141: Parody Week: Achewood

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Parody Week: Achewood
I always wanted to impress them with how well I could hear, didn't you? Also, this sets the record for number of awkward-pause panels in one strip (previously held by Achewood)
Title text: I always wanted to impress them with how well I could hear, didn't you? Also, this sets the record for number of awkward-pause panels in one strip (previously held by Achewood)

[edit] Explanation

This comic is a part of the Parody Week, just joking about other webcomics. This series was released on 5 consecutive days (Monday-Friday) and not over the usual Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule and is comprised of the following five parodies:

Achewood is a webcomic by Chris Onstad. It portrays the lives of a group of anthropomorphic stuffed toys, robots, and pets, and veers between cheerful, vulgar and philosophical scenes from everyday American life and bizarre surreal interludes - Kevin Smith meets David Lynch. The comic's humor often lacks a traditional punchline, and utilizes numerous awkward pause panels.

This comic includes three of the prominent characters from the strip: Philippe a five year old stuffed otter, Ray, and Roast Beef.

In the first panel, Phillippe is dreaming of having his ears checked. There's an eye chart on the wall behind him. The doctor informs him that because of his superhearing power he is needed at Hogwarts, School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from Harry Potter. This fits well with his canon depiction as a dreamer who believes typically childish things in a serious way - a long running storyline shows Philippe's semi-imaginary run for president on a platform of hugs. On the wall is an E chart - a special version of the eye chart for young children.

The comic then switches to Roast Beef and Ray discussing an invitation to a competition described only by its name ("The Dude Is Pretty Awesome In Most Measurable Ways I Mean Wow", reminiscent of the name of Roast Beef's zine "Man Why You Even Got To Do A Thing"). Achewood has had several storylines pertaining to masculinity contests, but the one that Randall is parodying here is the "Great Outdoor Fight", perhaps Achewood's most famous storyline. In this arc, Ray - finding himself in the shadow of his father, the ludicrously strong Ramses Luther Smuckles - decides to enter a 3,000 man brawl called the "Great Outdoor Fight". Although he is nowhere near as strong as the other contestants, after they all kill each other he is the last man standing thanks to the help of Roast Beef, and quits the contest when he realizes that he would have to knock his friend out to win.

Ray - who in Achewood typically just wears a thong, glasses and jewellery as shown here - has a strategy of simply highlighting his genitals. Roast Beef - always a pessimist who speaks without punctuation - offers his take on the competition: that Ray is going to lose to the other, significantly more impressive, contestants.

In canon, Roast Beef entered (or at least, hacked himself into) the Great Outdoor Fight specifically to ensure that Ray would win, and was shocked that Ray refused to knock him out. Randall offers an alternative characterization: Roast Beef was setting Ray up and planned to knock him out and claim the trophy, but couldn't complete his plan. Ray is dismayed, and Roast Beef proceeds to further shut him down, comparing Ray (a "McD's" hamburger) to the other competitors (a 12 oz. sirloin steak). This leads to a lengthy awkward pause, spanning the rest of the comic.

The comic is written in the style of Onstad and his humor. The last 10 panels are "awkward-pause panels", which are used frequently in Achewood, in what appears to be a joke about overuse of dialogue-free panels (there are 11 of these but the first is a shock panel, then the pause begins). This joke is continued in the title-text, where Randall claims that this strip set the record for most panels of this kind, a record previously held by Achewood.

Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song is a 1971 Blaxploitation film that is generally regarded as an exemplar of its genre - its hero, Sweet Sweetback, is a strong, sexually-talented African American fighting his way out of the ghetto. Bursting fully-formed from Sweet Sweetback's head is a parody of the birth of Greek Goddess Athena.

References to Fleshlight, such as this comment by beef in first panel in third row: You are gonna stand out as the sort of dude who stays at home all night playing fleshlight tag , became a recurring theme in xkcd, but this seems to be the first time.

[edit] Transcript

[Unlike regular xkcd comics the text here seems to be typed on a machine, and the speech is in bubbles rather than just indicated with a thin line from the speaker. This is true for all spoken text. Also Beef almost never uses any punctuation in his sentences.]
[Philippe, an anthropomorphic stuffed otter, is participating in a hearing aid test with headphones over his ears, and one arm raised. He is at a doctor and behind him on the wall There is an eye chart with six lines of E's, the large one on top a regular E, and then in the next two lines they are turned around in the four general directions. The last three lines are not readable. The doctor talks to Philippe from off-panel in a bubble going to the far right. Here it meets a thought bubble line going down and left from the upper right corner. On the right side the back ground is gray and Philippe can be seen lying in a bed, dreaming the scene to the left.]
Doctor (off-panel): Philippe, your hearing is perfect! In fact, you heard ALL the beeps! You have super-hearing! You're needed at Hogwarts!
Philippe: Oh boy!
Eye chart:
E
EɯEMƎ
ƎEƎMƎME
[Roast Beef, an anthropomorphic thin cat with pointy ears and small eyes, is looking at Ray, an anthropomorphic fat cat with black glasses, he is reading from a piece of paper that has been folded out, holding it up in front of him with both hands. They are seen from the waist up. Most of the time below, their eyebrows are visible to show feelings, but Beef's is not shown here. When they speak their mouths are open, else it is closed. Beefs is closed in this panel. Above the drawing there is a line and in the thin frame formed by that and the top panel there is a caption:]
Meanwhile . . .
Ray: Beef, check this out. I got an invite to that The Dude Is Pretty Awesome In Most Measurable Ways I Mean Wow competition.
[This panel pans up so less of their bodies can be seen, and more text be above them. It is clear that Ray has a medal hanging around his neck, which was partly covered by his hands in the previous panel, which are now down. Apart from this they look the same.]
Beef: Alright that is pretty sweet dogg what is your strategy gonna consist of
Ray: I'm thinkin' I need to point out my best features -- maybe go holdin' a sign with an arrow toward my junk.
[Ray is seen almost in full figure, which reveals that he is only wearing big black underpants and the medal, his nipples are also clearly visible on each side of the medal (as they were already in the previous panel, but not the one before). He has one arm in his side, the other holding a large sign with big bold text and beneath this a large black arrow pointing first down and then across towards his pants waistband.]
Sign: Yes
[Back to same view as in the first panel, except a pan so Ray is in the center and Beef is partly cut off at the left frame so there is space for a speech bubble to the right of Ray. Ray holds up a drink glass in front of him with a cherry in the bottom. Beefs eyebrows are missing.]
Beef: Yeah well I always said subtlety was your middle name dogg
Beef: And also your first and last in case they didn't get the point
Ray: How do you think I should play it?
[Only Beef is shown in this panel to make room for his speech bubbles.]
Beef: Well basically you got no chance as I see it these dudes are all lovers and fighters to the last
Beef: All sprung fully formed from the head of Sweet Sweetback
Beef: You are gonna stand out as the sort of dude who stays at home all night playing fleshlight tag
[Both are again in this panel but has been panned up so only their heads are visible to place speech bubbles above them.]
Ray: These words you got are crazy. Didn't I win the outdoor fight?
Beef: Uh huh about the fight I wasn't gonna tell you but how could you miss that I was setting you up
Ray: What?
Beef: You got played dogg
[Same but panned down to below the medal on Ray. Beefs eyebrows are missing.]
Beef: I basically just didn't have the heart to go through with it in the end.
[Only Beef is shown to the right, making space for five speech bubbles to his left.]
Beef: Anyway the point is that you are gonna lose this thing so hard
Beef: All cheap McD's hamburger to their slabs of steak
Beef: A couple 12-oz sirloins garnished with nothing but pure manhood
Beef: Maybe some sprigs of parsley
Beef: You are pretty much going down
[Closeup of a shocked Ray mouth hanging open.]
[Silence 1. Both are shown from the waistline and up standing looking slightly down, arms down. Rays has closed his mouth. Generally their ears shift a bit from panel to panel the rest of the way, and also their head position. But else they stay the same distance from each other.]
[Silence 2. Same view. Beef looks perturbed and his ear is twitching. Ray's mouth is open again.]
[Silence 3. Same view. Beef looks sorry. Rays has closed his mouth.]
[Silence 4. Same view. Beef looks sorry and Ray looks angry. Ray's mouth is open again.]
[Silence 5. Same view. Rays has closed his mouth again. Beefs eyebrows are missing, but also Rays are gone, maybe hidden by the rim of the glasses. They do not reappear in the rest of the comic indicating he keeps his eyes downcast. ]
[Silence 6. Same view. Beefs eyebrows are back]
[Silence 7. The view has panned so low that it is possible to see the waistband of Ray's underpants. Beef is looking even more down and has moved closer to Ray who's mouth is open again.]
[Silence 8. Same view, but a little less waistband visible. Beef has moved back again his eyebrows are missing and his mouth are open, and Ray looks even more down than before still mouth open.]
[Silence 9. View paned so low that a large part of Rays underpants can be seen. Beef is looking down, mouth closes with eyebrows, Ray standing more straight still mouth open.]
[Silence 10. Beef looks surprised with eyebrows raised and has moved close to Ray who has finally closed his mouth again.]

[edit] Trivia


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Discussion

I see the Athena reference. She came out all ready in full battle armor and stuff from her dad, Zeus's skull (which was broken into two or something). NSDCars5 (talk) 16:18, 14 May 2014 (UTC) NSDCars5

Is the poor spelling/grammar a characteristic of Archewood? --Milesper (talk) 18:56, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

The eye test must be inspired by Hilbert curves. A second order curve (the second row) consists of a first order curve (the first row) shrunk and repeatedly concatenated in various orientations. 141.101.98.120 10:56, 21 October 2016 (UTC)

Removed the incomplete tag, as the alternative of Beef setting up Ray in the outdoor fight and his comparison of Ray to a McDonald's hamburger to the 12 oz. steak his competition in the upcoming contest is presumed to be has been explained. 108.162.219.97 18:28, 15 November 2016 (UTC)

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