The (Re-)Coming Reunion

Cindy has flown all the way back to Westview not just to seek Funky’s sage counsel but to tie up some loose ends, including handing off the chairmanship of the Coming Reunion. This would be their 37th; the 30th reunion took place in 2008. If there’s a downside to being Most Popular, it’s automatically being installed as Reunion Chairman for Life. Meanwhile Les has “résumé” confused with “job description”.

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34 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

34 responses to “The (Re-)Coming Reunion

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Sure BanTom, Cindy’s most pressing concern right now is making sure someone sends a group email to the ten surviving members of their high school class, most of whom they still see every day anyhow. They could just put up a “Happy –th Reunion!” sign in Montoni’s on any given day and have the whole thing covered.

    Then, as Cindy is being as believable as ever, the worst possible thing happens. Why? Why the need to add HIM to this stupid f*cking arc? Now we’re in for weeks and weeks of this asshole jabbering about the coming reunion AND a lot of really shitty sepia-toned retcon flashbacks featuring Les. In other words, the worst punishment of all.

    My guess: after getting a tepid response regarding the reunion, Les lets it “slip” that Mason Jarr (star of the disastrous Starbuck Jones production) will be there with Cindy and the whole town goes apeshit. It fits in perfectly with Batom’s weird man-crush on Mason too. Plus he’s also already done a “Mason Is Coming” arc and we all know he loves himself some repetition.

  2. Guest Page Turner Author

    Have these people heard of Facebook? That’s where I always get all sorts of lame requests for reunions. To quote Mason Jarr (the actor) a few months ago, “It’s like I’m in the last century.”

  3. Nathan Obral

    “You were the most popular girl in the school!” … and she’s sitting in an empty pizzeria run by her jerkass of an ex-husband, talking with said jerkass of an ex-husband and the de facto class valedictorian**, who was also the class loner and uber-loser, regardless of the rectons that take place…

    ** Didn’t Batom® have the actual valedictorian commit suicide right before graduation over some issue with the yearbook, forcing Les to deliver the commencement address instead? I know that is mentioned in both AllTheTropes and TVTropes, but I don’t remember reading that at the time…

  4. Jimmy

    I swear just a couple of days ago, I was thinking that we hadn’t seen Les in a while. Maybe Batiuk is right and the universe does indeed punish those who think positive thoughts.

  5. SpacemanSpiff85

    What in the hell is Cindy’s expression in the second panel meant to signify? It seriously looks like she’s drunk. It’s probably meant to be “coyly charming”, but it’s as close to that as yesterday was to blushing.

  6. I would think a woman who has been an anchor in New York for most of her professional life would be too busy to organize high school reunions, but hey, nothing else about Cindy’s professional life has been remotely accurate thus far so why should this be?

  7. Cindy flew back to Westview just to hand off the reunion responsibility. And Les came into Montoni’s just to get punched a lot.

  8. John

    Welcome to Westview: Even adults who haven’t lived here in years will completely uproot, regress, and rip apart their ENTIRE LIVES just to do petty, mundane, unimportant minutiae that an ordinary person would resolve by sending a text or leaving a voice message.

    Because the Petty Tasks of Westview are the only things any of them rely on, deep down.

    It’s for this same reason that Pete’s consulting on the Starbuck Jones flop-a-roo will all be conducted in person, with Pete insulting people to their face while he acts out 80 year old newsprint & four color stories with grimacing and bizarre hand gestures…things that in actual Hollywood are only done by the never-were-anything hacks.

    ….wait a minute….

  9. Epicus Doomus

    This coming reunion talk got me to thinking. How many current FW characters have a legitimate pre-Lisa act I history? By legitimate I mean they were a named and at least loosely defined character, like “geek” or “popular girl”. There’s Les, Funky, Crazy Harry, Bull, Cindy, Holly, Fred, Dinkle, Tony Montoni (although no one has seen him in a while) and maybe Donna although I’m not sure if she debuted (as The Eliminator) before Lisa or after. Am I missing anyone obvious?

  10. Mason Jarr

    @epicus doomus: There were the talking leaves, or at least, the leaves hanging next to each other with thought balloons. And don’t forget that teacher who only said “Wah Wah wahwahwah.” I think that was from Funky Winkerbean, but maybe it was from “Peanuts”. I always get well written, nicely drawn, clever and poignant comic strips like these two confused

  11. billytheskink

    Ah yes, the many tasks of the Westview High School class of 1988 1978 reunion chair…

    – Decide on venue, Montoni’s or Westview High gymnasium?
    – Choose Montoni’s, Les always whines that the WHS gym gives him nightmares about rope-climbing
    – Call ex to reserve Montoni’s and arrange catering, should have choice of any date
    – Remember to bring memorial photos of Lisa, Coach Stropp, Lisa, and that other girl whose name started with an L…
    – Try to remember Junebug’s real name
    – Make sure Barry Balderman doesn’t get to say anything
    – Livinia! That’s her name…
    – Another successful reunion!

  12. If we ever needed proof that these people live meaningless lives, this is it. We’re dealing with gloomy ciphers attaching too much importance to a complete non-event and expecting everyone to do the same.

    Also, the guy who was supposed to be valedictorian stiffed himself because they voted Les in to deliver a speech of inhuman and unfocused blandness.

  13. Nathan Obral

    My high school graduating class (2000) has only reunited once thus far, for the 10th year. There is no way that a 37th year reunion would ever be held, especially for this cast of antisocial sad sacks. Unless there is an informal wager regarding who will be the next to die, but they could get the answer by walking into Montoni’s any day of the week.

    This is really a klaxon siren that Batom® has completely run out of ideas for FW beyond fake comic books, fake comic book movies, and self-imposed myths about the writing process. Heck, he doesn’t even seem interested in killing off any other characters.

    This strip is literally circling the drain.

  14. captaincab

    Hmmm, I’d be interested to know who’s been downvoting/giving thumbs down to some of our recent, more ferevent anti-Les posts like the one above in the last few months. Anyways, uh oh, another “coming” reunion! How soon until it gets to “looming”?

    John:

    “Welcome to Westview: Even adults who haven’t lived here in years will completely uproot, regress, and rip apart their ENTIRE LIVES just to do petty, mundane, unimportant minutiae that an ordinary person would resolve by sending a text or leaving a voice message.”

    Sums it up perfectly.

    From Batiuk’s ancient FAQ on his blog/site:

    “Q. Why do the characters look so old and fat?
    A. Since graceful aging isn’t my strong suit, I made them old enough so that they could grow into their new looks a bit. As for being fat, well Funky does run a pizzeria.”

    Riiighhhht. So it makes perfect sense that these characters who are simply ‘growing into their looks,’ have the appearance of qualifying for social security even though they should be in their 50s. Meanwhile, all of a sudden for some reason Cindy has aged in reverse and now looks like Holly before the jump.

  15. captaincab

    Was referring to Paul Jone’s post which was downvoted btw.

  16. Question: everyone from that high school class still lives in Westview, unless they’re dead…in which case they’re still in Westview. Aside from Cindy, whose career has flamed out, non of them live lives anywhere else.

    So WHY do they even NEED to have a reunion?!?! They all see each other every day.

  17. There’s a number of reasons to call bullshit on this one –
    1. Cindy has been living and working in New York City for many years and only recently moved back to Cleveland. That means she would have organized the reunion remotely from New York, working in a job that was much more demanding than her bloodyblog gig. Why is it that she can’t organize the reunion from LA but can organize it from New York?
    2. It’s been pointed out that this would be the 37th reunion, and implies that they are either having a reunion every year or on every year that is a prime number. NOBODY does this. Our high school class talked about doing one for the 35th, but it kind of fizzled and ended up just a bunch of people getting together for happy hour. Now with facebook, I am connected to all the people from high school that I really care about (and some I don’t), so the amount of effort that will be required for the next reunion would be minimal.
    3. Even disregarding 1. and 2., Cindy’s making a major life change, moving to a new place and starting a job with a very uncertain future. The absolute last thing on her mind would be “who is going to organize the class reunion”.

  18. Jim in Wisc.

    TFHackett wrote: Meanwhile Les has “résumé” confused with “job description”.

    So, the pedantic putz screwed up?

  19. Nathan Obral

    @Mason Jarr: The “wah-wah” teacher in Peanuts was originally Miss Othmar. Linus had a crush on her, and was devastated when she was fired in the aftermath of a teacher’s strike. (There was rarely – if ever – any direct dialogue between adults and the Peanuts cast in-strip, so to allow for the strips to be translated into animation, an out-of-tune tuba would be played as a stand-in. In later years, TV specials and “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown” allowed for dialogue with adults, as Schulz declared them separate from the comic strip continuity.)

    Other non-human things would “speak” to the reader in Act I Funky. Most notably, Westview had a live horned goat who conveyed how much he hated being the Scapegoat mascot. There was also a supercomputer in the earliest years of the strip that developed sentient thoughts. And the Westview High graffiti-painted rock also communicated with the reader; IIRC, that rock was the centerpiece of the transition from Act I Funky to Act II Funky.

  20. Jimmy

    Man, you beady-eyed nitpickers don’t get it. How else can the Westview economy sustain without hosting mandatory annual reunions? Actually, I think it’s more like the short story “The Lottery” than a high school reunion, but that’s splitting hairs in the Funkyverse

  21. Jim in Wisc.

    @ Jimmy: And the stonings are replaced by terminal cancer.

  22. bad wolf

    Hmm… since most reunions are at 5-year intervals, perhaps this will confirm the slow-down we’ve seen in the last couple of years and be the 35th? Summer’s unending college years and Owen’s six years of high school do imply that the “real time” conceit has reached an end.

  23. @captaincab: My guess is that someone followed me here from Comics Kingdom because they don’t much care for the truth about these dreary non-entities wasting their lives focused on minutiae. After all, why do they even NEED a reunion when Cindy is the only one who ever left town?

  24. I attribute most “downvotes” to fat fingers on mobile devices. I’ve done it myself more than once.

    Downvote this comment if you’ve done the same 🙂

  25. @badwolf: For all we know, they could be holding a thirty-fifth reunion every year from now on. The only thing that’ll stop that from happening is when Batiuk hits the magic five-oh and lays a Strip Of Destiny on us like Johnston did.

  26. captaincab

    TFH: I attribute most “downvotes” to fat fingers on mobile devices. I’ve done it myself more than once.

    Downvote this comment if you’ve done the same”

    Ah, maybe that’s it.

    @captaincab: My guess is that someone followed me here from Comics Kingdom because they don’t much care for the truth about these dreary non-entities wasting their lives focused on minutiae. After all, why do they even NEED a reunion when Cindy is the only one who ever left town?

    Nah, I like this better. Vive la conspiracy theories!

  27. captaincab

    btw whatever happened to the anniversary giveaway? Never got to enter, still in the works?

  28. Professor Fate

    I went to my 30th – didn’t remember most of the people proving that a lot of time had passed since high school and that none of the damage done was permanent. Had a weird almost FW weird conversation with someone I had not spoken to since we graduated high school as we looked at the easel o’death – were pictures of the graduates who had died were put.
    it rather went like
    “oh I didn’t now he was dead.”
    “yeah that’s strange.”
    “Wonder what he died of.”
    “Don’t know it doesn’t say.”
    “now I knew she was dead. I read that on face book.”
    “Know what she died of.?”
    “No they didn’t say.”
    “And Him?”
    “Didn’t know he was dead either.”
    and so on. I remember being amused by this. When my mom met relatives that she hadn’t seen in a while the conversation would begin with a listing of who was dead. And here I was, fist words to this guy in 30 years and it’s what I was doing as well.

  29. From @captaincab’s FW strip on ebay:

    Panel 1: We need to come up with some promo spots for our new anchorman here!

    Panel 2: Okay, I see John flying in a helicopter over the city…

    Panel 3: …suddenly he spots a runaway truck careening toward a helpless young child!

    Panel 4: He dives from the helicopter…

    Unseen panel 5: And floats leisurely to the ground. It takes months, and along the way, he contracts cancer, which is misdiagnosed as a sprained ankle.

    Unseen panel 6 (all in unison):

    You must have Batiuk blood!
    You must have Batiuk blood!
  30. billytheskink

    Didn’t Batom® have the actual valedictorian commit suicide right before graduation over some issue with the yearbook, forcing Les to deliver the commencement address instead? I know that is mentioned in both AllTheTropes and TVTropes, but I don’t remember reading that at the time…

    I did not remember that either, so I looked it up. What actually happened was that resident egghead Barry Balderman, who was obsessed with being valedictorian, had a nervous breakdown and locked himself in the yearbook office. He did not finish the school year with the rest of the class, but did not commit suicide (and, in fact, had a non-speaking appearance in the 2008 reunion).

    What brought on this panic attack, you ask? What, you didn’t ask? OK, but you’re going to be told anyways…
    Barry walked past Principal Fairgood’s office while Fred, Betty, and Nate were kvetching about Cindy’s coming graduation party (it’s like she coordinated the first reunion!) being a hot ticket and heard only the second half of Fred saying “If GPA stood for ‘Greatest Popularity of All’… then you’d have to say that… without a doubt, Cindy Summers has the highest GPA in the senior class.” This apparently broke his parent-pressured and GPA-obsessed brain, so Les took valedictorian with his amazing 2.71 GPA and gave a rousing wall-of-text speech about how Barry’s written speech was an unrealistic cliché and how terrible the whole graduating class was for not being friends with him or Barry or both (I’m not sure). He was booed off the stage. Two weeks later, the school rock transitioned the strip from Les looking at his yearbook to Les trying to break into his old locker before interviewing for a job at the high school.

  31. John

    I know I’ve tried to upvote comments here only for my thumbs up to vanish, then mysteriously rematerialize as a downvote within seconds. I was blaming my browser. 😛

  32. John

    One thing that really bothers me about this arc (and Lordy, are there things to be bothered about in this arc!) is how swiftly Cindy’s become chummy and chatty towards people she left on extremely bad terms (Funky) or was never close to in the first place (Les)

    I’ll provide a rare real-life example. My family and I have always been close. But for seven years, they were living on one coast, while I was sharing rent with various house mates on the other coast.

    We kept in touch. Phoned. Emailed. Wrote cards. The usual.

    Then, for various reasons, I ended up neighbors with them again.

    Like I said, I’ve always been close with them. Literally have known them all my life. The channels of communication were never shut down.

    But suddenly seeing them and interacting with them every day again was weird and required a few major adjustments before we were totally at ease with each other again!

    Why? Because we’d both changed. They sometimes claim people never do, but they -do-….just not normally in the major ways. In the minor ways, though? One changes constantly. Dozens and dozens of little changes that accumulated over several years into actual BIG changes that made things a bit weird and uncomfortable at first. And this between people who totally love each other.

    ….does Tom really think Cindy would be able to confide with these strange men who haven’t been a real, meaningful part of her life in ANY way for DECADES?

    Men who in one case she has loads of negative baggage with and in another complete indifference towards?

    Even the silly, inconsequential stuff would be AWKWARD AS HELL to open up about under these conditions.

    “Quarter inch removed from reality” my foot. This is so far removed from life, that I’m starting to wonder if Tom’s ever understood the human condition at all!

  33. Nathan Obral

    @Jimmy:

    I swear just a couple of days ago, I was thinking that we hadn’t seen Les in a while. Maybe Batiuk is right and the universe does indeed punish those who think positive thoughts.

    After enduring weeks of the Mopester, blathering about The Amazing Mister Sponge and Batom® attacking his readership by proxy with a storyline that contradicted itself every other day, seeing St. Les the Righteous Smirker almost counts as a blessing.

    “That was a joke.” ~ Mason Jarr The Actor