See, he just explained how Funky got his special pizza-themed masks, but nothing can explain how, on the spur of the moment, he suddenly found or made a bunch of tiny masks for the stupid band box. I’m never discussing this arc again so, for the last-ever time, it’s just remarkable how much affection Funky has for his old nostalgia-steeped junk, like his stools, jukebox and (of course) that f*cking band box. The whereabouts of his old revolving beer sign are still unknown, as that plot thread has been dangling for like eight years now.
Coming next week: after briefly acknowledging Morton, Holly, Wally, Rachel, Adeela, Cory and Rocky’s untimely COVID-related deaths in passing, Funky seriously contemplates drinking himself to death after the green pitcher comes out of the dishwasher all faded and teal. His fellow AA members agree that it’s probably the best course of action given the gravity of the situation.
“Reserved for a vaccine”??? Yes, I know what he meant, but LOL. He really should have maybe waited to see how things played out before he sent this batch of strips over to CK. But then again, it’s been a hundred years so why start now?
Correct me if I’m mis-remembering this but didn’t he just REMOVE THE F*CKING JUKEBOX THREE DAYS AGO? This isn’t just a typical lapse in continuity, it’s like a whole other universe where “continuity” isn’t even a word. And why is Adeela being forced to wipe down the virus-infested jukebox (minus gloves too by the way)? That’s no way to treat your pizzeria’s number one Muslim architect. Someone needs to hook that girl up with a LinkedIn or Indeed account, pronto. These FW characters just settle into these lackadaisical phases that drag on for YEARS at a time. She’s squandering her talents AND her youth on these pizza-shilling infidels, if she’s not careful she’ll become an overweight bulbous-nosed sad sack before she knows what hit her and…oh, right. Never mind.
And what’s that anon-o-dude grinning about? Getting to play one of Funky’s old Danny Kaye records? Or is he just excited about the jukebox being sanitized? “Oh man, she’s sanitizing that jukebox just for ME! There’s NO CHANCE I’ll contract COVID from this now!”. Sigh.
So the “soul” of Montoni’s is customers eavesdropping and breathing on one another from adjacent booths? Again, Funky’s main concern here isn’t with the PEOPLE affected by the pandemic, but for the actual building itself, which is really odd. It’s a pizzeria, thus its “soul” is those big ovens where the pizza is made, as without those he has nothing. Now that things here in the good ol’ USA are slowly returning to normal this one seems kind of dated already but hey, if Funky didn’t have anything to complain about he’d be filling those forty-two extra weeks with Les arcs or something, so there is that. Sometimes you just gotta find the upside, I suppose.
Once again I am baffled. I assume this is a social distancing-based gag (timely as ever) but the idea that he’s sharing this incredibly mundane anecdote at an AA meeting just boggles the mind. At least the other alcoholics appear bored and disgusted by Funky’s wordplay-based mutterings, which I gotta admit is pretty damn accurate.
The less said about the gag the better. That one had to have been rattling around in that delightfully sincere head of his for ages. In fact I’m stunned that he never used that one before. It just seems so obvious.
Again we see Funky fetishizing an inanimate object with ties to his youth that only holds meaning to him. And once again it makes no sense whatsoever. Why would the jukebox “have to go”? They couldn’t wipe it down with some sanitizer a few times a day? I mean it’s his building and his jukebox, I can’t think of a single reason why he couldn’t just leave the f*cking jukebox where it is. Yet there they are, hurriedly rushing the jukebox out the door like it’s packed full of anthrax (the disease not the band although both could be deemed as alarming). Why? Does it shoot COVID from the coin return or something? Will the song choices compel listeners to violate social distancing standards? I don’t get it.
And look how they didn’t even bother to coil up the cord. That dumb jukebox is one of Funky’s most treasured objects yet he’s carting it around like it’s a broken toaster. I don’t know what the idea behind this strip was supposed to be but I’m just baffled.
“While our takeouts from Montoni’s had been good”…nice sentence there, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy. That sentence is the literary equivalent of stubbing your pinkie toe on the bed frame on a 4AM bathroom trip. BatWrite’s insanely fractured syntax is definitely impossible to “replicate”, as it’s just impossible to force yourself to think that way, unless you’ve suffered a lot of head injuries or use a lot of LSD or something.
Of course the possibility exists that the “ambience” Funky is speaking of only exists in HIS head, given his deep lifelong ties to Montoni’s and all. I mean aside from the staff and Crazy Harry you almost NEVER see any other FW regulars hanging around in the background. It was never Westview’s answer to “Cheers”, where characters stream in and out all the time, exchanging wry smirks and wordplay-based banter as Funky and Company crank out the pies. Thus one could conclude that Westviewians don’t really give a shit about being inside Montoni’s, as so few of them are. They just want the pizza. Your coke dealer might have you drop by his stylish condo or he might meet you in the parking lot at the Sizzler but either way you’re just interested in getting the blow.
This arc could have been about how Funky missed his customers-slash-pals during the pandemic, which might have made sense. Or it could have been about how he found himself with all kinds of unwanted free time all of a sudden, which would have sort of tied in a little with the last one. But instead it’s about how the pandemic affected the actual building itself, which is certainly a “different” sort of take. And he’s the only one with nostalgic feelings for the place (even Tony is never there), so essentially this is just more childhood fetishization, a common FW theme (see: comic books).
But mostly it’s just stupid. Funky is usually one of the more sympathetic FW characters (by FW standards) but the urge to hit him with a cinder block is just overwhelming right now. Why is everyone just sitting there letting this idiot babble?
No personal attacks, ever. This includes Batiuk. The strip(s) are fair game, personal lives are not.
Stay on topic. Tangents are fine if they relate to the strip content.
Don’t cross the line. You know what line I’m talking about and if you’re unsure then you’re probably crossing it. If you don’t like it, too bad. We try to maintain standards here.
So, (see what I did there?) is this the same AA monologue from before or is this a whole new one? Because Funky is really monopolizing these meetings. Running Montoni’s was hard, closing Montoni’s was hard, re-opening Montoni’s was hard…yeah, Funky really appeared to be struggling to make ends meet while he was reno-ing his luxury McMansion on the hill a few weeks back. I mean, it’s a pizzeria. You make pizzas, you sell pizzas and that’s pretty much it. It’s not like Westviewians have a lot of alternatives.
People got sick, people died, people lost their jobs, businesses cratered, yet there’s the Funkman, bitching because his stupid pizzeria isn’t exactly the same as before the pandemic came along. Cue the world’s smallest violin. Typical BatYam, he decides to “address” a “real-life issue”, then centers the whole thing around pizza. You’d think that given everything Funky has endured that maybe he’d have a bit of perspective, but nope. There he is, sitting in a room full of recovering alcoholics and making it all about himself. What a pitiful display.
Pathetic. That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this strip. I’ve just got to remain relevant, but this pandemic messed up all my plans! Well, I’m sure I can shoehorn in something, right at the end, and remain one of the cool kids, one of the strips that resonate with today’s youth! Because otherwise, how can I grab those sweet, sweet awards?
I know a lot of people were taking the comics page to task for not adapting to the pandemic. I wasn’t one of those people; the comics page is not reality and it is not required to do anything other than entertain. But today’s strip is really galling. Batiuk is trying to have it both ways, by acknowledging the pandemic, and yet not having it interfere with his year-long planning.
Because which of the stories last year could he possibly have pulled in order to address the situation? Well, how about all of them?
Without cheating by clicking on the “Act III” button in the banner, I can’t think of anything significant that happened in 2020. And I bet that’s because nothing did. I’m not talking about “events” because “events” happen all the time. I’m talking about things that make a difference in the strip. Actual changes, the things he touts over and over as his accomplishments.
Again, not cheating by clicking, I doubt anything of significance occurred. (You can beat me up in the comments.) Batiuk isn’t having it both ways, he’s throwing it away both ways.
This is the sort of strip that makes me think Tom Batiuk should have retired a long, long time ago. That Sunday strip where child Summer turned into teenage Summer, and inaugurated Act III, should have been the end. Because this, as mentioned above, is pathetic.
And…that’s it from me. Tune in tomorrow when your host will be the always erudite, always entertaining Epicus Doomus.
As long as I’m plugging some of my favorite animators, here’s Graham Annable, aka Grickle. This one always makes me laugh. It’s a little over a minute long.
This next one is a bit more ambitious, and I’d advise you not to watch it late at night. Three minutes long, and scarier than Stephen King.
Well, we all knew the horrors were upon us when Harry Dinkle showed up.
So instead of contemplating the Unnamable, how about something that should go right into Tom Batiuk’s “women are unappreciated” shtick?
In honor (honor, not horror) of Harriet Dinkle, I give you Sally Cruikshank’s “Face Like a Frog,” a five minute slice of absolute brilliance, with a score (and song) by Danny Elfman. Hey, he wrote for Batman movies!
Ms. Cruikshank, in my opinion, is one of the greatest animators ever–male or female. Her work is entirely based on talent, rather than demanding appreciation because of her sex. And there’s more creativity and imagination (and humor) here than exists in all of Batiukland. Enjoy!
And to answer the obvious question, yes, that is the late, great Dick Miller as the voice of the main character.
I think Batiuk uses “So…” as a way of saying “It has been established in the previous strip, and agreed upon that…” He’s trying to bring his readers up to speed on what’s going on. The fact that nothing is usually going on (other than endless talk) doesn’t seem to be a factor. I know it bothers a lot of folks; it doesn’t really affect me either way.
It reminds me of the old intro narration on Lost In Space to set the scene for the episode: “Last week, as you recall, Will, Dr. Smith and The Robot…” etc. (You just have to add “unaware,” “incredible,” and “alien” and there you go.)
As for the content of today’s strip, I ask, “What content?” One could cut out every strip this week except Wednesday and Thursday, and you’d have the complete story.
You could cut out all of them and improve the comics page greatly. Especially since this seems to be little more than an ad for a real-world event that just happens to highlight one of his characters. Which begs the question…I wonder who reached out to who?
Another question: now that Batiuk has tied himself to this “salute to band directors,” and, in his eyes, gained a whole new slew of new readers…how long do you think it will be before he pivots to “Lisa’s Story”?