Batiuk’s so fond of describing his strip as a “quarter-inch removed from real life” but it’s more like 180 degrees, a Bizarro world. Mason winds up in the tabloids and immediately frets over Marianne…Cindy gets wind of the purported affair and shows up at the studio looking for her supposed rival when you’d think her first order of business would be kicking Mason right in the nuts. Anyway, why is Cindy even still allowed on the set after she ruined a take? I guess for the same reason Frankie and Lenny are allowed to continue running their bogus food truck.
So the betrothed-to-be-wed Mason is accused by gossip mongers of cheating on Cindy, and his first concern is how this will affect Marianne? “Dealing with haters“? Are people hating on Marion Cotillard for her rumored canoodling with her Allied costar Brad Pitt? Nobody gives a shit! What really gets the ‘mansquitoes buzzing is when you’re “the star” of a really crappy movie, and this is what’s at the root of Mason’s sudden gloomy demeanor: he’s been there. Although he was pretty proud of having Dino Deer on his resume, until Cliff Anger and Mopey Pete dissed him…
Christmas comes early for us human mosquitoes in the form of a “tip of the Funky felt tip” from Thee Author Himself! Well, it’s more like he’s giving us the finger. Hunky blond lunk Mason suddenly gets high and mighty in true McCarthy-era Cliff Anger style when faced with rumors on “the message boards”involving him and Marianne. By the way, Mason uses the word “advisedly” advisedly. The real kicker though is his use of the phrase “chew toy”, which is the moniker applied by human mosquitoes to St. Lisa during her Pulitzer campaign.
Ah, the Director Guy. We hardly know anything about him; not his name (the back of his director’s chair just says “Director“), nor when his hair color tuned from blue-black to brown. But today we learn that Director Guy’s got some temper! It must stem from frustration over how little control he has over this project. His leading man takes it upon himself to cast extras and fly his friends around. The leading man’s fiance hangs around the set an interferes with a scene. Another take is nearly ruined when errant school bus rolls into a crucial location shot. A mole from a gossip website sets up shop on the set and is permitted to remain there after he blows his own cover. It’s enough to make your face break out in weird halftone blotches!
All of you who laughted at Frankie’s paparazzi skills will admit that the shot he took of Mason and Marianne on her mom’s porch came out pret-ty clear from about a hundred feet away! What’s not so clear is why Mason’s referred to as “newly engaged,” as it’s been almost a year since he and Cindy announced their betrothal. The “news crawl” across the bottom of the panels is a nice touch, though “MASON JARRE FLINGS FIANCÉE FOR FLING” reads less like TMZ and more like a Variety front page hed from the first Starbuck Jones era.
“Amazing” is one of those words that’s completely lost its meaning from overuse. What amazes me is that Jess is still standing there holding up that giant video camera. Something else that amazes me about today’s strip is how Cindy checks her phone and the first thing she sees is the tabloid headline and photo of Masone and Marianne. Did somebody see it and send it to her? Does she subscribe to “DMZ’s” mobile alerts? No matter. Batiuk has spent months establishing Cindy’s insecurity and self-doubt, and almost as much time setting up a showdown between her and Mason’s sexy (though sweet and innocent) co-star. Shit’s about to get real, yo.
So having served his six months in the joint, Cliff decided his acting career was over and retreated to New York to spend sixty years awaiting rescue by those meddling Westview kids. Thankfully, other blacklistees, such as Lena Horne, Orson Welles, Arthur Miller and others, managed to pick up the pieces and go on to continued success. Cliff basically blacklisted himself.