I've figured Lisa out.

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I've figured Lisa out.

Postby Mr. Cales » Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:27 pm

Hello all, long-time reader/lurker, new poster. Figure it's best to come out- no homoerotic overtones intended- in a big way.

So, I've figured Lisa out.
(Big claim, I know, but stick with me.)

A poster on this forum- whoever you are, thank you- recently noted that when talking about Darren, who is the ultimate blank-slate, Lisa said he was a "big ball of eh".

Remember that people see in Darren themselves and their own desires. Darren reflects that person rather than what he really is. He's a mirror that happens to be a human being too.

Now, in the current latest strip, we've got Fred noting that there is... "the girl in my chem lab" who is a "music buff". Several forumgoers and myself think is Lisa- anyone else have any other theories? I'll run with the idea that it's Lisa, since that seems to fit.

Anywho, Fred notes that this girl is someone who tries to "drown out uncomfortable questions with noise." Given the context, Fred is talking about being gay.

I don't think that's it, for reasons I'll keep getting into.

Also, someone on this forum said something else that got me thinking- they said that Lisa was a cypher, a blank slate, and we never know where her opinions are coming from. It was somebody who didn't like Lisa for this reason, because she didn't seem like a person.

It's all connected.

Lisa doesn't care about ANYTHING. Or, more accurately- I just felt like being dramatic with that statement over there :lol: - Lisa sees life as "one big ball of eh", not worth hating nor worth caring about.

Think about it. Every other character in the webcomic has some sort of passion that drives them. Charlotte initially hated everything and everyone and is now slowly moving to being Duane-centric, Katy-Ann tries to live up to her faith, Penny and Aggie had their fight and, later, battles with other people (I've always thought Penny's theme was warfare, but I'll get into that some other time), everyone, everyone, has some sort of drive.

Lisa? She follows Aggie and tells the truth to her.

Lisa has no goals, motivations, or big "important things" in her life. It's all a big ball of eh; she's dispassionate, for all that she's quirky. Disconnected from everyone else, for all that she's fun to be around. Lisa can "tell the truth" and "give it to ya straight" for the simple reason that because she doesn't care about anything, her viewpoint is unbiased. She's not an author avatar at all; she can tell you the truth from an unbiased, "audience" perspective because, well, she's an audience too. Lisa's not "in" with other people, not "in" their world of trusts and betrayals and deep motivations and desires and passions; she's an outsider, just like we, the readers, are. That's why she can say what we want to say to the characters; just like us, she brings the viewpoint of someone who's not got a dog in that fight, so to speak.

You can see this in her interactions too. Lisa is almost violently quirky. She does, quite frankly, weird shit around other people, and has went out of her way to harass people sometimes (her first meeting with Katy-Ann is the class example). I used to think this was because she was a jerk.

She's not. She's trying to interact with people.

Lisa doesn't get people. Doesn't get what drives them. Why are they so passionate? So... weird? To Lisa, everyone else is the truly quirky one. Lisa's the only normal one. Her "big ball of eh" life makes her unbaised, and a good judge of character, but it also removes her from the common string of people. She doesn't connect. She's alone.

So she acts out to get people to play with her. She noticed at some point that being "That Girl" means people don't look deeper, don't try to find the person underneath- someone who really isn't all that deep, really, and who is quite different from the outer skin.

But if Lisa plays around and kisses girls and wears her hair weird and quotes like she was born for it and generally acts bizarre, people see that Lisa and they stop looking for the real one. They don't figure out that she's weird, on the inside; that she's not connected, that she doesn't have a great love or hate that drives her life, that she's separate from them. They see a fun Lisa and they hang out with her.

And since Lisa doesn't care about anything anyway, she doesn't mind playing pretend. After all, life's one big ball of eh- who cares if you're "doing it right"? Labels, right?

And if she does this, then she gets to have at least the hint of connection, of understanding, of other people.

Look at her crushes. She doesn't date. She crushes on movie stars. She knows she'll never have them- it's "safe", she'll never have to worry that those people will actually get close to her and discover that she's a different person on the inside, that she doesn't care about anything. Real life boys might do that.

She can't risk it. Ruin her whole cover.

There is, of course, one staggering, frightening (to Lisa), extraordinary exception to this rule. Aggie. Aggie makes Lisa care. Lisa actually gets mad at her. Lisa plays with her, sticks to her like glue. Where Aggie is, Lisa is not far behind. Lisa would march into Hell if Aggie asked her to.

Why?

Because Aggie is her friend. Aggie's determination to accept weirdness- part of her liberal guilt- led her to accepting Lisa, and as Lisa has consistently seen since becoming her friend, other people too. Aggie was the first person that was Lisa' friend in the strip, and all of Lisa's scenes are Aggie scenes, with very, very few exceptions. Aggie's open-mindedness makes Lisa think that maybe- just maybe- Aggie will accept Lisa for the dispassionate, non-driven person she really is, and not just accept Lisa for the "quirky" self.

That's why Lisa gives her such an unbiased viewpoint, and offers advice even when unsolicited. It's all she really has to give. Notice that her her advice has been getting worse lately? She's not quite the perfect judge of character she used to be. T himself has said that she was not completely correct on Marshall and Darren (check a recent thread, it's on there somewhere).

Why?

Because she cares about Aggie, and it's skewing her judgments. She can't be the perfect, unbiased, "audience" character she is near Aggie. Aggie means something to her- she's got a dog in that fight, and her name is Agatha.

Aggie may be the only thing Lisa cares about.

Note her reactions when Aggie says she's not mad anymore, and that she and Lisa can still "play" together. Lisa actually cries. For God's sake, when was the last time that Lisa had a real emotional reaction to something? Lisa was scared she'd lose her, terrified of it.

So she hugs her and cries.

I used to hate Lisa. I still have a forum post on TV Tropes about how much I hate her. But I think this has changed my view.

Lisa's awesome. But for weird, weird reasons.
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Postby Rayeine » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:35 pm

Thank you.
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Lisa has had dates...So that could be Rayeine, why not.

Word of god, y'all.
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Postby Rhodesaw » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:42 pm

Hmmm.

I think more than anything, though, it's been Lisa who changed Aggie, though...maybe there's been some of the vice-versa going on too, but it's important to remember that part too.
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Postby Mr. Cales » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:52 pm

Oh, Lisa changed Aggie, that's entirely certain. Lisa is exactly what Aggie needed- someone who could look at her life, which Aggie tends to blow all out of proportion and/or skew out of perspective, and tell her what was really going on. If anything, Aggie is more changed than Lisa, because Aggie was more open to change to begin with.

Lisa is extremely hard to change because the "real" Lisa- the one underneath the happy fun exterior- is not very connected to anybody, and so is almost impossible to reach/affect in any meaningful way.
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Postby Michael Ezra » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:56 pm

Yeah, I'd also picked up on the crying as atypical for Lisa and therefore significant. In fact, a few days or so before that strip appeared I posted a fanfic, my only serious (and remotely plausible) one so far, which included the following sentence: "Lisa didn't cry, as far as Aggie knew, but her voice wavered noticeably, scaring her a bit." So I was pleasantly surprised, and moved, to see her getting teary in canon.
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Postby Mr. Cales » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:14 pm

Michael Ezra wrote:Yeah, I'd also picked up on the crying as atypical for Lisa and therefore significant.


In my opinion, it's the most significant thing Lisa's ever done. It moves her out of her "normal" status, and deepens her character considerably. Up until this point she was basically the Token Chaotic Neutral in the group.

We should do a D&D alignment thread, as a side note. :)
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Postby MeganKoumori » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:01 pm

Actually, Lisa does have a passion: music and getting copyright laws changed. It might not be as focused on in the strip as Aggie's Save-the-World campaign or Penny's (somewhat reformed) drive to be the ultimate Queen Bee, but it's there.
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Postby EMO SAMURAI » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:03 pm

Actually, Lisa does have a passion: music and getting copyright laws changed.


She's just protecting her right to not-care while caring.
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Postby Mr. Cales » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:18 pm

Emo Samurai's got it right.

Look at the way Lisa treats her "passion". It's another game to her. It's not important to her like Katy-Ann's faith, Penny's battles, or Aggie's open-minded nature. If you took any of those things away from those characters, they wouldn't be themselves. Katy-Ann- who I strongly identify with, fave character yay!- is who she is because of her faith. Without it, she'd be a totally different person. Take away Penny's will to fight and take on all comers, and she'd be a different person. Take away Aggie's liberal nature, and she'd be different.

Remove Lisa's drive to change music laws... and she's still Lisa, just she doesn't do that anymore. To really get at Lisa's core you'd have to remove her judgment, her aloofness from the proceedings.

I suspect- especially given that we barely hear about it anymore- that the copyright law thing was Lisa experimenting, like any normal teenager.

She was trying a passion on.

Think about it. Lisa, if she really is this empty, dispassionate, separated sort of person, who doesn't have a great passion to guide them, would almost certainly try a passion on just one time, if only to see what it was like. A sort of "well, other people live like this, why can't I?"

So she chose music copyright laws, because it fit with her "cover" (being a music buff) and it was something that actually wasn't too important to her.

Note that she rarely talks about it these days? That's character development. Lisa dropped her old passion, because now she has a new one, one she might actually care about on the inside.

Aggie.
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Re: I've figured Lisa out.

Postby Heather_Dee » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:40 pm

Mr. Cales wrote:
-cut-

Lisa? She follows Aggie and tells the truth to her.

Lisa has no goals, motivations, or big "important things" in her life. It's all a big ball of eh; she's dispassionate, for all that she's quirky. Disconnected from everyone else, for all that she's fun to be around. Lisa can "tell the truth" and "give it to ya straight" for the simple reason that because she doesn't care about anything, her viewpoint is unbiased. She's not an author avatar at all; she can tell you the truth from an unbiased, "audience" perspective because, well, she's an audience too. Lisa's not "in" with other people, not "in" their world of trusts and betrayals and deep motivations and desires and passions; she's an outsider, just like we, the readers, are. That's why she can say what we want to say to the characters; just like us, she brings the viewpoint of someone who's not got a dog in that fight, so to speak.

You can see this in her interactions too. Lisa is almost violently quirky. She does, quite frankly, weird shit around other people, and has went out of her way to harass people sometimes (her first meeting with Katy-Ann is the class example). I used to think this was because she was a jerk.

She's not. She's trying to interact with people.

Lisa doesn't get people. Doesn't get what drives them. Why are they so passionate? So... weird? To Lisa, everyone else is the truly quirky one. Lisa's the only normal one. Her "big ball of eh" life makes her unbaised, and a good judge of character, but it also removes her from the common string of people. She doesn't connect. She's alone.

So she acts out to get people to play with her. She noticed at some point that being "That Girl" means people don't look deeper, don't try to find the person underneath- someone who really isn't all that deep, really, and who is quite different from the outer skin.


I tend to agree. This was, and to a large degree still is, my own situation in life. I don't 'get' people. Well, I understand them on a theoretical level but I don't feel the same way they do sometimes.

Mr. Cales wrote:But if Lisa plays around and kisses girls and wears her hair weird and quotes like she was born for it and generally acts bizarre, people see that Lisa and they stop looking for the real one. They don't figure out that she's weird, on the inside; that she's not connected, that she doesn't have a great love or hate that drives her life, that she's separate from them. They see a fun Lisa and they hang out with her.

And since Lisa doesn't care about anything anyway, she doesn't mind playing pretend. After all, life's one big ball of eh- who cares if you're "doing it right"? Labels, right?

And if she does this, then she gets to have at least the hint of connection, of understanding, of other people.

Look at her crushes. She doesn't date. She crushes on movie stars. She knows she'll never have them- it's "safe", she'll never have to worry that those people will actually get close to her and discover that she's a different person on the inside, that she doesn't care about anything. Real life boys might do that.

She can't risk it. Ruin her whole cover.

There is, of course, one staggering, frightening (to Lisa), extraordinary exception to this rule. Aggie. Aggie makes Lisa care. Lisa actually gets mad at her. Lisa plays with her, sticks to her like glue. Where Aggie is, Lisa is not far behind. Lisa would march into Hell if Aggie asked her to.

Why?

Because Aggie is her friend. Aggie's determination to accept weirdness- part of her liberal guilt- led her to accepting Lisa, and as Lisa has consistently seen since becoming her friend, other people too. Aggie was the first person that was Lisa' friend in the strip, and all of Lisa's scenes are Aggie scenes, with very, very few exceptions. Aggie's open-mindedness makes Lisa think that maybe- just maybe- Aggie will accept Lisa for the dispassionate, non-driven person she really is, and not just accept Lisa for the "quirky" self.

That's why Lisa gives her such an unbiased viewpoint, and offers advice even when unsolicited. It's all she really has to give. Notice that her her advice has been getting worse lately? She's not quite the perfect judge of character she used to be. T himself has said that she was not completely correct on Marshall and Darren (check a recent thread, it's on there somewhere).

Why?

Because she cares about Aggie, and it's skewing her judgments. She can't be the perfect, unbiased, "audience" character she is near Aggie. Aggie means something to her- she's got a dog in that fight, and her name is Agatha.

Aggie may be the only thing Lisa cares about.

Note her reactions when Aggie says she's not mad anymore, and that she and Lisa can still "play" together. Lisa actually cries. For God's sake, when was the last time that Lisa had a real emotional reaction to something? Lisa was scared she'd lose her, terrified of it.

So she hugs her and cries.

I used to hate Lisa. I still have a forum post on TV Tropes about how much I hate her. But I think this has changed my view.

Lisa's awesome. But for weird, weird reasons.


That's something close to my own analysis. Well, minus the hate part. In my experience people who react most negatively to people like her tend to do so because they have a need to fit everybody in some pidgeonhole or another. It's human nature. We like to categorize things and people in order to to fit them into our worldview. People who resist classification, for whatever reasons, are vexing because we never know how to act towards them. That is we don't know what facade to put up for them.

We end up falling back on the truth.

That's almost always a mistake especially in a society that values image, comfort, and safety as much as ours.

In my case my passions have mostly been about things that are, to most people, irrelevant philosophical concepts. Like the nature vs. nurture thing, or such. I don't seem to care because, to my point of view, we have already lost sight of the important things, the things that make it worthwhile. There's little point in getting worked up over a war that's been over for decades, for instance.
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Postby Mr. Cales » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:03 pm

I reacted negatively because I thought of Lisa as just this wandering know-it-all jerk trickster character, and I can't stand those characters. Smug little pricks!

Though you are mostly correct on the pigeonhole thing. That just wasn't my reason for not liking her.
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Postby Evil Ben » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:30 pm

I've always liked Lisa, but mainly because her hair looks like insect legs to carry her head around to do dastardly things while her body sleeps at night.
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Postby Mr. Cales » Wed Dec 02, 2009 11:37 pm

Evil Ben wrote:I've always liked Lisa, but mainly because her hair looks like insect legs to carry her head around to do dastardly things while her body sleeps at night.



:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Postby dianekikiula » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:37 am

Mr. Cales wrote:
Evil Ben wrote:I've always liked Lisa, but mainly because her hair looks like insect legs to carry her head around to do dastardly things while her body sleeps at night.



:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:


Somebody needs to link the new guy to the fan-art where Lisa's hair does just that. :D (I can't go digging, I need to leave for work ...)
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Postby NobodySpecial » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:57 pm

I don't know about the new fan art, but I can direct you to a prior claim.
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