Hairline Crack

Link to today’s strip.

I’m not sure, but I think today’s strip is supposed to be a “joke.”  You might remember jokes, they’re stories with a humorous climax (as Mr. Spock observed in Star Trek IV–a moment of silence for Mr. Nimoy, please).

They’re also things that this strip abandoned because it wanted to say serious things about serious issues.  And if this is supposed to be a joke, you can tell that Tom Batiuk has kind of lost his ability to tell them.   For one thing, he should have made Cindy’s narwhal horn blonde, so it looks like her hair and not simply a printer’s error.  Unless her narwhal horn is supposed to be pure white?  Which begs another question–if you don’t know anything about Cindy’s old hairstyle, if you haven’t read this strip obsessively for 40 years, this joke will make no sense.   It’s a joke for Tom Batiuk and no one else.

If this strip had a lighter tone, something like this could work.   There are strips out there that have a regular cast and use story arcs, but manage to remember that what readers want are jokes, or at least sincere attempts at jokes.  Those strips could have a well known actor, let’s call him Leonard Nimoy the  Movie Actor, fly across the country to watch old videocassettes in preparation for his role as Lisa Moore Mr. Spock, and the story could work without calling attention to how moronic and unrealistic the situation is, and we could all have a good laugh.

Since this strip has made a fetish of being serious, such similar episodes call attention to themselves in ways that Tom Batiuk really resents.  And his joke-telling ability has, as noted, atrophied.  Who knows, though?  Perhaps he’s great at parties and really livens things up.  In his day job, though….

Finally, Cindy looks much younger in panel one than she does in panel two.  Dear Mr. Batiuk, a 45th anniversary still indicates a pretty good run, and it’s only a couple of years from now.  You might consider it.

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In Memory Yet Gr

Link to today’s strip.

I’ve not heard of a memory board, and at first I thought it might be a “In Memorium” thing for all the students who died and thus were unable to attend.  Look at that giant pile of photos, I thought.  The high school must have been built on a toxic waste dump from an abandoned nuclear plant that was built on an Indian graveyard.

Then I saw that Cindy had a photo of Les, so I guess a memory board is just a “here’s what you looked like before you got old, fat, and bald!” poster.  But then I went back to my first thought, and I wondered if this was Cindy’s way of saying she was going to kill Les!  That would be awesome, go Cindy go!  At last a character whose dreams and aspirations we can all get behind.  Here’s to a new era in Funky Winkberbean!

Of course, back to reality–contemporary reality, of course, with its issues–we go.  Look at Les in panel one.  Oh, oh, oh, poor little unappreciated me.  Oh, woe is me, no one is capable of understanding me.  Boo hoo hoo.   I cannot understand why his face isn’t tattooed with bruises from the rain of punches he must receive every day.

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Memorial Day

Link to today’s strip.

Memorial Day is the holiday wherein we remember those who gave all so that we might be free.  In Westview, however, Memorial Day is when you remember when you were in high school.   For a strip that prides itself on “contemporary issues,” Tom Batiuk sure seems mired in nostalgia.

Last week, we had Detestable Dinkle; we’ve now been handed Loathsome Les.   Talk about a one-two punch–the only thing that could make this worse is if was Dinkle himself handing over the box.  “The missus and I thought you could use these marital aids; we’ve worn these out, but don’t want to throw them away.”

And of all the storylines that Mr. Batiuk has juggling, he figures the one we’re most anxious to get to is this high school reunion thing.   As I’ve said before, I cannot for the life of me imagine why they bother having a reunion–every member (still living) who graduated from that class sees every other member, every day.  There’s not a lot of catching up to do.  Now, if the actual reunion appears and we see folks all bored, sitting around and not talking, then I will salute Tom Batiuk for a joke well-played.   I have a feeling that won’t happen, though.  These sorts of things seem to be too vital to him–not a laughing matter, as it were, and another dull story to suffer through.

Granted, none of the other stories currently in mid-stride are interesting either–the band box is utterly trivial, and we know Pete as script doctor is going nowhere–but they at least contain the possibility that a new location, or a new character, or new anything might happen along.  Instead, we get badly-drawn Les (my only reaction to panel two is What the Hell?!).  Anything involving Les is clouded by noxious fumes.  At least he doesn’t say anything this time; he and Cayla are too involved in watching “Miffed Man” on television.  Ding dong!  Why, who could that be?

Who indeed!

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Gingivibrato

Harriet Dinkle, an unseen character throughout Act I, gets lots of panel time in today’s strip. I am pretty sure she had more lines back when she was drawn like a Peanuts adult, though, and the adults in Peanuts never had to put up with jokes at the expense of people who have crooked or no teeth.

Oh look, it’s raining, like it did at every single one of the Battle Of The Bands that Dinkle conducted. This running gag is more of a crawling gag these days.

One last thought here, should I be concerned that my iPad’s Autocomplete recognizes the word “Batiukmobiles”?

I hope everyone here has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend. Thanks for putting up with me for the last couple weeks. The great beckoningchasm takes over tomorrow, on Memorial Day proper, always a big day for this strip…

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Deaf-con Five

In today’s strip, Dinkle learns that there are two kinds of people in the world, those that can magically eliminate their hearing loss by forgetting about it and those not named “Harry Dinkle”.

I very much like the final panel today, or rather, the implications of it. Not only did Dinkle’s high schoolers not listen to his direction, he apparently believes the full-grown adults in the Wally plot device community band don’t either. That makes three separate bands that don’t listen to him. I see a common denominator.

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Identify-ku

“Trombone Morty” was
Original post title
for Today’s strip post

Already did a
Trombone Shorty pun Monday
Hate redundancy

There are fewer words
Than you might think that rhyme well
With the word “shorty”

Morton Winkerbean
On trombone reminds Dinkle
Of Wally, I guess

Earl Campbell is not
Impressed with Mort’s name, nor with
Director Dinkle

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Shout at the Dinkle

Today’s strip reaches a level of trippy surrealism that even Heathcliffe’s current descent into nonsensicality cannot match for madness. Admittedly, I am not much of a Mötley Crüe fan, so perhaps Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars both attempting to play and chew on the same guitar is their MO. However, what the third Google Images result for “Mötley Crüe” is doing next to an image of Franklin Roosevelt (with his trademark cigarette holder photoshopped out) boring Funky’s dad and a couple other octogenarians is beyond me.

Also, it’s another Throwback Thursday!
Guess what TB was publishing on this very date back in 1983?
If you guessed essentially the same “Ha! band kids don’t practice!” shtick he was doing on Monday, you win one of several internets.

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