doesn't like comments about grilled cheese sandwiches, she can just bail and get her free herb elsewhere. The hour-long follow-up sexcapade they had seems to indicate that she doesn't care, either.
these two obviously have a similar sense of humor - and similar reasons for staying in the same room. i wouldn't doubt if they say FAR worse things to each other. that neither slaps the other in the face is testament to that. he's using her for sex. she's using him for pot and sex. loving relationships have been based on less.
* - some people might be shocked by the things said in this page. Mulligan and his lady-friend are the opposite of those people.
Love this page. Disgusting, and completely horrible, but hilarious nonetheless.
As far as the sexism thing goes, I'm thinking the same thing Jack's saying. Obviously she knows he's kidding. If he really truly meant what he said, I don't think she'd stayed another minute, let alone a full hour. Truth be told, I've heard friends use way worse lines on women, trying to hook with them, and hell, it works way better than anything I ever tried, anyway. (Perhaps I might give this a try....Not! haha)
I dunno. Maybe cheesy, sexist pick up lines give random people something to talk about instead of just standing around looking stupid trying to find something to say (Like I usually do). I don't think Mulligan is being serious at all. But that's just me.
Totally beating a dead horse
But think about this- Melanie stayed with Devon when he was hitting her, and she "obviously" knew he was a total douchenut.
I don't see Vivian joking back. Look at her face in panel four. Between that and what she says, and the fact that she's in the process of leaving, she seems upset. She seems like an insecure young woman who probably smokes too much weed to afford paying for it (especially good stuff that Mulligan sells).
And really, in panels 5 and 6, he's not laughing. He looks completely serious. And the last two panels are total doucheface. Not loveable hooligan who loves cracking jokes. More like sexist dude pressuring his fuck buddy to sleep with him.
It's not just this page, but even how he talked about her right before Andy and Patrick's big blowout- when he says, "Oh, I've been banging that Vivian chick". Call me old fashioned, but that's not the world's most respectful statement. Or "I'll tell you, Slugger, skirts will be the end of us all."
I really don't want to be "that guy", but if he is really serious, that doesn't automatically mean, "Oh, yeah, she'll leave him for sure". People stay for stupider shit.
I'll say a few things. Mulligan is absolutely sexist. I'm not sure there's another way to take him. That doesn't mean he's being abusive or particularly out of line here. Jack hit the nail on the head that not everyone thinks these kinds of jabs are personally offensive or hurtful. There are relationships built on volatility, that may not be functional, but are certainly co-operatively antagonistic. They're usually not particularly close or lengthy relationships, but they are what they are and they do equal damage and benefit to both sides. Relationships that are based more on convenient sex tend to be like this.
The other thing, about Mulligan's attitude toward Michelle. I don't think I've displayed anywhere that the two have interacted on a particularly friendly level. I know I've meant to include more instances of discord between them but have, for one reason or another, cut them all. Mulligan and Michelle have common friends, yes, but the dynamic between them has never been portrayed as warm. In fact, Mulligan doesn't have any strong connection with the female characters in the story, with the possible exception of Vivian, and I think we're seeing how strong that is. To amend Jeffko's comment, I'd suggest Mulligan's attitude would be bros instead of hos except for the occasional roll in the hay.
Punk Rock Girls
Well... I'm going to go out on a limb here but we are talking about a punk rock gal. I'm making that assumption because of her hair. I feel ok about my assumption though, because there's a lot of assumptions being made here in general, by many people.
And what about the hair? Well I know that hair. It's generally known as Chelsea - buzzed all over except for the bangs and and often those tufts in front of your ears. I had that hair cut for years when I didn't just shave my head. And yeah, I'm a punk rock gal myself.
In my experience, with my friends and lovers, we trash talk. We talk smack to each other, and our loved ones the get the shortest stick. It's raw and raunchy and insulting and harsh... and if we actually hit a nerve with someone we care about we're quick to make amends. The rest of the time? Screw it - it's just talk - in your face, in your space, in your comfort zone, pushing hard at the boundaries of what nice, polite society thinks is ok and proper.
And before someone says that I degrade myself or that I'm somehow victimized... I am a successful professional with a loving and supportive partner. In my peer group we have friends who have struggled with severe substance abuse and who were nursed and housed to health not by their parents but by these same smack talking, "insensitive" punkers, until they proudly stand clean and sober, supported in whatever they need.
Every time someone says something distasteful in the eyes of some does not always mean it is bad, or that the person saying it is awful. Because I cuss like a sailor arguing with a truck driver does not mean I won't go to the wall for someone. Because these two characters talk to each other in ways that many think is far outside the norm does not make it abusive.
Also? We're psychoanalyzing comic strip characters based on a handful of pages, a fistful of lines. You've never heard this gal speak for herself... as I haven't. For all I know, she's looking for a way out, desperate. But just as likely, she's a little punk rock girl gleefully talking smack, and listening to it as well, because that's the life she chose.
And that's my essay for the year.
- your punk rock gal
On a more serious note.. this is why we are all hooked to your story, Mr. Twist. It isn't everyday that people put this much effort into trying to analyze and debate a character from a comic, especially one who has so little time in the limelight as Mulligan. Even something like this, which to me is just an amazing little "beside" that shows just what makes him into who he is, can sink in a whole lot deeper into other people, to the point where they might find it to be in conflict with themselves or what they stand for.
I didn't mean to come off as so much of an asshole earlier (but I will never deny that I am one) so not only do I feel that you deserve credit where it is due (irony much?) but to see comments like these.. once you take a step back and see it all for what it is, you really are crafting a masterpiece.
Long time reader, long time commenter (though it was only with a guest moniker until recently), always hanging on the next frame, eagerly awaiting what's to come. And I think I speak for a lot of people that pages like this go a lot farther than you may realize.
... I slipped and fell on a penis," thinks Vivian. "But at least it stopped talking for five minutes."
You know that moment when you stop liking a friend or close relative because you've noticed a trait in that person which is significantly similar to one of your traits, and you watch how the trait harms that person about whom you care? You know how the overall similarity and simultaneous familiarity and objectivity, with the person and the situation, have made you like yourself a little less?
@somercet: Perhaps your question is rhetorical... hard to say. But once asked my brain got thinking on it.
Polite society has done nothing to me (government aside, but that's another novel-length comment for some other venue) - polite society and I get along quite nicely and I move quite freely in it. I suggest that all cultures or sub-cultures do not operate with the same ground rules... the types of things my friends and I say to each other with great warmth and affection might be very offensive to others, but that doesn't make it wrong or rude for us. It's a matter of context. I didn't talk to my grandmother the same way I speak to my friends.
I'm not suggesting that the relationship illustrated here is a beautiful example of the loving bonds two people can feel for each other. I do throw out that though the conversation wouldn't mix well with polite society (whatever that is), that doesn't mean there aren't other cultural boundaries that might apply that might soften the gnarley impact a bit. For example, the rough and tumble culture and conversational styles of the various punks and weirdos I've known over the years.
Or to sum: Just because some people think a statement is offensive, that doesn't mean it's offensive to everyone. Cultural nuance can have a huge effect.
Regardless - I think we all agree that this story is engaging, beautifully illustrated, and thought inspiring! Many thanks to Gibson T for the creation! Also to somercet and the rest of the readers for reading my thoughts.