Stick “E” Note

How serious is Mason Jarr about becoming Mason Jarre? Taping-a-letter-e-to-the-back-of-his-chair serious! Of course, from where they’re standing/sitting, Cindy and Pete can’t see that, but Mason’s thoughtful pose speaks volumes. In fact, I’m going to go sit in a chair and assume that same pose and ponder why the hell we invest more thought, time, and effort into the Funkiverse than does Tom Batiuk.

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19 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

19 responses to “Stick “E” Note

  1. HeyItsDave

    Deep in thought, Masone ponders the very nature of vowels themselves.

  2. Considering this strip and CRANKSHAFT have dealt with Cancer, Alzheimer’s, child abuse rape, teen pregnancy, and such, Mason;s wanting to add an “e” to his last name is stinking lame.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    And of course we all know this will never, ever be mentioned again. Consider the dangling plot threads from just the SJ mega-arc alone. The film itself, Mason and Cindy’s engagement, Mason’s bi-polar disorder, Marianne Winters, the sixty missing years from Cliff Anger’s life, the fates of Pete, Darin and Jessica, that’s all just within the last few months, too. At his pace it’ll take him years to follow up on just one or two of those threads, if that.

  4. spacemanspiff85

    @Epicus Doomus:
    Actually, it wouldn’t surprise me if next week is Pete bitching about how much trouble it is to change “Jarr” to “Jarre” in the script and credits.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    spacemanspiff85: Nor would it surprise me if next week is an arc about Les complaining about the newfangled pencil sharpeners and how the old wall-mounted ones were better, featuring a retcon flashback with Crazy Harry wondering aloud why no one has yet invented a pencil dullener as the gang looks on bemusedly.

    TFH: Oh I’ve pondered that myself a few times. At first my snark was fueled more by rage, as I had to vent all that pent-up anger about the comic strip that had been annoying the hell out of me for decades with it weird mix of bland situation comedy and attention-seeking melodrama. Now though, it’s more of a sick fascination. Not only does it amaze me that it still exists, but the incredible consistency, the way he never fails to miss the mark, the attention to lack of detail…there’s just nothing else like it. Except Crankshaft, which is similar.

  6. Is the “canvas folding chair with the star’s name printed on it” still a thing? Was it ever?

  7. Gerard Plourde

    Epicus Doomus. It seems to me that the weirdness and disjointedness has increased over the past year or so. Is that possible or did I just not notice before?

  8. Great. Another week lost being reminded that Actor Guy is the new model Harry Dinkle: charming enough unless you challenge one of his mindless obsessions. Also, he too doesn’t know how to use adhesive tape properly.

  9. Charles

    And of course we all know this will never, ever be mentioned again.

    It really does come across as incredibly dumb and pointless, but I have to wonder if this is a terrible decision to resolve Batiuk’s problem of having a new major character (I think Mason has appeared more than Les this year) with a god-awful stupid name. He realized he wanted to make Mason a major character after he gave him that stupid, risible name, so he was either stuck with yet another stupid-named character, (look how much he hates “Funky Winkerbean”) or he could change it in his typically awkward fashion.

    Not that Mason Jarre is any better, but maybe he thinks people will start reading it as “Jarry” or “Jerry” so it’s not so transparently stupid that no reader can take him seriously.

  10. 1966tvbatman

    @ Diva “Is the “canvas folding chair with the star’s name printed on it” still a thing? Was it ever?” Absolutely. i work in the business and the names are either stenciled or embroidered on.

  11. 1966tvbatman

    hey look! Keeping true to FW form, it’s a crappy taping job to the back of the chair!

  12. Yes, today’s FW is stupid and pointless, but today’s Crankshaft is just disgusting.

  13. Cindy, having been reverse-aged by BatHack to the point where she now looks like a pre-pubescent middle schooler, responds accordingly:

  14. I liked this comic better when it was about a skinny guy passed out drunk in the snow. Now the dramatic suspense is whether Mason’s new e is silent. There’s got to be a pullet surprise in that, right?

  15. I’ve trying this week to figure out if this is TBs way of depicting Jarre’s bipolar disorder, and if we are going to get an arc where he’s crashing hard following the manic one we just witnessesd. I’m probably giving TB way more credit than he deserves. Still, I’m betting that he frequently casts around for an issue he can depict in a sensitive and thought provoking way, given Lisa and that Pulitzer dalliance, although as we’ve seen, he has consistently shot himself in the foot with his maudlin and banal guns. Yet the unresolved mommy issues over at Crankshaft recently would suggest he actually does have some genuinely fertile and plausible story ideas at times. It’s sad that he is utterly incapable of creating, or at least maintaining, likable characters. It’s one thing to dream up a manic moron like Jarre or a curmudgeonly dolt like Cranky, and then riff on their traits – the recurring in-joke, in other words. “Har har, that vapid Hollywood actor and his vanity excursions/that clueless senior citizen stuck in a modern world he can’t fathom…” Stereotypical behavior by familiar characters is why folks read the comics in the first place; the gag becomes the character, and just by placing the character in a scene you’d know some dumb/silly/funny hijinks were about to unfold. It’s like when you’d start laughing at Belushi on SNL the moment he came out in the Samurai outfit even before anyone uttered a line. But in order for that to happen, their first has to be an affection for the character – say, the fish out of water schtick where you kinda feel for him, or maybe the buffoon who hits upon keen insights purely by accident and you identify with that. It’s called “character development,” and it’s one of the first things you’re taught in a Fiction Writing 101 class. Hell, any type of writing! I’m a magazine editor, and I always tell my reporters to find the characteristics in their profile subjects that the readers might identify with and then expand upon and illustrate those qualities. But TB never gets past the cardboard cutout stage, thinking that simply by drawing Owen in the chullo to signify “stoner teen” it’s automatically humorous and therefore everything he says and does will make us snicker “because he’s just a dorky stoner teen, amirite?” Instead, Owen is neither particularly stoneresque (if that’s a word) nor funny – he’s simply bland to the point of being annoyingly so. There’s nothing about Jarre that I find interesting; just another bland character, so I could care less if he’s bipolar or if TB will tackle an issue that hits home (a couple of friends of mine). Likewise, with Jeff I didn’t feel anything for him, and with that hangdog look of his I actually wanted to punch him – no wonder he could set his mom off! The contrast to all this is of course Act 1: we’d laugh at Les stuck up on the rope, or at Harry opening his locker door, because we had gotten to know the various FW characters and their peculiarities, and because we were in on the joke. TB is the archetype of the writer whose muse left long ago but he can’t or won’t recognize that fact and he just soldiers on, kinda shadow boxing with himself and telling himself that his new stuff is just as good as it was during his glory years. He assumes that since he had the gift then, well, of course he still has the gift – that he’s a true artist, privy to unique inspiration as true artists tend to be when it comes to developing their natural talents. Writing, however, is not an artistic endeavor – it’s a craft and a discipline that you have to keep working at, like exercising and doing drills if you’re an athlete. TB thinks he doesn’t have to work at it – he thinks that if HE puts it on the page, why, of COURSE it must be inspired, thoughtful, funny, etc. I wonder if there is a specific year we could point at as being where he lost his mojo, or where it clearly started slipping away, say, an arc that coincided with some change or event in his life to illustrate how his outlook or emotional attitude had change Do?

  16. Rusty Shackleford

    Batty should just have his characters say “I like turtles “. Every day.

  17. MJ

    Did Batiuk really spend an entire week on a character wanting to add a single letter to his name?
    Oh, yeah…

  18. Gerard Plourde

    @ Fred Blurt – I think you’re on to something. Act I was funny and was populated with characters readers could identify with (admittedly they were cartoon characters with thin development). Act II for all its limitations and contrived situations did try to tackle real stories and even Act III started out with some of that (even if Wally’s tribulations approached Job-like proportions and Lisa’s “milestone” tapes for Summer seemed contrived). For me, the change became glaringly obvious with the time-pool arc that turned out to all be in Les’s head. Later we got the “Easter Egg” recordings where Lisa becomes a controlling Harpy and Harry railing against algorithmic suggestions from software. Batty seems to be engaging in a scorched earth policy to make all of his characters detestable. Why is he doing it? Maybe he wants to ensure that the strip doen’t continue once he’s through with it.

  19. Charles

    Gotta admit, the first time I looked at the strip, I didn’t notice just how much Mason looks like a petulant child sitting there in his monogrammed chair with the E that represents his NEW NAME haphazardly taped on to the rest of his name.

    He’s like a six year old named John who demands that you call him Tom from now on, and will loudly and forcefully correct anyone who calls him John. “NO NO, my name is TOM, NOW. I WILL CROSS OUT JOHN AND WRITE MY NEW NAME TOM ON ALL MY BOOKS THAT I TAKE TO SCHOOL TO MAKE THE POINT CLEAR TO EVERYONE.”