February 11th, 2020


Thursday, 13 February 2020

If you remember last year’s Valentine’s Dance, this one is nothing like it.

(Original Publication Date, 14 February 1991)

Panel 1: Remember those old gymnasium doors that had no handles on them or windows?  Me neither.

Gordon exits the gymnasium dance to find Michael, Martha, Lawrence and some silhouette kid all standing outside by the door doing nothing.   Gordon’s claim is that it is so dark in the gymnasium he was unable to find anybody.   First complaint is darkness, but he probably should be complaining that his friends ditched him.

Panel 2: Gordon then continues to complain that he can’t see anything after all those flashing lights.  Second complaint is that it was too bright.  Make up your mind Gordon.   Is it too dark or is it too bright?  Maybe the silhouette kid can tell us.

Panel 3: Michael joins in and complains that the music was so loud all he could do is yell.  Martha lets us know that her ears are still ringing.   She does not tell us if her ears are ringing from the music or Michael’s yelling.  The silhouette kid now takes up a good portion of the frame.  Why is he there?   Is it just to show that it is not only Michael and his crew that have abandoned the dance and there is at least one other kid as lame as they are?

It is at this point, it is obvious that Michael is holding a bag of chips, because it has been featured in the first three panels.   This goes to a theme:  Michael cannot go to a dance without messing with the chips and dip. 

Last year’s Valentine’s Day Dance he dropped his elbow in the dip.

At his birthday party, it was the chips

Panel 4: After all this ranting, Michael then states that it is one of the best dances they ever had.  I can see that but for different reasons.  Michael doesn’t have to dance.  He has chips.  Martha is with him and she is not forcing him to dance. Lawrence is there and he is not saying a thing.  Michael did not start the complaining; Gordon did.  Michael is winning on all counts.  Meanwhile just to show the kinds of kids who actually enjoy dancing at a dance we see four Milborough mutants having a great time with their bad teeth and ugly bodies.  This is shorthand to the readers so we can understand that only bad people enjoy dances.  Yes, readers who enjoy dances, this is what Lynn thinks you look like.

Summary:   The joke is supposed to be about how the teenagers say they like things they don't like, while not participating in those very things they claim to enjoy.  Teenagers are hypocrites, but middle-aged cartoonists who never took the time to enjoy a high school dance are even moreso.