2670: Interruption

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It's been extra bad ever since my GPS got stuck on Phoebe Judge mode.
Title text: It's been extra bad ever since my GPS got stuck on Phoebe Judge mode.


This comic is about listening to a podcast while driving with GPS navigation using speech synthesis for turn-by-turn driving instructions. Car entertainment systems and SatNav-enabling devices (if connected to the car's audio feed) typically allow the SatNav to interrupt whatever else is being played, so that directions can be heard clearly. It's usually easy for the driver to recognise such instructions due to the sudden change in characteristics of the voice and the switch in contextual flow. However, if the synthetic voice is similar to the speech that was playing, it may be hard to distinguish between the two, especially if the navigation instructions seem to coincide with the interrupted speech. In cases like this, the listener might think that the driving instructions are part of their podcast.

Cueball is interviewing Ponytail for the podcast, and she tells a story about a woman who betrayed her. Just when she is about to tell what the betraying woman said to her before she left with the money, which might have revealed if it had been planned in advance, the GPS instructions interrupts and delivers a driving instruction blocking out the last part of a sentence.

The comic suggests Randall misinterpreted those driving instructions as part of the story being told in the podcast because the GPS voice sounds similar to Ponytail's voice. The comic illustrates the instructions as if they were part of the story from the podcast.

The title text suggests this confusion worsened after Randall's navigation instructions voice got stuck emulating Phoebe Judge, known for the Criminal and This Is Love podcasts, implying he often listens to her.


[Cueball and Ponytail are facing each other from opposite sides of a table. They are sitting in office chairs and are both wearing headsets. They are speaking into microphones standing on the table in front of them.]
Cueball: ...And that's when you knew she had betrayed you?
Ponytail: Yeah.
Ponytail: She picked up the money and walked out.
[Close-up of Ponytail with the headset on seen from the waist up.]
Ponytail: To this day, I don't know if she planned it all.
Ponytail: But there was one moment that makes me think, maybe she did.
[A frame-less section for Ponytail's voice-over is placed above the next panel. The panel, which is thus half the normal height, is mainly black with a white door opening from which white light is shining on to the floor. A silhouette of a Megan-like woman stands in the doorway, holding a bag in one hand. Ponytail tells what she said and that part is written in white on the black part above the woman.]
Ponytail (voice-over): Just before she disappeared, she paused at the door, looked back at me, and said,
Ponytail (voice-over for the woman): Hey - if I ever see you again,
[Close-up of the woman with the bag in silhouette in the white doorway. (Note that from the context of the caption it becomes clear that this was actually said by the GPS navigation system, but at this point of reading, it is taken as Ponytail's voice-over.)]
Ponytail (voice-over for the woman): Turn left at the next light.
[Caption below the panels:]
It's so disorienting when a podcaster has a voice that's similar to my navigation app.

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First. (talk) 04:12, 10 September 2022 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Second, then, LOL! Now, I understand the comic, and there's no explanation or transcript as of yet (it's half-past midnight EST - same time zone as Randall - so it seems unusual for there STILL to be nothing), so I'm tempted to write them, but I'm unsure what to actually say other than describe things for the explanation. Since Cueball is in the comic, this would be Randall: [Cueball is interviewing Ponytail for a podcast as Ponytail tells her story. Randall is listening in his car when the podcast is interrupted by his GPS giving an instruction, which throws him off as Ponytail's voice sounds too much like the GPS voice.] But this seems insufficient for an explanation. (I know - KNOW - that in a week this'll be one of the longest explanations on here). NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:42, 10 September 2022 (UTC)

Someone did the transcript while I was writing the above, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:45, 10 September 2022 (UTC)

"Turn left" is a likely allusion to an episode from Season 4 of Doctor Who. The Doctor was played by David Tennant, who is also a notable voice actor. Maybe someone somewhere has figured out a way to use his voice for their GPS.

I think it is just a direction given by a GPS, not really a reference to something 12:51, 10 September 2022 (UTC)Bumpf
The junction in Turn Left did not have lights. And I'm sure they've used Ten(nant)'s voice for a SatNav. They managed it for BRIAN BLESSED! 18:01, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
This sounds like extreme reaching to me. NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:31, 11 September 2022 (UTC)

I just added the reference to the Bechdel test. Should there be a category for this? My understanding of overall explainxkcd wiki structure is not that high. 21:13, 10 September 2022 (UTC)

Er, why do we need to track that? I don't exactly follow the reasoning. If someone wants to accuse xkcd of a whole as being sexist, that would call for a separate page altogether-- which itself wouldn't belong on a wiki about explaining xkcd. Are there any other comic explanations that note Bechdel qualifications? --Jack (t|c) 23:12, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
(The following reply Edit Conflicted by the above, which I think misses the point of the suggestion for a Bechdel Test category. Insofar as if one is needed, then it actually proves that xkcd is at least a fraction less sexist than most other things.)
Is there enough demand for it?
Your job, Jim, should you decide to accept it, is to see if there are 'enough' (a flexible figure, but more than "barely a couple" and less than "loads!") of other example comics for a Category:Bechdel test to be added to. (As always, should you or any of your IM Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.)
And, if you take my suggestion seriously, I would look at compiling a list of "Comics that mention the Bechdel Test" (I right now cannot think of any) and "Comics that pass the Bechdel Test" (such as this one... and it'll be interesting to see how many actually do).
Explanations that mention the Bechdel Test (without explicit prompting by what's int he comic) aren't really useful. Quick check, and the first examples are ones where it effectively states that they have/involve/reference situations that don't pass the test, which... as is the pointedly pointed point of the Test... isn't that rare at all. Or (like the Entwives comic) it's regarding nested research of the influences that are considered to inspire/be mirrored by the comic.
But it wouldn't be up to me, or you. I know a few named-users who might take a look at such a proposal and implement it, though. They'll be interested in seeing what you can justify. (i.e., just show your working-outs, and it might be implemented). 23:17, 10 September 2022 (UTC)
I see no mention of the Bechdel test, so I guess someone agrees with me that it's not relevant to this comic. Most characters don't have names (a significant aspect of the Bechdel test AFAIK), just the names we've given them, so just about every comic would fail the test - though since the guys don't have names either, that seems irrelevant anyway - meaning the only reason to mention the Bechdel test is if the comic is about it or things like it. A podcast and a GPS voice don't qualify, sorry. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:27, 11 September 2022 (UTC)
Given that in West Side Story, Ponytail is male, I see zero reason to assume that the Bechdel test would apply to a comic of stick figures, and furthermore, applying the Bechdel test to everything has a tendency to prove the MGTOW theory that women are idiots who care about irrational and irrelevant things.Seebert (talk) 12:54, 12 September 2022 (UTC)

Never listen to podcasts, never heard Phoebe Judge or heard OF her, but WOW she sounds like a GPS!! I see Randall's point, LOL! NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:27, 11 September 2022 (UTC)

Struth. I couldn't listen to a podcast with the same voice as my Nav App; hell, I can barely stand to hear the directions. A podcast? "what DIDyou think her moTIVation was? have you everseenher AGain?" No chance. Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 21:24, 11 September 2022 (UTC)

Is it just me, or does the last panel awfully look like a reference to the late Queen? 02:05, 12 September 2022 (UTC)

Just you, looks like Megan in silhouette, with a bag of money. --Kynde (talk) 08:24, 12 September 2022 (UTC)

Turn Left may be a reference to the Doctor Who episode, "Turn Left" in which a character is told repeatedly to "turn left" at the appropriate time (in order to save the universe). 22:28, 13 September 2022 (UTC)

Someone above already said that, and it appeared we as a community seem to agree that it sounds like you two are really stretching, unless there's something BESIDES the phrase which would make a reference more believable? It's too simple an instruction... NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:22, 17 September 2022 (UTC)

It's nothing more than an easter egg, if anything at all. 20:30, 19 September 2022 (UTC)

Why does the explanation say "It could fit the story" and then immediately say "It doesn't fit the story"?(not verbatim, obviously)Sarah the Pie(yes, the food) (talk) 16:23, 19 March 2023 (UTC)