Darrin has two moms. Sort of.

Link to today’s strip

Everyone else can bring the funny in the comments. I’m going to be talking Srs Bidness.

I wanted to take Saturday to comment on the often noticed elephant in the room: Darrin replacing Ann Fairgood with Dead St. Lisa as ‘Mom’. Because we all know Jess in today’s strip is referring to the Dead St. Lisa looming in the background and not poor Ann Fairgood.

First things first, I don’t think it’s entirely unheard of for adopted people who reconnected in a positive way with birth-parents to go on to call them ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’, even while they also still call their adoptive parents ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. I know Darrin only knew Lisa as his birth-mother for a few weeks or months, but perhaps the ticking clock intensified their re-connection relationship, like some kind of summer camp ending in death. I can buy that they loved each other, and as mother and son. And I don’t think Batiuk really intended to indicate that he loved the Fairgoods less because of it.

So the problem really isn’t that Darrin calls Lisa ‘Mom.’ The problem is that the elder Fairgoods have disappeared into the very background of Funkyverse over the last couple years, while Darrin, Ghost Lisa, and Les have remained center stage. The last mention of the Fairgoods was all the way back in March, when Darrin calls Les up telling him that he’s coming out to visit, “mom and dad.” But we don’t get to see that visit. Instead we get to see Darrin visit his bio-mom’s husband and reminisce about his dead bio-mom, all to set up for the Lisa Trilogy Boxset Special Extended Edition product placement.

Mr. Fred Fairgood had his stroke in January of 2013, and at the time I thought they were setting up for a copy of a FOOB storyline. Anyone remember when Grandpa Jim had a stroke? It was handled with pathos and humor, and his long, incomplete, recovery was shown in detail, and affected the rest of the strip. And when I am comparing a strip negatively to late-run For Better Or For Worse, you know it done messed up.

Batiuk failed to follow through.  A close perusal of the archives here and on Comics Curmudgeon sees the Fairgoods taking a very active part in the investigation of Scumbag Bio-Dad in 2013, and being there for some Baby Skyler stuff, and that’s about it. He petered out involving the Fairgoods in anything by 2014. And you know what else happened around 2014? Holly Winkerbean’s Starbuck Jones Collecting Mania.

Now the strip more or less revolves around six or seven characters. Les, Bull, Funky, Dead St. Lisa, Darrin, Pete, Masone, Cindy, and Mutha Fukkin Starbuck Jones. Darrin is important because Starbuck Jones, and Lisa is important because Lisa’s Legacy is Batiuk’s Legacy, and his cash cow. And for Tom pointing out the biological connection between the two characters is easy and obvious. Probably compulsive at this point too. Lisa consumes all.

And it’s why Frankie the evil Bio-Dad showed up, twice, once even in reference to Starbuck Jones. And, most importantly, why he had to be evil in the first place. Making Lisa’s pregnancy the result of date-rape not only allows her to maintain her moral purity, (making Darrin an emotionally ‘virgin’ birth,) but makes it almost obligatory that Darrin and everyone else reject Frankie. There is no simpler way to negate his fatherhood. As a bonus it gives Batty an easy total monster in a strip rather devoid of them. But above all it tosses Frankie out of the equation, keeping the Darrin and Lisa and Breast Cancer connection strong.

If Batty simply wanted Lisa to live on in her children, then he would involve Summer more. But the last few years even Summer has been very intermittent, because she has nothing to do with Starbuck Jones and is stuck in college, which Batiuk couldn’t care less about. He likes Darrin. Darrin is a bland, generally happy, everyman who could hypothetically do anything Tom Batiuk would want story-wise, comicsfanboy-wise. There’s a reason we call him Boy Lisa after all.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “Darrin has two moms. Sort of.

  1. DOlz

    Wow! I don’t know what you do for a living, but I hope its write reviews. You really nailed the problems in this strip for the last couple of years. Unfortunately even if TB reads this he’ll dismiss everything you wrote, because as a “writer” he always produces g̶o̶l̶d̶ dross and we’re just the swine he casts his pearls before.

  2. Very well said, but I disagree on one point–the importance of Mason and Starbuck Jones. Aside from the one panel cameo this week, Mason and Starbuck have not been heard from since the movie premier–almost three months ago. Admittedly, three months does not make a character forgotten, but for something pushed relentlessly beforehand, it seems strange.

    • comicbookharriet

      Thanks Beckoning. I do wonder about the Starbuck Masone longevity myself, but there’s been three months at a time where we didn’t see LES MOORE…So I would say if Masone disappears for six to nine months we can start the missing persons report.

  3. Spacemanspiff85

    Ha, the ghosts are so bored by all this they’re resorting to thumb wrestling.

  4. billytheskink

    An incredibly spot-on post today CBH, especially the bit on the retcon of Lisa and Frankie’s relationship. Everything that has involved Lisa since mid Act II has done little more than beatify her, and that is quite literally what has occurred in all of her “appearances” in Act III.

    TB has a history of ignoring, well, a lot of things he’s done in the past in this strip, but retconning parentage is definitely among them. Cory, for instance, was originally Holly’s son from a previous relationship and Funky even commented on the challenges of having a step son in late Act II… but come Act III he had taken Funky’s last name and was never mentioned as a step son again. Heck, it seems like the only parent who hasn’t been retconned or written out of the strip is John freaking Darling.

    • LTPFTR

      Jessica’s father, John Darling, who was murdered. I’m really surprised that nugget was left out of today’s second panel.

    • comicbookharriet

      Thanks BTS! Can we get a telethon for all the disappeared kids, parents, and siblings in this strip? When was the last time we saw Jinx, Wally Jr., or Rachel Winkerbean’s kid?

  5. Epicus Doomus

    “The artist Phil Holt”…uh yeah Boy Lisa…thanks for the clarification lest we confuse him with another Phil Holt we might know. What an idiot.

    “Darin is Lisa’s son” was without a doubt one of BatNom’s most craven and stupid plot contrivances ever but it really paid off for him in the end as it gave him that extra still-living link to Lisa he could resort to just in case he was ever totally out of ways to work Lisa into the strip again. And here we are.

    The really weird thing about this arc is how both Les and Boy Lisa are involved in two unrelated “Lisa’s Legacy” events simultaneously. Just think about how incredibly unlikely that would be anywhere else. BanTom never misses an opportunity to remind you about how that “teen pregnancy” arc that set the comic strip world askew way back when is still reverberating today, or would be if you’d be quieter and listen more closely.

    • The Nelson Puppet

      Reminds me of the 1960s TV show “The Invaders”…”starring Roy Thinnes as architect David Vincent…”

  6. There’s another elephant in the room: Holt himself. As he fades off into final irrelevant obscurity, he does so having served one purpose: to feed into the damned idiotic cult surrounding a damned idiotic woman who passively died because the chemo that would have sent her cancer back into remission would have been a mild inconvenience.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    Sure is a lot of phony and misplaced pride. Good thing Phil was killed off so he could become a stupid grinning ghost with thumbs stuck in the up position.

    • Double Sided Scooby Snack

      A lot like when your damn windshield wipers jam and get stuck in the up position. Hate when THAT happens.

  8. Doc

    If Lisa looks so good as a ghost, shouldn’t Phil Holt, the artist, look younger and thinner in death, too?

    And how come Phil has all his sleeves and buttons and other parts of his shirt, and Lisa has no definition on her clothing, just weird ghostly arms that pop out of nowhere?

    • LTPFTR

      Maybe the afterlife in the Battyverse is a Benjamin Button situation–the longer you’re dead the younger you become, until you reach the beginning and start all over again. And now I’m sad because I realize I’ve put more thought into this stupid strip than the creator of it bothers to.

  9. DOlz

    Good thing Phil Holt, the artist didn’t live to see this auction or he wouldn’t have been so proud of his.


  10. @comicbookharriet – You ma’am win the internet today. Well spoken!

  11. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Dead Lisa to Dead Phil: “Good. Those two idiots are finally leaving. Wanna thumb wrestle, big guy?”

  12. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    “I think your mom would have been proud of how the Heritage Auction Of Tombat Komix Covers went, Duuuuhhhhren.”

    “I’ll have to tell her. She spends all her time wiping up dad’s drool since the stroke, and doesn’t get out much anymore.”

    “No, I meant your real mom, Saint Lisa.”

    “Okay, but do we really have to go over this again? The Fairgoods were the only mom and dad I ever knew. Just because they’re regular schmucksters and not a Holy Martyr like Saint Lisa doesn’t mean they’re not my REAL parents.”

    “Christ. Whatever, Mister High And Mighty.”

    “And I think the artist, Phil Holt, who drew these Comix Covers, then willed them to me upon his death, because I once gave him a ride home, would’ve been proud too.”

    “Why are you talking like that? You already told me about him. Weirdo. So will I be able to kiss our money goodbye before Lisa’s Larceny pisses it away?”