While I couldn’t say that McPedro (a walking and semi-mobile cactus that Hazel, the comic’s primary focal character, is nominally responsible for) is the oddest aspect of Danielle Corsetto’s surreal slice-of-life webcomic Girls with Slingshots, his presence has been one of the more visible reminders of the surreality that is a constant background feature for the comic. Up until today’s comic, however, McPedro could be mostly brushed off as a booze-induced hallucination of Hazel’s (I don’t recall if Jamie’s ever responded to him, but given her friendliness any responses could be seen as “humoring” Hazel). Still, the revelation that Hazel’s mother could also hear McPedro (and some other plants as well) suggested something was up, and Zach’s reveal today that he also heard McPedro (and was glad to learn he’s not the only one who does) confirmed things.
Oddly enough, McPedro could actually end up as a force to help keep Hazel and Zach together. I’m no stranger to self-doubt, but I must admit I’ve wanted to reach through my computer monitor and smack Hazel upside the head over her actions and tendency to try and sabotage her life. Perhaps it’s part and parcel of being a writer; I do know I tend toward intense self-criticism, and this could explain some of Hazel’s behaviors… which includes driving Zach away from her by being especially accusatory. It often seems these two have nothing in common… but the wisecracking booze-drinking cactus may very well become the one thing they have in common. And who knows, this might actually stop Hazel from her self-destructive path which seems destined to leave her lonely and bitter.
But in being honest, I must admit that Hazel’s biggest problem is her drinking, and this is something that Zach hasn’t touched upon (perhaps due to the fact he drinks fairly heavily at times as well). I understand that flawed protagonists are often fan favorites… but the reason character flaws are so important is that drama is invoked as the characters attempt to overcome their own shortcomings. But Hazel seems blind to her own flaws, especially when drinking is involved… and McPedro has long been a part of this flaw. Nor does this seem likely to end. Still, I do hope that should Hazel and Zach manage to overcome their own issues, perhaps then she can start to work on her own flaws, of which McPedro is a part.