If I’d gone any farther out of my way for this punchline I’d have gotten stranded somewhere in the Delta Quadrant. Like, I feel like I should apologize.
I mean, I’m not going to, but. Yes. Peter Piper puked ‘pon a pack of punny ploppers, etc. I basically said that final line to myself two days ago while thinking about what to do with the whole self-sealing stem bolt thing from Progress, started giggling like an idiot, and wrote the strip backward from there to justify its existence.
I am like seven years old.
But, right: my take on Reg is I think he responds more constructively to awkward situations than to well-balanced ones, you know? Coping mechanisms, he’s less at sea when people who aren’t him are actively having trouble keeping it steady, because suddenly there’s a point of comparison by which he can see himself as the helper instead of the overwhelmed cast-out. Not that it’s necessarily a great place to be in, emotionally or socially, as a co-dependent rescuer figure in a dysfunctional group dynamic or whatever but, you know, the guy’s got some reserves maybe even if it’s not under the best circumstances.