|Original review author:||DrShaym|
|Author:||Chur Yin Wan|
|Start Date:||June 1, 2011|
|Defining Flaw:||When it's not infuriatingly misogynistic, it's boring as Hell.|
The only reason I'm giving this two is because it isn't all prefabricated and clicked-and-dragged from a library like some comics. However, it's still heavily reliant on copy/pasting, every character has the same face, and almost every panel has the same sideview perspective. This is in spite of the artist's supposed desire to improve.
Greg and his best friend Ted go out of their way to show us how little respect they have for women. I gave an extra point because it does actually attempt to have a story once in a while.
All of the male characters are horrible sex fiends. There's maybe one female character. The rest are female objects.
The whole thing reeks of wish-fulfillment fantasies and misogyny.
Greg was brought up on the "Is this comic bad?" section of the BWW forum by Cryogenchaos on December 26, 2011. He pointed to the irritating, womanizing nature of the two main characters, but wasn't sure if this comic was meant to be a satire of that sort of thing because it's just so blatant. We all realized it was sincere. However, the comic was soon forgotten, and the thread went stagnant for about eight months until I realized that I hadn't written a review in a while.
The comic starts off weak, then the second and third strips are a drawn-out gag about how the two protagonists are porn-obsessed assholes. However, it's not until the first movie "parody" that we get our first taste of abject misogyny, and it only gets worse from there.
Story and Plot
It's supposed to be about Greg and his best friend Ted trying to "find their way through life". What it's actually about is Ted's sexual conquests, and occasionally, we get a strip about Greg failing at life and being miserable at his dead-end job. Once in a while, we also get an arc about Greg and Ted in various fantasy situations, but they somehow manage to be even less interesting. We also occasionally get awful attempts at parody.
Greg has a simplistic cartoon art style. Now, there's nothing wrong with a simple style when it's appropriate for the tone of the comic, however, Greg has a very flat, uninspired look with characters who lack believable expressions. Since this is a comic about the "humorous" misadventures of two characters (or at least it's supposed to be), this is a problem.
One of the first noticeable problems with the art is that the characters are all drawn with beady, soulless eyes. I'm not saying it would be better if they had exaggerated anime eyes, but it would be better if they didn't all have creepy little rat eyes. See, a comic like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal gets away with that sort of thing because the characters are meant to be soulless. Just about every character in SMBC appears once, so they don't have to be likable or have personalities. This works in favor of the cynical, misanthropic tone of the comic. But in a comic like Greg, where the characters are supposed to be expressive and believable, it's inappropriate.
It also doesn't help that the poses are really stiff. On this page, we see Greg running as he's being chased by five kids. Notice how they're all in pretty much the exact same pose, like they're running in sync or something. It's unnatural, and not in any way that I'm willing to assume was intentional.
According to the website's "about" page, Chur created this comic with the intent of improving his art skills through continuous work on it. However, one wouldn't think so because this comic has been running for over a year now and has shown no noticeable improvement in the quality of its art, and it's not like he only makes one strip a month or something. This comic updates three times a week. So it seems to me that when he claims to be doing this comic for practice, he's being disingenuous because it doesn't look like he's making any effort to improve.
Despite Greg being the titular character, I feel that I must talk about Ted first. Ted is one of the worst characters I have ever seen in a comic. He's up there with Kendall from Strawberry Death Cake and Rayne from Least I Could Do. To describe him, imagine Johnny Bravo, but not as funny, and instead of being a victim of his own hubris, he always comes out on top no matter how much of a colossal, dumbfuck douchebag he is. He's supposed to be one of these "lovable" dumb guy characters, like the kind we see in just about every cartoon ever made, only instead of his stupidity causing problems, he's rewarded for it. In other words, he's a Mary Sue.
Now, I don't like to throw the term "Mary Sue" around because it's such a common and often misused term, but the way the comic treats Ted just reeks of wish fulfillment fantasies. He gets all the girls, and any time he fucks up, Greg takes the punishment and just puts up with it. I know this is supposed to be some sort of running gag about how Greg has horrible luck, but it isn't funny at all and it happens too damn often.
Now Greg, on the other hand, is meant to be some kind of antithetical balance to Ted; the straight man of the "comedic" duo. Where Ted is the triumphant human Adonis that gets everything he wants despite being an insufferable, undeserving moron, Greg is the awkward nerdy one who always gets screwed over by life. However, when it comes to women, he's just as bad. There's even a story arc where Greg takes lessons from Ted on how to use women, and he's only mildly annoyed by his blatant disrespect for them. It's only when he fears that Ted is going to try to sleep with the girl he likes that he really starts to give a shit. Greg has little to no personality beyond his reactions to Ted's antics and occasionally pitying himself.
Why are so many of the comics I review so misogynistic?
Just about any time a woman appears in this comic, it's for a sex joke. If it's a skinny woman, Greg and Ted will ogle her. If it's a fat or an old woman, they will be grossed out by her. It seems that a woman is only good for her body, and if she can't potentially please Greg and Ted, then she's useless and must be scoffed at.
Almost every female character in the comic either has slept with Ted or will sleep with Ted. For Ted, women are just walking, talking vaginas that are easy to trick into sex. For Greg, on the other hand, women are irrational, overly-emotional, violent bitches.
This is half of the comic for the first year: "Ted tries to get a woman to sleep with him" or "Greg gets hit by a woman who remembers Ted cheating on her". It's so predictable, and it gets really fucking old, really fucking fast. It's not until we're introduced to Greg's love interest, Mei, that shit finally starts to freshen up. Of course, she's the typical "gamer girl" nerd fantasy, as if there weren't enough wish-fulfillment already.
Any gags that aren't misogynistic are just bland. It's like watching a bad sitcom. I almost expect to hear canned laughter at the end of each strip. I don't like to use the word "bland" because that doesn't really say anything about it, but I really don't know how else to describe it. The jokes just consistently fall flat. The comic is never funny. Even Femmegasm and Shädbase were funny sometimes. I think I laughed once while reading this, and it wasn't a "ha ha, that's funny" kind of laugh. It was more of a "ha ha, I can't believe he put this in his comic" kind of laugh.
Many of the jokes are supposed to be lewd, but even they fall flat. There's also movie parodies which I don't even want to call parodies because they're really more like non sequitur references. The comic will often take a break from a story arc to give us a strip or two where Greg and Ted point out plot holes in whatever movie Chur watched recently. They aren't funny either.
It's hard to explain exactly why the humor fails. I get the jokes, but I just don't find them funny. It might be because the misogyny puts a bad taste in my mouth, but if that's the case, I don't think that's the only problem. It doesn't help that the art is so stiff and lifeless and the characters' expressions are so hindered by their beady-eyed, soulless faces.
All I know about Chur is what it says on the "about" page, and it's nothing particularly interesting.
It didn't take long for me to start growing weary of this comic, but I read through maybe the first 150 strips because I wanted to see if it ever started to get any better. However, the repetitive gags, the insufferable characters, the terrible attempts at parody, the bland art, and the misogyny are all just too much. When this comic isn't boring, it's infuriating, and I just couldn't bring myself to read any further.
This comic would be improved substantially if Chur were to drastically tone down Ted and the sexism that he brings with him. It would be even better if he would kill off Ted entirely. If he were to get rid of Ted, Chur would be forced to come up with gags other than "Ted convinces a woman to sleep with him" and "woman gets angry at Ted and punches Greg in the face". The comic might be more boring then, but at least it would be substantially less eye-rolling.
Now, reading this review, seeing how I focus almost entirely on the misogyny, one might get the sense that I'm one of these ultra-PC types. I'm not. There's nothing wrong with the occasional sexist joke. Actually, when people laugh at such jokes, I feel that we are demonstrating awareness that such jokes are sexist, and that's what makes them funny. It's because we realize that it's a bad thing to say and it tickles our sense of naughtiness. However, this comic comes across as genuinely sexist because it relies so heavily on disrespectful depictions of women and portraying men objectifying women as normal, and not in a satirical way, and it does it so persistently that it becomes obnoxious.
Giving Chur the benefit of the doubt, I'm not going to claim that the misogyny in his comic stems from a blatant disrespect for women. It probably stems from simple thoughtlessness, like he's not taking into consideration how offensive this is. That's why I decided to review this comic. I'm not a moral crusader, but I'm hoping that anybody who's planing on starting their own webcomic who reads this will know not to do this sort of thing.