Thanks to everyone for their support, and it's nice to see so many old commenters and first-timers throwing in their voices. I will say, the one disturbing bit of news to come of it is to learn that there were some out there who thought I shared those views. It never occurred to me, though perhaps it should have, and it made me all the gladder that I said what I said, and more regretful that I held my tongue for so long. I would shut this comic down forever before I would willingly let anyone who might look up to me think I shared those attitudes about men and women. Let there be no doubt, Gibson Twist says fuck that shit.
Long time reader here. Just wanted to say that, as you probably already have expected but just in case, it is no surprise that after such a... let's say 'on the attack' blog post it is no surprise the really obvious trolls came.
Wow. Well said on the State of the Union post and this strip today sums up the situation perfectly. I actually can feel the rather stinging punch of each 'fuck' Lauren spews out in her rage. I think the bit when she calls out Christo was my favorite. There's been many times in past arguments where I have wanted to look the instigator of drama dead in the eye and tell them to shut up while I fix the damage they caused.
Well written story sir. Now I'm curious what will come of Michelle and Peter's rather tense conversation.
Poor fella. I hope they can recover from this. He knows he fucked up, I just hope she can forgive him for being human. I know that jealousy isn't something to be proud of, but it is something that is natural, and sometimes it is hard to control.
Honestly, Christo fucked up. He should NOT be there and he should not have acted like such a twat.
I feel like Lauren felt a little out-of-place in the group. Or even if she felt completely in-tune with everyone, it's always nice to have a friend outside of the huge group. I think she just denied Rick's feelings as a way to placate Sam and herself. She had a friend that she got along with and that's all she cared about. She didn't want to think about his non-platonic feelings towards her or Sam's jealousy. She didn't want to bring any attention to it in hopes that it would just go away and she could have a friend that she could talk to about literature and classes. Because even if you have a boyfriend and a group of friends, it's always nice to have a new friend that you can chat with and rant about your passions with.
I think the comments are REALLY harsh and unseemly. Lauren is just not confrontational (despite the slap) and she just wanted to ignore it until Rick's feelings went away. I totally get her and even if it blew up and everyone's getting affected by the blow out, Lauren didn't do anything out of spite or hatred or to make Sam jealous. She just wanted a friend that she could call her own because she can form a connection with someone that is not a part of the group or the gang.
Lauren always seemed like the odd one out and I can see why she'd want a friend of her own. She always seemed kinda shy and introverted and when she made a friend who was interested in the same things she was, she cherished it.
I think people need to calm down and stop with the awful epithets. Lauren has never done anything to hurt anyone's feelings intentionally, and calling her a cunt for having flaws and making mistakes is just really awful.
I think the audience is just really protective about the gang and their general well-being that we all forget that the gang isn't always right and that everyone within the group has made mistakes and have their own flaws. Lauren didn't want to hurt the gang, she just wanted a friend and that's all there was to it.
Sorry for the rant. Honestly, I sided with Sam and everyone at first but seeing all these awful comments recently just made me think about the other side to the story, how Lauren might feel. Even if Rick is nice or a creep, she wants his friendship and you just can't bully someone into socializing with who you want them to socialize with.
@reiter: Or how some ignorant men are touchy about having their ableist insecurities brought up. It's ok. We all know you don't like to imagine a world where a woman can speak and think for herself in a way that does not flatter a man's ego, but we'd really appreciate it if you took your insipid ignorance elsewhere and returned when you can add commentary that is not problematic.
It's nice to see Christo being brought to task for his hand in this, and it's also nice to see a friendship where romantic interest was a thing and then passed into more genuine friendship.
On the one hand, it's annoying that people will make things worse just to be contrary. On the other hand, I think it's a sign that as more people view the comic, a certain percentage of that audience will purposefully be asshats. A true testament to the increasing popularity of the site. I, for one, will ignore the comments unworthy of attention, and focus on the brilliant story and art.
Thank you, Mr. Twist, for you perpetually honest and entertaining graphic novel.
What great character growth. Seriously, it's incredibly satisfying to watch characters change with experience. Haven't re-read PoY lately, but my memory of Lauren from the early days doesn't include her voicing her feelings so forcefully. Some of the characters have changed for the better, and some are having a hard time (looking at you, Christo), but they're all evolving in interesting, realistic ways.
Gibson, I hope you continue to express your thoughts in the comments and news pages. One of the joys of reading something like PoY is having the chance to compare/contrast my experiences and reactions to those of others. Your comments add a really intriguing and often illuminating layer to this reflection.
Good girl. I still think everyone (Lauren too) could have handled this different (and often better), and Rick has been doing a lil' bit more than failing to greet Sam that one time, as far as I remember.
But Lauren make several good points - not the least to Christo, who's REALLY been acting like a douche. I hope Sam will be able to respond in a mature way.
I can't say I like how just about anyone has acted in this whole incident... but I think I can understand how it can be difficult to 'talk it out' when talking starts angry fireworks.
I still don't care much for Rick, but my opinion of him did rise when he said he should have reached out to Sam more. I honestly feel like if he'd done so, things wouldn't have gone so sour. Part of that blame lies with Lauren, too, I think, but that's just because she didn't do what I always have, and made sure my friend(s) had solid interaction(s) with my significant other (the majority of my friends have always been male). But then again, Christo kind of made doing that difficult.
But that's life, isn't it? Most of the time it's more than one person 'at fault', and you have to recognize your own part in the mess and work to make it better. Christo and Sam have an awful lot to 'recognize' in this situation.
I wonder how long Lauren's gonna keep being a bitch, even though Christo is out-bitching her. She does have the right, but just because you can, doesn't always mean you should. She's managed to keep cool up until last page, she must have finally snapped or something.
@Brianfiggy: You can register, but it's through Smack Jeeves, not exclusively here. Gibson takes out the trash as necessary, no need to worry.
OK, so as far as I can work it out, this is how some commentators think the last few weeks should have gone:
RICK: Hey Lauren!
LAUREN: HELLO RICK I HAVE A BOYFRIEND AND I DO NOT WANT TO SCREW YOU
RICK: ... hi
CHRISTO: Rick you are a dildo
RICK: HELLO CHRISTO YOU ARE A FRIEND THAT MY FRIEND KIND OF TOLERATES SO I WILL MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE BEST FRIENDS WITH YOU
LAUREN: Christo! I do not want to screw him! Please inform Sam of this.
SAM: Hi Rick.
RICK: HELLO SAM I PREVIOUSLY HAD A CRUSH ON YOUR GIRLFRIEND BUT DO NOT WANT TO SCREW HER
LAUREN: I ALSO DO NOT WANT TO SCREW HIM
CHRISTO: He's still a dildo
SAM: I am mildly uncomfortable about your friendship with Rick
LAUREN: I do not want to screw him
LAUREN: I understand that you are simply being naturally and biologically protective and that in order that you should continue opening doors for me and buying meals for me I will respect this and stop seeing him.
((Seriously, I have never, ever talked with any of my friends about whether or not I want in their pants. I tend to assume if it isn't brought up, it shouldn't be an issue. Does everyone else just spend more time talking about sex than me?))
Even if she told them she knew before all this, that would't have changed Cristo's shitty attitude and Sam's insecurities, it seems as if it would just start more shit storm and strengthen their disapproval of Rick. I just hope Lauren doesn't get more physical after this rant, if she does I would definitely lose my respect for her. Her slapping move was overly disappointing.
It looks now that it's highly improbable for them to stay together, but we know that their relationship will turn out fine for them in spite of all the recent bad events. One more thing: people like reiter never cease to amaze me(/dull).
@Shaz: Thank you for being one of the few people here not choosing to pick who's at fault. For one thing, I still fully believe that just about everyone involved is at fault. Okay, maybe she has a point that Christo started it, but from his comment on everyone chose to build the drama. My major issue here is that Lauren bitches Sam out for hitting Rick right after she hit him, then keeps on going without a second thought. Then again, maybe I just know too many women who think that girls slapping people around (male and female alike) is a way to get their point across while guys hitting each other is "being stupid men who think with the hair on their chests."
@Mierin: "My major issue here is that Lauren bitches Sam out for hitting Rick right after she hit him, then keeps on going without a second thought. "
Thank You!!! This is something which seems to be overlooked, probably because of the double standard you pointed out in your next sentence. Nice to know I'm not the only one sick of sexism, no matter which direction it runs.
I for one ate my foot for dinner.
When I first read the comic page where it was shown that Rick had a crush on Lauren but was fine with being friends, I ate my own foot. It wasn't as delicious as many might think. That was really an eye opening thing and I made me look back on what I had done to think of Rick that way. There might have been some times where he was a bit rude and such, but nothing to make a punch to the face okay. I agree with Mierin, just about everyone's at fault here. Some on Lauren's part, some on Sam's, some of Christo's and the rest of the gang, and some on Rick. I just hope they can talk it all out and get things straightened out and compromises (if there need to be any) get made.
Basically I'm saying that, Mr. Twist, you have written a very nice comic here. One that made me suffer from foot in mouth disease and made me think on how I thought. For that I thank you. And give you applause.
Warning someone that their new friend might have ulterior motives is fine if you then let them deal with it in whichever way they see fit.
I have had plenty of male friends, some who were trying to get in my pants. Most after finding out I had a partner stopped and we became friends but there were others who after finding out either left me alone or hung around, stirring up my relationship and trying to cause rifts. Needless to say, I ditched them as a friend. It's about taking responsibility for the happiness in your world.
I still think Lauren should have admitted to knowing about Rick's crush though as then Sam couldn't have seen her as the naive damsel in need of protection. And if he was still an over protective jerk then Lauren would be more justified.
Can we please stop with the Lauren should've done this or should've done that? Why should she be the one who does anything, when it was not her problem to begin with. It was made her problem. The only thing I can see she should have done differently was to not slap Sam (two wrongs don't make a right) and calm down before she started arguing with them.
Why should she admit to knowing that she knew about Rick's chrush, when she only JUST heard the conformation after Sam hit Rick? (yeah just flip to a couple of pages back.)
Can we all agree that it was SAM's problem? He is the one who should have made more of an effort to get to know Rick. Why could he not trust Lauren and listen to her? Why should he see her as a damsel in distress at all? How about Sam takes responsibility for the happiness in his world?
Not that I see Sam as a villian by the way, I merely see bad communication and letting things escalate.
I've tried to not post a lot about what I think is going on, I've kind of failed at that but I know I had a tendency to side with Sam. I was in a situation like this with my husband some years back. He worked with a girl and they were friends, which was okay. Until the day she started calling our house just wanting to make sure he was going to be working that day, showing up at every single show his band played not wearing a bra (and she was incredibly well endowed) and even though she had a boyfriend (my husband had actually gone to high school with him and they were friends) she would ignore him and faun all over my husband at every chance, pushing me out of the way to stand up front and dance for him. I tried and tried to hold my tongue about it until she was at our apartment for a party with some other people he worked with and another girl started talking about her massive crush on him. Being full of alcohol, I saw red and made a scene about it, calling her out on everything in front of everyone and throwing them all out. The next day she went to him and said I really hurt her feelings and I should apologize. I felt bad for embarassing him so at the next show I did apologize. Then when her boyfriend picked up an old shirt that belonged to my husband and put it on, she decided that was time to give him a lapdance while screaming "this is so hot, I'm getting you both mixed up in my mind" while I was sitting right next to them. I restrained myself but the next day demanded that they not speak to each other again and said if I saw her again I'd break her face. This started a massive fight with my husband saying she had never done any of those things, she never hit on him and it wouldn't matter if she did because he was with me. I said it doesn't matter, she can't be doing those things in front of me and her own boyfriend. Things did not get better for awhile but she got fired shortly thereafter and after a few weeks of me not accepting her phone calls, she stopped calling us and disappeared. I know that I had slightly more provocation than Sam did, but so many years later I know that my behavior was unacceptable. My husband is still in denial about the whole thing, and I still insist she was a c*** so we just don't talk about her anymore. As far as Lauren and Sam goes, some wrong was done on both sides but Sam really crossed a line tonight, just like I would have done if I had grabbed that girl by the hair and slammed her face into the bar like I wanted to. Sam has Christo whispering things in his ear and making things worse too, so yes he is very much at fault too. I'm interested to see the reaction they both have to Lauren giving it to them like this, they kinda deserve it.
I'm not entirely sure I can justify her going off on Sam like this entirely, though. Yes, she tried to assuage his concerns once, and yes, he should have taken that to heart. However, shit like this is only going to result in more heartache and more problems in the long run. She's not exactly showing that she's not going to be abusive in this relationship, either. (Before anybody gets riled up, yes, I am fully aware that abuse in a relationship is mostly a man problem, but there is the occasional abusive woman, too)
Christo needs to fuck the whole way off. He shouldn't be there. 'Nuff said.
I know that Sam and Lauren get their shit worked out, since they are with each other at the very beginning of the comic, but at what price, I wonder?
@shalahoyden: I am truly sorry that you had to go through a situation that really sounds as if the person in question had a major crush on your husband, that must have been very difficult for you.
However, this, this is exactly what has been getting to me so much in the comments, that people would simply project their own experiences onto this story and then (mis)interpret it according to their distorted views. The same happened to Mr. Twist's SotU rant, that people all of a sudden thought he was siding with Lauren, only because he took his readers to task about the misogyny in the overwhelming majority of posts who blamed the situation entirely on Lauren.
Also, people, no matter how well written and deeply involving this story is, at the end of the day, these are characters in a story, acting out a predesigned plot, not real persons in real life. So, perhaps a few of you who have been expressing their disappointment over a character's behavior, or how their stance towards that character has changed from like to dislike, should take a step back and allow the story to unfold. It would be a boring thing to read if everyone in it always behaved the way we expect them to, and the depth and quality of Mr. Twist's story-telling ability should be something for you to enjoy, not bicker about.
Perhaps my perception is biased due to Gibson's SOTU post, but this is the first time I've felt that he was talking directly to us readers through one of his characters. Perhaps it's just timing, though.
I will say this: I believe that anyone placing the blame solely on Lauren is completely wrong. In fact, anyone placing the blame on any single person is wrong. Everyone involved is just an ingredient in the giant suck salad that is this situation. We could argue about who is merely the crunchy bacon bits and who is the hearty lettuce 'til the cows come home (and eat the salad), but ultimately it won't change the fact that people have messed up and now have to deal with the fallout.
That said, I'm glad Christo finally got told to shut the fuck up. If anyone had anything 'coming to them' in this whole arc, it was him.
Furthermore, I see that some people are irked at Lauren's continued anger, but I'd like to point out that a) Sam also let loose at her previously, and b) Lauren's anger is based on shit that actually happened, not just things she perceives.
I'd be pretty pissed, too, if my boyfriend or girlfriend assaulted a friend of mine. For the love of God, you can get arrested for that.
I am loving Lauren's development here! Also, Christo needs to learn to get the hell out of there. It's usually smarter to leave the area when couples fight, but if you can't do that, remember that it is never smart to jump into that fight.
Anyway, even though I feel everyone is in the wrong (still) I appreciate your post Gibson, and it cleared up a few things for me, and I'm glad that Rick turned out to not be a creep (hopefully I haven't spoke too soon). This arc made me a constantly switching sides. One page I was pissed at Lauren, the next, Sam, (though mostly, I didn't like/trust Rick) and back and forth, but then it dawned on me that they both really screwed up, in my opinion at least.
I think looking back, like to the way beginning, Lauren has come a super long way--that is refreshing all in itself, and I like that this kind of thing happens in your comic, Gib, Gibson, Giblet. ??? Anyway, it shows character growth, and it makes me happy.
I've not commented on the situation as of yet, but I am going to now. And I prefer to do so individually and as someone who has been in all 3 out of 4 of these positions before. (Not Rick's.)
Rick: I get it. You like a girl who has a boyfriend. Hell. I even get Lauren's sarcastic remark about it being a crime here. However: You continued to pursue. You continue to be a dick to her boyfriend. You saw the wedge you were driving, and continue to do it. Dick move. Seriously. A real friend gives that space and is happy being a friend. Not just spilling empty words about being happy being a friend while still acting like a conniving asshole.
Christo: Butt out. Seriously. I know they're your friends, well, Sam atleast. But holy crap. As soon as she got home, that was your cue to get the hell out and let them battle it out on their own so that they can fix things, not you encourage the fighting. Just because you're so easily ready to continue to live a lie of happiness about your break up doesn't mean you need to aid Sam and Lauren in being in your miserable boat with you.
Sam: Jealousy is natural. Seriously, I get it. And especially when it's egged on by a douche canoe who wants to play fuck fuck games with your girlfriend and shits all over you by pretending you don't exist. However: A little bit of effort to keep your cool would be nice. And hitting someone unwarranted, no matter how much he is asking for a good pop in the mouth, isn't the answer. Don't be irrational. It makes the person you love feel like there is no real trust and without real trust, there is no grounds for a healthy and thriving relationship.
Lauren: Truthfully, I'm the most disappointed in you Though I agree with the above poster that there is nothing wrong with you needing a friend outside of a group in which you already seem one of the outsiders...your approach and handling of this situation is wrong. You admit you knew he liked you. You continued to deny so to everyone. You let it go on. You let him disrespect your boyfriend and even if your boyfriend was being a jealous twat, it still shouldn't have been allowed and had you talked to both parties calmly and separately and rationally about the situations and your understanding of the intricacies of it, perhaps you'd have been able to stop the escalation that happened. Instead, your inability to handle the situation, what seems like it may have even been a little bit of normal human self indulgence to desire some sort of attention even when you ought not to, and then your callous overreaction in violence mirroring that which you'd just scolded Sam for show a lack of maturity and the desire to go home and fight, the profuse use of angry "you" sentences and the barrage of cursing when something could have been calmly discussed and fixed isn't impressing me either.
Everyone in this scenario is wrong, admittedly, and has disappointed me, but Lauren has still disappointed me the most. Throughout the series I have seen her as the calm, level-headed and quiet girl who would do the right things when the others would not, but right now I'm seeing her as a less mature and more inexperienced young woman.
Everyone has a little blame for helping create the situation. Even a couple friends who aren't in these couple panels, and maybe some on Rick's side that we've never met. Everyone who has a history anywhere in this storyline played a part in forming it to what it is now, even if they simply reminded people that they were frustrated. In such a sense, I hold all of them somewhat blameless. They were all being human and doing the best that they could/knew how.
I hope there's someone close to the group that can step up to start creating positivity instead of hanging around in the fallout. Jump start this crap and get the love this group is full of back on track, maybe with a new friend named Rick included at the next meeting at the bar.
I've found this story arc, and the comments, quite difficult to read, as the situation has some parallels with one of the more unpleasant times of my life. I'm glad that you wrote it, it's challenged me, and your response to the direction of the comments was very welcome.
Writing flawed people making mistakes and behaving badly carries risks, but this story arc has felt true and honest. Thank you. I'm sorry that it's made you uncomfortable, but I, for one, have found it meaningful.
I think the fact that the audience thinks that the opinions expressed by the characters are your own, while incorrect and presumptuous, is a testament to your skills in making what comes out of a character's mouth feel believable and real.
I for one, have been quite entertained by both the comic itself and the massive debates they cause. It's truly remarkable that you can get your audience to either care about or hate your characters so strongly, and sometimes even defend them as if these characters were their own friends.
@LVL: "... had you talked to both parties calmly and separately and rationally about the situations and your understanding of the intricacies of it, perhaps you'd have been able to stop the escalation that happened."
Thing is, Lauren did that. She talked to Sam, then she talked to Rick. Her feelings were made clear.
The issue as I perceive it is that once those talks happened, Lauren thought that was that. However, while Sam and Rick may have understood Lauren, they still didn't see each other as she did. I agree that this is their problem and, as Rick said, more effort should've been made, but I still can't help but be surprised by Lauren's casualness with Rick when he rolled up at the bar, especially with the knowledge all parties involved apparently had.
Now, I'm not saying she should have clung to Sam, pointing at him and screaming "BOYFRIEND!", but in light of Sam's apparent insecurities, which were expressed by him in so many words right before Rick walked up, as well as Kara's perspective given a few pages beforehand, perhaps she could have include him in her convo with Rick.
Again, I'd like to stress that I'm not saying Lauren made this happen. There's more than enough blame for Sam, Christo and Rick to share, and Lauren definitely deserves credit for actually talking it out with Sam and Rick individually. That's maturity, right there. Compared to Christo's knee-jerk hostility, Sam's insecurities and lack of control, as well as Rick's desire to paint Sam as the abuser he wants him to be, Lauren was looking pretty good.
Then there was the subsequent slap and the current venting. While I condemn the former, the latter needed to happen.
I hate it when people conflate a character's thoughts or politics with the writer's own feelings. Sure, characters might contain aspects of a writer; the negative as well as the positive parts, but the idea that an author supports everything their characters say and do... man, there'd be a lot of horrible people out there.
Lauren is Naive
Lauren is just oblivious to the real world. For her to think that it's okay for Rick to publicly insult and ignore Sam while in her presence is simply not how things work. If she just wants Rick to be her friend she needs to lay down the boundaries of his conduct. For her to think Sam should just stand there and take the insults is really odd behavior. Dollars to donuts, if the guy hitting on her was repulsive to her she wouldn't be telling Sam to just sit by while she works it out.
Would she seriously sit by as some hottie put the moves on Sam in front of her??
Jesus H. Christ, can we stop all the blaming of Lauren? I feel that she has been the ONLY mature person in this entire situation.
Rick had feelings for her, but he didn't "go after her". He talked to her, like a goddamn friend, and didn't become a whiny, pushy shit when she told him she had a boyfriend. She was upfront and honest with him about the fact that she had a boyfriend and that, although his recent actions surprised and hurt her, she wasn't planning to leave Sam anytime soon. Rick acknowledged and appeared to accept that. Would he still jump at the chance to get with her in the event they broke up? Probably. So what? Thus far, he has accepted her unavailability and not pushed the subject.
Yes, Rick has said some things about Sam's behavior that could be interpreted as him trying to convince Lauren to leave Sam. But remember that Rick HAS ONLY SEEN NEGATIVE BEHAVIOR FROM SAM. Any time Rick comes around Sam, Sam either ignores him or blows up in his face. What would you think about someone who acted like that anytime you saw him? Especially if that person was the boyfriend of a friend?
Let me tell you, if I were in Rick's position I'd be telling Lauren to break up with Sam too. All Rick has seen of Sam is his continual mistrust of Lauren and his violence toward Rick. Rick doesn't know the backstory we know about Sam, he doesn't know this is uncharacteristic behavior for Sam. All he knows is that, the entire time Rick has known him, Sam's been distrustful and possessive, and, most importantly, his behavior has been worrying and hurting Lauren.
Rick didn't do anything to actively drive a wedge between Sam and Lauren. All he did was be a friend to Lauren and offer an ear when she needed it. He may have made suggestions and may have had his own motives for those suggestions, but as far as I can see he's backed down when she didn't want him to push the subject anymore. He never pressured her, and even when he had a perfect opportunity to make a move on her (when she was raging at Sam and left the bar with him), he didn't. Because at the end of the day, he's her FRIEND, and that's all he's been this whole time.
Lauren shouldn't have had to make an issue of Rick, or give any special explanations to Sam because she doesn't fucking answer to Sam. She knew Rick was her friend and nothing more, regardless of what he might have felt for her, and she knew she wasn't going to leave Sam to fall into Rick's arms just because the guy wanted her to. The problem is that Sam didn't trust Lauren, not that Lauren did anything distrustful to begin with.
Should Rick have talked to Sam? Probably. But I wouldn't talk to a guy who just sat there seething every time I came around either.
@Keisha: If Rick turns out to be exactly the kind of guy I initially envisioned him to be (just someone happy to be Lauren's friend), then I will over the moon. Looks like this is what's happening.
I admit that his comments during his talk with Lauren really put me off. I saw him as going beyond just offering a friendly ear and insinuating that Sam hadn't become violent 'yet', hinting that Lauren's perception of him might be inaccurate or that he might be seeing something she wasn't. Instead of taking Lauren's positive comments on Sam in good faith, he seemed to focus on the negative. The subsequent scene at the bar led me to think of him as someone who wanted to make his theory a reality. That said, Sam was already wired up from his own thoughts and Christo's comments, and he let that get the better of him. That's on him.
However, you say that at the time Rick had that one-on-one talk with Lauren, he had only seen Sam either ignore him or blow up in his face. I'm sorry, but that's wrong. The blowing up happened after that talk. In fact, Sam and Rick had only seen each other once by then, as far as I can recall, and that initial meeting was marred by Christo's douchey behaviour, Sam's apparent snark with the Dildo comment, and Rick's brushing off of Sam's attempt to engage in further conversation. In short, Sam wasn't ignoring Rick.
So, when Rick and Lauren talked, the only frame of reference Rick had was that initial meeting (which had lasted what, a minute?) and Lauren's report on the fight she had with him. Sam hadn't ignored or blown up in Rick's face at that point. Of course, Sam had also had the same amount of limited contact with Rick.
That said, what happened at the bar most definitely should make Rick wary of Sam. Sam lost it. Not cool. Whatever I may have thought of Rick's motives paled in comparison to what Sam did. Also, Rick's admission of his feelings to Lauren and his regret at not trying harder despite the flak from Christo endeared him to me once again.
I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.
(EDIT: Just realized that you may have been referring to the post-bar scene talk as well, and not just the coffee shop talk, in which case yes, Rick had indeed seen Sam blow up beforehand. It's just that I feel the bulk of Rick's focus on Sam's negative vibe happened at the coffee shop, hence my focus on that.)
@Lleyn: This was meant to be my half-assed, long winded apology for doing exactly that. I think it's a very human thing to take something and relate it to your own experiences. It's something we all do to comprehend what is happening. I was merely trying to explain why I had felt the way I did and why I have kind of changed my tune. Obviously, I shouldn't post before my coffee, and especially not about stuff that brings back old pain. Sorry about that, and sorry to Gibson for adding to the problem.
First off, thank you Mr. Twist for your SotU post. I believe it encouraged most of us to go back and reread previous posts, to reflect on them and generally calm the mood. I certainly benefited from it.
As for the current arc, everyone has some blame to share. Some more than the other.
Christo for being totally out of line and generally a complete jerk.
Sam for letting the junk Christo says obscure his trust for Lauren, and for losing it in the bar (completely stupid and in no way excusable).
Rick for... well other than his objectionable taste in facial grooming, mostly just for not trying hard enough, which he admited. His intent might be a bit shady, but we don't truly know what it is yet so he still deserves the benefit of the doubt. And all in all he acted relatively mature. A person should be judged by his actions, and for now he still his the least to blame.
As of Lauren... Well she was doing great, and was pretty much justified in all her reactions. Right up until she slapped Sam. That was the one most stupid, hypocritical, innexcusable act of them all. Lauren really lost it there. Was she in her right to be angry? You bet. But what the hell was she thinking when she decided that assaulting her spouse would make any of that better?!
This really gets on me, and I find appalling that so few people react on this (thank god there are a few who do, Mierin and Cathryn come to mind).
Seriously, how can Lauren still be considered in any way mature? She resorted to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. And it was premeditated too!!!
Sam's behavior can in no way be excused, and the gravity of his act should not be lessened. But in my mind what Lauren did was way worse, for a few reasons. First, and most important of all, she hit her SPOUSE. Of everyone, if there is someone one should have a convenant of mutual protection with it is one's spouse (and children). Second, Lauren had the time to walk all the way up to him before slapping him. She could have calmed down like ten times, she did not. Finaly, the double standard here is frightening. How come only Sam is being taken accountable for his actions? She gets to yell at him because he hit someone else, but she, even after slapping her own boyfriend, is still being called "mature" and practicaly "in her right"? What kind of hypocrisy is that?
I'm also more than a bit troubled by the fact that even after calming down, Sam is still focusing on Rick and asking Lauren about him. How stupid can he be?
Oh yeah, and Christo, get the hell out of there and go mind your own damn business for once. On that I'm aboard with everyone. Your insecurities, frustrations and constant meddling have caused enough trouble already. Get help, or at least a vacation.
Now, if someone could start listening more and thinking twice before throwing accusations (Sam, that's your cue my boy, so shut up and listen), maybe some part of this trainwreck that their relationship became can still be salvalged.
Never posted before; probably never will again, but: Gibson, you rock, probably more than you possibly realize.
1) You've got the spine to stand up and say something that desperately needs saying, and if we guys don't do the saying, it doesn't get said the way it needs to be said. Not to denigrate in any way the women who have been saying it for quite a few years now, but it's time we stop being silent accomplices when we witness the crap. It's only going to stop if we don't tolerate it, and we say so.
2) Because you managed to write such an extraordinary, real-to-life story with nuance and depth and complexity that it became a mirror for just about any reader to project whatever their personal views of life they had onto it. And no matter what they projected, it fit. This thing is bigger than you, sir, it's way out of your control, and I mean that in a good way, in the way that great Art is out of the creator's control. All you can do now is ride the freakin' tiger.
Which is why:
1) The reactions will probably continue, and people will continue to read all kinds of stuff into it, and take sides even when there are no "sides" to be taken.
2) I hope like hell you don't even think about shutting the strip down just because some people are blinded by their own life experiences and can only see what they can see. You can't control how others see you or what you're saying. The fact of the matter is, we're all blind in pretty much the same way; we can only see what we can see; if some of us see more than others, it doesn't change that fact.
3) But you sure as hell can make it as clear as you have where you stand, and then if people remain blind to that, it's their own damned problem. . .
The awesome of this strip is that everyone in it (except maybe Mulligan, but let him be for now) is flawed in a deeply human and therefore profoundly lovable way. Everyone is making all kinds of stupid mistakes, and every one of those mistakes is being made in pursuit of noble ends and with the simple desire of either loving or being loved (as skewed as some versions of "love" might be). Your audience here is no different; we're all trying our best. Don't tolerate the crap, but have compassion for the crappers. :-)) You cited Gandhi in your SOTU; I learned that last one from him, and it's the great lesson of our age.
And seriously, a special part of my life would be poorer and emptier without POY; it's a rare and awesome thing. :-))
@Jeffko: I actually wasn't referring to a specific conversation, but I was speaking more generally about the state of things as they stand now. Sorry for the confusion, I should have focused my statements better. Sam hadn't blown up at Rick before the coffee shop conversation in which Rick not-so-subtly hinted that Lauren should break up with Sam. However, I interpreted Rick as reacting to what Lauren was telling him, not necessarily speaking from personal experience (after all, as you said, he barely knew Sam). At the time, Lauren was discussing her concerns about Sam's behavior--and, at the time, Sam's behavior WAS becoming concerning. I didn't interpret him as insinuating he saw something she wasn't seeing, I interpreted it as him being rightfully concerned. Truth be told, if a friend came to speak to me about their significant other becoming jealous, I might have the same concerns. They might be unfounded, but it's best to err on the side of caution. Obviously, Rick might have tried to exaggerate things to push his own agenda and convince Lauren to break things off with Sam (I'm trying to reference back to that page to read his comments directly but it's not loading for me at the moment), but I don't feel he was focusing on the negative. He was focusing on what his friend was telling him, and what she was telling him was a giant red flag. Yes, she vouched for him and yes, maybe Rick should have trusted that. But when I was in an abusive relationship I vouched for my abuser to save face in front of my friends too. When you're worried a friend might be dating someone who is mistreating them, trusting their word isn't always the best thing to do (look at what happened to Melanie, for example). Rick might have made a bigger deal about Sam's behavior than it really warranted, but that could have stemmed from concern for Lauren just as much as from a desire to see Lauren single. Those are two very different motives, and I think whether you see Rick as a friend or a weasel depends a lot upon which motive you think he was pursuing at the time.
I'm not saying Rick is blameless because he's not, but I am saying he doesn't deserve a lot of the bile he's getting, and neither does Lauren, especially when Sam and Christo have been acting far worse.
@Frankie D.: So what if Sam was right? (Rick)Him having a crush on her doesn't mean that he wants to break them up automatically. That doesn't change the fact that she wouldn't be with Rick even if he's into her as she clearly stated. If he had confirmation beforehand that Rick likes her that way Sam would be even more jealous. But hey I could be wrong, that's just my interpretation.
I also love how long-time commenters and readers who totally side with Sam are like "let us make a very convoluted argument here, in this situation EVERYONE is wrong".
No. The controlling cave-men are wrong, and have been all along. Lauren was trying to lead a normal life. Rick had a crush on a girl with a boyfriend and maybe shouldn't have pursued her, although tbh he wasn't friends with Sam so I don't really see why he wouldn't give it a try. Lauren is not property. She is also THE MOST dutiful, loyal, hardworking and serious of all the characters in this story.
She is NOT in the wrong, and HAS NOT BEEN for the whole story arc. She does not owe Sam any explanations, because as her boyfriend he should trust her.
I know this crap because I am in a healthy, trustful relationship. I'm lucky in a way Lauren is not.
@towel: I agree that she doesn't owe Sam any explanation as to her friendship with Rick (or with anyone, for that matter), but unfortunately she sunk to his level when she slapped him. Everyone has some growing up to do here. If the situation was reversed and Sam hit Lauren after she hit some woman she perceived as a threat, it would be just as serious. Obviously, the fact that she slapped Sam in no way exonerates him of his own violence.
What still gets me is that Sam never actually apologized to Rick for his attack. He apologized to Lauren, with Rick not ten feet away. Conversely, Lauren told Rick that she shouldn't have slapped Sam, but still hasn't addressed this with Sam. That being said, the whole sequence of events from the bar to Sam and Lauren's apartment happened in a very brief period of time, whereas we are seeing this over a period of weeks, so tempers are still understandably high. Lauren has things to say and say them she does. I just hope the proper apologies will be made by both of them to the right people.
@towel: I agree with pretty much everything you're saying except the whole "only the men are wrong", Lauren had the upper hand until she slapped Sam with it. Without mention of gender, being slapped by an SO is not OK. Heat of the moment response, I understand that, doesn't make it any better. Just like it wasn't acceptable that Sam hit Rick. In MY opinion, everyone is currently in the wrong.
Otherwise, Lauren is A-OK in my book. But whatever, that's just my opinion...
edit: And Jeffko pretty much summed up my feelings in a much more concise way--so I will forgo commenting because he's pretty much got it covered. :P
The problem is, when temptation is there, people will succumb. Somehow people think that that they are somehow better than the last generation, or the generation before. The fact is we are all humans. Heck, in the lord's prayer (written a looong time ago) it says "lead us not into temptation." because whoever wrote it knew that at our core, we are weak. If you put yourself in a bad place, it's very easy to slip down that slope and then self rationalize it later. I see it everyday. It sucks, but most people who argue against this have never traveled the world seeing how f'ed up we are. People will do the right thing when it's not too difficult. But when the crap hits the fan, people will duck behind someone else to avoid getting hit. Meh, to everyone that disagrees enjoy living in this modern society that was built on taking advantage of someone else. Sorry, this storyline just gets under my skin.
@Kagan: Because if she was so blind as to not be able to see that, what else couldn't she see? That what she thought was rick just being her friend was actually just him manipulating her so he could take advantage?
If she'd said she saw he was interested, that would have cleared up a lot of worries about her inability to look after herself.
@Eriatarka: That's a really nice assessment! Actually, seems really dead-on. Also, very cool that you have an open mind about things. :)
Quick point: I keep seeing people say that no one or very few people are reacting badly to Lauren slapping Sam. Many MANY people have reacted bad and worse to that. In fact, everything Lauren has done has provoked a negative reaction in the comments (including making a JOKE about Sam bunking up with Christo). So spare us all, not reading thoroughly and then posting things as fact has gotten us in a bad place already.
Also, I totally agree with Lauren in not coming right out and saying he had a crush on her. That was NOT known to her until now, and suspicions don't count. She was trying to fight that suspicious, assuming behavior, why would she add to it.
Don't forget that many women, even if they think someone likes them, always default to the humble "no, no, I'm just a friend, it's not like that" (men do that too). We're taught not to be "stuck on" ourselves by thinking every person of the opposite sex wants to get with us. Lauren is TOTALLY the quiet, reserved type that would take that attitude. Especially after Peter.