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Stuck in the Middle With You

Still plan on another comic for late Friday or sometime Saturday. 20pts for anyone who knows why he called her Miss Perfect.

180 thoughts on “Stuck in the Middle With You

      1. That’s probably the reason why. Unless she was Ms. Canadian Universe when they met.

        You know, a beauty pageant winner. Like Candice Bergen in “Miss Congeniality.”

        1. I would say 2:52am beats 8:18am and 8:37am.
          Or perhaps Mechabill was too subtle in his notice.

        2. Personally I’d argue that 9:35pm on July 30th beats 2:52am and 8:37am on July 31st, but hey. ;-)

        3. It’s just too indirect, it would not pass muster on “Jeopardy.”

          The link provided was the first concrete mention, but then to find the argued 2 a.m. post.

        4. Hey, the points were for whomever figured it out, not for whomever posted! If I’d posted the answer itself, that would have robbed others of their chance to cash in on those sweet, sweet points! So in the words of the most famous Jeopardy contestant of all…

          “Shuck it Trebeck! Shuck it looong, and shuck it haaard!”

        5. Actually, he said, “20pts for anyone who knows why he called her Miss Perfect.” And by leaving out the deadline, anyone who clicks the link or reads Dandi Andi’s post will have 20 points up to the time Rusche announces the reason. If Christine A. Perfect is the reason.

  1. I must say, Danny doesn’t look terribly concerned.

    In fact, he’s looked pretty nonchalant about everything that’s happened since Caleb kicked his door down…

    1. He probably still hasn’t come down from the last hit of montage.
      Although, with no music to back it, he may be practically catatonic right now.

        1. Technically not, actually. If you are accepting the wider definition of acting as taxi for a friend/acquaintance. Which is not all too uncommon in use.

        2. If you have to use the word “technically” to describe a lie to your significant other, it’s a double-lie.

        3. I agree that it is a lie although the usual reason, that of a sexual nature, is probably not in play. He does get a good look at Ellie’s butt but in the next panel is looking out his window in the opposite direction, catching himself and shutting it down because he knows that, at least in this instance, it is wrong. Now I personally find him a jerk but I have to say that the current reason he is lying about his mode of transport is because the situation is terrible. “I fired Danny for his illegal camsite but the girls found out and I had to buy them both cars to keep them from having us arrested and suing our entire site and shutting us down but they don’t actually hate “US,” just him, so we got something to eat before dumping Danny at the police station and now one of them is giving me a ride to the airport and we are stuck in traffic but apparently these “Americans” take traffic jams as an opportunity for a cookout because someone pulled a grill out of a pickup truck and is making burgers and she wanted to know if I wanted one.” That is NOT a story an angry person wants to hear. And I didnt even point out that he managed to get his money back as well.

    1. Heheh, I love how obsessed you are with these people in Florida Bats. Keep stallking them, I’m sure I’ll stay out of trouble in Gotham while you do. HAHAHA.

    2. The fun part of this is when you realize that Caleb didn’t get that ass shot because he was looking out the other window. Stay classy, Caleb. <3

      1. Aside from White Rice, that won the sketch that had her face. Though I thought someone said that she appeared to be (or be similar to/based upon) a picture Rusche has up on his DeviantArt. DeviantArt irritates me so I never went looking, though.

        1. These reactions she’s having seen about right from what I’ve got on paper here.

          You know the term “resting bitch-face”? This page confirms that Vu has taken it to a whole new level (and woe to any who cause it to no longer be a “resting” face)

      2. If I had to guess, based on comments Rusche has made on dA, I believe the gal in this pic is proto-Vu. Squidboy is so obviously Caleb.

    1. The Hey Arnold thing was what I was thinking of as well. Ms Perfect being that girl that looks sweet on the outside, but …

    1. It helps if you’re going to tailgate at the game, but the food will spoil if you don’t cook it now because who gets the power cooler for $345.95? Or, you just came from the megamart with 10 lbs. Of ground round at 2.15 a lb, and you got stuck in traffic. Soooo, you see a guy with a grill and hot dogs and pull out the beef, cheese and buns so they won’t spoil and you haven’t eaten a meal in ten hours and that apple four hours ago was supposed to hold out for 2.5 – 3 hours in time to cook out at home and have 1/2 the meat in the freezer as well.

      Besides, there have been movies about this stuff.

        1. That’s 2 infractions now. After the 3rd we’re sending all your bar to remedial Internet memes seminar.

    1. Man, Rainbow Dash and her sister from another mother Apple Jack are the number one OG’s and will love and friendship your ass to death. Your going to LOVE them (or else).

    2. I miss so many good details like that on my first glance. Thanks for pointing it out. Fantastic tattoo choice for that guy.

      1. My time in the state that Arnold made was very, very peaceful, if you took aside the need for everyone to drive at 95 mph. Normally, I don’t have the slightest problem with this, but with the motorcycles splitting lanes faster than the bumper to bumper stock car race, it was a little weird because I was trying to find my exit.

        Still, the KOH race was quite worth it, as was exploring San Clemente with a friend who had moved out there.

        Did I mention walking on the beach, wading in the Pacific while on the phone with people back on the East Coast, discussing the next 10″ of snow that was about to be slammed up Pennsylvania’s collective wazoo?

        … the hell haven’t I moved out there again?

      2. Hey now, I’ve lived here all of my 31 years without getting shot (well, by an actual firearm, paintball/air soft/lasers don’t count)

        LA & Oakland don’t account for all of us, we’ve got way too much suburbia around (though city stuff does spill into it at times)

    1. In Miami, you get shot regardless of traffic conditions, according to Dave Barry.

      I just dated myself, didn’t I?

      1. NO. Because Dave Barry is awesome forever and will remain so. He has the timeless quality of Twain or Stephen King. The latter of whom he was briefly in a band with, as I recall.

      2. I still remember Mom reading through Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys and getting to the urinal section and laughing and thinking it was just a joke. She read it out loud and Dad, myself (high school age), and my little brother (late elementary or middle school age) and we all immediately and very sincerely confirmed to her that it was God’s own truth. She was surprised, but eventually convinced.

        1. This has happened to me as well with a similar disbelieving lady who eventually became convinced by regular assurance that the Public Restroom Problem is indeed a thing, and that in the ideal men’s room, the stalls would be at least 50 feet apart. I maintain that all that’s really needed is sufficiently high walls between the urinals, however, as if you can’t see the problem, you can successfully pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

        2. It was nice to get it into direct consciousness. Now any time I walk into a restroom with an even number of urinals with no partitions I immediately know the architect was either a woman or an idiot.

        3. The other solution would be to alternate urinals with commodes (in enclosed stalls). Probably less space efficient that way, though.

    1. Her jealousy implies a relationship with Caleb, so he could be calling himself perfect and referring to her as his girlfriend that way.

      1. possible, but i don’t see Caleb as the relationship type, unless Rusche is going for a shamalanian twist. Then again, it does explain why she would ask if he got the money back, which he previously referred to as his own back in “The Chain” arc.

        1. Well, if Larathiel is correct on his guess above (and I believe he is), that’s another implication of them being in a relationship.

      1. And though I stay by my point that he isn’t even outright lying, we can imagine her reaction if his answer was “I’m in the midst of traffic with a buxom young blonde whose measurements would shame Heather in the new jeep I just bought her.”

        1. Considering they had access to the site from their end, he could just say, “The blonde that shithead was peeping on with that mystery site.”

        2. I was more saying that Caleb wouldn’t need to describe her.

          The fact that he didn’t say, “Remember those girls on shithead’s cam site? Yeah, no consent. Settled so they won’t sue. One of them’s even being kind enough to give me a ride to the airport.” suggests things about Vu’s personality and reactions. So I agree with you that he is deliberately not wanting her to know, likely for reasons that he’s experienced many times in the past.

        3. I got that, but Vu saw the site as well so she knows what Ellie looks like, and there ain’t no way she’s not getting upset if she knows Ellie and Caleb are in the same car…

  2. I get the feeling that Vu is going to be showing us that Caleb does not make good decisions about the people he chooses to spend his time with.

    I like the trucker mudflap silhouette for her question about a woman.

    1. Yeah, because we haven’t seen anything before now that suggests that Caleb suffers in the decision-making area.

      1. (Posting from phone, not including email)

        As a former coworker was fond of saying, “One in a row isn’t statistically significant.”

        1. Right, but sometimes a person has a weakness/blind spot for a single person for some reason but is pretty good with other. Other times, the one person is just the beginning. I’m saying I suspect Vu is showing that Danny was just the beginning.

  3. Definitely not Danny’s first time in the slammer if his response to being threatened is flat disinterest. I sure wouldn’t be so mellow if I were him. Even average bronies can be maniacs, who knows what a jailbird brony is capable of.

      1. Maybe after being ‘blessed’ with the knowledge that Quinn does NOT make idle threats concerning her whisk, whatever they are threatening him with just doesn’t register his new scale for terrifying.

        1. I think Danny’s style when threatened is to not resist and try to minimize reaction. He hasn’t fought back for anything anywhere that we’ve seen.

        2. How in the hell do you say “No” to Thin Mints then?!

          I just can’t do it man! I-JUST-CAN’T-DO IT!!!!!

  4. That’s a lot of Tampa Bay Lightning shirts.

    Lol, lightning, and here I am sitting near Chicago singing “Chelsea Dagger.”

    1. Not really. Just two guys, who could well be traveling together.
      Especially if that ad-hoc tailgate party was intended to be the real thing, outside the stadium.
      From a quick check of Google Maps, it looks like you’d take the same route to get most of the way to the stadium as you would to get to the airport, which suggests these guys just started the tailgate party early, since they were going to be late to the game anyway.

        1. Point. I noticed the sleeves matched the blue one shortly after hitting post. That said, you can only see lightning bolts on two of the people, and one of those is repeated in another frame. (And one of those has two lightning bolts; shirt and hat.)

          As an aside. Can you imagine being stuck with the Speed Force on, while also stuck in traffic? I mean, sure, you could abandon your vehicle, but you’d still be spending subjective hours getting to your destination.

        2. *points to self* Blackhawks fan.

          You might be overthinking it a bit. I just find it amusing during a year that the Lightning lost the cup is all.

  5. Ellie seems very comfortable with Caleb. Her body language for the entire car trip has suggested that she isn’t being defensive at all. She’s obviously aware of how her posture highlights her figure, but she’s not trying to hide it. Caleb looking out his window while Ellie collects the cheese burgers suggests that she’s right to be so comfortable.

    Given how she reacted to Danny’s ogling, I doubt she’s trying to win Caleb over with her curves. I think she’s glad to have found someone who isn’t impressed with her appearance. I seem to recall Chris saying that we’d soon see Ellie’s first real romantic interest. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Caleb; precisely because he’s:

    Boy / Non-sister
    Paying For It
    Red Lobster (Done)
    *New* Not staring at her huge tracts of land.

    1. It could go that way, but I thought that he’d said that Ellie’s first real love interest coincide with her next job, which I also recall him saying is going to be with Tarra’s David (whom I do believe Ellie will end up involved with at some point to bring out Tarra’s Envy, though that wouldn’t necessarily have to be now, could be in a few comic years too).

      They’ll have to do something about distance and citizenship to date much, though. While the US & Canada are very friendly, we’re still don’t have completely open immigration, so Caleb would need some kind of excuse to stay in the US past whatever qualifies as a visit/business trip.

      All of that is why I don’t see Ellie & Caleb as more than a quick fling (I certainly don’t consider that out of the question, though).

      1. That I can see. I mean it’s comforting when you and a gal can have lazy/non-orgasmic intimate relations from time to time.

        Tarra comes across as a Uma Thurman in “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” type in that category.

  6. I love Caleb’s “I’m completely full of $#!^” face in the panel where he claims to be in a taxi.
    Side note: Is Vu of Eastern European descent? Because I am getting that vibe.

  7. I’m surprised this title (Stuck in…) was used. I was expecting something else. Oh well, recycling is supposed to be a good thing. (January 24, 2014).

    1. I don’t think there’s a rule that says I can’t use a title twice. Also, after 16 hours straight, the title is the least of my concern. By that point the title can be “Ellie meets the Wiggles” for all I care. :D

      1. If at all possible, make the comic “Ellie Meets the Wiggles” be a comic where Ellie is not pictured but is on the phone with someone but we don’t hear what she’s saying, just get a few things relayed by the on screen character. We also shouldn’t ever get a clear picture of where she is or what she’s doing at any point in that part of the story. If someone else asks the person she was on the phone with what Ellie was doing, a headshake with eye roll should be the only response.

        Maybe I like overly elaborate minor jokes a bit too much, though.

      2. I’d like to apologise. I just re-read my comment and realised that it comes across as rather snotty sounding, which was not my intent. I was just trying to p̶o̶i̶n̶t̶ ̶o̶u̶t̶ be the first to point out that title was used previously. I tried to word the comment in a way that makes me appear to be clever. It is blatantly obvious I’m not. (Post in haste, repent in leisure.) I can’t delete the comment, but if I could edit it I would remove the “Oh well” and “supposed to be” which might make it a little better. (Recycling IS a good thing.)

        I really like the comic, it’s one of the better webcomics out there. I really liked your version (May 5, 2015) of Agatha from Girl Genius (even though it was a head shot; I’m a big Girl Genius fan.)

        I’ll leave the posting to the professionals from now on.

        1. But if you hadn’t posted, we wouldn’t have the enticing idea of “Ellie meets the Wiggles” as a title. It would be a great title for a babysitting comic.

          Fortunately, my kids never got into the Wiggles, or Teletubbies, or Bananas in Pajamas. In exchange for that blessing, I have untold numbers of Disney songs, plus most of the lyrics from Barney, Dora, Diego, and other series I apparently choose to mentally block.

        2. You know, if all of us that have typoed things or stated them poorly gave up posting after that, then I suspect webcomics on the Internet as a whole would only get a couple of comments a day, and that wouldn’t be any fun.

          I know I caught two things I typoed on previous days on this page alone and at least one other thing that’s poorly stated due to me typing fast (I consider posting comments to be a leisure activity as opposed to something formal requiring lots of proofreading and being careful).

          So don’t get discouraged.

        3. Thank you for the encouragement. You are correct, I shouldn’t let a dumb screw-up keep me from posting in the future. Typo’s and bodged statments are usually forgivable and not worth mentioning, but if a statement unintentionally ends up seeming like a put-down and/or an insult and can’t be edited after the fact then I feel an apology is in order and hopefully is accepted. There’s not very many apologies on the internet, although I have seen some. I really should have kept it simple, for example – ” hey, *-title-* was used before on *-date-* “. (Maybe add ‘Part two’ or ‘revisted’, ‘yet again’,’redux(?)’, etc.)

          Getting back to the comic, I’d like to see Ellie try baby-sitting as a job prospect, as Muria suggested above. Dealing with little hellions and their undoubtedly worst parents might lead to some good storys. (“Ellie, what are these kids doing in my place!” “Sorry Quinn, their parents just dropped them off here! They wouldn’t tell me where they lived!”)

        4. Agreed, and the paucity of admitting fault on the Internet is one reason I thought someone who has no problem making one getting discouraged from commenting would be a bad thing.

  8. She’s Ms (or Miss) Perfect because of two possible reasons, which may be in combination to some extent.

    1. Vu was one of the girls on the site.
    2. Caleb hooked up with her before she got sucked into the cam girl conga line.
    3. Vu went back in and stuck it to the haters all Sinead O’Connor style.

  9. As a Floridian with a family big on hockey…I am so wonderfully amused by all the Lightning Jerseys…and also the detail on the Florida licence plate.

  10. Hey, Tarra can bend space and time! Clearly she needs to start a taxi service that gets people to where they are going before they leave.

  11. Not sure if I would ship them, but I’m sure he’ll be back one way or another. Danny too. After all, you can’t have a Buckingham and a Nicks without a McVie and a Fleetwood.

      1. Reminds me to finally get around finish watching that one. Though I’m currently (finally!) on Hanasuka Iroha.

  12. They’re white jeans….where is the whale tail showing through; you know, the complimentary-colored thong?

  13. GOT IT! Ms. Perfect is a reference to Christine Anne Perfect. It’s an extension of the Fleetwood Mac reference. Since he called her “MS” and not “MRS”, I’m guessing she’s his ex wife.

      1. Indeed. Looks like Larathiel beat me to it. I feel like a dunce for not seeing the Fleetwood Mac reference straight away.

        1. and Mechabill, four blue comments up from yours, beat Larathiel, by several hours.
          Larathiel just commented off the first post, rather than the root.

        2. No, no it didn’t. It too was a vague reference. If one had said McVie twice, then that would be a clear statement for the win.

          The wiki link gets my vote for winner.

  14. What I love here is that just last strip, Caleb ASKED why people would get out of a car in a traffic jam, to see if people wanted to cook out? And here they are, doing just that. Bravo for coming full circle, Rusche!

  15. I’m noticing that Caleb didn’t say he actually did anything about the trolls themselves on his site.

      1. Caleb was admin. He didn’t have to feed them, he could have banned them for violating TOS instead.

        1. His actions are analogous to an office where some of the female office workers are getting harassed about their clothes by the male office workers and to “fix” the problem the office manager instituted a new office dress code for female employees instead of telling the harassers to stop. Caleb’s actions are effectively victim blaming because he’s (apparently) directing everything at the people who were being harassed without ever actually confronting the harassers.

        2. Sometimes the most effective way to control the predator population in an area is to thin out the prey and let the predators starve or move on to a different hunting ground.

          Not saying it’s morally the morally best thing in the world to go with that analogy with people, but Caleb strikes me as more pragmatic than moral, so it jives as expected.

        3. Only if by “pragmatic” you actually mean he’s lazy and unwilling to expend significant effort.

        4. If picking the closest definition from merriam-webster.com for pragmatic that meshes with my meaning, I’d have to pick “practical as opposed to idealistic”. I don’t completely disagree with your definition, either. It’s a valid reading. My own personal definition of pragmatic is along the lines of optimizing solutions for fastest results with lowest cost/effort, which fits nicely with laziness. I contrasted pragmatic with moral to agree that it doesn’t exactly qualify as “the right thing to do.”

          “Hunting the prey” by having Vu refuse to allow the pictures to be displayed rather than trying to play whack-a-mole with trolls seems like it should work in a shorter amount of time with a lower impact on the total site users. The trolls in general like conflict and challenge, so if you fight them they’ll enjoy it and keep fighting longer. The prey should discourage more easily.

          Additionally, if Vu pointed them to a couple of past threads or something else to clue them in on what’s going on, then I would call that morally good and a better description there would be “breaking the cycle” rather than “victim blaming.”

        5. Where this analogy falls apart is in the completely different dynamics of an office environment versus forums culture. You can (and should) ban the worst of the lot if you’ve got any rules to support it, but it won’t do anything about the problem. That won’t be solved by bans. New trolls will pop up as fast as you ban the old ones. Often being the ones just banned with a new account. If you to fight the problem, you can only do that by taking away the trolls main food source.

  16. I love the use of the icon-based back and forth. Very clever and it’s gets the point across perfectly.

  17. I forgot to post this yesterday, but I’d been assuming Caleb wasn’t controlling the problem in order to keep his site membership up. Does this mean that he’s not catering to the trolls, or does Vu block most but let some get through in order to keep the trolls coming back?

  18. Look people and listen up hard. We helped Chris by getting the shuffleverse out of the triple digit wasteland on TopWebComics and into the top twenty. We helped him to win the Webcomic tournament.

    Now come on people, it’s a new month, a new count on TWC and a renewed challenge to put SHOTGUN SHUFFLE in a position to rocket into the top ten faster than Tombaugh got to Pluto.

    Now who’s with me!!!

  19. I thought the Patreon #48 preview on the side was a bit odd at first. Now that I see it right next to the preview for #49…perfect.

    1. I weep for the non-Patreons having to wait to read this Pumpkin-heavy string of comics. They don’t know what they’re missing… but for a low, LOW price they could find out today!

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