One Punch Reviews #74: Ends ‘N’ Means

When reading Barry R. Hoare’s Ends ‘N’ Means, I can’t stop thinking of the phrase, “Hey, Lois, remember the time…” I have no idea why. What Lois am I thinking of? Lois Lane? Lois Maxwell? Lois from work who does database management? Why am I asking her to remember anything? I don’t even work on the same floor.

Our comic stars a bunch of guys who sit on couches a lot and don’t do much else. The main character is a black haired dude who’s name is Sean, I think. He’s surly and says inappropriate things. He’s usually greeted with shocked faces despite, you know, having some incredibly lame punch lines. Some scenes really all for an eye roll or bemusement. Nope! Horrified shock. That’s what we’re going with. He’s also a flop with women. That’s OK, though, because all his dates are horrible shrews. Women. Amirite, guys?

Sean has two human friends, one blonde guy and one hoodie guy. They are usually involved in the most odious gags in the strip. For example, there one where the blond guy says that he ran over a gremlin. Oooookay. The hoodie guy asks for a better description. “Short, green, pointy ears, robe, walking stick.” The hoodie guy panics and says, “Jack, you fool! You’ve killed Yoda!” No, seriously. That’s the punchline.

Ends ‘N’ Means also includes a couple of comic relief characters in the form of an overly literate baby and a drunk dog a swishy alien and a talking goldfish two talking animals, one who is a fat drunken bunny and the other who is a misanthropic lizard. See, it is funny because talking animals are usually cute and here they are surly louts who swear and are violent and horny. Hey, Lois, remember the time they fought like Pokemon? (Wait, that was out of line. If anything, that last strip was ripping off The Simpsons. It is not the only one.) There’s also a chameleon who says “Me Hungy!” all the time. These are the jokes, people.

My main problem with Ends ‘N’ Means is that it’s aware of the elements that go into telling a joke. You know, add a vain mugger here, a cheesy line there. Put a jump cut nonsequitur here, throw a cheap visual gag there. And yet everything’s so robotic and antisceptic. The jokes are lame and they fall flat spectacularly.

Overanalyzing a joke is pretty much a losing battle, but I’ll attempt to pull apart just why one strip doesn’t work. Putting two guys in an unfamiliar situation? Sure, could be funny. Subverting expectations, where fun times turn into terror? Horror and comedy beats are intertwined, sure. Movie references? It could work if used right. But ending your strip with the line, “The first rule of rape club is you don’t talk about rape club”? Good lord, is that ever desperate. In fact, just going with a straight up “fight club” reference would’ve worked better. Throwing “rape” in there is basically saying, “I’m edgy, and everyone’s going to laugh just because I said, ‘rape’.” Ummmm… no. (And I’m not talking about being politically correct here. Even the shadowy figure at end saying, “Y’all gonna get raped!” would’ve actually been funnier. Tasteless, but funnier.)

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5).


About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on September 25, 2012, in 2 Stars, comedy webcomic, funny animal webcomic, One Punch Reviews, The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Geez, how’d it get a second star?

    • I bet El Santo says it’s because of the art quality of the later strips. Otherwise it would’ve been a 1 star.

    • Mostly because I’d say that I was more bored that anything. If a comic is bad, it sorta gets a base 2. In a bitter irony, it has to work extra hard to lose the star. 🙂 I think it’s that old adage: the opposite of love isn’t hate… it’s apathy. So 4’s and 5’s represents love, 1 represents hate, and 2’s and 3’s are on a sliding scale of apathy.

  2. I remember reading this, stopping, trying to find the point where I had stopped and finally stopping for good realizing that my time is worth more than this comic. Just in case your wondering, an hour is worth about a yen, maybe a ruppee. I’d be more convenient abut the conversion but I dont want to cry.

  3. I don’t understand the connection you’re trying to draw between Ends and Means and Family Guy. The talking animals and booze is about all I can see. Ends and Means has a charm, wit and tact to it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen any of these traits in Family Guy.
    I’ve read interviews that Barry Hoare has done and he seems to enjoy and be inspired by shows like The Simpsons and he has a tendency to use pop culture reference through the comic but as you can see through out and in his other miscellaneous works on the site it’s a nudge at pop culture and these kinds of shows.
    I’ve always found Ends And Means to be a refreshing comic to browse through it tends to lean on light hearted humour with the occasional edgy joke here and there which is all I want from a web comic.
    Reading through your review and others that you’ve posted I don’t think Ends And Means would suit your taste regardless of your opinion I don’t think you’ve reviewed or given a fair rating over all.

  4. Ends 'n' means reader

    I actually really like this comic. I keep up with them and take the time to read each new release. I follow the plots. Sure, there are some better things but Ends ‘n’ means always puts a smile on my face.
    Reading this? Put a frown on it. Your review was that bad.
    I occasionally watch Family Guy. Its COMPLETELY different. Nothing like the comic.
    The bunny loving the chicks and always getting slapped for being an ass? Its overused, but still works.
    Give it a chance rather than just bash it after looking at the first few comics.

  5. Ends ‘n’ means is one of the better webcomics out there. The humor and artwork is very entertaining. And as for allegations that you have heard or seen some of the jokes before, well, show me a single comic whose story or jokes could not be broken down into elements that are recognizable from somewhere else. And if you would find such a comic, I doubt it would be very popular to most readers.

  6. Dude, your review didn’t got 2 stars, so it’s less than a comics have. Is it apathy or hate, what do you think?)) Sorry, but your reviews are so.. primitive.

  7. I’m getting strong Ctrl+Alt+Del vibes from this. It’s visually dull (the art, like early CAD strips, looks like it’s assembled from a library of clip art), has the same excessive wordiness as CAD, and the punchlines have the same over-reliance of violence, shock value, and LOL MONKEYCHEESE SO RANDOM XD as crutches.

    This isn’t the worst webcomic I’ve encountered, but it’s definitely one of the laziest.

  8. Just don’t agree. In fact, the comic you singled out was one of the first I found when I discovered the strip in the past 4 weeks. It made me laugh – literally, and I saved it as well, and added the strip, after some review, to my Top 40.

    My only complaint is that I’ve not gotten to know all the characters yet – and that’s my fault. It might be YOUR fault as well.

    But if you slapped the very comic that sold me on the strip (tasteless as it may be… even at 50, I can still enjoy tasteless along with Renoir!), I don’t see my checking out your site for new stuff to read.

    Instead, for the ~150 I have bookmarked, I will just keep looking at the strips themselves for
    links to other strips they suggest we check out.

    I’ll give your place a look as well, but, FWIW, I wouldn’t have even discovered it, were the cartoonist not disappointed in your opinion of his strip.

  9. You’re entitled to your opinion, and Ends ‘n’ Means certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but your review just seems rather… crude. There seems to be a lot of conclusions drawn with very little actual time spent getting to know the comic.
    And in responce to your dig about the reactions to the characters’ jokes, those are pretty much the expressions I would expect from people in a real life situation. People are going to be horrified when you drop an unexpected aids joke, however lame it may be. In the examples you’ve shown (which I’ll point out are all actually old material) it is not the punchlines that make me laugh, but the interaction of the characters, and their reaction to the punchlines. It seems to me that you’ve missed that part of the comic.

    Ends ‘n’ Means is silly. An adult version of silly, but silly all the same. It doesn’t pretend to be anything else. The characters are simple, but interact well with each other. The jokes are fitting for a strip comic. They are short and to the point, and yes, that sometimes means a shock comic. They are designed to be light entertainment (well as light as poo jokes and murderous lizards can be, but my meaning should be clear).

    The thing about Ends ‘n’ Means that stands out the most to me is the evolution. Barry has grown as an artist and a story teller over the course of the comic, which I personally find to be the best thing about webcomics. The artist starts with little knowledge or experience, just a desire, and grows into their medium. Alot of the jokes now, while semi-contained within their strip, only really work if you follow the story properly.
    Growth is what determines a webcomic’s true worth. Why does this seem completely forgotten in your review? It seems almost as though you’ve not wanted to find any good in this comic at all, since it doesn’t fit into your personal tastes.

    • Two stars doesn’t mean that the webcomic is complete shit, it just means that it didn’t do anything to interest him. If he went into the review forcing himself to slough through it because he expected he would like it by the end, his review would be neither an objective nor honest. You have to consider the comic as a whole, including the rough, boring spots.
      ATM it just looks like you’re ragging on him just because he doesn’t have the same opinion as you. Why do you care? He gave a mediocre score to a comic I liked, which I knew for a fact was written and drawn by an accompished professional, and I didn’t feel the need to post a “your review is wrong because…” essay.

      • Why argue with an opinion of an opinion? The reviewer started with his – and as so happens, I disagreed, and Skit did also, but did so with a nicely written counterpoint of things he/she thought should be considered (or reconsidered) – and there was certainly nothing offensive about it.

        Although I’ve not taken the time in the past 18 hours to review THIS site in depth, one thing I noted was both a review of dark comics and light comics. I can’t generalize on this – but I can say that as a kid, I leaned toward MAD and the lighter comics, even at age 8, while my older brothers were into super-heros in a big way (I only liked Hulk & Fantastic 4) in addition to MAD (likely from the BEGINNING of MAD).

        My preference for such continues to this day – although I find tongue-in-cheek Sci-Fi (such as Space Mullet — IF YOU HAVEN’T REVIEWED IT or read it, it’s new and quite excellent! – <—the intro page, before the first official strip) to be great fun and action oriented, so it combines the best of both worlds.

        The point I’m raising is the possibility of our esteemed host having a preference for reviewing a certain type of comic, and that’s not to be unexpected of anyone. Even Roger Ebert has his preferences – and he should know, he wrote the ScreenPlay script for Rosemary’s Baby (not the book…) and you seem him Thumbs Down a movie his original co-host gave a Thumbs-Up – and visa-versa!

        Even my own comment above contains a little too much emotion (from the moment) than it should have. My compliments to El Santo in finding room for humor, not antagonism. That goes a long way!

        Even for a schmuck! <— just kidding!!!!! 😀

        This is the ‘net. For the first time in history, everyone can have their say about anything and everything. Some pay for hosting to do it – and permit others the chance to critique their critique! Others… Like Vladimir Putin, just have you killed with a tiny pellet of Polonium injected into your calf with an umbrella on a crowded train!

        (Remember that when I start my own site critiquing EVERYONE! I have resources!!!)

        After all — after 30 years, Garfield, lasagna and Jon still survive, and on some days, are still funny. Same with Dilbert (but no lasagna)… as well as such relics as Dick Tracy & Peanuts!!

        I’d trade places with Charles Shultz any day (not the dead part… at least not yet!) – because the guy is STILL making $50,000,000 a year from that strip and the various endorsements!! It’s going down a little bit each year… but there are plenty of DEAD DUDES out there making more than all of us combined – and the only good thing about it is, if you knew them and didn’t like them, you get to take the occasional whiz on their grave!

        FWIW… my 2 cents, before deflation.

        • I am saying this because for some reason people read review sites with the idea that “This person’s opinions are a threat to my opinions” and want to “correct” them, or argue to the point that they undermine opinions in general.

          I don’t agree with Skit because he does not stop at simply saying “I disagree”. For some reason he is suggesting that El Santos doctor his review and opinions so that it matches his own. I find this illogical and, frankly, childish.

          • Ah, it doesn’t bother me. There’s probably a limit to reviewing on reviewing and such (shoot, I brought it up once, and Websnark decided to weigh in on if reviewing the reviewers was valid or if it would create an infinite loop of opinions) but if someone out there wants to call me out on being unfair or not, it’s totally OK by me.

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