2698: Bad Date

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Bad Date
"Even split between us, this will pay way better than the Jumanji sponsorship I came into the date with."
Title text: "Even split between us, this will pay way better than the Jumanji sponsorship I came into the date with."


This comic is a spoof of Internet influencers. These are people with large social media followings who mention products in their videos in exchange for payment from the companies that produce these products, as a form of advertising.

In the comic, Megan and Cueball are not intentionally live-streaming their date, but someone around them is uploading video footage of their date, because they were having an argument about the movie Jumanji. Megan realized that they can capitalize on this by getting a sponsor.

The argument then shifts to whether they're going to sleep together after the date. Cueball says he won't go home with Megan because she doesn't have the mattress brand sold by their sponsor. She responds by pointing out a feature of that brand: their same-day delivery policy. This argument could easily be a TV commercial for the mattress, though Cueball's ultimate retort suggests (whether he wants it to or not) that there still won't be a "happy ending" conclusion to this play-acting, either fictionally or once real life resumes.

The title text hints, however, that Megan was already before the date going to promote the Jumanji franchise, for her own gain. Megan's realization that she could not discuss this subject since Cueball had not seen it leads to her initial reaction starting their date to be shared, but not for the reason she had anticipated. But then when she sees they are still going viral, she is ready to use this new situation to bring in a lot of "mattress money". And as it turns out even when splitting with Cueball she will earn more. Since Cueball presumably came into the date with the intention of finding a romantic partner rather than gaining a sponsorship, he will probably get even less happy with Megan. Alternatively, as he plays along with her in the last frame, he sees this as an acceptable or even preferable arrangement (considering that the date wasn't going all too well in the first place).


[Cueball and Megan are sitting at a table in a restaurant with their meals still on their plate and filled wine glasses. Megan hands her cellphone over the table to Cueball.]
Megan: Psst — this date is going so badly that the people around us are posting it live.
Megan: Look.
[Zoom in just on Cueball in his chair. He is holding the cellphone while he sees a video. What the video shows is shown above him in a frame. The "video" window shows a scene from earlier in their date. And below the picture there is a title and below that an eye with the number of followers shown. In the scene they are sitting as in the first panel, but both have their arms raised. Cueball's arms towards Megan and she has her arms above her head. Small lines from above her head from where her speech line comes out indicates that she is agitated and speaks loudly.]
Megan in video: Unbelievable– Have you even seen Jumanji?
Video caption: Date disaster 252k following
Cueball: Oh no.
[Zoom in on Megan in her chair.]
Megan: But it's okay: I got us a sponsorship.
Megan: You just need to play along...
[Scene expands to include the two nearest people at the two nearby tables. Both are typing frantically at their phones, (indicated with vibration lines on either side of their phones), using both hands, to document the date disaster live. Ponytail is to the left of them with food on her plate and a glass of water on her table and Hairy is to the right with a wine glass on his table. Cueball has raised one hand with a finger pointing up. Megan points a finger towards Cueball but is looking down at her phone held up in the other hand, to check their following.]
Cueball: I could never go home with someone with such bad taste in mattresses. I need the soft support of the ProFirm 3000.®
Megan: Wait, I can order one! With same-day delivery, it can–
Cueball: You had your chance.

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There was a time when just the fact that she was looking at her cellphone during the date would be evidence that it's not going well. Sadly, it's probably normal these days. Barmar (talk) 15:05, 14 November 2022 (UTC)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1iH1hppneo 16:34, 14 November 2022 (UTC)

She went on a date with an Explainxkcd editor, obvs. 19:55, 14 November 2022 (UTC)

@Kynde, but more generally putting it out there: "For sure it is Megan who came into the date with jumanji. Else playing dumb by Cueball would not make sense, because Megan would likely not have mentioned Jumanji. How should Cueball mention it and then say that he don't know it?" - the aside that this refers to/removed was written to cover if Cueball had sneakily forced conversation about Jumanji by somehow steering the conversation towards ("No film has had a rhino charge through an American town", "I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be a video-game character", ...) while pretending not to have seen it, or perhaps 'clearly' have not watched it correctly. All to incite the date (Megan) into being loudly enthused. Cueball's "Oh no" is more like how Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka would have said it (a cursory level of concern about how 'bad' things have gone, it actually being his plan all along to seed the events; but also perhaps instead some awkwardness that Megan picked up on the live-posting). Megan independently has her ideas and Cueball (as the usual voice of Randall) decides shifting to her newly acquired sponsor is worthwhile.
The alternative currently promoted is that Megan came with the Jumanji idea, somehow exasperatingly runs out of steam of how to promote "Jumanji: Deeper Into the Metaverse" (or whatever fictional/factual thing she's supposed to be spreading news of) and isn't happy that her outbursts are reaching the large audience (that would surely be so good for her attempt to put the word out, even if she was originally supposed to be individually advertising to just the one date at a time..?) and yet somehow gets the inspiration to spend precious moments breaking the (in-date) fourth wall to clue Cueball in on the fuss she has caused, find and accept an alternate backer, announce it as a new idea that Cueball should roll with (perhaps ruining the date more, such that he does play along but definitely hates Megan more than when she was irrationally going on about this 'Jumanji' thing) and then breaks the mood yet again by revealing that the interesting idea of a "sponsored conversation" was not necessarily an opportunistic turn of events, but had (in another form, for another sponsor) been her basic idea all along.
I'm still willing to believe it's Megan who says the title text (there's some possibility that it flows that way, in arguments that I haven't bothered to voice above), but I find the idea that it is Cueball to have more than a little attractiveness in various key ways. Definitely it isn't sure that it isn't him, and potentially quite confusing as to who it really is. 21:57, 14 November 2022 (UTC)

I actually don't think it mattes who said the title text. But since the whole explanation is already overexplaining the comic it might not matter. -- 23:20, 14 November 2022 (UTC)

In Nathan For You S01E08, a scenario is engineered where they get someone on a date, but one of the participants has to give product endorsements for Quiznos. A Quiznos marketing rep is wired in to a hidden earpiece giving the marketing keywords to say while watching the date from a hidden camera. 11:53, 15 November 2022 (UTC)

I feel like there ought to be some kind of thematic tie-in to the Jumanji franchise, e.g. about being sucked into a game, or maybe "sucked into the dating game." But I can't see one. Maybe it just isn't there, or I am not being sufficiently creative. JohnHawkinson (talk) 10:46, 17 November 2022 (UTC)