Always Give Up, Always Surrender

Link to today’s strip.

Sorry about that, I was watching “Galaxy Quest” and forgot about my duties here!

So, anyway.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Cindy’s documentary will not win an Emmy.  Here are the reasons why.

First of all, losing will be a crushing blow to Cindy (especially now that Mason’s enthused about it), and I don’t think Tom Batiuk can resist that.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much forgotten all of high school–but for some, those memories are forever.

Secondly, Cliff Anger has already had the ultimate honorarium–he had a hot-cocoa-and-sammiches meet-up with a bunch of freeze-dried adolescent idio-fans, and that, my friends, is the only honorific that truly matters.  An Emmy award for a program about him is overkill.

Thirdly, an award for a Cliff Anger documentary would say that there is a value in persisting and striving for a goal–Cindy’s goal, of course, not Cliff Anger’s–and that goes against everything this strip stands for.

Fourthly , it emphasizes the idea in this strip that awards are not given to *ahem* truly deserving subjects, but are meted out to things that tweak the current zeitgeist; awards are shallow things that shine in the eyes of the great unwashed for a few moments, before the next shiny thing comes along.

Finally, and I think most importantly, an award is impossible for anything unless Les Moore is involved.  He alone is allowed to achieve, because, you know, he’s SO sensitive and artistic, and driven by creativity, and–get this–his wife died.  How can you not shower him with accolades?

This is another strip that gives the lie to the “time jump” theory.  All of Cindy’s competition is thoroughly contemporary.  Tom Batiuk didn’t push his cast into the future–he just aged them.

So I’d like to make a request of the Gods of Funky Winkerbean critique.  Please stop saying “time jump.”  Please start saying “age jump.”  Because that’s all it ever was.

PS:  If you’ve never seen “Galaxy Quest” I highly, highly recommend it.  It’s about a bunch of has-been actors who are given the chance to save the world.   Instead of bitterly making sure the angle of their lampshades were just so, they stood up and made a difference.   It’s one of the few films I recommend with no reservations.

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The cat meows because wants food

Link to today’s strip.

I’ve been looking at this one, over and over again, trying to figure out what it’s trying to tell me.  Here’s what I’ve got.

Mason is an insecure imbecile who has no real thoughts or opinions.  His brain is completely empty; he baffles science.  This makes him a great actor because once he’s read the script, he is never out of character.   His micr0-rant yesterday was probably something he overheard on the subway or at the hairdressers.  Whoever said it managed to impress his own personality over Mason’s, so Mason’s been saying that person’s “lines” as he acts out the character.

However, his insecurity kicked in once his “lines” were countered by Cindy’s news.  So, he’s like a fluffy kitten that does not know what to do.  Then, the cat meows because wants food.

Sorry…it’s that kind of a strip.  It practically begs you to think of other things.

Also, I thought Cindy was the insecure one in this relationship.   Silly me.  Really, though, the conversation should have been (paraphrasing)

Mason: Awards are stupid.

Cindy: Yes, they are.  I will tell my producers to turn down the Emmy nomination, because if I seek an award, I may lose you, since you hate awards and I might have one.

Mason:  Yes, you should do that.  However, I deem it “okay” if you do not do that.  An award would be good for your esteem.  And losing an award would be good for my esteem, as you will be more insecure and cling tighter.  Wait a moment.  Wait a moment.  Wait one moment while I calculate this development.

Cindy: I will wait all required moments.

Mason: (after 22 minutes and 15 seconds of silence)  Cindy, you should murder Les Moore by plunging Harry Dinkle through his heart.

Cindy:  He will simply reform around the Dinkle, adding its mass to his own.

Mason: Damn it.

 

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Nominated for Best Imbecile in a Supporting Role

Link to today’s strip.

Every time a character says something exceptionally stupid–and Mason here is a shining example–I have to remind myself that, despite Tom Batiuk’s repeated assertions, this strip has nothing to do with the real world.  There’s no quarter-inch between there and here.

What this strip is, is a Wish Fulfillment World.   This world is how Tom Batiuk believes the world should work.  Here, the highest form of art, and the most valuable commodity, is the comic book.  Second most valuable is the comic book’s consort, the movie based on a comic book.  Here, Mason’s idiocy makes perfect sense.

Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a Wish Fulfillment World.  Some of them can be quite entertaining.  At the risk of ticking people off, I’d put JRR Tolkien’s  works in this category.  But Tolkien made sure that his world was consistent, and that there were rules that governed his world, and those rules were not to be ignored or bypassed for convenience.  Consistency is PRIMARY if you’re going to go down this path.  Because of you ignore consistency, you end up with Funky Crankshaft Island.

To wit: Here, the greatest comic book of them all, Starbuck Jones, is both extraordinary evocative to its hordes of fans, who treasure every moment it gave them, and yet it sold so poorly that it put its creators out of business.  Here, a peck on the cheek drives the internet into a frenzy, and drives a young actress toward suicide.  Here, said actress is simultaneously a naif making her first film and a hot property that can boost a film’s stature into white heat.  Here, an actor whose main credit is “Dino Deer” lives like royalty, bathed in luxury.  Here, a loathsome prick can make his mark on the entire world by writing about his dead wife, yet he toils in obscurity in a small Ohio town.  I could go on; there are thousands of such…Funky Crankshaft Island rides.

And movies are an art form, not a commercial product.

Now don’t get me wrong–movies can be art, and as such can be very enlightening.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every Ingmar Bergman movie I’ve ever seen.  And most of those made by David Lynch.  But every movie ever made by a film studio has one primary goal: to make money.  To pretend otherwise is to ignore the real world.

Which this strip does splendidly.

PS: I’d agree that most awards are stupid and entirely ignorable.   Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Cary Grant never won Oscars?  I’m thinking, though, that Pulitzer nomination letter must really burn right now.

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Recipe for Disaster

Link to today’s strip.

Ha ha, old people are so stupid!  But, like, the internet is so evil…

So when those two elements collide, get ready for wacky hi-jinks!

Today’s strip is the opening scene.  I’m sure you’ll agree those hi-jinks aren’t very wacky.  It’s too much work for them to be wacky.  I mean, it takes them a long time to get out of bed, with all the creaking bones and complaints about gout.  Hoping for wackiness is, like looking for substance in Funky Winkerbean, a fool’s errand.

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And on the Seventh Day…

Link to today’s strip.

Oh my God, we’re still doing food jokes?   And not just any food jokes, but jokes that are so old, I remember being bored by them way back in grade school.  Hey, Tom Batiuk, right back at ya:

What really wrings the neck of this attempt at humor is the bizarre…well, “continuity” for lack of a better word.  For the past two days, Bernie and Thatsnaught have been standing in front of the vendos.  Now, they’re still standing there, wearing the same clothes, as if only a few moments have passed between strip-days.  So far so dull, but suddenly, there’s a professionally-taped notice on the vendos that was not there before.   It’s like a low-budget movie where the script girl was out sick one day.  “Okay, that’s a wrap, loves; gotta get this stinker in the can!”

I could imagine someone like Philip K. Dick could take this “off” situation and create something out of it…Eye In The Sky comes to mind; there’s actually a scene with a vending machine!   Philip K. Dick could be quite irritating at times, but his imagination was never in doubt.

Unlike some people I could name.

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Big Brother Is Watching You Eat

Link to today’s strip.

Comic Book Harriet asked a relevant question yesterday–is this vendo in the school, or the Komix Korner?  We were, after all, dealing with two characters shown in the Korner in the previous day’s strip.

Well, today’s professionally taped sign gives us the answer.  Although Bernie’s still wearing the same shirt as yesterday–does that mean he only has one shirt?  Shades of Les Moore!  (Spoilers:  he seems to have two, this one and another just like it in red.  I guess he alternates them seasonally.)

Other than that, it’s just another sad episode of how badly Tom Batiuk’s sense of humor has atrophied.   School food, that’s always timely–but, I should shake it up somehow.  He’s obviously trying, he’s even abandoned the safe, tried-and-true cafeteria in an attempt to recast the joke–but it’s the same old cafeteria fare, just drenched in a different bland sauce.

Neither one is edible.

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Older than the punchline, even

Link to today’s strip.

Didn’t they get rid of the vendos?  Oh well, only idiots like readers expect things like continuity.  Obviously, since this strip is based in reality, the things in the vendo would be kept up to date, and anything past its sell-by date would be removed…much like a comic strip might be removed from a paper for something fresher and more filling.

Anyway, I guess this is supposed to be funny.  It clearly isn’t meant to be poignant, or educational, or anything.  And I guess I have to give a bit of credit for the (I think) attempt, even though it falls on its face.

I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of Bernie.  I had thought, with his interest in chess and the band, that he was going to turn out to be a smart character.  Here–well, I don’t know.  Is he dumb for wanting something from the vendos, or is he just naive?  In the first panel he looks cynical and weary, in the second, he looks alarmed.

Oh well, I’ve already put more effort into interpreting this than it warrants.  On to tomorrow.

 

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