21 Comments

  1. Bill is right, the line does not make sense as written. I think the intended meaning was something on the order of: “…a walk in the park would have been (comparatively speaking) a ‘walk in the park’.”

  2. Blue girl has been asked out on a date to stroll through a public garden. Like many people she is social anxious and quite scared and worried. SO to her a literal walk in the park is a very scary thing.

    Giant Purple girl and the roommate everyone wishes they had but no-one ever did an initial relationship much or turbulent than the date blue girl is dreading. So compared to the torrent of passion, repressed longing and dramatic uncertainty that Giant Purple girl and rewthbnoed had, blue girls potential date would have been much much easier.

    In other words…. a literal walk in the park would have, in comparison, been a metaphorical walk in the park.

  3. Kilby in one. It’s not hard to work out that she is using a clichéd metaphor. But it takes a bit of work for not much payoff.

  4. In this case, Millefeuille, the teal robot in the center, went for a walk in the park with Brun, and is trying to figure out if she and Brun were on a date, and, if so, is she in a relationship now. She’s all confused and is dealing with difficult emotions. Faye and Bubbles, the Caucasian human on the left and the burnt sienna robot on the left, are assuring her that it’s totally normal to have confusion and not know what your feelings are toward the beginning of a relationship, and you can relax and just let things develop as they develop: that whether Millefeuille and Brun end up romantically involved or just end up as friends, it’s all good.

    She’s asking whether Faye and Bubbles used their own advice when THEY started dating. They clarify that, no, they were both completely messed up and confused and angsty.

    So Bubbles is saying that Millefeuille is having lots of confusing emotions after having a LITERAL walk in the park with a friend. Faye and Bubbles’s emotions were WAY more complex and weird — they started a business together, Faye is an emotional wreck in general due to her father’s suicide and her alcoholism, Bubbles is an emotional wreck due to being one of the first AIs who joined the military in a secret test program that was possibly against the Geneva convention, then being the sole survivor of an attack which killed her entire squad, then having the emotional content of her memories of all of them erased by another AI who was doing illegal brain hacking.

    Also, Bubbles and Faye were messed up because Faye wasn’t aware that she’s attracted to women, or female-identified robots, Bubbles wasn’t aware that she was attracted to ANYBODY, and they are possibly among the first people to even HAVE an AI-human relationship.

    What with all that which THEY are dealing with, Millefeuille being unsure whether she’s attracted to Brun (who is human, and autistic), after a literal walk in the part? Her issues, by comparison with theirs, are a FIGURATIVE walk in the park.

  5. Mmm, I dunno. If the first part weren’t also a “walk in the park” instance, I wouldn’t have much trouble with “a comparative walk in the park” in the end. Tho yes, it would be nicer to get “comparative” or “comparatively” in there some way other than as blunt adjectival modification.
    (Not as bad as the similar “an effective X” in place of “in effect, it creates an X situation”)

  6. Knowing the background of the characters, when I read it, I didn’t have any difficulty understanding it. Millefeuille’s problems are, on the whole, not a big deal. She had her leg broken by an invisible emu — well, an emu that her research team had created an invisibility collar for — which Faye and Bubbles repaired (they run a robot repair shop). She wanted a bigger booty, so had Faye and Bubbles install butt implants. She maybe shouldn’t have paid for the deluxe version of the app that lets her simulate drunkenness, because she maybe likes it too much. She may be attracted to a human.

    Faye and Bubbles have a business which is always on the verge of bankruptcy because they do a lot of work at cost for AIs who are at the edges of society, and are a military veteran who might be a war criminal and has serious PTSD along with damage from having her memories adjusted, and a human who has serious PTSD along with alcoholism from her father blowing his brains out directly in front of her and her own near-death car crash after that.

    Millefeuille’s problems are absolutely a figurative walk in the park to deal with in comparison.

  7. Thanks for the update, Ian! Maybe this will help me jump back into following QC without agonizing on whether I really want to catch up on all intervening comics from my saved tab session, or cheerfully jump back in at the present.

  8. QC changes a LOT every once in a while, and in ways that aren’t obvious. A LOT is going on in the background. At some point in the middle of the series, there was a Constitutional amendment which gave AIs full civil rights in the United States. It wasn’t even mentioned at the time, and we only know about it, because Pintsize and Martin, as early adopters of the AnthroPC program, were invited to participate in a followup survey about how their relationship had or had not changed after Pintsize became a citizen. And even that was just a background question as one of a bunch they were being asked about. The Singularity happened in 2010; nobody noticed, except that AIs got sent a “HAPPY SIGNULARITY” [sic] e-cake. A lot of AnthroPCs start switching to human-sized, more human-shaped bodies.

    Although the world is still optimistic and a generally a closer-to-utopia-than-dystopia science fiction world, we have seen less great parts. Faye’s alcoholism got her fired from Coffee of Doom for drinking on the job — as much as Dora loves her, she couldn’t stand for that, which have Faye the push to get sober. She also found a new job using her metalworking skills, as a repair tech at an underground illegal robot fighting club, where she met Bubbles (not a fighter: the other repair tech). We met May, a robot ex-con (she tried to embezzle a hundred million dollars to buy and become a fighter jet) who is trying to turn her life around, but is having trouble because the support for ex-con AIs is lacking. Roko Basilisk is an AI police officer who was keeping tabs on the robot fighting ring, but let it operate so long as Faye and Bubbles agreed to let her know if anybody was actually being coerced; she then found herself pushing May around, and became disillusioned with the police force as a whole, resigned, and volunteered, and eventually took over (to the deep, deep relief of the person in charge who DIDN’T WANT TO BE) a non-profit trying to help AI ex-cons reintegrate with society. Hannalore confronted her mother about her mother being basically an amoral profiteer, and cut off contact with her, then spent a while travelling the world just… doing stuff, which has helped her learn to cope with her OCD and grossness-phobia — like, when she’s comes back, and is showing pictures of things she did, other people can’t deal with the photo of her helping a yak give birth… there’s a possibility that Hannalore’s mother has a plan to destroy the world in five years…

    Jeph has a lot going on in the world that we don’t know about.

  9. I just want to thank Ianosmond for providing a great description of Faye and Bubbles (and their relationship) in QC. When I read the strip I understood exactly what Bubbles was saying because nothing in Faye’s world is ever easy or just “a walk in the park.”

  10. Excellent summary by ianosmond. The only things I’d add is that Dora is engaged to Tai, Marten’s boss at the library. Marten is in a fairly serious relationship with Claire and is looking into options for doing something with his life. And Hanner’s AI companion Winslow now has a humanoid body and volunteers at the non-profit Roko is now running. Oh, and there’s this really weird collective AI consciousness that has access to tons of resources and has taken a strange interest in Roko.

  11. While ianosmond gave some nice background, I think a reader would have had enough context to understand the joke if they had read the previous strip, https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=4249. But just this strip by itself wasn’t enough. I don’t have any problem with “a comparative walk in the park,” which I believe is a normal usage.

    I enjoy Questionable Content and have read it from the beginning. While there is a lot of background there, and you do need some of it, what ianosmond wrote is enough to get you going. If you like it enough but aren’t sure you want to commit to more than 4,000 strips, probably the best run is the one that starts around strip 500.

    Questionable Content is still way more manageable than Kevin and Kell, which has a quarter century of daily strips and a backstory that is even more convoluted.

  12. Kevin and Kell’s backstory is convoluted but you don’t need to know most of it, just how the characters relate to each other. QC seems way more complex.

  13. Powers, it is true that, in reading the strip on a day to day basis, it’s easier for a newbie to follow Kevin and Kell than it is for a newbie to follow Questionable Content, partly because almost every strip in Kevin and Kell involves at least one of the five main characters (Kevin, Kell, and their three children). Bill Holbrook is one of the most experienced comic strip creators that there has ever been, and as far as I know is the only one who has ever managed to maintain three different strips for an extended period of time. He knows how to make his strips accessible to the new reader. While Jeph Jacques at this point also has a lot of experience with Questionable Content, his strip is more of a soap opera strip, so immersion is an essential part of the experience, and that necessarily is something of a barrier for the new reader.

    Nevertheless, Kevin and Kell ultimately has been telling its story longer, and while the Questionable Content universe is different from and weirder than ours, that’s even more true for the Kevin and Kell universe. And I think it would take longer to give the full backstory on Kevin and Kell than ianosmond took on Questionable Content.

  14. I got a little obsessed on the point of what to do about catching up versus skipping to current entry for comics, particularly indie or webcomics. My comments on this grew awkwardly long, and off-topic from this thread, so I am dropping them into Your Random Comments, for all to enjoy or ignore at your leisure.

  15. Heh…I haven’t the foggiest idea what any of you are discussing. All these specific details that don’t add up to anything in my mind. 🙂

  16. For no good reason, other than “it’s quarantine, and I was drunk and bored”, I randomly started re-reading QC from the beginning a couple weeks ago. It took me all my free time for three days to do it. I don’t know that it was actually WORTH it, but it’s why I can actually remember all the stuff that’s happened.

  17. Thanks to ianosmond (“…he reads QC, so you don’t have to…“). I followed the strip for a while, but ultimately found it tiresome. The descriptions above make it sound like a soap opera directed by Kurosawa.

  18. I follow QC on a regular basis, and have so far gone back and read it from the beginning three times (once when I first found it, admittedly). The art and the depth of characterization both improve tremendously over the span of the strip. I find it a lot of fun.

    I’m not sure I’ve gone back to the beginning of Kevin & Kell since my first readthrough (when I first found the strip). It’s a great story but somehow it seems too large (and of course now I want to do it…). I have reread Safe Havens at least once (besides the first time through), though I don’t remember doing Fastrack again.

  19. Bill’s reaction seems weird to me. It feels as if you’re insisting that wordplay be perfect in usage, which … is not how humor works. It was funny when I first read it and I had no trouble understanding it.

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