She’s Having a Tired Plot Device

‘Ello! 4th-trumpet and Westview Waterboy DavidO is checking in, giving much-needed relief to Beckoning Chasm after BC’s two week run of excellent Funky snarking.

On to the funnies!

Hoo-boy. Put on your Members Only Jacket and throw on your Michael Jackson album because we’re about to retread over one of the tiredest troupes in situation comedy, the “Oh God, I’m having a baby, let’s duck into the nearest malfunctioning elevator that has a Rabbi, a mime and a 300lb guy who easily faints in it.” routine that was required in every sitcom, by congressional mandate, from 1983-1994.

Today’s strip throws logic out the window in favor of comedy, though I still don’t see how a panicked trip to the hospital where you gnaw your fingertips raw with anxiety constitutes comedy.

This sort of strip is great at illustrating why cell phones are the bane of screenwriters everywhere. In the age of instant connection, Jess could have just texted Durwood to come pick her up; she’s really feeling it and it’s almost time. The suitcase would already be in the car in that scenario; no need for a pregnant woman to go hauling it around.

I can’t peek ahead, so there’s no way of knowing if this arc is going to go on for weeks or if the Sainted Grandbaby will be enrolled in Westview High this time next month. Either way, prepare for every single worn out fumbling-dad-goes-to-the-hospital schtick ever seen in the last three centuries.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

15 responses to “She’s Having a Tired Plot Device

  1. As the snow flies
    On a cold and gray Winkerbean mornin
    A poor little baby child is born
    In Ohio
    And his mama cries
    Cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need
    Its another hungry mouth to feed
    In Ohio

  2. Howard and Nester

    This sort of strip is great at illustrating why cell phones are the bane of screenwriters everywhere.

    Scripts that refuse to meaningfully deal with the existence of cell phones (opting to have them do a convenient breakdown if acknowledging they exist at all) is one of my pet peeves. It’s why the modern American non-zombie apocalypse horror movie is pretty much unwatchable to me.

    Granted, cell phones have done unspeakable violence to a lot of ‘classic’ scripts such several people being locked in a freezer or easily clarified communication mishaps. But the minimal amount of effort required to intelligently adapt and/or discoard these plots separates the marginally talented from the criminally lazy hacks. The kind of unsightly bunglers who should have their notepads and felt-tilt markers registered as deadly weapons.

  3. Epicus Doomus


    “I-ah come inna to work-a for one day a year-a anna it-a hassa to be a this-a one…no more a-renting outta the upstairs apartment!”

    Can’t say I’m suprised, TB takes the “Lisa pregnancy arc” victory lap almost as often as he does with the cancer arc. This has to be at least the tenth time he’s re-visited this one, at least. Why not just make it an annual thing? Or better yet, just ditch the stupid Act III thing and run old Lisa strips every day? Hope TomBat isn’t reading this because I may have just opened some sort of portal to the center of all that is maudlin with that last sentence.

  4. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Let me guess — the birth of Darrin’s baby will be overshadowed at week’s end by Les FINALLY completing the screenplay for said baby’s dead grandma? Oh, and the baby will be a girl and will be named in honor of a certain someone who isn’t Cayla (or possibly nicknamed Titty Baby, in honor of Les).

  5. Well, let’s be thankful for small favors, namely 1) Jess is not going into labor as the Thanksgiving turkey is carved as I’d feared, 2) the process seems to be proceeding along normal lines, rather than the “sudden water breaking and screaming pains” method so favored by fictional deliveries, and 3) Les is nowhere in sight.

    The best part, though, is Jess’ expression. Rather than the mix of anticipation, anxiety, hope, and discomfort you might expect to see on an imminent mother’s face, she displays the bone-weary cynicism of someone who knows she’s bringing another mouth to feed into the single most depressing town in the world.

  6. Charles

    Since Tony’s there for no reason at all, are we really going to be treated to a third telling of the “Tony delivers a baby in his delivery truck” story?

    What’s he doing in Ohio anyway? When you retire to Florida, even if it’s only for part of the year, November seems to be one of the most likely months you’d be spending there. Perhaps Tony’s physiology is so used to the Westview Seasonal Affective Disorder that if he doesn’t spend part of the slop months in Ohio, he’s always high as a freaking kite.

  7. There are two things I don’t understand.

    1. How could everyone have forgotten that Les already knew about Lisa’s journal?
    2. Why did the great Roger Daltrey portray Durrhey in panel 2?

  8. Sepia toned Lisa flashback – check.
    Alfred Hitchcock profile of character who is inexplicably working after having retired five years ago – check
    Smirk – check
    Unnecessary Les reference – check
    Blank look on daughter-of-John-Darling’s face – check
    Startled double-take – check

    This has most of the ingredients of a perfect FW strip. The only thing missing is a cancer reference.

  9. merrypookster

    Oh goody….and new character for Tom to completely forget about after the delivery.


    Um. is it nine months already?? I don’t think so, meaning that this kid is probably premature. All the better to indoctrinate him into the world of pain and misery that is the Funkyverse.

  11. billytheskink

    Baby name opening odds:

    Lisa 3-1
    John 3-1
    Fred 6-1
    Ann 5-1
    Les 10-1
    Harlan 1,000,000,000-1
    No name, because TB will never mention the kid again 2-1

  12. Chyron HR

    Why does Tony look younger than Funky? Is he some kind of vampire feeding off Funky’s lifespan, or is the restaurant just cursed?

  13. Charles

    Got to wonder if Darin appreciates the fact that this is exactly the same situation that occurred when he was born. They’re in the same shitty pizza place, with the same guy inexplicably standing behind the counter, and his reactions are remarkably similar to those of the useless load that was with his mom when he was about to pop out.

    Does it make him happy in a Circle of Life way, or does he realize that he really hasn’t done a single thing to distinguish himself and hasn’t accomplished a single thing in his life? He’s almost literally not advanced from the previous generation at all. Maybe his kid will somehow experience something different from his/her parents, because Darin certainly hasn’t.

    This is a “replicate-your-parents’-experience” done in a way that Lynn Johnston would envy.

  14. John

    Lisa’s Journal: “Talked to Les today about how nice it would be to visit another town. Kind of over-hinted how nice it would be to LIVE in another town. He just looked at me blankly. “Why would we live anywhere else? Dreams of having another life and for making new friends elsewhere?!? That’s for COLLEGE ONLY.” I really, really wish I had never given this chucklehead the time of day.”

  15. John

    By the way, I love the confirmation in panel two that Darin and Jess have no idea of each other’s schedule, never communicate with each other except in terse, smirking, dead-eyed sarcasms, and eat ALL of their meals at Montoni’s.

    The perfect Westview Couple.