Greetings, everyone, BChasm back for another round reporting on the World’s Most Miserable Midget Opera. So… yeah… on one of my previous jaunts I way over-praised a “Funky at the gym” week, thinking Hey there’s jokes and that while none of the “jokes” was great, it was at least a development worth pursuing. Apparently I got the idea wrong, and that made Tom Batiuk furious, as mad as bees even, and since that time, the Malevolent Old Ones who oversee Westview have never let me live that down. While I don’t regret what I wrote, I’ve stepped more cautiously since and the true meaning of “Funky at the gym” has since become obvious.
The main thrust of the “Funky at the gym” weeks has not, I repeat not, been to allow small slices of humor to appear in the strip. No, the main purpose here is to emphasize that Funky is a fat slob of a loser, who years ago dared to think himself better than Les Moore, and for that he will be a fat slob of a loser forever. No exercise will ever dim his paunch.
Which is really said when you think about it. Funky started the strip as a happy-go-lucky teenager, sort of like “Zits” I guess, with the usual wacky conflicts between him, his teachers, parents and friends. Then, the sky grew dark and everything changed.
His punishment at the hands of his creator has really been thorough, and thoroughly mean-spirited. I mean, I was going to make a joke about the artwork in today’s offering, saying “Hey, look, in panel one, Funky is holding in his breath so much that his head actually deflates, but he can’t keep it up and it expands again in panel two!” but I don’t think I have to. When Tom Batiuk doesn’t care about a character to draw him consistently between two similar panels, jokes about that character kind of miss the point.