Breakfast’s Journey Back

Link to today’s strip.

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

You could concentrate on panel one, where Les has off-loaded yet another job to someone else, doubling his contribution of nothing.   Barry looks positively Cory-esque (old school Cory) as he plots some kind of photo-related mayhem.

If you choose to go on to panels two and three, you have just saved a lot of money on an emetic.   Oh, poor, poor, poor Les, always and everywhere to be reminded of his sad loss–a loss that happened well over eighteen years ago, and, after said eighteen years, he–uh, remarried.  Whoops!

A couple days ago I said I wanted to slap Les.  Strips like these make me want to bury an axe in his skull.

It also drives home the occasionally floated idea that Les’ marriage to Cayla was simply Tom Batiuk trying to get some awards.  There is clearly no affection between the Les and Cayla; they’re together only because Mr. Batiuk wanted to be thought of as “with-it” and “hep.”  When that (and the nominations) failed to materialize, Cayla pretty much disappeared as a character.  Last time she did anything was getting all flustered at the thought of Mason Jarr the Movie Actor coming for a visit.   She usually just stands there and beams at her prize man…while he, of course, only has eyes for Lisa.

The shadow of Les hangs over every moment in Westview.  If Tom Batiuk had a month-long story arc in which Les was murdered, I’d cheer.  And the strip would improve greatly–not having to play second fiddle to Les, the other characters would finally start to shine in their own light and the strip would become interesting again.

Naturally, that will never happen.  Which reminds me….

Remember how I implied, “It gets worse” yesterday?  Well guess what–tomorrow, it gets worse.

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26 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

26 responses to “Breakfast’s Journey Back

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    I’m seriously expecting Batiuk to just completely forget that Les ever remarried. Why would he remember? It hasn’t really affected the strip at all. There’s just been a few times where Les was talking out loud to himself and Cayla happened to be standing nearby.

  2. Gyre

    It strikes me that Les was able to write a book on her and then a script based on that book. A script that heavily involved her final years dying of cancer. A script that never implied it was the tragedy of losing a loved one that made him delay, but just plain old writer’s block.

    So I could believe that someone might feel pain that their loved one isn’t around in some nostalgic event, but the only time we saw anything like that was when he didn’t want to read Lisa’s diary. And I think that hesitation didn’t last too long either.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Re: Les & Cayla. Remember Les’ proposal to Cayla and how it centered around the time Lisa found a lump in her breast? Cayla and Les are together only because TB was/is afraid to split them up lest he gave/gives the impression that he only brought them together for the sake of a cheap attention-seeking prestige arc (which is true). In fact, I’d go as far as to suggest that he hates having Les be married again because it prevents him from doing those idiotic “Les talks to Lisa in the park” arcs he used to rely on so heavily. The only way he can work Lisa into the strip these days is via ridiculous contrivances, like old video tapes and secret journals.

    Or dumb class reunion arcs like this one. Les lives in the same house he did when Lisa was alive. He works at the same school where they met. He allowed her bio-son to live in his house for several years. He wrote a book about her death, then adapted it into a screenplay just last year. They do a cancer fun run every year in her honor as well. But the reunion’s memorial board is just too much for Les to handle, what with the “memories” and all. It’s insane. And even more insane is how BanTom just can’t let Lisa (and that stupid mother of all prestige arcs) go. Granted, he’s been a lot more subtle about it than he used to be (and not necessarily by choice IMO) but he’ll never stop trumpeting her and that arc…never.

  4. Rusty

    A. Certainly Cayla makes a necessary contribution to the strip. Somebody has to help carry the porch swing.

    B. The memorial board is too small to feature the vast numbers of the Class of “78 cut down in their prime by various cancers.

  5. John

    Les: “I am, of course, the only person in the entire school who ever had a loved one die.”

    Barry: “….*….”

    Junebug: “…..*….”

    Mary Sue: “….*….”

    Les: “I am the only person in the world who ever spent their teens feeling awkward, different, anxious, and lonely. The only man who ever realized his burning dreams of glory and ideals in college have given way to compromise and mundane, inane routine.”

    Barry: D:

    Junebug: >_<

    Mary Sue: <_:(

    Junebug: 9_9

    Mary Sue: 😛

    Les: “Say, that reminds me…did I ever show you the VHS tapes prepared by Lisa, my wife who died of cancer?”

    All (in unison) “YES, Les.”

    Les: “Hmmph! How rude. I guess there WERE some children left behind!”

  6. SpacemanSpiff85

    You know, we know Batiuk is at least familiar with Seinfeld, or at least the characters, since he had that bizarre strip years ago. I wonder if he saw the one where George realized he could milk his fiancée’s death in order to impress and pick up women. Les is really reminding me of that episode.

  7. Today’s strip reads a lot better if you assume Mary Sue is taking on the job not to spare Les pain, but because she doesn’t want a twenty-foot tall Shrine to Saint Dead Lisa at the reunion.

  8. SpacemanSpiff – more disturbing–in fact, downright revolting–is if Les is imitating a similar scene from “Animal House.”

    “Lisa…she was making that pot for me!” (sob)

    Of course, that would require a bit of evil in Les’ character, and that will never fly in this strip.

  9. Rembrandt36

    Epicus – could you elaborate on how you think that Batiuk has been more subtle about bringing Lisa up, but it has not been by choice? This sounds interesting and I would love to hear your view on it. Was he pressured by others? Did he start getting hate mail or something? Do you think he feels we are all several steps ahead of him, and he’s had to trash some “thumbs up” Lisa moments just to save him from a bit of the sting?

  10. Rembrandt36

    I would love an entire YEAR devoted to the death of Les Moore. He tries to come back as a ghost but everyone ignores him. Funky loses weight – hell everyone loses weight and people start living a happier life. Cayla gets her self esteem back. The computer, talking leaves and the ROCK are brought back.

  11. Great. Not only does Mary Sue take another job away from the prick (thereby saving us from the Tiananmen Square-sized photo of Lisa), we’ll probably end up having to listen to him whine about the stress of doing piss-all but panic about how being on the spot is terrible.

  12. Tomorrow it gets worse. Oh yes. And again the day after that. Just keep the phrase “some fat not forgotten” in mind. And don’t say that I (& @beckoningchasm) didna warn ya.

  13. John

    Weird. About two-thirds of the replacement dialog I typed out for the strip is missing from my post, the remaining portion has the emoticons all jumbled up. 😦

  14. A HREF

    Here’s the deal….Lisa went to a different high school if I recall correctly. And was a few years younger than Les. Yeah I agree that TB probably regrets marrying Les off now–“Damn I had him marry a black woman and got no attention”.

  15. Saturnino

    “If Tom Batiuk had a month-long story arc in which Les was murdered, I’d cheer.”

    You mean ‘Les, the annoying comic book character who was murdered, after which the strip actually began to have some meaning?”

  16. sgtsaunders

    This has probably been said in some form, but it bears repeating. Les is being whiny about writing about the deceased classmates, particularly Saint Lisa, I’d wager. But the dipshit wrote a book about it and even sold Lisa off in Hollywood, hub of evil and incompetence in the Funkyverse. So my only conclusion is that Les is whiny about writing the memorial part only because he’s not getting paid for it.

  17. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    I would love a year long arc where some serial killer is offing the cast members in a “And Then There Were None..” style! It would end with Funky and Les locked up in Montoni’s in a Mexican standoff with the entire town abandoned.

  18. billytheskink

    What was wrong with the memorial board that was set up back at the 2008 “30th” reunion? It sounds like they hold this reunion thing fairly often, so why would they not have kept it? Unless Rusty is right and too many classmates have died since the last reunion to display on that board.

    Or maybe, after all the years of Lisa worship, Mary Sue wants Livinia to have the spotlight on the memorial board… Nah.

    I do get a kick out of today’s third panel. If taken out of context, it looks like John Madden is insisting on picking up Les’ dinner check.

  19. DOlz

    @$$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$, if we’re going Agatha Christie I think “Murder on the Orient Express” would be a better choice. Then everyone would get a stab at Les. See what I did there TB?

  20. Epicus Doomus

    Rembrandt36: Mind you, it’s just my own dopey fan theory. But IMO he wrote himself into a corner with Les & Cayla. He couldn’t have them continue to “date” nebulously forever, but once he finally married them he couldn’t have Les constantly running off to chat with his dead wife instead of his living one, as that would be quite weird and very stupid. Nor could he break them up, as he’d be perceived as having done an “interracial dating” arc just for the sake of cheap attention.

    Thus he had to finally stop having Lisa being Les’ guiding light and etc., which meant he had to find new ways to work Lisa into the strip as opposed to just having Les scamper off to the park bench for advice. So he resorted to dumb contrivances, like video tapes and journals. But that stuff has a limited shelf life, as he couldn’t have Les stumbling across another secret Lisa stash every few months as it’d strain credulity even more. So in recent years Lisa’s presence has faded, as he’s running out of excuses to use her over and over again. And (just my opinion) I believe he hates it, as the Les & Lisa relationship was the one he put the most effort into over the years.

    Again just my opinion but I believe his original “vision” of Act III centered around Les and Summer “moving on” after Lisa’s death, but after he pumped that well dry he didn’t know where else to go with it. So (as the last several years demonstrate) he’s been kind of meandering along aimlessly and caring less and less about continuity and etc. He misses Lisa and he misses the attention that long-ago arc brought him as it fades further and further into history. And IMO the strip reflects that ennui, particularly over that last three years or thereabouts. Summer is now a total non-factor and the Les/Cayla marriage is mostly limited to slapstick sitcom nonsense and little else. His interest in the characters has waned as his ability to work Lisa into the strip has declined.

  21. Jim in Wisc.

    Epicus, I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I recall some reference to an interview Batiuk did several years ago where he admitted that he regretted killing off Lisa. So, I’d say there very well may be something to theory.

  22. Epicus Doomus

    Jim in Wisc.: I have no doubt that he regrets it now. She was BY FAR his favorite character, he NEVER portrayed her in anything but a perfect light. He could have easily done the cancer arc without killing her off, but he went for the “big splash” instead. It was obvious how he felt early in Act III, as she was appearing constantly despite having been dead (in strip time) for over ten years. The whole Act III concept was just way too ambitious IMO, as a glance at the last few years of FW indicates.

  23. @A HREF – Holy moley, is that true? Lisa didn’t go to Westview, and wasn’t in Les’ class year anyway?

    WOW.

  24. Jim in Wisc.

    @Epicus: Yes, exactly, TB has always depicted Lisa as the perfect person. And she only becomes moreso with each of his retconned flashbacks of her. So much so, that the frumpy hausfrau in this storyline IS NOT the character who should be named “Mary Sue.”

  25. Rembrandt36

    Thanks for your thoughts Epicus. Very interesting. And I agree with others – it’s been 18 FUCKING years. Get the fuck over it Les!

  26. Rembrandt36

    Why doesn’t he just pull a BOBBY EWING and just bring her back? Hell, he had Les come back and bitch about Funky’s car while mountain climbing.