Today’s strip is a minor milestone in The Sub-Basement’s brief history. See, we made the decision early on to have a backlog of strips before we launched, to give ourselves some lead time, and be able to stick to our schedule. That means that while we’ve only existed as an actual thing on the interwebs for a shade under two months, some of the strips that have run in that time have been in the works for up to six months. Hey, a joke as sublime as “Look! There’s Farty-Poo!” can’t be rushed, y’all.
Today’s strip is the last of those original twelve. If you like, you may think of this coming Tuesday as the demarcation point between BCE and AD, or between Pre-Flashpoint and Nu-52; from here on in, everything (okay, with two exceptions) will have been created after the launch of the site. That means fresher jokes (something we got called on on reddit), a more established milieu, and a more consistent shape to my head. Nothing can stop us now.
Can we talk for a minute about Small Wonder, while we’re on the subject?
The 80s saw a boom in first-run syndicated sitcoms, promising all the ridiculous premises and Willie Aameses of their network counterparts, without pesky things like “consistent time slots” and “competent actors.” It was a time of Out Of This World, of the second, inferior iteration of Charles In Charge, of The New Gidget, The New Monkees, The Munsters Today. And somehow Small Wonder was the scum that rose to the top of that polluted pond. Which makes it exactly the kind of thing you’d find on TV Squared.
There have been sitcoms about human-like robots before and since, mining hilarity from their literal-mindedness and Data-like lack of tact. But there was a squickiness to Small Wonder that, even to my teenage self, made me more than a little suspicious about the show’s creators. “Hey son,” says Suburban Inventor Dad, “I build you a robot who looks like a girl your age, who has no personality, does whatever you tell her, and sleeps in a box in your room. Hope you don’t grow up with any weird fetishes!”
And indeed, the Wikipedia page for actor Jerry Supiran, who played said son, shows no credits after this show, and reports that as of 2012 he was homeless in California. See, What A Country! merely launched hacky catchphrases; Small Wonder ruins lives. Tiffany Brissette, if you’re reading this, stay in nursing and never look back.
Well, that got dark, didn’t it?