A back-to-school medley. Panel one: College textbooks are expensive because the consumers are 100% captive. Selling the same tattered book over and over again at full price and buying it back again for half price is a pretty sweet racket. Panel two: Dorm rooms generally come with their own furniture. Ours were these oak modules that could be arranged in a hundred unsatisfactory ways. Moving in was sliding-block puzzle fun every time. Panel three: Needs no explanation if you remember having ever attended school at any level. Dr. Umlaut's character solidifies for good. Panel four: "Those two departments" were Nursing and Education. "Like last time" refers to the "Fight the Final" protest. I must have forgotten to mention that part. It was great; everybody swarmed inside and pounded on the walls in unison, violating fire codes. Panel five: Rick and Phil are the same two geese as before; I decided they were specific characters worth revisiting. I was taken with the idea that the geese were the only ones enjoying The College Life the way the movies sell it to us.
If you thought the other stuff was hard to read on your screen, get a load of this. If you can't read something, don't worry, you're not missing much. I had a recent Doonesbury character org chart Sunday strip tacked up on my desk, and I figured I might as well do something similar. The Jens were still ciphers at that point, as token female characters tend to be, so I decided to list Jyg as an optimist and Jag as a pessimist, which only holds true in that the personalities they eventually developed are consistent with someone who claimed to have that mindset in college and grew out of it upon becoming a fully responsible adult. This was actually the second appearance of the nearly useless reporter character, another result of my compulsion to try to add regular supporting characters to a weekly strip, plus I still like the name "Joan Surname" for a reporter. Harold Eickhoff's favorite book, The Emerging University, was what he held in his hands in the overposed photo that graced our student life guide, among other publications, and served as my sole photo reference for his creepy grin for quite some time.
"Diversity" is newspeak for "minorites" at TSC and many other institiutions, often used in direct contradiction with the original meaning, such as in "Diversity Wing" which, of course, means "ghetto." A nice ghetto, to be sure, but with the clear primary purpose of offering black people a place to live where they don't have to be around white people and white people don't have to be around them. I know, because I got the letter. They used the same letter of invitation for both the Diversity Wing and the Honors Study Wing (a nerd ghetto, just like in the silly movies), and the message "Wouldn't you be happier among your own kind?" was the obvious gist of it.
New Residence Hall was the best dorm available at the time, which meant the description "available" was a very limited one. TSC has the hardest time naming things. Community Commons has just been renamed Harold W. Eickhoff Hall (which I guess is appropriate since he had it built), but New Residence Hall is still New Residence Hall despite it being one of the older buildings on campus at this point.
I'm pretty proud of this one. I think some Schulz influence shows through in the dialogue. Jyg's character starts to make the transition from one-dimensional to two-dimensional (about as far as she ever got) when she takes the Sally Brown role here.
Yep, school politics can be pretty dull in the final analysis. Nice drawing of the student center, though. Remarkably, the paper was one of the few things the Student Government had some actual power over, but thankfully they never went past threats.
"Bad PR flunky. Bad!" The student newspaper would always be conspicuously hard to find whenever flocks of potential inventory were being herded through campus and sold on the TSC experience. Not surprising, since the Signal usually contained some rather negative opinions on the subject of the TSC experience and some even more embarrassing facts.
The execution of this one isn't too clear. They approach the door from opposite sides, and Jay opens and holds the door for the other guy. Art students have to carry all sorts of unwieldy junk across campus all the time, and the idea is that there's generally an instant mutual recognition of who will have the least difficulty opening the door, and the duty is done without any fuss.
Say what you will about Warren, he is quick on his feet when he senses danger.
"Open Option" is the designation of a student who hasn't yet declared a major... and, naturally, there's a time limit for doing that.
Some amateur sportsman actually shot an arrow into one of the geese on campus. The wounded bird had to be chased around with a net for a few days before it could be treated.
Yes, it's a real major. It actually has to do with the running of camps and parks.
This one seems a little mean-spirited in retrospect, but, honestly, some people have no concept of fiction. Fellow residents of my dorm seldom tired of guessing which of themselves each of the characters were "supposed to be."
Okay, I was perhaps a bit overeager to turn things into traditions back then. But that sort of thing sure is fun to draw.
Awareness days, whether they were made up by the government or the school, often seemed to be a matter of making nothing out of something rather than the other way around. To my fellow alumni, the funniest part of this comic, just by virtue of making the reference, is the "Cultural Dinner." Any holiday, old or new, that had an ethnic group associated with it would be heralded by a Cultural Dinner in Decker Dining Hall, all in the name of Celebrating Diversity. That meant the usual repast would be replaced by whatever the clueless Wood Food Services managers thought was appropriate ethnic food for the occasion, and if you take into account what they thought was appropriate to serve as "food" full-stop on a daily basis, you may start to get the idea of the disaster potential here. The day we checked in to the cafeteria to discover there was nothing on the menu but grits, collard greens, and watermelon (and those aren't examples; I mean there were just those three things), having wasted a meal point seemed insignificant compared to imagining what it must have been like to be one of the cafeteria staff (almost all of whom were black) suffering the sheer indignity of having to serve it to us on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.