Cookie Fonster’s Homestuck Commentary Part 63: Dirk’s Ironic Robot Company

Introduction

Part 62 | Part 63 | Part 64 >

Act 6 Act 1, Part 4 of 4

Pages 4227-4284 (MSPA: 6127-6184)

In a callback to a scene in the trolls’ arc, Jake discovers a grumbling giant version of Karkat’s lusus. Presumably the callback is there to make it extra obvious those are the trolls’ lusii—this isn’t the only time such a thing is done.

You leap into the tropical island fray in an attempt to violently pacify the gigantic Earth crabdad. What is he even doing here? The question doesn’t even occur to you. The island has been crawling with these things for as long as you can remember. 

The presence of lusii on Jake’s island is another hint that the Condesce is up and about in the alpha kids’ world, much more so than previously. While in the pre-scratch universe, the Condesce disappeared before John’s father was born and Nanna was probably the only one around who knew who she really was, in the scratched universe she is well-known as a worrisome urban legend, or should I say a 21st-century mythical figure. And this time around, the witch makes her presence much more obvious, both in-universe and to the reader

You do the thing where you fly through the air shooting two guns at once. That thing isn’t even that big of a deal for you. You do that thing practically every day on hellmurder island. 

“Hellmurder island” is exactly the phrase Rose used to describe the island Jade lived on long ago. But this time around, such a description actually makes sense, with all the dark forests and monsters.

When Jake sees another lusus and shoots it, the following happens:

Oh nooo. 

It was only one of those sweet little fairy bulls. You just murdered him inappropriately with your multi-bullet device.

You love those little fairy bulls. You feel just awful.

The sentence I underlined is a callback to something Tavros said long ago, about how he accidentally killed his lusus. One could see this as an example of the dead trolls’ legacy in the comic: just because they were killed off doesn’t mean they won’t still be referenced in various ways. The alpha kids actually have more in common with the trolls dead by the start of Act 6 than the alive ones, especially Jane (who has a lot in common with Feferi) and Dirk (with interests similar to those of Equius).

In the images above, the brobot makes a sneaky dramatic entrance through a zoom in. Early Act 6 just loves these dramatic entrances and debuts, doesn’t it.

This is the most terrifying taxidermy stuff ever.

Jane summons Lil’ Seb, I mean Dirk’s yet unnamed robot bunny, and he makes yet another dramatic entrance, but this time it appears out of Poppop’s corpse for some reason. I don’t even want to know how that’s possible. It’s probably explained in conversation a little later? I guess I’ll see for myself.

This robo-bunny’s dramatic entrance tops all others in every conceivable way: in being badass, unexpected, and outright terrifying. Lord English has nothing on him.

If Jake’s life wasn’t already a non-magical version of Jade’s, here we get to see the bottom of his mostly destroyed huge tower. It’s another hint at the Condesce having her hands everywhere, since it’s later revealed that she destroyed his house.

This zooms out to Jake’s island in full view. The main thing I notice here (aside from the symbolistic spires surrounding the frog temple*) is a trail of lily pads leading to the temple. Presumably that trail was specifically made for easy access there. It also brings to light another difference from Jade’s life: this time around, there’s no dog to stop Jake from entering the temple at his own will, since going there is important for the whole robot bunny thing to happen.

* For reference, here are the differences from the intact version of Jade’s temple: the eight spires around the temple represent the eight kids’ planets. The Derse spire is missing its “moon”, and the Prospit one that should be right next to the frog at the center is missing entirely, foreshadowing what happens to the dream planets when the alpha kids ascend to god tier.

Aurthour is back!

In the scenes with Jake exploring his island, we only get to see some of the trolls’ lusii; Equius’s hilarious cow centaur lusus is among them. It’s pretty obvious that Hussie is proud of coming up with this character; why else would he make a second version of him that shows up in several scenes throughout Act 6?

While Jade’s life is like a happy magical sort of fairy tale, Jake’s is more of the kind where monsters are and have always been real.

And the many Aurthours come in lots of sizes. And for good reason: what’s more hilarious and absurd than a muscular centaur butler? A whole bunch of giant muscular centaur butlers.

I take back everything I said about Lil’ Seb being terrifying. This monster is the true rival in horror to Lord English; makes sense because it was the lusus of one of his components.

Wow, there’s been so many dramatic entrances now. Here, for the first time we get to see how scary Gamzee’s lusus really is, when we never saw that the very brief time we saw it originally. 

Poppop’s eye has been slashed now. His arm being cut off is an obvious reiteration of the arm-eye motif. It also clues readers in on a prototyping that doesn’t actually happen, which I’ll talk about when it almost happens.

Poor poppop’s severed head got nicked by the FIREPLACE POKER. He’s going to need a lot of work this time. Over the years, your dad has spent thousands of dollars on repairs. Oh well, how much more grounded can you get than you already are?

Apparently Jane’s dad goes through a lot of trouble to keep Poppop’s stuffed body in good condition instead of leaving it somewhere that isn’t creepy as hell? That would explain the weird way his head bursted out of his corpse when Lil’ Seb made his dramatic entrance. Also, it says a lot about what Dad is like. Both versions of him go through absurd measures to care for their family.

It almost looks as if Dirk is messaging Jane through her hat.That’s probably possible somehow, even though it’s really just through her tiaratop.

You stick the poker down his neck hole and jam the head back on the spike as a temporary measure. That looks somewhat more respectable you guess. 

I’m not sure if the upsetting taxidermy desecration stuff has crossed the line into Weekend at Bernie’s style humor or become even more upsetting. The weird thing is, in Murderstuck there was always a pretty sharp line between dark humor and serious nightmare trauma, but here it’s kind of both at once? The reveal that Dad regularly spent lots of money repairing Poppop’s body sort of lessens the traumatic impact of this scene.

It still looks like Jane is talking to Dirk with her hat.

Oh hell yes. It’s the first actual Dirk pesterlog. Thanks to the amazing fanmade full version of Detective Pony, I think he might be my favorite of the alpha kids. Just by reading the first several lines of the conversation I can tell his pesterlogs are probably going to be fun to go through, with commentary almost as long-winded as the stuff he says.

TT: Why have you activated dear, sweet Huggy Bear.
TT: Are you in danger?
GG: Oh, no.
GG: I’m just trying to leave my house! 

The way Jane says she’s not in danger but only trying to leave her house says a lot about the excruciating trouble that the kids go through in the early acts, by which I mean both the first few acts of the comic and the first few acts of Act 6.

GG: Is this the real you, btw?
TT: Yeah, it’s me.
TT: I disabled the AR for now. 

Dirk’s quick straight answer to Jane regarding which one he is lets us know that he’s at least somewhat less of a douche than his responder.

GG: Ok. Just making sure!
GG: Jake was having some issues with it earlier, and I don’t think he received its obfuscating tendencies in the humorous spirit intended.
TT: Yes, I’m catching up with the situation now.
GG: Oh, so you’re talking to Jake then?
TT: Nah. Just reading their chat logs.
TT: Man, what the fuck?
TT: I can’t leave these two alone for a minute. Can a guy get his ablutions on in fucking peace?
GG: :B
GG: Was it that bad?
TT: Not really.
TT: The responder doesn’t much distort my position on things usually.
TT: Its demeanor leaves something desired though. I’d prefer it didn’t make such aggressive and repeated claims of fidelity to my persona.
TT: Be misrepresentin’ hells of key subtleties, yo. 

Dirk’s discussion of what he doesn’t like about his responder makes it sound like its role in the narrative is showing Dirk from another perspective (as basically a secondary Dirk, much like Davesprite). This is a bit strange considering that all the alpha kids, especially Dirk, are existing characters (the guardians to be specific) shown from other perspectives. Come to think of it, at the moment the responder’s main role and purpose in the story isn’t totally clear to me—maybe Hussie had planned the thing of Lord English’s soul components from the start? I guess I’ll see for myself later, probably.

Also, the last two lines above are a prime demonstration of the way Dirk talks: florid vocabulary to the likes of Rose mixed with “rad dude” slang. I could’ve talked about it more earlier, but I forgot to so I’ll say it now: each character in the comic has a distinct “voice”, by which I mean not only their typing quirks but also the way they talk. With the alpha kids, this is done especially strongly, with their voices based on their own traits, those of the guardians, and of the beta kids. Dirk’s way of speaking is obviously based partly on his pre-scratch self’s status as an ultimate dudebro, but also with his choice of vocabulary that matches with his tendency to make things complicated, both traits he shares with Rose. As for the other three, Jane’s way of speaking presents her to us as a slightly quirky “good girl”; Jake as a guy who says blunt yet surprisingly meaningful things (like John) and uses a hell of a lot of grandpa talk; and Roxy as an irreverent girl (like Dave, except he isn’t a girl) who wants nothing more than her friends to be happy (like the way Mom tried to be with Rose).

GG: Why not just turn it off then?
TT: Keeps them both on their toes.
GG: Who?
TT: Jake and the responder.
TT: Jake needs to be more skeptical. Rather than take a Pollyanna jackknife ass-first off whatever turnip truck is blowing through town that day, he’s got to apply more critical reasoning to shit.
TT: I keep telling him.
TT: I keep telling him, dude, you got to be more like Jane. 

Are those “be more like Jane” lessons why Dirk’s responder denied that he wasn’t the real Dirk the first time we heard from him?

GG: What were you saying?
TT: About what? Jake?
GG: About leaving the responder on!
TT: Yeah.
TT: Anyway, I kind of owe it to him to let the program run as often as possible.
GG: Jake?
TT: No.
TT: The responder.
TT: It is a fully cognitive, self-aware entity I am responsible for, not even to mention an approximate cerebral duplicate of myself.
TT: You don’t just make a clone of yourself to live in a dead end existence where it has no chance to thrive as an individual or surpass its limitations.
TT: That’d be sick. 

The idea of how sick it would be to make Dirk’s responder have a dead end existence is probably foreshadowing for what happens later with that thing: first, that completely happens when Dirk spends months refusing to upgrade his responder to a sprite due to how much of a monster it already became, but it’s averted when he finally lets his responder live a decent existence as a muscular sweaty guy concerned with completely different things, mostly.

TT: Also.
TT: The more the software runs, the broader and more detailed its experiential canopy becomes. Makes for a better dialogic partner.
GG: Dialogic?
GG: Are you saying you have conversations with your own auto-responder?
TT: Of course.
TT: Why do you think I made the thing? 

Dirk’s statement that he made his responder as someone to talk to is another subtle hint of him and Roxy living in a lonely future.

What the hell is Lil’ Seb doing with the pipe picture.

GG: Sometimes your sense of humor seems more impenetrably advanced than your robotics. I’ll never understand this tapestry of irony you weave.
GG: Maybe I’m just stuck in the dark ages of pranksterism with my funny mustaches corny old joke book.
TT: Yes, you are. But that’s fine.
TT: We come from different traditions. Someone needs to keep that racist southern asshole’s legacy alive.
TT: There’s dignity in taking up the work of our familial predecessors, even if what they did was insanely fucking stupid.
GG: Is that a note of bitterness directed at your superstar brother I am detecting?
TT: No way. He’s awesome. 

Another supposed kid/guardian parallel, and a particularly strange one. I think this is supposed to match up with Dave’s relationship with his bro—the first thing both say about their guardian/ancestor is that he’s awesome—but it’s soon clear that unlike Dave, Dirk legitimately looks up to his ancestor as a guy to model himself after. I suppose those parallels are early installment weirdness that’s debunked when we learn Dirk and Roxy’s secrets.

TT: I’ve told you, I don’t begrudge any of his success.
TT: I’ve also told you he isn’t my real bro even though I call him that. We’re related through an esoteric process of genetic reamalgamation. 

Though at first this seems like Dirk knowing about the ectobiology stuff somehow (presumably through Calliope?), in retrospect this line seems like more foreshadowing of Dirk living in the future, in a world where the Condesce had tried to make humans reproduce the way trolls do and familiarize them with her race’s ways.

TT: The point is, obviously his satirical methods have flaws, and whatever tempered brand of hero worship I might be practicing isn’t keeping me from seeing that.
GG: Flaws?? Talk about understatement. Those movies are unwatchable.
GG: Unless your name is Jake English.

Apparently Jane isn’t a fan of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff. That sets her apart from most of the other kids (both beta and alpha), which may match with the fact that she has the least in common with any of the beta kids, which is to say the least of a replication of any of their traits.

TT: Yes, spectacularly so. But they will have profound historical significance. Mark my words. 

This is foreshadowing I never knew of before. Dirk claims Dave’s movies will have profound historical significance, which will prove to be completely true when we learn more about the guy.

TT: And flaws aside, it’s a legacy I’m proud to inherit. My duty isn’t to appropriate his methods with absolute loyalty, but to apply reason and improve upon them. To leave my own mark.
TT: To perfect the art of irony.

Here, we see that Dirk is heavily interested in “irony”, which is kind of a funny word in Homestuck. Early on it was easy to infer that Dave only likes to think his bro likes stuff ironically because the unsettling puppets and all that are easier to handle that way. But here, it’s made obvious that Dirk is seriously into irony. And that definitely isn’t only because B2 Dave is into that stuff; Dirk must himself take a shining to that field if he were to even care about his ancestor’s ironic shtick. More on that when Dirk goes on about irony later in the conversation.

TT: It’s just like what you’re doing with the work of your ancestor. You are striving to perfect his hokey vaudeville bullshit, or something.
TT: You seek the Zen of a pie to the face. The Tao of falling the fuck down.
GG: Ermm…
GG: If you say so!
GG: I dunno. Call me a simpleton, but I just like funny jokes. 

Dirk talks up his ancestor’s actions as steps in the practice of irony, but dismisses John’s as “hokey vaudeville bullshit, or something”. I don’t think this is so much a difference between John and Dave as it is a thing going on with Dirk: he has interests in common with Dave, but puts them under a much more complex light.

TT: Can’t fool me. You take your shit as serious as I do.
TT: And if I wasn’t serious about it, I wouldn’t have made you that rabbit. Then where the hell would you be? 

Apparently Dirk thinks Jane needs the robot bunny to live a safe life? If that’s true, then one could say his controlling nature is demonstrated in that Jane and Jake both live with robots he built, making him a force in both of their lives through his robots. I consider Dirk’s brobot to be one of his splinters thanks to his extreme violent nature that completely destroys the ways of Dirk himself.

I really like this image’s use of perspective. It shows Dirk walking around his roof in such a way that we can’t tell that he lives in an empty waterworld, but still shows enough to vaguely hint at such a thing.

GG: Well, aside from thousands of dollars in corpse-repair richer, I can’t say.
TT: Has he been sleeping in the old man hollow again? Shit, that’s adorable. 

Dirk has a very wretched conception of what “adorable” means. Kind of reminds me of how Rose thinks the creepiest things ever are cool and interesting. And also how Feferi thinks the same.

GG: I can think of cuter places for him to sleep, frankly!
TT: Yeah, bullshit.
TT: He’s just being instinctive. In the wild, he would gut a carcass and sleep inside for warmth, as well as to secure tactical advantage for ambushing would-be scavengers. 

Why and how would a robot bunny be able to do that??? And why did Dirk even install such functionality? Maybe it’s as with all his other projects: he lives in a lonely future and thus gets carried away with the most ridiculous things. If gutting a carcass and sleeping inside is anything like that gruesome horse gutting scene in The Revenant*, then Lil’ Seb may be the most nightmarish character after all.

* Worse than the bear fight scene in my opinion.

GG: Oh, please.
GG: Anyway, property damage and desecration to cherished elders aside, Mr. Bear has been a lovely addition to the family.
TT: You haven’t renamed him yet?
GG: Oh… no.
GG: I keep forgetting I’m supposed to!
TT: You’ve got to fucking rename him. Or change him to a girl if you want. That was important.
TT: When pets change owners they get new names. Fact. 

Dirk’s statement about renaming pets, and especially the part about changing Lil’ Seb to a girl, is a funny meta-joke that seems more like the kind that would be made by the narration, not by a character. (post-epilogues edit: HOLY SHIT)

GG: Sorry.
GG: I will name him right now!
GG: How about Lil’ Sebastian?
TT: Fuck if that isn’t the best name a thing could get.
GG: Yeah!!! 

[…] (I’ll comment on the stuff between these quotes, and more on the one below, really soon)

TT: Ever hear of Con Air?
GG: Nope.
GG: Wait…
GG: Wasn’t that some bit of action schlock from the 90’s?
TT: Yes.
GG: Some of the silly nonsense referenced in his work was well before my time. I don’t have the wherewithal to investigate all this minutia. 

Jane and Dirk agree that Lil’ Sebastian (a pony from Parks and Recreation) is an awesome name for a pet, but she says she doesn’t care much for movies like Con Air because it’s before her time. This is sort of the opposite of John: he is obsessed with movies from the 90’s but hardly ever makes reference to more recent media. As I said two posts ago, this probably matches with the comic’s shift of appeal to a younger audience.

GG: So then, are you saying Mr. Sebastian here was an ironic present?
GG: Relayed strictly for guffaws?? >:B
TT: Yes, but it’s not that simple. There were many layers involved.
TT: Some of them are literal layers, of metal and plush.
GG: Huh?
TT: There’s a real stuffed rabbit beneath its exoskeleton.
GG: What! Really? :O
TT: Yeah.
TT: It belonged to my bro. 

I wonder if the layers of plush and metal in the bunny are meant to symbolize the layers of irony and sincerity. There’s probably a whole crazy explanation of the complex irony involved in that.

GG: I thought you said you didn’t have such an heirloom to complete the plushie trifecta?
TT: I didn’t. He didn’t give it to me, and never intended to bequeath it.
TT: I stole it.
GG: Ooh. Risky!
TT: Nah. I got a little help from RL and ganked it out of his museum.
TT: It’s this whole “priceless” collection of stupid shit from movies, defended like Fort Knox. Ironically of course. 

I wonder what readers getting to this point would think Dirk means by getting help from Roxy to steal the bunny from his bro’s museum? It’s yet another clue that the two live in the future, since it’s easy to explain how she did that when we learn about her appearifier gun. Also, the casual mention of Dave’s ironic movie museum tells that in the scratched universe, the guy made irony his trademark, and that worked out well for him.

GG: So it’s from a movie?
TT: Ever hear of Con Air?
GG: Nope.
GG: Wait…
GG: Wasn’t that some bit of action schlock from the 90’s?
TT: Yes.
GG: Some of the silly nonsense referenced in his work was well before my time. I don’t have the wherewithal to investigate all this minutia.
TT: Yeah, it doesn’t matter really. But it was from that. Dude weirdly obsessed over that shit movie for years, among others. 

I think it’s pretty funny that Jane and Dirk casually talk about Con Air as some random 90’s movie while John always talked about it as a true masterpiece of a movie.

TT: Know those signature shades you see him wearing on magazine covers and stuff? Another prop. A gift from Stiller himself, I believe. 

I think it says a lot that on both sides of the Scratch, Dave was gifted the very same sunglasses. Before the scratch the shades are a symbol of his friendships; after the scratch, they’re a symbol of his success as a master of irony who people see as a legitimately cool guy.

GG: Why didn’t you mention this when you gave the gift? More irony?
TT: Essentially. It’s not that easy to explain.
TT: Broadcasting the gesture would have made it seem tawdry, and would somewhat defray its humor value. 
GG: I see. So it was like a private joke, and if anyone besides you was in on it, the joke would be ruined! 

I’m not sure whether the complex ironic handwave for why Dirk waited until now to tell the story of the bunny he gave Jane (aside from narrative convenience) is stupid or brilliant.

TT: Like I said, there are layers.
TT: On one level, I gave you a filthy tattered piece of shit, albeit of tremendous cultural significance, manhandled by some old B movie actors, now candy coated to function as a highly practical defender droid for your personal protection.
TT: On another level, I needed to incorporate something passable as a real heirloom.
TT: For sentimental reasons.
GG: D’awwwww.
GG: Wait, real sentiment, or ironic sentiment?
GG: Or is there no difference?? Am I missing the point here?
TT: No, it was genuine. 

I think the layers of the bunny maybe symbolized the “layers of irony” or whatever after all. The outside layer of the rabbit itself is a complex deadly robot meant to serve as a bodyguard, but inside it’s a sentimental heirloom identical to an item very much symbolic of the kids’ friendships.

TT: The upper echelons of irony should always include measures of sincerity. And if the satirical practice is executed faithfully it will achieve something bona fide in its own right regardless. 
TT: Through an intense commitment bordering on religious devotion to the absolutely inane, absurd, or plain fucking stupid, a very different kind of sincerity begins to materialize. One of reverence to the ridiculous.

To Dave, irony is mostly a way to be funny; to Dirk it’s a whole complicated thing to go on about. But in Dirk’s case especially, he’s seriously all about complex irony, meaning that the whole thing of Dave’s bro having irony too complex for Dave to understand might be true after all, which is kind of ironic (pun may or may not be intended).

It seems like sometimes, the comic has a hard time deciding whether the Striders’ interests are legitimate or cover-up stuff. The most egregious* example would be (sorry for bringing that up again) Dave’s whole sexuality monologue, which flips back and forth between saying it’s funny to joke about things being gay and saying it’s actually just dumb cover up stuff.** In this case, the very fact that Dirk has this much to say about the complex way of irony eliminates any possibility that he only pretends to like that stuff.

* I really hope I’m using this word correctly.

** If I had to guess, I’d say Hussie is closer to the former point of view, because if he wasn’t there’s no way he’d go out of his way to use his comic to say stuff like “you have to understand that some things just are REALLY FUCKING GAY”.

TT: You begin to “mean it,” but what exactly it is you mean is never quite what appears on the surface, and is utterly inaccessible to obtuse and literal minds. That you “mean it” then becomes inseparable from the joke, and additional rich strata of humor may be stripped aggressively from this irreconcilable truth. 

Amidst his speech on irony, there’s an interesting bit I underlined: Dirk says that his irony doesn’t make sense to those with “obtuse and literal minds”, which basically means Jake. I think it’s not so much that Jake doesn’t understand the convoluted mechanics of irony as it is that he doesn’t care about any of that nonsense.

TT: Jane, one more thing.
TT: I’m sure you must be aware by now that you’ll be the leader of our group, as you will be the first to enter the session.
GG: Um, no?
GG: This is news to me. I never gathered that “team leader” was a thing for this game.
TT: Trust me. It’s a thing.
GG: Are you sure? I have my doubts.
GG: I believe as a group we will have the temerity to succeed, without my having to order people around like an insufferable bossypants. 

Seems like the alpha kids’ leadership situation is the exact opposite of that of the trolls. The trolls all made a huge deal about the red and blue teams and all that but the only thing that ended up meaning anything is Karkat being the leader. With the alpha kids, the supposed leader doesn’t care much about that, but when Roxy is said to be the real leader all along, that sort of becomes her thing.

TT: That’s why you’re our leader, Jane.
GG: Hm?
TT: Optimism through stalwart skepticism is an affect not everyone is plucky enough to be graced with.
GG: That’s stupid!
TT: Yeah yeah. I know.
TT: You’re not our leader, you’re our FRIEND, right?
GG: Precisely!
GG: There is a BIG difference!
TT: And statements like that are also why you’re our leader. 

Callback to John and Rose talking about his role as a leader. Come to think of it, the beta kids never had all that much of a leadership thing going on. I think Rose was kind of the leader for a while, when she guided John through Sburb and was the one who knew playing the game would be important. But eventually that’s completely thrown out when she starts destroying stuff.

TT: But only in name and in spirit. Less so, functionally.
TT: If it puts your mind at ease, I’ll be the one pulling the strings here. 

Dirk directly remarks that Jane will mostly only be called the leader, and he’ll do most of the actual work with the game. With that in place, one could say that all the alpha kids except Jake have been in some way the leader, or at least planned to be that way. I think this may be toying with the concept of leaders, and perhaps deconstructing it.

TT: Jane, soon you’ll believe what I’ve told you.
TT: You’ll believe it all.
TT: It’s just a shame that believing will take something so coarse as seeing, for a girl as sharp as you.
TT: Critical thought can lead one to accept the unlikely, just as much as dismiss the impossible. 

I think this bit is meant to set up another mystery: how exactly Jane will get around to believing all the stuff her friends say that she always dismissed for so long. I’m pretty sure the answer is another dream where she sees Skaian clouds of her friends and stuff, which happens right when the alpha kids’ storyline resumes.

TT: I can help with this too. Would you like me to program a Jane Crocker responder for you?
TT: I only require a simple captcha of your brain.
GG: Holy moly!
GG: Um, thank you, but no.
GG: I’m not ready to get dialogic with my cyberself just yet. My friends keep me busy enough as it is. 

I think what Dirk means here is that a Jane Crocker responder would help her see herself from a different perspective, just like with him and his responder.

GG: Speaking of which, I really need to go. I know you love to talk my ear off, and it’s always a treat, but let’s catch up later after the game starts, ok?
GG: And if I do need your help, I promise I’ll take you up on your offer!
TT: I made several. Which one?
GG: The one where you, hopefully not literally, offered to catch me in the crevice of a great big squishy butt! Hoo hoo hoo!
GG: Gtg!!! ❤ 

Jane says it’s always a treat when Dirk lectures her about irony and all that, which is much different from Jake being annoyed by his responder’s smartass bullshit. I think Dirk’s responder specifically likes to pick on Jake with that stuff because he knows the guy finds it annoying.

Jane commands Lil’ Seb to lift the fridge, and that somehow happens without any problems. The robot’s supreme strength is another example of how carried away Dirk is with his robots.

Jane reads a note from under the fridge, and it looks like her father does the exact same “so proud of you” fatherly note thing as the other Dad. Although he has gotten over his pre-scratch counterpart’s obsession with imitating his child’s apparent interests, he still has this weird expectation for his children to grow up incredibly muscular.

Yes, finally we have some hilarious sylladex-style antics that were so common in the early acts!

I’m not sure whether or not Dad is confused in this picture. It’s implied that he’s used to all this destruction since Jane says Lil’ Seb caused him to spend lots of money on taxidermy repairs, but I can’t imagine he totally saw this coming.

The “Heiress Sans Parent” rung is one of those bits of sneaky foreshadowing. And very worrisome foreshadowing as well.

Jane throws down her hat in disgust, and the echeladder is back in action. Now this is exactly the sort of throwback to the early acts that readers love.

And the hat leveling up is even more of an early acts sort of thing.

OH MY GOD THE HUMANITY. HOW THEY EXACT THEIR POUND OF FLESH. 

As Jake runs away from the goat lusus in far only to be approached by a swarm of “horrifying” fairy bulls, a new thought occurs to me: what if the Condesce put the lusii on his island to prepare him for the fighting he must go through in Sburb?

Another dramatic entrance, and this guy’s second one.

Dirk’s brobot then appears and bleats like a goat for strategic purposes and also ironic purposes, fulfilling a prophecy in an unexpected way. I might as well repeat what I said in an earlier post about that:

Sadly, Dave never bleated like a goat. Well, he might do so in the epilogue; come to think of it, I hope that ends up happening. Instead, the prophecy of bleating like a goat was fulfilled by Dirk’s brobot, matching with the principles of Dave’s arc. Still, even though it’s a very trivial matter, Dave himself should bleat like a goat at some point.

This is one of several times the comic fulfills a Chekhov’s gun in unexpected ways, something that’s particularly common in early Act 6. Instead of Dave bleating like a goat, Dirk’s brobot does so in a way that’s unanticipated but retrospectively obvious.

The robot proceeds to save Jake by chopping off the goat’s head in a way that makes it look like a total weakling. It also matches with the whole thing of Dave being bailed out of tricky situations by his bro and future selves (including Davesprite).

Regular confused dad, I guess.

Extra confused dad.

The punctuation mark above Dad has been progressively blinking faster and faster.

As Jane runs to get the mail, Dad examines his home and progresses from typical fatherly confused reactions to uncharacteristically extreme worry. In this whole act so far, our new version of Dad, though clearly just as loving, is far more obviously protective of his child.

Jane gets the mail and the following happens:

END OF ACT 6 ACT 1

As with the end of Act 1, Act 6 Act 1 ends with an explosion that would certainly kill our new protagonist if not for other mysterious means. But this time around, it invites much more worry, because right after this point we switch perspectives entirely, rather than quickly following up on her. To the knowledge of readers getting to this point, there’s a distinct possibility Jane actually died, which is an absolutely surprising twist but also sad as hell, especially for her father.


Overall, Act 6 Act 1 is, above all else, a stage setting act for the alpha kids. We get to know Jane and Jake quite a lot but they don’t accomplish much; rather, we get in great detail the premises of our characters’ goals, which they have great trouble even starting. We also get a decent idea of what Roxy and Dirk, the mysterious other two characters, are like in advance, way more so than we got with the beta kids before they were introduced. But even though Act 6 Act 1 is mostly stage setting, it does a really good job with that, putting a new spin on the character introductions in Act 1 which is very different from both the early acts’ lengthy and sometimes generic character introductions and the brisk hard-to-keep-track pace of trolls’ arc.

3/12/2019: Over the past few days I reread Act 6 Act 1, two and a half years after writing this post. I wrote up a post giving thoughts on the act more detailed than the above paragraph.

See you next time as we return to the original main characters of the comic, for now.

>> Part 64: Triennium Battleship Mindfuckery

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