Saturday, June 21, 2008

Feature: Chase from Multiplex

Hey, folks. Jackson Ferrell here, reporting in from on vacation. It's not Friday, but stuff has been goin' on at the Multiplex what bears mention. Let's get up to speed, 'kay?

Multiplex is a biweekly workplace-humor-and-movie-commentary webcomic about the staff of the (fictional) Multiplex 10 Cinemas. Since he first signed on as a Multiplex 10 employee, Chase has been the resident skeezy guy, hitting on anything female that's not underage. The week before last, the release of the Sex and the City movie gave Chase ample opportunity to ply his trade, resulting in a string of turned-down pick-up lines. The five-strip, week-long series culminated with Chase, shall we say, getting lucky with two ladies who turned out to be dudes. Chase later has a personal conversation with his assistant manager about the experience: "Hypothetically, would something like that mean you're gay?" Neil: "Probably..."

Next time Chase shows up, he's gone from lust-for-the-ladies posterboy to 100% gay-guy stereotype. Yeah, you know Jack from "Will and Grace?" The new Chase makes him look straight.

The whole "Chase sequence" has had several funny moments (if you are able to tolerate a measure of South-Park-style gross-out comedy). In this entry, I'd like to take a closer look at Chase and what makes him funny.

To my thinking, Chase is a funny character because he's just the right mix of earnest and oblivious. It's not like he's trying to hide anything with his hyper-heterosexual girl-chasing antics. You get the impression that on some strange level, he really means it when he wants everything to be a euphemism for something. Similarly, after his turnaround, he throws himself into his new fruit-flavored persona because he's utterly certain that this is what being gay really is. Either way, Chase is so thoroughly confused that he doesn't even know how confused he is. He is really sincerely convinced that he's got a handle on his own identity! And that's funny.

Something else that's worth pointing out: whether you believe homosexuality is a choice or not, you can still enjoy the humor in Chase's plight. It would be easy to make some heavy-handed point here about sexual orientation and identity, something about Chase "accepting this facet of himself." But here's the thing: an artist's worldview influences his work, but a creative work should never be merely a vehicle for one's worldview. Multiplex creator Gordon McAlpin understands that, and whatever his views on the subject, he's not going to dilute the comedy by getting preachy on us. As a result, even a guy like me with conservative sexual views can get a few laughs out of the comic. There's a time and a place for talking seriously about sexuality issues, but Multiplex's focus is first and foremost entertainment. Creative people, take note--you could learn a lot from the Chase sequence!

Anyway, I've got to get back to the serious business of vacationing. But tune in on Friday for your regularly-scheduled "This Week in Webcomics," this time guest-hosted by the illustrious Peter Metzger.

1 comment:

David Ferrell said...

Chase sequence! HA HA HA HA...
oh no...