Kerry On, My Wayward Daughter

Minutes pass as Darin stands in the doorway, all agog. The stranger clears her throat and repeats her introduction. “I’m Kerry. I’m Fred Fairgood’s daughter.”

While we wait for the ground to stabilize ‘neath Darin’s feet, we are treated to a confusing and unnecessary flashback. Bull, who would go on to become a teacher and then a school administrator, is sitting in Principal Fairgood’s office because his poor grades threaten to prevent him from playing football. Coach Stropp has made it clear to Fred that his perennially losing squad can not afford to lose Bull (I guess we’re to take Fred at his word that he’s “just kidding” about his daughter being kidnapped).

Having recently acquired and read a couple paperback Funky Winkerbean collections, I get the feeling that Batiuk has redrawn an actual Act I strip, and in the context of Act I it was probably mildly amusing. Shoehorned into today’s comic, it’s disconcerting, and not just because Batiuk’s sepia-toned the panels, instead of deploying the “photo album corners” he typically uses to denote flashbacks. Bull’s got nothing to do with the current storyline. It’s more like Batiuk’s playing this card to defend against accusations of retconning: “See? September ’79! Fred clearly states that he has a daughter!”

32 Comments

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32 responses to “Kerry On, My Wayward Daughter

  1. You can just hear the clutch popping as Batiuk tries in vain to get Acts I and III to mesh together.

  2. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Does this mean we’re going to retcon the late Coach Stropp into a child predator? Because that would be, um… something Batiuk might be interested in doing for funsies.

  3. Rusty

    I hate knowing these things, but Fred was always portrayed as a geeky single man prior to meeting Anne. (Doesn’t mean he couldn’t have fathered a daughter, but bitch, please). And didn’t become principal until maybe Act II? Gah, this strip is horrible.

    So new girl on the porch is dead certain she is Fred’s daughter, meaning this has already been confirmed and acknowledged by Fred in the past? No, no no. This is asshattery.

  4. bobanero

    This makes no sense. What could that flashback sequence possibly have to do with this story? Unless Coach Stropp actually DID kidnap his daughter, and she just now escaped (but I think he died over a year ago, so that couldn’t be the case). At any rate certainly it wouldn’t be a surprise that Fred had a daughter. Maybe Fishstick Annie was not his first wife? Who knows.

  5. BeckoningChasm

    So, in addition to being a terrible husband and poor excuse for a father, Fred is also a psychopath who kidnapped the coach’s infant daughter and raised her as his own.

    I’m going to assume that he raised her a la Kasper Hauser, and that her next line of dialogue is “…I’m here for my revenge.”

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Nailed it, TFH: this one exists solely to “prove” that he didn’t just pull this bizarre development out of thin air (although he may as well have, given how utterly pointless and stupid it is). I have to assume that during an especially fruitless brainstorming session BatCon went back through the Fairgood archives, realized he once mentioned the existence of a Fairgood daughter and decided to…uh, “run” with it, so to speak. How he’s going to manage to explain this dopey turn of events is anyone’s guess, especially now that Fred is unable to do anything but jabber unintelligibly, but I’m sure the Pulitzer-nominated “writer” will find a way to make it as boring, unrealistic and depressing as is possible. But that goes without saying.

    Hard to believe that a) TeaBea is actually adding yet ANOTHER character to his bloated, neglected cast and b) he’s already so thin on ideas for a character he introduced YESTERDAY that he was forced to resort to filling out the Sunday strip with three completely unnecessary sepia-toned faux-flashback panels that have absolutely nothing to do with anything whatsoever. I think it’s safe to say that no one anywhere was clamoring for a resolution to the mystery of Fred’s missing daughter he mentioned that one time back in ’80 or whatever. Yet here we are. This comic strip never ceases to baffle and amaze me with its weirdness.

  7. Merry Pookster

    Wierd City, But this will go no where really….I mean no other attempt at a “shocking story” has ever amounted to anything.
    Remember when it took a week for Becky to fetch that trombone out of a storage locker?
    Darrin is in his early 30’s…and no Kerry ever?
    …so this is ever so contrived…..it’s call lack of creative writing

  8. S.P.. Charles

    Uh… whose flashback sequence IS this???

  9. Rick Brooks

    “My dad HAD a daughter?” How about “HAS”? Don’t be in such a hurry to bury the old man, Durwood. 

  10. BeckoningChasm

    Oh wait, I guess I misread the whole thing…I guess that means my powers of perception, reading comprehension, and overall talent levels rival that of Mr. Tom Batiuk himself!

    Hey Tom, call me, really. I am ready to take over the strip! You can finally retire and get that office in the cancer ward you’ve had your eye on.

  11. Yaoi Huntress Earth

    Maybe she was the result of a drunken one-night-stand that went wrong and was kept silent. That would be the most logical explanation.

  12. Jim C

    This can’t be accidental:
    Kerry, “I’m Fred Fairgood’s daughter.”
    Fred, “Bull […] “

  13. This is confusing. I wonder how many people are going to believe that the point actually is that his daughter was kidnapped.

  14. Smirks 'R Us

    @Jim C: How about
    Kerry, “I’m Fred Fairgood’s daughter.”
    Fred, “Boxcar!”

    Well, since it took BatHack about 3-4 weeks (months?) to get Crazy from unemployed postal worker to the happy dance, I am guessing this arc should safely get us to 2014.

  15. I love Merry Pookster’s comments on the NJ.com page. This is B.S.

  16. Professor Fate

    “I’m Kerry Fred Fairgood’s Daughter.”
    cue dramatic Hamster [img]http://gifsoup.com/view3/1226393/dramatic-hamster-o.gif[/img]

  17. Señor Tortilla

    I’m going to say that Funky Winkerbean has jumped the shark, but then I remembered: hasn’t that already happened multiple times?

  18. Epicus Doomus

    TheDiva: And at this point you can actually see the little teeth flying off the gears, too. Sometimes I get the impression that Batom Inc. is almost sort of embarrassed by pre-Lisa Act I and wants to bend it to fit into his present day Funkyverse via sepia-toned retcons.

    While this Kerry person’s back story will no doubt be a real corker, I’m more interested in finding out what the stroke had to do with anything. Was it really necessary to cripple Fred before lunging into this “long-lost daughter” thing? Wasn’t “Fred has a long-lost daughter” enough of a story on its own?

  19. bad wolf

    The one thing i find believable in all this are the former comments that Batiuk must have been looking through his archives. I can believe he does that a lot (“Now here’s one that’s funny. How did i do that?”).

  20. Jimmy

    TFH’s post titles are The only redeemable part of this story arc.

  21. Beanie Wanker

    Wake me when ANY of this starts making sense. This girl looks to be in her 20’s. Is this the same daughter referred to in the 1970’s flashback?? Either BatSuck’s Timeline Math is off again, or he still can’t draw characters to look their actual age.

    The conversation with Bull is puzzling. Fred is interested in him because his own daughter was kidnapped by the coach? What the Hell does that mean? Is the “joke” supposed to be that his daughter being held for ransom unless Bull is allowed to play football? Or was Fred making up this daughter as if to say the coach will give Fred tons of grief if Bull doesn’t play?

    In any case, SWING AND A MISS on this flashback set-up, BatHack. If he did have a daughter back then, it wouldn’t be someone who looked like this.

    Waiting for any possible explanation of how a long-estranged, cut off, out of the loop daughter immediately got word that it was Check Out Time for Fred. Contrived much?

    Glad she put on a warmer coat between saying “Ding Dong” and giving her name.

  22. 1. Stroke
    2. Failed marriage
    3. Secret daughter

    Yes! That’s THREE AWARDS!

  23. John

    “My Dad had a daughter?!?”

    Interesting choice of words. This confirms that as far as Darin is concerned, Fred’s aklready decomposing in a casket buried beneath a headstone over in Westview’s Cemetary, the busiest place in town that isn’t the high school or Montoni’s!

    And what a stupid way to pad out an ultra-thin plot twist.

  24. John

    But, yeah, as others have noted, Kerry looks like she was born in the 1990s at the earliest, far too young to be from Fred’s pre-Fishstick days.

  25. $$$Westview Oncologist$$$$$

    I have a suspicious feeling that this strip was supposed to be a two 3 panel daily strips that Batiuk lazily pasted together into a Sunday Strip. At least I hope that’s what it is , because nothing in that strip makes any goddamn sense.

  26. While we’re on the subject of kidnapped and/or long-lost daughters: in Act II, Linda had a teenage daughter named Mickey. Wonder what the hell ever happened to her? Perhaps she will show up when Linda’s on her deathbed, in order to baffle the hell out of Jinx.

  27. Charles

    With all of TB’s demonstrated sloppiness, do you think it’s a possibility that he saw the strip he included in today’s panels and actually *thought* that Fred had a daughter, maybe even one who’d been kidnapped? Or maybe he forgot that he gave Fred a daughter, and will now bring her back without any indication that in order for this to make any sense, Fred would have had to disavow her at some point. Or maybe, in a stroke of brilliance, we find that Fishstick mandated that Fred get rid of his daughter before she married him, and he agreed! And part of the agreement was to never speak of her again.

    Man, there’s not a single way to reconcile these panels without making TB or several of his characters look certifiably insane.

    Also, “Thanks for suggesting that I get that former art teacher to paint that sign on the side of the building!” There’s a master at his craft, all right. If he got a rap on his knuckles for every superfluous word he’s used, he’d have lost the use of his hands decades ago.

  28. davidorth

    Speaking of kids, what’s happened to that little rascal, Wally Jr, who should be at least 13 but was last shown as about five!?

  29. S.P.. Charles

    “My god, I have more sisters than a convent!”

  30. BeckoningChasm

    The reason Kerry looks so young is because that’s not her real hair, that’s a wig. Underneath, she’s bald from all the chemo.

  31. S.P.. Charles

    Davidorth, I’m much more intrigued by the thought of Wally Jr being about 5. And when did Wally get back from his stint as the longest-held-POW-in-American-History? Three years ago?