So we get most of a week of Les spitting weak jokes at a bunch of parents, and then we…cut to the grand finale. No scenes of boarding the bus, no hijinks along the way, nothing with the hotel, or anything having to do with Washington DC. (Yeah, sure, the White House is mentioned. Mentioned.) All we get is two panels of a miserable looking bunch of people (Owen aside) staring dead-eyed into the distance.
And…that’s it. Yes, that’s all of it. That’s the entire senior trip. This way to the egress. That’s all she wrote. Th-th-th-th-that’s all folks! Finito Binito (sic).
This is pretty unprecedented for this strip. Hell, the simplest, most mundane tasks typically require several days of strips. Wedgeman’s ring comes to mind. Here, Tom Batiuk has willingly skipped over a potential couple of weeks. Not that I’m complaining, exactly–I imagine that a fortnight trapped on a bus with Les Moore would be sheer torture. Worse than stabbing a coloring book.
No, it is a relief to be spared all this. It just begs the question. How is he going to reach the 50th anniversary by passing up material?
There’s only one plausible answer, and we all know what that is.
He had to wrap this up so he could get back to Starbuck Jones. I mean, it’s increasingly clear that Starbuck Jones is all he cares about in this strip (and it’s creeping up in Crankshaft, too). He must know by now that Les Moore as “beloved character” is never going to happen. That seems to be why he’s pushing Starbuck Jones so relentlessly, even to the point of cutting off a Les arc.
So, next week I’m guessing we’ll get more people talking about Starbuck Jones. Not really doing anything–I think the bus scene exhausted his “show” abilities–but talking about how things might happen. His “tell” abilities are always at the ready.
Next week we’ll see if I’m right.