Today’s strip was either unavailable for preview, or I’ve lost consciousness. In either event, snark away!
Filed under Son of Stuck Funky
If Lisa’s fate was inevitable, as in “City on the Edge of Forever,” then Les here could be seen as compassionate, perhaps even a bit noble. He knows Lisa’s fate, yet he keeps the knowledge from her, keeping her from distress at a future she cannot avoid.
Only problem is, her future is pretty much entirely avoidable. She can avoid Frankie, take care of herself, get regular checkups, etc. So Les, here, becomes more of a “I can’t stand this, and neither can you” person, someone who feels his feelings trump everything else.
I’m guessing this is because Darrin is one of the Four Horsemen of the Batiukalypse, along with Les, Dinkle and John, and Tom Batiuk cannot stand to have one of his hero characters tampered with. (Imagine a world in which Harry Dinkle doesn’t exist!)
Which makes me wonder why he thought this time-travel thing was a good idea to start with. All it has done is point out what an utter self-centered ass Les Moore is. That can’t have been his motivation.
Upon learning that his girlfriend and future wife is eventually going to die a horrible melodramatic death, Past Les elects to simply walk away as if nothing’s happened. Then he caps it with some idiotic pseudo-profound bit of wordplay just for good measure. It’s almost like Batiuk is being defiant here…”take THAT haters, you wanna see some lame? I’ll GIVE you lame!!!!”.
It’s incredible how every single FW story arc is exactly the same yet I’m always sort of surprised by how unbelievably lame they are. It’s Batiuk’s greatest gift: the ability to find resolutions so feeble and so listless that no one else on the planet could have possibly dreamed them up. It’s like his goal is to find ways to generate the lowest possible amount of entertainment value, then to re-define “lowest possible”. Even though every single arc is exactly the same (premise, rehash, rehash, rehash, unrelated mutterings from pointless side characters, flaccid resolution or none at all) it’s impossible to predict them accurately as regular people simply aren’t wired to process this drivel. No one is, except for one guy in Ohio, that is.
As Ed Wood is to Orson Welles so TB is to the random scribblings on a bathroom stall. I’m sorry, Ed Wood was much closer to Orson Welles’ skill as a director than my comparison for TB. Random bathroom stall writings are closer to Shakespeare than TB’s writing is RBS writings.
Geez, I just can’t find to words to express my disgust at the abuse of language, characters, logic, story telling, and his readers that TB has done with this rotted moldering carcass of a strip.
I have never been so ready to hear pointless blather about the Amazing Mister Sponge and the Starbuck Jones movie as I am now.
This strip is so lame, it needs to be treated for leprosy.
“Quick, let’s get you out of here before you interact with Old Les or Cayla. Because that would almost have to be interesting.”
“And since I have a penis and you don’t, what I think is more important than anything else, especially giving you the slightest bit of agency. Now come along and remember, I know what’s best for you at all times.”
Seriously, I don’t think I’ve been this mad about a plot arc since “Ghost Lisa Saves A Planeload of People Only Because She Couldn’t Save Les First.”
“Come on, there’s nothing you want to see here anyway, and I want to leave.” Les is treating Lisa the same way Frankie did. And I’m pretty sure we were supposed to dislike Frankie.
Wow. I have no words. This strip is just sitting now in its own melodramatic stew.
The most mind-numbing part of this is, Tom Batiuk actually thinks that he just crafted a true masterpiece.
His delusions of grandeur, however, are fortunately more annoying than frightening.
You’ve got to give Lisa credit, she’s reacting to a Les Moore hug by tensing up and backing away awkwardly. And were they actually involved at this point, to the degree that Les would actually wrap his arms around Lisa and take a nap? That seems to go counter to the “Les was a total loser in high school” drum that Batiuk constantly beats.
And when he gets older, Less More can still cash in on this poor woman’s suffering and death. There truly are no words that can describe the awfulness of this.
I don’t remember a non-pregnant Lisa ever being shown in Act I. No way was she welcoming a hug from Les. Batiuk wrote “Lets leave the future in the past,” stopped to admire it, then figured out a way to awkwardly get it into the strip. As always.
“Let’s leave the future in the past,” Les began, “but do some major retconning right now!”
I, too, am at a loss for words. I should have expected something as lame as this to happen. But as usual, I keep trying to be nice and end up giving TB way too much credit! He seems to have created this arc purely for:
1. A way to retcon the kids and their personalities.
2. To remind us that Lisa is dead.
And that’s it. Period. Nothing Moore, nothing Les. (HAR.)
Let’s anticipate the lie he’s been telling himself for the last thirty-five years. Odds are, we’re going to have Old Les mansplain that he couldn’t possibly save Lisa from an artificially shortened life of misery and pain because of some sort of need to ‘protect’ her from being crushed by the inevitable. Since he’s stupid as well as almost viciously self-absorbed, the idea that someone would try to CHANGE the future is not something that can occur to the dumb prick.
You’re probably in for something more aggravating. After all, it’s going to filter in some day that people actually think that Les could and SHOULD have prevented what happened to Lisa by telling her. This clearly means that a year or so from now, we’ll get a whiny little arc about how that simply couldn’t happen because the end result would be the inevitable chaotic result of giving a woman something she can’t handle: agency as a person.
After all, what little I remember of Lavinia rotates around Batiuk’s condescension towards the crazy women who think they can’t get along without men.
Les~ Don’t you see Lisa I’ve built the perfect time machine!
Lisa~ Oh it sounds dangerous
Les~ Yes that’s why I’m going to try it out first! Now when I get in the grandfather clock hit me over the head With the bottle of champagne set the dial for 1000 and put in 3 dimes. I’ll be gone for a 1000 Years
Lisa~ Oh A thousand oh that’s longer than anyone has ever been gone before!
Les~ But to you it will only seem like a minute fare thee well my love now forward into the PAST
Lisa~ Gee! I hope Les gets back before all this dry ice melts!
and BatHack ups the Westview Misery Meter a few more notches. Quality work Tom, as usual.
“Forward, Into the past!”
It seems to me that the basic principle of this time travel pool is that the youngsters are able to see their future, but once they go back to the past, they are basically powerless to make any adjustments that would change the fates that they observed, meaning they can’t possibly retain any memories of the time trip after it’s done. That basically renders this entire hare-brained arc pointless, other than a contrived effort to bring back the Act I characters, who were infinitely more interesting and likeable than the present day Act III counterparts.
beckoningchasm wrote: Which makes me wonder why he thought this time-travel thing was a good idea to start with. All it has done is point out what an utter self-centered ass Les Moore is. That can’t have been his motivation.
In his mind, I think L’Auteur Glorieux thought he was making Leslie look loving and compassionate. However, as you say, Lesslie comes off as an even bigger “me-first” horse’s ass than he’s been in the past.
bobanero: I think you’re right about how the “time pool” is supposed to work: They can’t change their future and they’ll lose all their memories about this journey. The problem is, since Batiuk already knows the “rules” of this particular time-travel device that he’s created, he takes it for granted that both the readers and his characters know as well. That’s why he hasn’t had anybody even raise the possibility of changing their future.
Of course, this is symptomatic of one of Batiuk’s trademarks: The disconnect between how he perceives his characters and storylines in his mind, and how they come across to readers.
While the explanation that they’ll all forget is valid, it still remains that Crazy Harry remembers. So he bears the responsibility to tell Lisa about the botched test results; not now, but when the event occurs. He doesn’t even have to say how he knows. Maybe he got a tip, through his mail rounds or something, that some doctors were engaging in malpractice and a second opinion is DEFINITELY awrranted.
For Jimmy: This is Crazy Harry’s mind…and Tom Batiuk is the frying pan
@Erich: Great. He’s got Lynn Johnston syndrome. This means that the most they’ll end up with are hazy memories buried in their subconscious minds. Also, Lisa’s parents will assume that they were trying to get her to do the pot and send her to Big Walnut.
@Erich “That’s why he hasn’t had anybody even raise the possibility of changing their future.”
To be fair, I think Les thought they might “create temporal anomalies” (or whatever he said) before they stepped into the pool. He meant it as a warning, of course, rather than an opportunity.
There aren’t any previews available yet but if I had to guess I’d bet that this is it. Present Les will catch a glimpse of Past Lisa, he’ll say something like “was that…..?” and Cayla will roll her eyes. And it will just end, just like that, never to be mentioned again.
The problem is, since Batiuk already knows the “rules” of this particular time-travel device that he’s created, he takes it for granted that both the readers and his characters know as well. That’s why he hasn’t had anybody even raise the possibility of changing their future.
Great point, and also remember that Batiuk has some weird mentality about adversity. Whenever one of his characters faced adversity, rather than fighting it, he had them just glumly accept that this was their fate and it wasn’t worth trying to overcome or mitigate. There was one particularly gross strip with Le Chat Bleu where the cat was telling Les that Lisa was “strong” because she gave up to cancer and accepted that nothing she was going to do would matter. Batiuk doesn’t have Les sue the hospital over Lisa’s misdiagnosis over her misplaced paperwork, despite the fact that that would be a case that the hospital would undoubtedly settle for hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars. Crazy doesn’t deal with his forced retirement in any way except by whining. Becky doesn’t tell her mother (or Dinkle for that matter) to back the hell off, or even mildly object when they steamroll her. Les says nothing when his masterpiece nonfiction novel gets turned into a travesty by a film studio. He doesn’t object when the producer insults his screenplay with the most facile, idiotic criticism imaginable. They just let whatever’s going to happen happen, and never raise one objection.
Except Summer, and the full extent of her rebellion against this dug-in status quo was to say she wasn’t going to be fate’s chew toy. Apparently that led to her rehabbing a little more rigorously than she would have otherwise, although we didn’t actually see any of it. Of course, Summer is the spawn of Lisa, the bravest, most wonderfulest, most beautifulest soul the world has ever seen. That. and she’s pretty much vanished except for the once-a-year sequence where she acts as the vehicle to talk about Les’s neuroses. She doesn’t have any other purpose these days.