Help Me Harry

Becky continues to vent to anyone within earshot about how crazy her mother is making her, dramatically clutching her head to illustrate her point. So broken is this mother/daughter relationship that she turns to old Harry Dinkle for advice on how to “deal with her”. Harry helpfully shares a mean, passive-aggressive prank she can try. Because telling Roberta point-blank “Thanks for volunteering, but no thanks” isn’t an option.

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0 responses to “Help Me Harry

  1. Señor Tortilla

    Man, Dinkle is a bit of an asshole, isn’t he?

    Right now, I don’t see any reason to really hate Roberta. I suppose if Roberta was a passive-aggressive smug jerk who smirked while making condescending puns, then she would truly be a detestable character.

  2. Yeah, it’s petty and cruel, and it puts Becky and Harry on the same level as the teenagers they’re supposed to be educating, but if it gets Becky to stop running around like a chicken with its left wing cut off because she has to (gasp!) cope with her mother, I’ll allow it.

  3. Rusty

    somebody (because the creator won’t), has to explain the role of a bandmother and why she would be a constant presence from summer band camp onward. Unless she is pulling the trombone section into a closet for handies I don’t see why she (or any other bandmother) would be a problem. I suspect real bandmothers, if such a thing exists outside of Buttfuck, Ohio, just help out at fundraisers and concerts.

  4. John

    Becky: “My mother is so EVIL!”

    Harry: “What did she do this time?”

    Becky: “She volunteered for something! Then she -talked- to me! It was so awful!”

    Harry: “Huh. Well. It won’t be a pleasant conversation, but volunteers can easily be dismissed, and, well, YOU are the only person who can let your mother know you have problems interacting with her.”

    Becky: “…why does everybody keep trying to blame ME?!? I’m morally pure! I’m the GOOD woman in the family!”

    Harry: “…I’m seriously getting worried now, Becky. You really think that just because you don’t have the particular flaws Roberta has, that means you’re a perfect saint?”

    Becky: “Well, yes. I’m good, she’s evil, that’s that. What’s the worry about?” *smug smirk*

    (Harry begins nacking away slowly)

  5. John

    ^backing, even.

  6. billytheskink

    “First, I’d start by giving her a fake schedule. Then, I’d put up a misleading sign to confuse her, such as this ‘3 and camp’ sign I brought…”

  7. BeckoningChasm

    I’m with Rusty on this–what kind of power does a “Band Mom” actually have? (Yes, I’ve seen the future and it makes no dramatic or logical sense to me. )

  8. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Yes! A second week of Becky bitching about her mom! My prayers have been answered!

  9. sourbelly

    Sometimes I read too much into things, and sometimes I make premature assumptions about a fictional character…but I’m starting to get this vague, tingly sense that maybe Becky’s mother isn’t such a pleasant person. I dunno. I’m probably wrong about this.

  10. bobanero

    Presumably we’re setting up for some ultimate confrontation between Becky and Roberta, which if past history is any indication of how this will go, the whole conflict will be resolved when pussy-whipped-silent-video-camera-wielding-husband breaks down again and yells “Sit Down and Shut Up”, after which time we’ll go back to Less and Cayla planning for their wedding, and nothing more will be mentioned – or maybe this time it will be DSHJ who breaks down, murders Roberta, and with the help of Mopey Pete, disposes of the body. It will be a perfect opportunity to use the punchline – A friend is somebody who will help you move, a true friend is somebody who will help you move a body.

  11. Epicus Doomus

    Double bummer! Even real-life “band moms” are thinking “enough with the band moms = annoying bit already”. And this entire arc was apparently designed with “band mom” refrigerator doors in mind.

    The old Dinkle was a ridiculously over-the-top megalomaniacal dictator who cared about nothing other than band. Act III Harry, however, is a big fat smirking p*ssy. F*ck him and his sage “advice”.

    And f*ck Lefty, too. Substitute “having my mother as a band mom” with “this turkey sale” or “this weather” or “that Owen” and you have a Becky arc. They’re all the same: bitch, bitch, bitch. Then toss in some witless Dinkle rejoinder (and why is he constantly around, didn’t he retire ages ago?) and bam, you’re done.

    Obviously this is headed toward the big moment where Becky “finally stands up to” the meddlesome old crone. Until the next time he needs an annoying old person for comic relief, that is. Or maybe I’m giving FW too much credit and nothing at all happens, I don’t know.

  12. Lesser Whark

    @Epicus Doomus:
    Remember this moment? Remember how Roberta matured into a more understandable character, flawed yet sympathetic? Remember the payoff at the end of the story arc?

    If you remember that, you must have been seeing FW strips from an alternate Universe. I’ll predict now that Roberta will receive exactly as much character development from this event as she did from the previous one.

    And, as our gracious host previously noted, you know which other 65-year-old busybody hangs around schools like a bad smell?

    In that thread, David O correctly predicted that Roberta would return unchanged the next time a stereotypical curmudgeon was needed. The only error was in thinking 7 years would pass before the plot was recycled, not 4 months.

  13. Beanie Wanker

    So if you just awoke from a weeklong coma, no worries. Bat Hack has been spewing filler, and there’s apparently more this week. Or if there’s an actual plot developing, it’s at a glacier-like pace.

    When ButtYuck phones in filler like this, is it possible he’s trying to decide if he wants to do this anymore? Given all the papers that have dropped his ass (mine, and the one down the road in DC, dropped him years ago), apparently others are okay with him not doing it anymore.

  14. bad wolf

    I wonder if the syndicate notices that 1/3 panels of this strip (33% of the week = 2+ day’s worth) are devoted to repeating the setup. Pretty sure you could add another line in there if you wanted to, you know, move the story along.

    TFH, could you add today’s first panel to the recap montage you made for Saturday? Or maybe we should wait and start a second 4-5 panel montage of this week’s first panels.

  15. Flummoxicated

    I find Becky’s tiny, beady eyes in panel 2 unsettling, and her nose isn’t looking so good in 1 or 2. Poor writing, poor artwork – it’s no wonder this is a nationally syndicated strip. 

  16. Sgt. Saunders

    If Backache has a sense of humor, after “the prom fiasco”, Dad Blackburn would barge in as a King-Hell “Band Dad”, chomping a cigar with Roberta doing the camera work and carrying his bottle of “Old Band Dad” bourbon.
    Tomorrow Band Dad gets the fake schedule. Next day he realizes the schedule is fake and immediately blames Dinkle. Thursday, the hunt is on. By Friday, Dinkle is down, having been blind-sided in the head with a bottle of Old Band Dad bourbon. … Now, that sounds like fun, eh?

  17. Dolly Llama

    I spent the last five years as a band mom, and let me assure you, it’s a real thing. It’s not just fundraising, although that is huge and never seems to end. The band kids start practicing their show in May, as soon as school lets out. Their practices rival the football team’s in length and intensity. So the band parents (there are plenty of band dads too) are out there with them, supplying food and water, administering light medical care when needed, sewing, altering and washing uniforms every week, building props, hauling props, cheering on their kids. They plan and run a week-long band camp and several mini camps every summer. The competitions start in late August and don’t end till the first of November, so every Saturday is spent with the band. If your kid doesn’t drive yet, they’re picking them up from practice at 10 o’clock at night twice a week. In between they’re running the concessions at every football game as a money maker. It’s a huge commitment for the kids and for the parents as well. And believe me, it becomes a political microcosm, with power grabs and mutinies and gossip and backstabbing. There are people who drive you absolutely crazy and others who become your most loyal brothers and sisters in arms. It’s odd. But it’s real.

    That said, Becky should tell her mom to back off.

  18. bobanero

    Dolly, all those things that you mentioned about being a band mom sound like they might make for an interesting arc. We could see how the band moms interact with each other, and more importantly see that not all band moms are evil and manipulative. Instead, we get a replay of another “Roberta is evil” arc, and no other band moms are anywhere to be found.

  19. The writing, pacing, and artwork in Funky Winkerbean are so bad, they are making me physically ill. The teenagers of Medina, OH have no idea what a bullet they dodged when Batominc left art education to do this gig.

  20. Epicus Doomus

    Dolly Llama: Well, I certainly have no beef with band moms, in concept or in principle. I assumed they, you know, helped out with the band and all. I also assumed their help was/is appreciated 99.9% of the time.

    No, my beef is with how Becky is constantly carrying on as if being “band director” is a thankless, horrible gig full of never-ending stress, and also how, after many years of dealing with her, she still can’t handle her mother’s nagging presence. You’d kinda think she’d have this down by now, you know?

    Oh yeah, my other beef is with the constant repetition of the phrase “band mom” as if the average FW reader can’t remember as far back as yesterday.

  21. John

    But Epicus! What if Funky Winkerbean suddenly gets a massive influx (snerk) of new, enthusiastic readers (snick) who just can’t wait to follow this amazing strip they discovered? (mmmk) They’ll…they’ll be lost and need…mmmp…heh. Ha. Ha. Ah-hoo. Ahoo-hoo-hoo-hoo. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

    S-sorry. Couldn’t type that with a straight face.

  22. BeckoningChasm

    I’m pretty sure there’s only one set of readers that looks at Funky Winkerbean every day. To paraphrase Pogo, we have met the audience and he is us.

    So I’m wondering now if Tom Batiuk is simply giving his audience what they “want” – humorless, insightless, pointless drivel that stretches itself into eternity.

  23. Epicus Doomus

    John: By “massive influx” I assume you mean “another” reader….

  24. Dolly Llama

    No worries Epicus! No offense was taken to any degree at any level–I was just answering the question, is this a real thing? It’s a boring arc, we get it, her mom is overbearing. I haven’t been tempted once to cut out a single comic this week and post it on my fridge or send it to one of my friends still in the trenches. Like with the subjects of most of his arcs, TB has a vague concept about “band moms” but doesn’t bother to do anything with it. I think he has mother issues myself.