Nothing Is Happening In Apartment 3-G: Maybe Things Are Getting Done Not Happening


OK, on my mathematics blog there’s a couple of comic strip review posts. They’re called the Back To School Edition and the Back To School Edition, Part II, because there’s just so many that came up about as school (United States schedule) got really going again.

But I know what folks are really looking for, and that’s any idea of what the heck is going on with Apartment 3-G lately. I insist that nothing is happening because I’ve been following this closely, maybe too closely, and believe me, it’s not going on.

Lu Ann tries to thank Eric, who says he's never been so frightened in his life. Lu Ann confirms that Eric loves Margo.
Frank Bolle and Margaret Shulock’s Apartment 3-G for the 16th of September, 2015. I’m fairly sure Eric doesn’t mean to be frightened by Lu Ann’s thanks.

However, it does appear that Margo’s aimless, unfocused wandering through random outdoor stock shots might be at an end. Formerly dead fiancée Eric has gone off and found Margo, and stayed in the two-shot with her until Lu Ann could appear. Then Margo got to disappear, allegedly into the apartment, although we don’t actually see that. Lu Ann and Eric reappear on the street, either because they figure that’s the best place to watch a severely delusional person who’s been wandering aimlessly for months, or because the backgrounds really are being randomly assigned. Tommie gets summoned, as if her presence could help anything, even though the last time we saw her she was talking about quitting everything and leaving forever.

An hour later, after no answer from Tommie, Tommie enters. She wants to know how long Margo has been 'white as a sheet'.
Frank Bolle and Margaret Shulock’s Apartment 3-G for the 18th of September, 2015. I’m honestly a touch amazed the strip focused on Tommie entering rather than showing us every minute of waiting around for an hour.

What does it signify? I don’t know. It’s structurally very similar to 2014’s chasm of Apartment 3-G meaninglessness, when Tommie and a guest star spent literally and without exaggeration six weeks telling each other they had to talk without actually talking. During that sequence the designated boyfriend-ish character disappeared to “confront some ghosts” of his past. That might’ve been interesting to see, although we didn’t. He just reappeared after being gone a couple of months and declared things were over.

Both the 2014 and 2015 story voids started out with some potential. 2014 saw a burnt-out Tommie trying to rescue the world’s most nightmarish deer, and stumbling across a crusty-yet-endearing etc upstate veterinarian and the soap opera of his past life. 2015 set up Margo furious and confused by her father and the woman she always thought was the maid but was actually her mother getting married, and falling under sway of a psychic, and wanting to do something about the woman she thinks is scamming her biological mother.

These are potential-rich setups. But they played out with summers of nothing. The parts just shuffled around without advancing for months, and then abruptly stopped. 2014’s crusty-yet-endearing vet came back saying all was well and Tommie went back to work. 2015, apparently, was about putting Margo in a hallucinatory fugue until she got rescued by the first characters to pop into the author’s mind. I would not be surprised if by early October all of this has been dropped and we’ve gone on to some other storyline.

I can’t believe the stories were meant to look like this. The long stretches of random piece-shuffling and the abrupt conclusion make it look like the author (Shulock) had no idea how to advance the stories, but had them planned to last until September. And then forgot when it was close to September and had to rush to wrap up things. Every serial story author does some piece-shuffling and some conclusion-rushing. But this is two major storylines in two years that collapsed.

Recently the Manchester (New Hampshire) Union-Leader dropped the strip, on the grounds that nothing was happening and nothing was going to happen. I can’t fault their reasoning. But I don’t want the story strips to die out. I admit I didn’t care about them as a kid. And in adulthood I’ve seen most of them in a senescent state. But there’s no reason they can’t be good, and I want them to be.

Nothing Is Happening In Apartment 3-G Update: Did Something Happen in Apartment 3-G?


Since nothing has happened in the comic strip Apartment 3-G all year, you might be wondering: has anything happened in Apartment 3-G this past week? The answer is … it’s not clear, exactly.

Tim reminds Eric that everybody thought Eric was dead. Eric reminds Tim that he loved his fiancee even though she was Margo.
Frank Bolle and Margaret Shulock’s Apartment 3-G for the 23rd of August, 2015, summing up a week of work in five panels. However, bonus points for getting the characters consistently colored so that it’s possible to tell who’s supposed to be who.

I mean, Margo is still wandering around a hallucinatory and ever-mutating landscape yelling at people who seem to recognize her. That’s still going on, but since that’s been going on since the Battle of Manzikert that doesn’t count as anything happening anymore. However, this week, two of the vaguely human-shaped lumps that have been following one another identified one another as Tim and Eric. And this matters because Eric was one of Margo’s fiancées who soap-opera-died six years ago in a Himalayan avalanche. Tim’s his brother.

Now, yeah, their names were revealed in some of the many, many weeks of nothing happening before. And people who pay close attention to the comic strip action would remember Eric as the name of a fairly recently soap-opera-killed fiancée. But this does make clear that it isn’t just a coincidence of names or anything. These are supposed to be the same people as back then. The readers are confirmed in information about who is on screen and why they might be there.

After consideration, I concede this qualifies, technically, as having something happen. It may be Tim and Eric explaining things they already know to one another. Tim reminds Eric that everybody thought he was dead. Eric reminds Tim that he was going to marry Margo. But that is what passes for exposition in a non-humorous story strip. The readers know something they were only just kinda sure of before. I must turn to Greg Evans and Karen Evans’s Luann for my nothing-happening action this week.

Something that didn’t make the Sunday recap was Eric explaining that “Tibetan nuns” saved his life. And that’s kind of an interesting revelation because, because that means Eric has gone through the Origin Story for either The Shadow or Plastic-Man. It depends whether he was dropped in a vat of mysterious chemicals by his partners in crime first. If he is the new Plastic-Man then the comic strip has an excuse for his features being putty-like and ever-changing. There’s possibilities here that won’t go anywhere, is what I’m saying.

Anyway. My mathematics blog has some comic strips although since they’re all humor strips, things happen in them.

The ‘Nothing Is Happening In Apartment 3-G’ Update


I would just like to assure anyone wondering what’s happened in Apartment 3-G since the last update about how nothing is happening in it, that nothing has continued to happen. I confess it is starting to look like the story might be digging out of its extremely deep ruts into implying something happening. Specifically, this past week Margo did not meet any strange, haunting, phantom-like faces to chase off. Margo did warn Gabby, her until-recently-unsuspected biological mother that the place she had been planning to use for the wedding, Stonewell, had suddenly jumped considerably in price.

How she could have known this I don’t know, because as far as I can tell there haven’t been any moments when she could have learned this. But then Margo and Gabby did teleport mid-conversation from the middle of whatever smalltown American city Henry lives in, back in 1947, into every interior in Apartment 3-G ever anymore. So I can’t rule out their having psychic powers letting them learn these things.

Margo warns Gabby that the Stonewell property, where she hopes to marry, has gone up in price from fifty thousand to a quarter million. (Stonewell is in England so this might be dollars or might be pounds. Gabby's fiancee --- Margo's father --- is absurdly rich.)
Frank Bolle and Margaret Shulock’s Apartment 3-G for the 19th of July, 2015.


Margo has an idea: 'I'm going to make Diane Device disappear!' Gabby does not understand this clearly stated plan to murder Diane.
Frank Bolle and Margaret Shulock’s Apartment 3-G for the 20th of July, 2015.

Anyway, the characters are obviously deciding to take up recreational murder, or possibly stage magic, so that’s very reminiscent of being something-ish, without anything actually happening. In the meantime, I had another bunch of mathematics comics to review over on my other blog. There’s some silly pirate jokes in there. You’d probably enjoy.