796: Bad Ex

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Bad Ex
Since the goatee, glasses, and Seltzer & Friedberg DVD collection didn't tip you off, there will be a $20 negligence charge for this service.
Title text: Since the goatee, glasses, and Seltzer & Friedberg DVD collection didn't tip you off, there will be a $20 negligence charge for this service.


Cueball has been betrayed by his girlfriend, and later found out that he's not the first one she betrayed. He thinks that the society should provide a service that collects reports about such notorious liars, warning future dates about their true nature.

Cueball's friend is concerned about the matter of personal integrity, comparing this proposed service to sex offender registries. Cueball, though, thinks that there are certain governments who would have no problem with personal integrity infringement.

In the last panel, we see such a notification being given to a woman at a date. One interpretation of this comic could be that the bearded man is not, in fact, a douchebag, but Cueball is calling him one because he likes her, and thus wants to separate them.

The "State of California" dialog is a reference to California Proposition 65 which requires specific products to state: "This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm." California is also known to be one of the states where liberal experimentation would occur.

The title text mentions a few "douchebag" warning signals that the woman should have observed, for instance the boyfriend's interest in the infamous filmmaker duo Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, known for making shallow parody movies.


[Cueball and White Hat are walking.]
Cueball: It just blows my mind. She seemed so genuine. I had no idea she was such a serial liar.
Cueball: I just wish I had our six months back.
[The view focuses on Cueball.]
Cueball: Her exes say the same thing happened to them.
Cueball: Maybe what we need is a terrible-ex tracking and notification service.
[Cueball turns, thoughtfully.]
White Hat: But after all the problems with sex offender registries, who would agree to run it?
Cueball: Maybe one of the state governments more willing to experiment could try it out...
[Megan and a person with glasses and a goatee are sitting at a table, on which sit wine glasses and plates. Cueball approaches them carrying a clipboard and a license.]
Cueball: Excuse me, ma'am.
Megan: Yes?
Cueball: This man is known to the state of California to be a total douchebag.

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Interestingly, the Abstruse Goose webcomic (which is fairly similar to xkcd) also published a comic regarding a similar idea, called iScreener. --Waldir (talk) 11:41, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

Who's to say the last panel is imaginary? Anonymous 01:21, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

The 1987 spoof movie "Amazon Women on the Moon," had a sketch where Steve Gutenberg tries to date Rosanna Arquette who then uses a service similar to a credit report where his prior dates have posted derogatory information about him -- for example, not calling back after his date had sex with him. Not a bad bit of foresight for a 1980's film! Mountain Hikes (talk) 03:47, 30 December 2015 (UTC)