Trivia Train a’ pullin’ In

Link to today’s strip.

Well, it’s another Sunday time-waster starring Owen.  I recognize that’s a really redundant statement, but like that fetid chullo, there it is.

Tom Batiuk has some thoughts on the original King Kong, and he is of a mind to lecture us on its short-comings.

Let that thought sink in for a few minutes.

In preparation for today’s post, unlike Tom Batiuk, I actually sat down and watched King Kong (1933).  If you’ve never seen it…well, you probably know the plot anyway, but some of what I note below can be considered SPOILERS.

1. No one on the voyage knows they are looking for a giant ape.  Carl Denham has heard there’s “something” on Skull Island, and he knows it’s called “Kong,” but he doesn’t know what it is.

2. Furthermore, all he wants to do is photograph it.  That they end up capturing it is not the point of the voyage–that’s Denham’s last minute improvisation.  But Owen says “determined to capture” as if that was the goal.

3. Denham and crew do not see any dinosaurs “along the way.”  They don’t spot any dinosaurs until well after seeing Kong for the first time.  At this point, they’re trying to rescue Ann Darrow so they have other goals in mind than film-making or capturing animals.

3. The dinosaurs were not “small,” though some are slightly smaller than Kong (which still makes them pretty huge).  And they definitely don’t appear to be “a lot easier to capture” or easier to control.   They cause several deaths.  (Remarkably ghastly deaths for the time, too.)  Of all the dinosaurs in the film, only one can be considered “small” – a bear-sized beast that climbs up a vine in an attempt to menace John Driscoll.

These things effectively negate everything in today’s strip.

I try to keep from saying anything about Tom Batiuk personally in these posts…but this is shameful.  There are really only two explanations for this.  A – He wrote this based on vague memories of King Kong, or of the various remakes or sequels.   And he didn’t bother to watch the film again to confirm any of this.  That’s sheer laziness, especially with a year’s lead time.  B – He wrote this, then watched King Kong to see how clever and superior he was; he saw instead that he was King Wrong, but decided it didn’t matter, that no one in his audience would remember King Kong, and even if they did, they wouldn’t bother to watch it either and they’d think Tom Batiuk was some kind of film genius for poking holes in a masterpiece.  That’s sheer contempt.

I’m not sure which one is worse, to be honest.

That leads me to my final point about today’s strip –

4.  I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on television.  But the whole strip seems to be asking the question, “Why try for something unique and spectacular?  Aim for ‘good enough’ and that should be good enough.”    Why climb Mount Everest when you can climb the local dump instead?  Why go to the Moon when it’s much less dangerous to go to the mall?  Why use actual jokes and interesting characters in your comic strip, when you can just use fifth-rate puns and have people smirk to show they “get it”?

Oops…did I type that last one out loud?  Whoopsie.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

19 responses to “Trivia Train a’ pullin’ In

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    Batiuk has a blog. A blog would be the perfect place for inane musings like this. But instead Batiuk thinks: “What the hell, I can share my wisdom with the world, get paid for it, and not have to write an actual Sunday strip!”. And then he runs the bases in his mind.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    See, not being all that familiar with the original “KK” (saw it when I was a kid), I assumed this was an old nerd trivia observation that’s been made a million times over the years and he was simply re-appropriating it. But now, after learning that it in fact makes no sense at all, the only thing left to say is “business as usual”.

    I think this Owen kid will go far, provided that “far” is always within the Westview city limits. Obviously, if the kid ever leaves Westview he’ll be found dead in a Denny’s restroom within hours, but that goes without saying. But if he stays in town he’s lining up quite a sweet life for himself. Good comic book business connections, adept at useless trivia, trademark chullo, plump girlfriend…the kid’s on the Westviewian fast track to bitter things and underwhelming success.

  3. Jeffcoat Wayne

    If Batiuk really wanted to tear old movies apart for sport, he could have just had Owen and Skunkhead argue over which movie had the faker-looking fall from a great height — “King Kong”, “Magnum Force”, or “Titanic”. Except that would have required three times as much “research.” (Yeah, you got me — 0 x 0 x 0 still equals 0)

  4. Nathan Obral

    Owen could easily be the more irrelevant comic strip character in modern times. You’d think that he is a blithering idiot whose chullo was inexplicabaly surgically implanted onto his skull, but he somehow has occasional moments of actual intelligence (mainly because Batom® only bothers to write for three high school students).

    And then there’s moments like this.

    Dead Skunk Head’s “Point” reply was missing the “less” at the end. But then again, Funky Winkerbean has morphed from a relentless bout of unmitigated misery into a relentless bout of pointlessness

  5. Wow, and here I thought “why didn’t the eagles fly Frodo to Mordor?” was the epitome of nit-picky nerddom…

  6. Rusty

    What’s really illuminating about this is that Batiuk thinks this is a paradise. Spend your days surrounded by comic books, trading half-ass observations about old movies that don’t even make sense. Then a shared smirk amongst friends.

  7. DOlz

    @Rusty, Westview is so claustrophobic and insular that TB probably thinks “Pleasantville”* was an utopia until those darn kids ruined it.


  8. Epicus Doomus

    Excellent addition to the header, BTW!!

  9. The interesting thing about this strip is that we could scoop out the inaccurate fridge logic and use it as a template to discuss the glaring lapses in logic Batomic Comic Obsessive has forced us to endure.

  10. We choose to go to the fridge. We choose to go to the fridge for a beer, and some other things, not because it is hard, but because it is easy.

  11. No, there is NO point! What the heck is this? Seriously? And why is Owen suddenly the strip’s walking encyclopedia? This makes no sense at all!

  12. Professor Fate

    In support of your point – the first dinosaur they run into is a huge stegosaurus – thing’s about twice the size of an elephant – the second one is the 3 times life size brontosaurus (I know that’s the official name but force of habit compels me) that ends up killing half the shore party. Right after that they run into Kong and that doesn’t end well for most of them.
    Very annoying strip – this is one of my favorite films – and even today on a big screen is impressive – so to have the author snicker about plot holes that don’t exist using maybe the only character that has a chance to be as hateful as Les is infuriating.

  13. And to prove my point:

  14. Epicus Doomus

    SpacemanSpiff85: Right now his “blog” is dedicated to his latest shitty collection of morose comic strips masquerading as a “book”. It looks like a real laff-riot too, a perfect companion piece to “Lisa’s Story”. As soon as he puts together a collection of strips about heart disease, the trilogy will be complete.

    Paul Jones: Excellent. And props again to BC for one of SoSF’s all-time takedowns.

  15. Merry Pookster

    Kent State Girls Basketball Current Record 5-22 .185

    It’s as if TB was counting on KS winning games so he could have just continued the Summer/Special K high school sport archs into college. But they suck royal and with no back-up tom pours out schlock like today.

  16. See, when Owen erroneously points out the “flaws” in one of the all-time classic movies (based on faulty recollection of said movie), he has a point. But pointing out a demonstrable continuity error in a comic strip makes one a beady-eyed nitpicker.

  17. sgtsaunders

    “You know why, Numbnuts? Because it’s a movie called “KingthefuckKong” not “Dino Baby” and a little goddam dinosaur can’t climb the Empire State Building – it’s called a script and.. look… who gives a shit, you gonna buy something or not?”

  18. Kevin Smith would tell these guys to stop being such nerds.