Lame of Groans

Dammit, Batiuk, you were this close to a funny gag!A Game of Thanes”? Drop the article “A” and you would’ve had, by FW standards anyway, an actual punchline!!! Don’t worry thought: I fixed it for you:

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Saturday, Sept. 20

Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview…

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Wake Me Up When September Ends

Flummoxicated
September 18, 2014 at 8:31 am
Ye gods, this week has just been awful. Of course, one could say that about every week on Funky Winkerbean.

captaincab
September 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm
Ugh, these last few weeks have actually been exhausting to read. The strip is just the lack of inertia incarnate.

Thanks, snarkers…I was starting to think it was just me. “Disparage the Football Team Week 2014″ takes a grim turn as Coach suggests to his players that they might die horrible, disfiguring deaths on the gridiron.

In the complete absence of jokes, the reader is left to dwell upon minutiae, which includes the “extras” in this week’s scenes:

Orbiter
September 18, 2014 at 10:14 am
There is an assistant! An assistant coach. That’s unsettling. He’s lurking there like one of those characters played by Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western…

What’s really unsettling is that the mystery assistant coach is back again today…in the exact same pose! It’s weird which things Batiuk chooses to be consistent about. Maybe it’s not even a live person; after blowing their budget on those swell Riddell pro-grade helmets, the school has no money left to hire additional staff, and the team is forced to make do with a mannequin.

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The Picture of Futility

Rusty
September 16, 2014 at 11:19 pm
He’s not even trying to write a joke now. It’s just a declarative sentence.

Today’s strip is somewhere in between. In a sense, the team picture is “the ‘before’ picture” as it depicts the team before the season starts (though the ‘Goats have already played, and presumably lost, their first game). Does Coach summon them again at the end of the season for a (not optional!) “after” picture?

Random notes:

  • “OK men…let’s get lined up for the 2014 team picture.” For those still trying to unravel TB’s convoluted timeline, this places Funky Winkerbean solidly in the present. Therefore, over in Crankshaft, it’s 2004….even though three years ago, we saw Ed watching Cindy Summers reporting on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
  • Quite a few weird looking “extras” in this scene, but my favorite has to be Blond Guy with a Hitler Stache:

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All I’ve Got is a Photograph

Charles
September 14, 2014 at 11:52 pm
So a struggling sports department in a school with a constantly shrinking budget somehow manages to find the money to equip its entire team with Riddell Revolution helmets. For a team that is a yearly laughingstock…And that’s probably not their most egregious waste of money, since they apparently hired a head coach who doesn’t actually coach…Just watch as Batiuk runs the “Westview cuts the school budget” storyline yet again…

Charles’ quote came to mind when I saw today’s strip. The Fighting Scapegoats are indeed a laughingstock (though we’re not laughing). Clearly neither the coach nor the players could care less about football, winning, or even showing up for the team picture. In interviews, Batiuk is fond of talking about how he still visits his former high school for inspiration. But the Midview Middies of Grafton, OH are off to a 3-0 start (and even allowing for Batiuk’s famous year-in-advance schedule, last year they were on their way to a 7-3 record). But even back when TB, and you, and I were in high school, I never heard of a sports team that would accept losing as the status quo. Perhaps the team exists solely to give Les, Cayla, Linda, and the rest of Westview someplace to go on Friday nights in autumn.

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Band Busters

The hits keep on coming: yesterday Bull was suggesting his players might “die of embarrassment”; today he’s dissing the band, and this time, Bull isn’t even smiling. It’s unclear exactly what hazard the marching band presents to the football team, but at least in Becky they have a leader who shows some commitment and is slightly (just slightly) less condescending and dismissive.

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Ambulance Blues

It looks like that visit from a college coach didn’t lead to a job offer for Bull. And that’s too bad. Not for Bull, but for the hapless Scapegoats, who can look forward to another season of futility, playing for a dimwitted, incompetent coach who badmouths rather than encourages them.

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