Prolific "sucks less" contributor SinbadEV left this guest post in my inbox. That's good, because I sure as heck didn't want to review 973.
Title: MTV Generation; alt-text: If you identified with the kids from The Breakfast Club when it came out, you're now much closer to the age of Principal Vernon.
So I have recently been running this blog where I post edits of XKCD comics in a "xkcd sucks less" kinda way. I like a lot of XKCD comics and, while I often feel they could be improved or feel the need to to draw attention to a flaw, I usually see a silver lining.
But this comic is just painful. The only way I can see to make it not suck, right now, would be to erase all of the text...
... which for me at least, oddly enough, makes the comic hilarious. I'll grant this might be due to my knowledge of the original.
In order to really understand what's wrong with this comic we first need to find the joke. In case you missed it in the midden heap of terribleness I'll do this for you:
"You are so old that the 'kids these days' you resent are now parents."
I may have stretched a little there but I'm sure I can be forgiven given the material I was working with.
What makes me the most mad here is that I don't know of anyone who has referred to anyone as being part of the "MTV Generation" in the last fifteen years. If people from the MTV Generation are now in their 40s then people who talked about the MTV Generation as being a thing are at least in their 50s and people who talked about them derisively are in their 60s or early 70s. Maybe the stick figure wearing the hat is 65, I suppose... maybe we can call him "Old Man Hat Guy" and the joke is that "Old People Don't Keep Up With Pop Psychology". Even assuming that Randall meant this, it would have been a lot better to say "You ARE the MTV Generation, Dad". This all leads to the final conclusion that the execution of the joke hinges on "MTV Generation" being something people still say... and it just isn't.
Even if the joke had been worth telling and he had come up with a way for it not to hinge on a strawman, the execution is still painful. I'm not talking about the stick figures here. I'm talking about the script.
"See, That's the problem with the MTV Generation - No attention span."
"You know, that phrase referred to the 12-19 demographic that formed the core MTV audience in the mid-1980s."
"Uh huh? So?"
"That generation's now in their 40s."
"That can't be right."
"Face it: Your problem with the MTV Generation is their kids."
Who talks like that? Maybe if in panel two she was holding a phone so it was clear she was quoting Wikipedia or something. Here's the script with the joke as bad as it was presented but just the dialog improved.
"See, that's the problem with the MTV Generation. No Attention Span."
"That phrase refers to teens who grew up in the 80's."
"They're in their 40s now."
"That can't be..."
"Face it. The problem with the MTV Generation is their kids."
See? The problem with this comic is Everything!
Then the alt-text makes it worse by pointing out that "You are 'the man' you once resented" which is the opposite of what the comic seems to be saying.
Also, who the heck talks in colons and hyphens? What does a colon sound like?