We All Scream

J.J. O’Malley
February 26, 2021 at 11:43 pm
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I almost want there to be a complete tour of the new and “improved” Chateau Winkerbean tomorrow, just so our six days of sloughing through (apparently) one very repetitive day-long conversation won’t have totally been in vain.

Hate to spoil it for ya, J.J., but I have a feeling that today’s strip is about as close as we’re gonna get to seeing the actual reno in progress. Throwaway panel 1 is a lovingly detailed rendering of a gutted kitchen, chock full of the kind of details–the orange extension cord, discarded sheetrock and wood, exposed studs and electrical–that have me thinking Batty snapped some reference pix during the real-life reno of his own kitchen that inspired this arc.

Also in panel 1, to the left of the FW text, we see Holly’s profile, which tells us that they’re sitting in a room that’s just off the kitchen. Which makes me wonder how she could forget that the ice cream and everything else has been moved to another location.

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Write What You (Ren-)Know

All good things must come to an end; so too must all excruciatingly dull things like this week’s reno convo. As Funky Winkerbean has pivoted from “depicting contemporary issues affecting young adults” etc. etc., we see more situations that are likely drawn from what’s been happening in Batiuk’s life the last couple years. Having one’s home renovated actually does hold some comic potential, and this arc got off to a promising start Sunday, where we saw Funky and Holly interacting with the contractor at their house. It might have been kinda fun to see the job actually being done, and maybe have Holly finding ways to continually and inadvertently drive up the price tag, adding to her husband’s consterenation. Instead, the rest of the week’s been taken up with these two commiserating.

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Do Ya Reno What I Mean?

Let’s just leave aside today’s weak gag. I want to talk about what’s going on with Crazy Harry’s head.

As a teenager in Act I, Crazy was never seen without his trademark hat: an olive drab, military style fatigue cap, similar to those worn by Fidel Castro or Beetle Bailey. As an Act II young adult, Harry ditched the cap, but kept his Crazy cred by sporting a beard and ponytail. His forelock was noticeable but not distracting. In Act III, he complimented his postal uniform with a jaunty  snap-brim cap over longish, but not ponytail length hair. After getting dumped by the P.O., Harry went mostly hatless, and his hair and beard began to gray. After Chuck Ayers reunited with Batiuk, Harry’s hair at last went totally gray, and that forelock has taken on the appearance of a casque, the bony, keratin-covered protuberance on the head of a cassowary:

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The Marble-ous Mrs. Klinghorn

Holly Winkerbean’s not the only Westview wife who’s been watching HGTV. According to Crazy Harry, Donna “seems plugged in and aware” of kitchen design trends. Too bad she’s married to a man who squanders his postal service pension checks on rare Tarzan comics.

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Reno 411

Crazy Harry: "I think I basically get the nesting urge..."I’m pretty sure that Crazy doesn’t get the nesting urge; if he did, it would mean he was pregnant. Crazy’s just saying he “gets” it. I didn’t: I had to look up “nesting urge”. Anyway, what’s not to get about the desire to “reno the nest” (and hoo boy, there’s another turn of phrase that you will hear nowhere in real life)?

none
February 21, 2021 at 11:00 pm
Every time a strip features Funky being nervously anxious about the cost of something I will be motivated to write here to say, yet again, as I did yesterday and before, that FUNKY LIVES IN A GOD DAMNED MANSION OF A HOUSE THAT WOULD HAVE A VALUE OF AT LEAST ONE FUCKING MILLION DOLLARS IF IT EXISTED IN THE REAL WORLD…

Exactly. The Winkerbeans live in a spacious home (that I suspect closely resembles Batiuk’s “Cartoon Castle). Funky clearly should have the wherewithal to spruce it up just a bit. He’s just bent out of shape because Holly’s taken charge of things. But she spends at least as much time running the family business as does Funky. Doesn’t Holly deserve the kitchen (and bathroom) of her dreams?

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The Dirty Jobs

Such a weird joke today. I’m thinking that this “momentary lapse” Funky mentions was in November ’19, when he mused aloud about installing a shower in the guest bathroom for Holly’s mom. But that conversation took place face to face, and not over the phone. Does Holly surreptitiously record all their conversations, for use as leverage to get her way? Apparently there are third-party apps that allow you to record phone calls, but it’s not a feature of iOS. At any rate, Funky knows he’s been hornswoggled, and is none too happy about it. Even though profanity standards have become pretty lax, “damn” is still kinda salty language for any newspaper comic strip not named Doonesbury. And does Funky/Batty realize that Steve Jobs has been dead nearly ten years?

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All the Way to Reno

Maddest of mad props to ComicBookHarriet for carrying us through the last couple weeks!

Kitchen Reno“? I had to read today’s strip a couple times before I grasped that “reno” in this case is short for renovations. The weird alignment of type didn’t help. What’s with Funky’s stricken expression in panel 2? Home improvement is typically something guys like to talk about. Of course, all that Funky cares about is what all this is going to cost, especially with Holly out there sourcing materials. As the owner of a business that seems to have more employees than regular customers, he’s right to be concerned as to what this is going to cost.

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It ain’t EZ being EZ, no.

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh those WIVES amirite? Always wanting their faucets not to leak, and their tub seams not to be stained black with mildew. Needing grout that hasn’t been haphazardly sealed with crazy glue, drywall not patched with bondo and tempera paint, linoleum sans the packing tape, light fixtures with actual covers still intact. What a bunch of absolute spendthrift divas.

Or maybe the Winkerbean bathroom and kitchen isn’t in such a state yet. Maybe it’s just my poor parents who have been putting off a kitchen/bathroom remodel since the Clinton administration because it’s easier to fantasize about the dream kitchen they’ll put in, forever perfect in its nebulousness, than it is to bite the bullet and finally rip out the Brady Bunch orange counter tops.

Anyway, this strip is either a tolerable lead in to a new arc of Funky misery, or the start of a very unappealing adult film. The dialogue says the former. But Holly and the Handyman’s bedroom eyes tell a different story. And what kind of real contractor just wanders around with a giant ‘EZ’ plastered on his hat and shirt. I’ve seen sexy nurse Halloween costumes with more believable ‘names’ on the lapel.

It’s been a fun couple weeks. The Dinkle arc was a bit of a slog to end on, but it’s not every shift that I get to talk about Batman. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments! TF Hackett will be taking over the exciting renovation action tomorrow. Please remember to thank him and Epicus for giving us all our cozy, internet safe-space where we can join together in mocking the final death throes of the slow entropic decay of a fictional universe.

Stay warm and Funky everyone! Comic Book Harriet signing off!

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The Silent Generation

Link To Today’s Strip

That is a massive piece of paper for Dinkle to overlooking. He should have seen it in panel one, where the back on his coat is exposed to us. The only explanation I can come up with for Dinkle allowing this sixteen-inch, unmissable sign to be posted on his back is that he was flattered to be mistaken for a Boomer. Because, unless Funkyverse’s murky comic-book-time has gotten really murky, there is no way that Dinkle was born after 1945. Never forget that Dinkle was Funky, Holly, and Cindy’s band teacher so he has to be, at minimum seven or eight years older than them, IF they were in one of the first years he taught.

If you’re curious, in most areas dialing that number along with a local area code will send you to the directory assistance.

So, I’ve been playing a fun little indie video game with my galpals for the last few months. It’s called Phasmophobia. It’s a ghost hunting game, where you search various haunted locations: farmhouses, asylums, prisons, apartments, with tech to identify and gather evidence on ghosts.

A month ago, we were searching the old abandoned high school.

Looking for a very special ghost.

Needless to say, when I saw what the randomly generated ghost name was, I laughed hysterically for five minutes and then spent half an hour trying to explain why it was funny.

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Rot Fuzz

Link To Today’s Strip

Here ya go guys! I hope you like it. Because this fuzzy, disgusting thing is the best joke we’re getting this week outside of our own wonderful comments section.

Actually, truth be told, I laughed when I read this one. I mean, it strains credulity that this girl is only now noticing that something she’s putting in her mouth several times a week looks like a fried caterpillar. But I still laughed. The joke stuck the landing for me, even if the routine leading up to it was as thrilling and challenging as Simone Biles sliding directly across the balance beam on her belly.

But I just don’t care. I’m so worn down by the bad pranks this week, the non-punchlines. This followed a tried and true humor formula: set-up, surprise, and realization. The set up is a filthy reed, the surprise is that Dinkle doesn’t just tell her to toss it, the realization is that making a sarcastic comment about science projects is totally in character for him.

The slimmest weakest of jokes that I can’t bring myself mock. Maybe I’m feeling extra charitable since it’s the beginning of Lent. And as we read in Matthew 12:20 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.”

If he won’t crush the bruised reed, who am I to quash the moldy one?

PS: Thanks to everyone who liked my story yesterday! It’s nice to know that when Batiuk gives me nothing you guys are okay with random tangents and personal anecdotes.

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