Well!…and that’s that. Anyone who thought that the computer might actually do something has to be contented with some hot wheeled-away action. Yet another disappointment, one supposes, though at least memories of the “fun” Act I weren’t ruined. In other words, it could have been worse. Far worse.
The way things develop in this strip is truly unfathomable; one can’t help but wonder why the computer was brought back at all, except 1) as a tease to long-time readers, only to be dashed to earth, signifying this strip is serious so look elsewhere for “fun”; 2) as a form of “striking the set,” ie, removing anything that might be entertaining, and 3) as a means to mention Starbuck Jones yet again, though Tom Batiuk is slipping by not using his full name. Which “Starbuck” is this, Tom, I’m all confused!
Maybe now that it has, *cough*, contributed, the computer will go to Washington DC on a senior class trip! That should take, oh, half an off-screen panel.
For someone who contributed nothing at all this week, Les sure looks remarkably smug in panel one (though to be fair, that’s his default expression). And in panel two, Tom Batiuk’s itch is finally scratched and Les opens his mouth. Jim Kibblesnbits is a complete ass, but I’m willing to reduce his massive negative score by one for shutting down Les. (Personally, I would have used one fewer syllable, if you know what I mean, but then that’s me.) His stance perfectly conveys utter contempt and disdain. Oh, I’m sure the lesson we’re supposed to take is that Les is so wise and deep, such that no one is capable of swimming in his waters. They’d rather stay in the warm, ignorant shallows. Anyone who has read this strip for any length of time will take the opposing view, that Les is being deservedly beached on his deserted isle.
Jim Kibblesnbits is one of those characters who rarely appears, but like a fly discovered embedded in the lemon meringue, his rarity doesn’t lesson his loathsomeness in any way. He shines out like a rotten, crumbling sun, spraying sickly light on vast dead plateaus and their attendant population of shriveling bacteria and scrubby lichens. Today, though, in this one thing, I give him a half-lidded smirk and the offhand flick of a salute. Here, I wish more people would look to him as an example. (And nowhere else.) He’s been an ass all his life, and he’ll be an ass tomorrow, but tonight by God he’s everyone’s hero.
The three of them walking away from an already forgotten, completely despised Les is a truly poetic image, made more so by the vent lines on the locker near Les’ mouth. It looks like he’s bleating…which he probably is.
Les should be broken in half, placed in a paper bag on your worst enemy’s doorstep, then lit on fire. Ring the doorbell and prepare to be entertained.
26 responses to “CTRL-ALT-DULL”
I actually kind of liked today’s strip…The way Jim just casually dismisses that f’king know-it-all with a wave of his hand and a TMI. And everyone else walking off with him, leaving Les to stare awkwardly after them, shuffling his feet and mumbling about how no one appreciates his GREAT BIG BRAIN. Ha. Remember, Les – you were the high school loser, and you really haven’t come that far since then.
So Jim’s just hanging out with Mason and The Director With No Name, now? They sure seem to have a lot of free time, considering they’re the star and director of what’s supposed to be a major film that’s currently being filmed. Damn, show business must be easy.
It’s refreshing to see Batiuk getting back to his “quarter inch from reality” again, as this is almost exactly what real people would do when Dick Facey started his inane annoying babbling again. Minus the part where they beat him to death with rakes and garden trowels, of course. But you don’t want to make it TOO realistic lest you frighten away the readers…again.
I like how the film just keeps finding random things to add to a movie that’s taken years to write. “Oh look, a bully with gigantic freak hands! He’ll be prefect as Huge Freak Hand Guy!”. It’s such a lazy, lazy contrivance.
Speaking of lazy, I was just thinking about this the other day for some sad reason. Wouldn’t it actually be kind of cool if (sigh) someday he really wrapped up this SJ filming hooey and used a year’s worth of Sunday strips to actually “show” the finished movie? Fifty-two installments worth, the entire movie, the SJ legend totally fleshed out and realized. Obviously he’d never do this, but imagine if?
Hey, if the script writer, storyboard artist, casting coordinator, and security team don’t have to do their jobs, why the heck should the set and prop builders do theirs?
Because that’s really what your big-budget sci-fi movie needs, right? An ancient, aesthetically unattractive computer cluttering up the background?
Also, I’ve never seen “mansplaining” that was directed at other men, but there you have it. Les keeps finding new ways to be a complete and total assdouche.
I thought for sure that when this Starbuck Jones crap first started Batiuk was using it as an excuse to actually draw space adventures in his strip. Which I would’ve actually been fine with. It’d be something different and that’s obviously where his heart is. But I think he would’ve done it by now if that was his intent. I think he either realizes he’s not capable of doing it the way he wants to, or he doesn’t think his readers deserve the magnificence of Starbuck Jones.
And what are the odds that stupid band box turns up on Starbuck’s ship?
The unanswered question is why Starbuck Jones’ spaceship would have old tech.
Is it possible that The Author just wanted to give the Act One computer a cameo? He seems to have forgotten that during Act Two the original Westview High building was replaced and that the computer would have been removed and probably scrapped during demolition of the old building.
I’m also fairly certain that Batiuk means for us to wish that people were grateful to have Dick Facey dole out his wisdom. The problem is that he never read or understood Mencken when he said that certain people make an interesting subject ridiculous and unappealing by sheer force of will. Today, two such men did battle. Also, on the other side, Crankshaft is the one disrespecting the dead.
What? So how will the kids “see how far we’ve come”?
But at least Les got cut off.
Is the Starbuck Jones spaceship stuck in the 50’s, like all those cars in Cuba? Why wouldn’t it be depicted as something modern or even futuristic? How campy is this movie going to be?
Yeah, because the prop guys can’t slap together a replica or just build the always-popular “generic panel with blinking lights, dials and switches in the background” since that’s all this computer is going to be used for anyway… Holy damn isn’t that literally one of the first things they teach you in prop school?
So they’ve started filming this movie without a producer, a completed script or storyboards (which I guess doesn’t matter since they’re pretty much making up the script as they go along), props, a proper fighting choreographer (as evidenced by Holly’s demonstration), security, crowd control, budget control, studio oversight, permits to seal off city streets, Cliff Anger and Marianne Winters are nowhere in sight, and there is clearly no timetable, schedule or deadlines to meet… Have I missed anything else?
One more thing to file under “MOVIES DON’T WORK THAT WAY!!!” Jesus Fuckin’ Christ we’re going to need a bigger cabinet…
As happy as I am to see Les get shat on, those other three need to be thrown in a swimming pool full of shit as well instead of skating off…
That should be TML.
@Rusty: I’d also ask why a futuristic sci-fi flick is having laser battles in modern-day Cleveland and filming high school graduations, but that’s just me….
I guess they could be trying to take SB in a ‘retro-futuristic-kitsch’ or ‘time-travel back to the past’ kind of direction, which shows like ‘Futurama’ have used to brilliant satirical effect before… But we all know Batiuk isn’t that clever, since he can’t even be bothered to set up some kind of SB background or canon so we know what the hell this character is even about…
@sgtsaunders Toronto Maple Leafs?
Regardless of how T-Bats intended his audience to react to Dick Facey getting cut off mid-sentence, I think we all know how everyone actually reacted.
@spacemanspiff85: Nevermind the fact that I’d have thought Les and Mr. Red Shirt would have some, you know, CLASSES to teach or something… I’m convinced the both of them only teach one class for one period and spend the rest of their day swilling coffee in the lounge…
OK, so this Cleveland thing still bothers me. It’s a day trip for the class to go to Cleveland for a museum outing, yet this movie director appears to be relaxing in the student lounge of the Westview High School between scenes? Or is this a planning meeting for the big High School graduation scene, in which case where the fuck is Principal Nate? And why are they moving a several-hundred-pound antique computer when they could just take a picture of it and CGI it into the spaceship scenes later?
I’m holding bets on whether we actually see Marianne Winters.
@hitorque “I guess they could be trying to take SB in a ‘retro-futuristic-kitsch’ ”
Y’know, a space opera with a Art Deco dieselpunk theme would be pretty awesome. We’re just never going to get it from Batuik.
So the star of the film and the Director are here in Westville – and they haven’t finished building the Starbuck Jones set (and wouldn’t that be in LA).
who’s minding the mint? Are they still filming in Cleveland?
@Epicus et al–Count me as wishing for a decent Starbuck Jones adaptation as well. If he can’t cajole his friends to do it for him (gratis) maybe a beloved snarky commentary board should start crowdsourcing it…
@TheDiva–I think an equal amount, if not most, mansplaining is directed at other men. Didn’t there used to be a gender-neutral term for it?
See, that’s one of the many baffling things going on here. Salvaging junk for set dressing, or even more so filming during a real graduation ceremony that you happened to stumble across is sort of a sub-Roger-Corman level move. Like those movies that got made because they had the rental gorilla suit an extra day. What those kinds of productions NEVER had was, for instance, enough money to throw two years of free rent at an aged bit player, or whatever the insane deal with Cliff was.
The irony is: Les isn’t the most punchable character in the Funkyverse today. Crankshaft wins the honor.
@TheDiva – “I’ve never seen “mansplaining” that was directed at other men”
Oh, I’ve been talked down to by other guys. But I’m also aware that women are deeply offended by mansplaining because it’s just another little dart in a constant salvo of bullshit they have to endure from various Chads.
@bad wolf – “I think an equal amount, if not most, mansplaining is directed at other men. Didn’t there used to be a gender-neutral term for it?”
@HeyItsDave–lol, good indication I have spent too much time on the internet this week.
Right now I’d just be happy if they just made SB into a carbon copy of Zapp Branigan (who is all I think of when I hear ‘Starbuck Jones’ anyway)