“At times, it’s as if nothings changed around here…and then, at other WHOA when they start admitting 40-year-olds?”
Tag Archives: Cayla
What faraway place is Les at tonight? Does Cayla even has to ask? Les is with his dead wife of course! Today’s strip has Les spending more quality time with Lisa’s ghost as he ponders what-ifs. At some point he probably realized that he wouldn’t be a delicate genius author if she’d lived, so he’s probably glad things turned out the way they did.
There’s a scene in the holiday classic movie “Gremlins” where the Gremlins all break into a bar and start smoking, drinking, cussing, gambling and swinging on ceiling fans. It’s great fun for the first minute but the bit goes on for about three minutes longer than it should and you’re left thinking: “Can we get back to the plot now?”
Today’s strip is a lot like that. Okay, you had a baby. It’s cute, apparently, we’ll just have to take your word for it, Westviewites, because it looks like a Mr. Potato Head toy from here. But can we get on with the strip!?
Welcome to the world, kid! The whole damn thing smells like garlic and stale bread. Poor Skyler. It’s almost unavoidable from the looks of today’s strip that he’s going to be a 20 year old dishwasher at Montoni’s, destined to have his wife deliver her baby there, too, shortly after they have their wedding there.
Does anyplace exist in Westview at all any more?! Why is this strip not called “Montoni’s and Moore” ?!
Here’s hoping I’m misreading today’s strip and Darrin and Jess aren’t the proud parents of four bouncing baby boys. That’d be hard to manage, even with Darrin’s lead tech consultant role at Montoni’s Pizza. It’s a strange strip; not only do we get five panels instead of 4, but ever single person looks genuinely happy at the news. Darrin looks so ecstatic he’s almost unrecognizable, Ann looks ready to drop that 10 lb phone she’s holding she’s so happy. Random Stranger Darrin Called looks pleased, too, as Funky shares the news at the greasy pizza joint. Les isn’t smirking, we’ll just have to leave it at that.
We don’t know the name yet, of course, but we do know he’s a Scorpio born in the year of the Snake. Delightful.
So: the utter drivel we read yesterday worked like a charm on Les, and his writer’s block is broken. I guess that Les’ teleplay will be filled with similar, um, “observations” and, once it makes its way to the Lisa’s Story producers, it will nestle nicely in the bottom of a trashcan. Although I’d hate to sully a nice trashcan with whatever trash Les will flap out into a manilla envelope.
And now we have today’s strip. Sorry, Cayla, but despite what Les says, it didn’t take any courage at all. You’ve been a doormat for Les and Lisa for pretty much your entire existence, aside from a couple of amusing injuries you’ve inflicted on Les. Helping Les mainline his Lisa addiction is not a sign of courage. It’s a sign that you’re no longer willing to try. You’ve given up. Les will reward you for giving up, of course, by perhaps comparing you somewhat favorably in Lisa’s light. But the rest of the world sees you as suffering from a far worse addiction than anything Les has. In the real world, I believe this is called “Battered-Wife Syndrome” and it is not pretty.
It takes courage to fight for what you want. It takes courage to stand up for yourself. It takes no courage at all to surrender to a ghost that your husband still clings to after all these years. I don’t know what you expected when you married this blind, boring narcissist, but those expectations are clearly long forgotten. Now, your only available path is feeling endless self-congratulatory and wearying self-pity. That doesn’t make you brave. That just makes you even more pathetic than I thought possible, frankly.
Welcome to Westview.
Well, Lisa, I suspect you got a lot of blank stares because what you said is so utterly stupid that the staff was simply caught off guard, and was trying to be polite. You know, instead of saying, “Is that a joke? Are you making a joke? Or is the chemo kicking in? Because what you said was pretty damned stupid. Oh, wait, you’ve got cancer. Sorry, what I meant to say was that you’re really funny and profound.”
If I was in the hospital with someone suffering from cancer, and they said the same thing, I’d smile politely because that’s what you do when someone is suffering and you’re trying to be comforting. I would not, however, repeat the observation around the water-cooler the next day, because it’s clearly the rambling of someone in pain. Not the sort of thing to remember and smirk quietly to myself over.
There was a minor Woody Allen movie a few years ago called Crimes and Misdemeanors. In it, Allen is making a documentary about a comedy show host (Alan Alda). Alda plays the guy as a crass boor, and in one bit of documentary footage he talks about a writer he doesn’t want to work with anymore. “I don’t care if he’s got cancer, he doesn’t ‘write funny’!”
Now, we’re all supposed to think, Oh, that’s just terrible, what a terrible man. The thing is though, he’s right. We’ve all known folks who’ve suffered with cancer, and I have every sympathy imaginable, believe you me. They deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Having cancer, however, doesn’t by itself make you a genius, or a saint, or a stellar wit. It can focus you, and those around you, into truly looking at each other and appreciating each other, and it might prod you toward improving your mind or your skills or otherwise pushing yourself into new things. But having cancer doesn’t automatically make your jokes funny, and it doesn’t give the guy who writes about you any talent.
I couldn’t resist. Besides–wouldn’t this actually be a much more interesting development? Les learns something from Starbuck Jones, it ties in with the whole “Starbuck Jones” concept, and we can cut to another cover–this time showing Starbuck’s ladyfriend, Lisandra! You can’t tell me Tom Baituk isn’t reading this right now and kicking himself. Just kicking himself, over and over and over again. You can say, “That’s not happening” but I’m enjoying the mental picture too much to listen to you right now.
Les, you horse’s ass. You’ve never had any problem visualizing Lisa’s thoughts before–why not grab a thermos, a legal pad, and head on out to the park bench? Lisa can dictate the entire damned script to you. Problem solved. Cayla can do the rest of the yard work. I mean, Cayla has to be good for something, right?
Now, let’s leave aside the fact that you were LIVING with Lisa all through this time, because if we bring that up, it might just indicate how much of a self-obsessed jerk-clod you are. It might explain why you can’t (or don’t care to) remember when Lisa confided in you about what she was going through. You know–the kind of thoughts you’re having so much trouble with right now.
Of course, none of her thoughts and fears back then had anything to do with you, Les, and to be honest it kind of moved the spotlight a little too much away from where it should have been. After all, what about your needs!
But that’s not really the point I was trying to make, Les. You are supposed to be writing a movie. Movies have things happen, and scenes where people speak. They’re a visual medium. They are not endless interior monologues, unless they were made in France back in the late 1950′s. You are adapting a book about a woman who died of cancer. If there was an audience who wanted to see such a film, they’d want to see how she copes with her illness, how her friends react, how her life changes, perhaps how her priorities shift and how she now sees the remainder of her life in a different light.
The Japanese film Ikiru is a fine example of such a film.
The idea that Lisa’s thoughts should be part of this script is really just begging for a nice case of Writer’s Block excuse (“How can I possibly write her thoughts for Hollywood,” Les preened). Her thoughts would naturally be expressed, visually and through dialogue, in how she interacts with her friends, her family, her doctors and so on. It’s all about relationships and how cancer would impact them. All things that could be shown on screen without too much difficulty. It’s called writing.
As for you, Tom Batiuk, you really don’t know how to write, do you?
Actually, I secretly think Tom Batiuk regrets the whole “serious issues” path he’s taken, and wishes he were doing gag-a-day again. It would explain why the strip is so half-hearted and bland. Well, heck, here’s an easy out for you: teenage Les awakens in study hall. “Whew!” he says. “It was all a dream!” Then Bull punches him. There you go, that’s funnier than all of 2013′s Funky strips…which admittedly isn’t saying much.
I’m not sure if Tom Batiuk is being subtle or it’s just random, but it does look as if two people are bearing away a casket to be buried, doesn’t it?
Writing can be a difficult process, but I don’t see how Les is having problems here. As has been pointed out many times already, Les has already lived the story. He wrote the book. It’s not like he has to think up an ending. All he has to do is break it down into a script format. But–I don’t think he wants to anymore. I think he’s looking for an excuse, any excuse to say “Sorry, I tried, but I just can’t do what Hollywood wants.” This, you’ll remember, for a first draft overdue by several months, naturally.
See, I believe that he’s been re-reading the book, and he’s discovered something. He’s now thinking, My God, this book is terrible. What a really poorly written book. What leaden prose, what an insufferable narrator. This would make a truly dreadful movie. And he imagines his name on television, exposing his lack of talent to a much vaster audience than the book ever had. Lord, what have I gotten myself into? I’ll never be able to show my face again. I can’t believe anything this bad was ever published.
Us neither, Les. Us neither.