1. They live in an apparently nice house up in the mountains and everything should be great…but he’s determined to be irritated, so gets out the binoculars and scans the wide vista until he finds something.

  2. The location in the mountains works well for this joke. It gives him visual access to a huge area, and in particular including places that are very distant and physically inaccessible. IOW people whose supposed annoying behavior cannot in practical terms have any bearing on him at all.

    In some movies we see an almost comparable situation, with people in urban high-rises who prominently place telescopes in their outdoor-facing rooms. But there, (1) the implication is generally voyeurism more than .. whatever this guy is doing; and (2) often the plot turns on the idea that one can after all manage to identify (and later, interact with) the strangers in the seemingly anonymous windows of other buildings.

  3. A woman calls the police to tell them the neighbors, newlyweds, are constantly, “celebrating” their new marriage and she is tired of it being flaunted in front of her. The police send over a squad car, and the officer goes to investigate. In the house, he asks where she usually is when she sees the neighbors. She says the kitchen. So he goes into the kitchen and looks out the window. He turns to her, “You can’t even see their windows from here.” The woman says, “You have to stand up on this step stool and then crane your neck to look out towards the side of the window..”

  4. Danny Boy says “But there [urban high-rises], (1) the implication is generally voyeurism more than .. whatever this guy is doing” . Yes, but I’d call whatever this guy is doing also a form of voyeurism. His (sought-after) annoyance is just his form of titillation.

  5. I guess dvandom is right, but aren’t we supposed to have something funny there? Yes, I’ve seen movies and TV shows with a stereotypical character, usually a woman, like the one in TedD‘s joke. But they’re usually insipid at best and obnoxious at worst. There are a few exceptions, of course, notably Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock’s 1954 Rear Window.

  6. Ed, I also was thinking about Rear Window as an example of that motif being taken seriously and used to good purpose. It has also been favored by Brian de Palma. In Sisters it’s not a high-rise but still a condo-type situation, with windows at odd angles to those of other units, and a crime is witnessed under those strained circumstances. There’s another one from him, maybe Dressed to Kill, that involves views both close up and across a canyon into a multi-storey home with an uninterrupted full glass wall.

  7. At the risk of imposing politics, there are individuals and groups who hold that the simple existence of something can violate their rights and/or faith, even if that something exists totally outside their lives.

  8. He’s using binoculars, so it’s like he’s actively searching for things that irritate him. If he doesn’t like that thing that is irritating him, he can choose not to look (with the binoculars).

  9. Sheep, I took it that an underlying part of the joke (but on the serious side) was that maybe he can’t actually just put them down and stop looking for the things that irritate him. He lives for the stimulation of that irritation.

  10. A different couple enjoying cocktails in the evening as they relax on their balcony and view the distant hilly landscape.

  11. So once I read an article or something about living out in Montana, and the wide open spaces, and this one couple they talked to, who built their dream house in a mountain valley, and they were grousing because some arriviste had had the temerity to build a house on the other side of the valley (literally ten of miles away) and now their pristine view was ruined — at night, you could see the lights from their house! This was all completely unironic, or indeed, self-aware; I think the cartoonist must have read this same article.

  12. larK: I can actually sort of see that. If I wanted so badly to be isolated that I went to all the trouble of building a house where no one else was visible for miles, it could be disappointing to have another house built within eyesight. I wouldn’t think the other person had done something wrong, but I can see it would be sort of a bummer.

  13. lark & WW: Yeah. What you have to do is buy up all the land around the house, as far as the eye can see. Then your view won’t be spoiled.

  14. Or just ruin your vision, so you can’t see that far any more. Problem solved.

    (As we all know from our parents, there are LOTS of ways to do that — sitting too close to the TV, reading comics by flashlight under the covers at night when we are supposed to be aslepp, etc.)

  15. Shrug, I was surprised to notice that I was disappointed watching the Berlanti Productions video logo at the end of a recently-made show, and it did not have the spoken “Greg, move your head!” . It did show his head ducking to the side, anyway. It never featured the aspect of “You’ll ruin your eyes” but I guess that was available if “you’re in the way” didn’t work.

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