That was nice what you just did, Bull"?!? What English teach– uh, sorry, Language Arts teacher, let alone a pretentious douchebag like Les, would utter such a colloquialism? And the "nice thing" he did? Catching a trio of repeat-offender school bullies in the act and letting them walk away without even a verbal warning.
A few days ago, I wondered if it would be worse for Batiuk to treat bullying in an inappropriately (and unfunny) humorous manner or a insufferable serious manner. Now I know an even worse third option exists: total schizophrenia.
…and TB's schizo tendencies extend to his continuing retconning/re-retconning of Les and Bull's high school relationship: two years ago he went to great lengths to posit that Bull was just pretending to beat Les up in order to protect him from the real bullies. But for the purposes of the current storyline, it turns out that Bull really did pick on Les, and now must spend the rest of his life atoning.
Thirty years ago…not only was the bullying real, it was actually pretty funny!
[I]s that our old friend Wedgeman? It's been so long but one of the few 'new' students from last year (who i assumed was also a senior at the time) may still be around!
Good eye, bad wolf! Even though his hair has the "Superman blue" highlights these days instead of brown, that's gotta be Wedgeman, who last year was fixin' to "kick [Cody's] butt off" before Summer came to his rescue. Now that Sheriff Sum' Mo' has ridden out of town, somebody has to man up and come to the rescue of Wedgeman's victims.
…As a former victim of bullying and a mom who worries what her kids will face in school when they get older, I'm insulted that Batiuk continues to treat this topic as lighthearted fun. On the other hand, I know that any attempt on his part to treat bullying and the tragic consequences thereof with the seriousness it deserves would be infuriating.
Not hard to see where Batiuk's going with this. Having shortsightedly used up almost his entire new cast of teen characters, he's pulled misfit goth girl Alex off the bench and retconned her back into a teen. Not only that, she's the target of bullying, which only only yesterday TB was playing for laughs. And her fellow misfit Owen will be cast in the role of her white knight. Perhaps he and Cody will construct a robot to attack her tormentors.
Link to today's strip
Cody: "…do you ever get the feeling that we never look forward to anything good? We merely mildly anticipate the absence of bad things?"
Note the date on John's comment above: it's from a whole year ago, when Cody and Owen last enjoyed a wedgie-free week due to the fact that the Seniors were out of town. Flash back a little further: to the beginning of the 2009 school year…
You're already doing the math: Cody and Owen would by now be part of the Senior Class. Of course, it's certainly likely that, being morons, they've had to repeat at least one grade. Still: surely they're not still mere freshmen? Do the Westview Seniors pick on all the underclassmen, or just these two?
I'm kind of concerned about these two loners who, every school day (except for the week of the D.C. trip), endure intimidation and abuse from the Seniors, are belittled by their teachers, and after school head to the Komix Korner to play (probably violent) video games. Could Batiuk be getting ready to add school shootings to his Serious Topics résumé?
Before becoming a cartoonist, Tom Batiuk taught for several years at a junior high school. If held felt anything like the antipathy that Les has always had for his students, well, it's fortunate for them that he left teaching for cartooning. Unfortunate for the rest of us though.
If Tuesday's strip qualified as one of the "Comics I Don't Understand", then what the hell are we to make of today's strip? Les bemoans his students' performance on his latest quiz, implying that they have retained nothing of what he's taught them. Does Cody's response mean that while they may not have learned anything, they are at least less easy to deceive? Even more baffling than the presumed punchline is Cody's crudely rendered profile in panel 3: his jawline resembles a peeled sweet potato.
Grab Bag Week: High School Hijinks Edition continues, and yes, dear reader, today's strip is the source of that oh-so-punchable Les face in this week's banner. That's the expression Les wears when he's doing what he does best: being a smug, superior dick to his students. Owen's right, Les, for once: that was a trick question. Doesn't the fact that nobody, nobody in his class is able to answer this question say more about the teacher than the students?
You'd think that producing Westview High's closed-circuit morning newscast would be a job that a couple of geeks like Cody and Owen could not only do but might actually do pretty well. Naturally, everything goes terribly awry, as typified by the fact that the picture on the TV is upside down. Just more fuel for Les and Linda's disdain of their idiot students.
Never mind that, though. Get a load of who's sitting in the front row: it's Alex, most recently seen dispensing totally worthless relationship advice to lovestruck Owen. Surely there is some retconning going on here: we met Alex at mopey Pete's book signing in December 2007 (see below), and she appeared to be at least high school age five years ago (I was going point to the fact that she sported tattoos even back then, but apparently Ohio law allows minors to get tattoos with parental consent). She's certainly old enough for Pete to attempt hitting on, though we know that that's not the best indicator. Note that her model sheet on the Meet the Cast page is one of the few that does not give an age. How convenient.
Dec. 10, 2007 strip:
Filed under chullo, Cody, Cody and Owen, Les, Les' yellow shirt, Linda, Mallory, Owen, random students, technology, Westview High School