Another dull entry…which would be a great name for this strip.
Imagine this particular episode presented with no dialogue–it’s just people standing around with a couple of handshakes thrown in. Without the dialogue, it’s dull, but you have the possibility that adding dialogue might make it into something that could be interesting, possibly, depending on what these people say. But in Funky Winkerbean, if you add the dialogue back, yes, it changes…but not for the better. You end up with something no one could care about at all, except someone trying to reach a 50th anniversary on a project in which he has lost all interest. And it shows. Boring people saying boring things in a boring way.
I’m sure the idea is that Funky Winkerbean fans (those mythical creatures) would look upon this and shout, “Yes! Vera and Cliff are back! This is great!” The problem–probably the main problem with the whole strip–is that in the real world, enthusiasm for characters comes from caring about them, because those characters are interesting, or do interesting things. Here, these characters are uninteresting, do nothing but stand around, and we are given no reason to care about them at all. This is because Tom Batiuk cannot create interesting characters, because he cannot care about anyone other than his various avatars (mainly Les, but also Dullard, John Howard and Dinkle).
Remember that time you were in a restaurant and you asked the table next to you if you could borrow their salt shaker, and you got an assful of stories that bored you to tears, but you needed that salt? Say hello to Vera and Cliff.
While I can’t say much for his taste in clothing, it’s nice that Cliff and Vera dress up a bit when they’re going visiting.