If Six Was Nine

Link to today’s strip.

This would have been much better had it been published back in April, but I guess Tom Batiuk figured he couldn’t set a senior trip in the middle of the semester.   I still can’t help wondering if this is a cry for help.

Of course, since we didn’t see anything of the trip, it’s impossible to say what Les means.  Don’t get me wrong, this is Funky Winkerbean so I’m sure he hated every second of it, but his answer to Cayla says absolutely nothing.  Les’ answer could mean that he enjoyed the trip, and is wistful that there are only a few more left; his facial expressions don’t give a single clue.

I don’t know what this is, but I don’t think it’s called “writing.”



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

16 responses to “If Six Was Nine

  1. Epicus Doomus

    So here we see Batiuk, via his faithful avatar Dick Facey, flat-out admitting that he’s basically phoning it in until retirement. Les cheats his students, BanTom his readers. Les doesn’t give a shit anymore, neither does Tom. Grind, retire, die…the formula for success all right. And always so cynically funny!!

  2. spacemanspiff85

    It’s called “filler”.

  3. spacemanspiff85

    Also, “say no more” does not automatically make something funny. Batiuk has done this before, several times, I think.

  4. Gerard Plourde

    I guess now that he’s gotten the senior class trip out of the way he can get back to the really important story line (which will only be introduced and then discussed in retrospect) – Starbuck Jones and Batom Comics.

  5. Perhaps we’re supposed to assume that the combination of shock, horror and abject disgust on Les’s face in the last panel is because he’s looked into the future and seen nothing beyond nine more senior class trips, a cheap Chinese watch and a slow, lingering death from cancer… but I’d think that a Westview resident would be so used to this normal level of misery that it would barely rate a shrug. There must be more behind the expression than that…

    Yes, Cayla. Say no more. PLEASE say no more…

  6. “Say no more. I’ll drive us over the nearest cliff.”

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    I guess Batty is ready to retire…in 9 more years. Too bad the syndicate won’t just collect their kill fee and send him packing.

  8. Epicus Doomus

    Coming in early 2017: The anxiously-awaited and much ballyhooed Starbuck Jones/Lisa crossover arc finally arrives, as SJ and Ghost Lisa join forces to battle the Susanator aka Susan Smith, who spent the last several years living in banishment in a radon-infested cave and now stands well over fifty feet tall. Alas, it all turns out to be a dream Les was having after having contracted food poisoning after eating a hot dog on a school bus trip and not cancer as everyone had initially feared/hoped.

  9. spacemanspiff85

    @Epicus Doomus:
    Honest to God, it would not surprise me if more tapes turn up, full of Lisa’s advice for how a Starbuck Jones movie should be written, which Pete and Darin use to turn the movie into the most successful movie of all time.

  10. On this side, we have Les whining about the horror of being with his students in public somewhere people don’t know him and don’t care about him. On the other, we’re leading up to Jeff agreeing with Rose that he magically ruined her life because of a chemical imbalance he had no idea exists and doesn’t believe in.

  11. In today’s FAMILY CIRCUS Bil imagines PJ is Tom Batiuk.

  12. Rusty

    So, I guess that really was the bullying arc that lasted all of 5 days.

  13. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    So why in the world did Batty bother at all with the senior class trip to Washington, Not-Ohio? An entire week buildup of a needless late-night parents meeting, followed by one day in DC, where truly absolutely nothing happened. I can’t tell if Batty was being his usual pathologically lazy self, or whether he was unbelievably impatient to get back to Starbuck Jones or some other komix bullcrap.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Monday, they just skipped straight to the Oscars? The Starsuck Jones movie was completed. It was a box office smash. It ran the table at the Oscars, winning EVERY award offered. Sounds stupid, but that’s what BatLazy did with this class trip arc.

    Don’t bother asking these questions, please:

    What’s with the “Hey, stranger, how was your trip?” Batty took the time and trouble to tell us the kids had cell phones. Did the grownups have them too? Les had no communication with Crayola for however long this trip really was? Really?

    What took place on the trip to cause Les to dread it? Did Batty refuse to show us because that would require him to think up some “contemporary issues, dot dot dot, young adults?”

    Did they really take a regular yellow school bus on this trip? Mapquest says it’s about a six hour drive from Cleveland to DC, assuming no traffic problems (ha! right). There are no bathrooms on a regular school bus, last time I checked. How do you swing that deal? Do we really wanna know?

  14. Charles

    So why in the world did Batty bother at all with the senior class trip to Washington, Not-Ohio? An entire week buildup of a needless late-night parents meeting, followed by one day in DC, where truly absolutely nothing happened.

    That’s the thing that’s incredible about it. He invented the concept of a parents’ meeting, used it to tell some useless jokes that ended up belying the whole concept as useless, and then spent just one day on the actual event. One day with static panels featuring the same characters we always have.

    But what I think gets ignored in this stupid strip about Les and how horrible he is is how poorly this Sunday is constructed. In the last three panels, he only has dialogue for one. He doesn’t reduce it to one panel, or reconstruct the dialogue so that the breaks between panels make sense. He just stretches out that one panel’s dialogue into three panels.

    Seriously. Imagine an actual writer writing this in a story:

    “Well, let’s put it this way….”

    “There are only nine more senior class trips….”

    “Left until I retire!”

    It’s just completely disjointed and sloppy. It’s only there because he needed to fill three panels with his one panel dialogue. And the thing is, he does this *ALL* the time on Sundays. I’d be willing to put money down that if you removed all the single panel comic book homages that would skew the results, more Sunday strips this year feature this awful conceit than not. And hell, you can toss in Crankshaft as well.

  15. Charles

    Also, this is what I mean when I say that Batiuk crawls up his own asshole when he writes things like this.

    Since he showed only one strip featuring the trip itself, there was nothing from the trip to suggest that it was so bad that Les is pining for retirement. The only way you can find it funny is if you go with the more general “kids are little shits” outlook rather than anything going on in Funky Winkerbean. There’s no way that you can suggest that Saturday’s strip where Owen seems unusually pleased that he can seen the unshown White House with his binoculars was enough to drive Les into wishing for retirement.

    And what’s more remarkable is that if you reflect on it, there’s NOTHING in the strip over the years to suggest that Les’s attitude is justified. The worst thing Les has ever faced is that Cory sassed him a couple times, and even that was sassing him within the context of what Les was teaching. There were a couple plagiarism sequences, but none of them were particularly trying for Les, especially when you consider that often their ignorance of what plagiarism is was due to Les not adequately explaining it to them. The whole thing is “kids are dumb and exasperating” and the reader has to fill in every other detail for him. I have to imagine how Les suffers in order to sympathize with his suffering, because Batiuk does no work whatsoever with it.

    And somewhat related, when I was in high school we had an English teacher who had a peculiar sense of humor, and she would end up rubbing a lot of kids wrong because she gave off the vibe that she didn’t take them seriously. (It wasn’t true, but it was the reaction) The reaction from those kids wasn’t to pun on Shakespeare to sass her or formulate clever wordplay based on one of our reading assignments. No, it resulted in her car and other possessions being vandalized and death threats being sent by phone. So no, I’m not willing to grant Batiuk this whole “kids are terrible today” when he can’t even bother to show one thing that would justify that conclusion.

  16. Epicus Doomus

    Charles: The way he contrives conversations to fill the word balloons is both one of the most annoying and funniest things about FW. He obviously draws them with all sorts of witty repartee in mind, then when it’s time to fill them he chokes and/or doesn’t give a flip. The way he wastes space to avoid telling stories is one of his trademark moves, like when Boy Lisa needed a month and a half to open an envelope that time.