Jinxing it
Jinxing it

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Chap. 3, Act 3, Strip 27

On Thursday - July 21st, 2011 14:20:14

And here Biff is doing what he does best: grunting while wrestling with an inflatable doll…uh, no wait…I meant: grappling with the forces of darkness for the greater good of humanity, justice and freedom. Yeah, right. That’s what he’s best at. The other thing? Slightly sub-par, according to usually well-informed sources.

After his triumphant rebound from seeming defeat, Biff would normally have won this one easily. Interrupting your own eulogy is a near-certain harbinger of victory - unless it gets jinxed. Just as a rousing eulogy will bring back a hero from the dead without fail, nothing in a B-movie script can bring defeat quicker than an over-optimistic announcement of certain success. It’s sometimes used as a kind of “pride before the fall” thing, but scriptwriters who don’t overstress coherence in their moral messaging also use it with characters who have never shown excessive pride - or even apply the effect when the statement comes from a third party. Beyond that, it’s also used to make the hero’s defeat more shocking to the audience - it’s like having a character state “There is no such thing as a vampire!” near the beginning of a Dracula movie. It makes the major plot twist about to come (spoiler: Count Dracula is a vampire!) that much more shocking to the audience. A clever B-movie scriptwriter knows that you can never over-employ that effect - better add a few extra applications, you never know how poor the SFX work might turn out.

A B-movie protagonist with the Professor’s kind of experience naturally knows of this effect from many, many incidents throughout the years. It was just a bit thoughtless to allude to the effect in the presence of Mopey, who is his scientific assistant, after all. Resisting an opportunity to either advance scientific knowledge or seeing Biff get beaten up would have been hard enough for her - resisting an opportunity to get both at the same time? A veritable saint would be tempted beyond the limit.

So rather than in victory, his grappling with the forces of darkness ends with Biff fainting. Which also tends to happen, according to usually well-informed sources, in the case of his wrestling with…uh, anyway, more on Monday.


For a quick overview of the main characters, check out this strip

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