That’s Not What I Smell

Link to today’s strip.

Well, Cindy’s discovering all kinds of new information about Cliff, isn’t she?  But let’s stop and take a look at this for a moment, just so we can see how utterly stupid it is.

If you’re anyone other than Tom Batiuk, you might recall that Cindy did a documentary about Cliff, which was considered worthy of an Emmy nomination.   In the interview, she and Cliff sat and talked about his life, his blacklisting, his rediscovery, all that stuff.  The fact that it was shot with a single hand-held camera…well, the contents must have been pretty damn good to garner an award nomination.

And, apparently, she asked him nothing about his career.   You know, the reason you would interview a performer.   Apparently, this whole bit about Cliff working with some “movie-serial comedian” (a thing I doubt existed anyway–serials tended to be action-adventure stories) is completely new to her.   I mean…*gasp*   I need a moment here to process this.

She’s coming across as so dense, I would not be shocked to find her surprised that Cliff played Starbuck Jones.   The entire reason for her interview.   “Really?  That was you?  Wow!”  But no, after the interview, she’s still unaware.  Was she born stupid, or did she study?

I can easily imagine Cindy making a documentary about (grabbing random celebrity) Paul McCartney and asking about how he met Linda Eastman, that time he was arrested in Japan, Linda dying (from cancer!!) and his bitter divorce from Heather Mills.  Then, she meets him at a party and says, “Say, I understood you knew John Lennon!  How the heck did that come about?  Also, someone told me you write songs!  Any I would have heard?”*

Today’s episode is amazing.  I suppose one could put this down to Batiuk’s general in-strip contempt for women, but wow, it’s pretty cold.  It’s ice cold.

Now, it would make sense for Cayla to be asking these questions, because Cayla hasn’t met Cliff before.  Cayla could have seen Cindy’s documentary and asked some follow-up questions.  But Cayla married Les, so she can’t be shown as flawed.  And Les would have told her all this stuff, and she would have listened intently.  And Les would be in the scene, to correct Cayla (and Cliff) about how things actually happened.

Cindy, on the other hand is consistently a target in the Funkyverse; Tom Batiuk loves to lob potshots at her, so sure–she’s stupid and bad at her job.  Ha ha ha, stupid!  You’re a dumb gurl and everything!  “Remember high school?  I do!”



*Granted, Paul McCartney’s story is pretty well known, so an interviewer might try to go in another angle to get a different perspective on him.   But the whole point of Cindy’s documentary was to re-introduce Cliff to a public that had largely forgotten him.  One of the things you would do in a documentary like that is tell people what he had done, and why he should be remembered.  And all of that would come from his career, not his personal life.

Yeah, I’m back to using italics like a madman.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

22 responses to “That’s Not What I Smell

  1. countoftowergrove

    Cindy: Do you remember the time you traveled on tramp steamer?

    Cliff: Yes.

    Cindy: That was cool!

  2. spacemanspiff85

    Oh, lord. Batiuk thinks “Butter Brickle” is funny and somehow a substitute for “Fatty Arbuckle”. And I’ll be shocked if the next two to three years of this strip revolve around Butter Brickle.

  3. Charles

    It’s kind of amazing that we’re now getting more backstory about Cliff, as it appears that Batiuk is more interested in telling stories about Cliff than he is just about every other character in his little world. I think Darin and Pete might be the only two guys he’s interested in writing about just as much. You’d think Les, but really, the last Les story that wasn’t about his dumb Lisa book (which notice Darin is beginning to horn in on) was about Les running out of clicks on the school copy machine back in January. The previous story was either where he was beating Bull in tennis in July, 2016, which is arguably more about Bull, or otherwise Les organizing a really half-assed senior trip in May 2016. That’s less than one story a year that’s about Les and not Lisa’s Story.

    • Epicus Doomus

      The truly Batiukian thing about it is how he’s filling in Cliff’s backstory while skipping over his incredible sixty year absence entirely. The six decades he spent as a recluse is by far the most fascinating thing about him, yet no one ever asks him about it. It’s like how Cory returned home from the army a completely different person or how Morty suddenly somehow reversed his dementia. Everyone just shrugs and talks about comic books instead.

      And as BC so eloquently stated, Cindy FILMED A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT CLIFF’S LIFE so his early career should already be old news to her. I mean if it didn’t cover his early years and glossed right over his sixty year hiatus what the hell was left?

      • Charles

        Well, to be fair, which is totally not fair, Cindy’s documentary appeared to be nothing more than “put a camera in front of Cliff and Vera, ask them a question and then just film them talking for however long it takes. Whatever they talk about will be your documentary.” Seriously, Cindy appeared to have absolutely no idea about Cliff’s backstory when she and Jessica were filming the doc. He could have told them that he slept through an audition once and no one ever called him back again and that’s why he was out of the business for sixty years and Cindy would have just gone with it.

        • Epicus Doomus

          I’ve always enjoyed the way BatNard creates a premise (like the SJ sub-universe) then fills in the details all haphazardly without any regard for rhyme or reason or logic at all. SJ was originally an obscure and forgotten old comic book title from the 1970s, then over time it became this massive cultural touchstone that impacted the lives of thousands. Cliff was originally a contrivance designed to give him an excuse to do a comic book decoder ring story and now he’s a living link to the glories of Old Hollywood. Every new detail alters the original premise more and more. Cliff starred in some old 1950s movie serials, now he’s reminiscing about working with old movie stars from the 1920s and soon he’ll be waxing nostalgically about his time working in Thomas Edison’s lab. Give him a few years and he’ll be blathering about signing the original Declaration Of Independence too.

  4. billytheskink

    “The brighter the picture, the darker the negative” may well be as generally true as it is pithy, but TB and Funky Winkerbean are proof positive that the vice versa is most definitely not true.

    Today’s great moment in surreal artwork: the palm trees in panel 2, partially transparent and rising from the beaches tide pools.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Is that the Heat Miser sitting across from them in panel 1?

      As for Cliff, I’d like to forget him again. Dumb, just so dumb.

    • Love how the artist attempts dusk/night scenes. It comes across as …wash your faces, idiots!

  5. spacemanspiff85

    Here’s a fun thought: the reason Cindy knows nothing about Cliff’s life is because the “documentary” she made is the kind that wins an AVN Award instead of an actual Emmy, but Batiuk calls it an Emmy because he’s Batiuk and doesn’t know any better.

  6. Batiuk’s default dipshit misogyny (which stems from his seeming belief that they have to be stupid to want to be around sportos instead of a Nice Guy like him) is only the topping on the upcoming bullshit sundae. This is because it’s going to be like a sequence in Crankshaft that crawled into my mind and took up residence. You see, years ago, Jffffff caught his son with a reefer and proceeded to tell him the story of a pop artist who took one hit off a spliff and ended up in an insane asylum because reasons. Batiuk can’t tell dramatic stories that make sense or resonate with people because he’s kind of a dope who should stick to forgettable gag-a-day stuff. He’s a cog in Jim Davis’s joke factory, not Milt Canniff.

  7. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “That ain’t no Emmy you smell, sonny! The bean salad you served has my bowels in an uproar!”

  8. DOlz

    Its no wonder TB thinks he deserves an Eisner, Pulitzer, and a Golden T-Square, because apparently just showing up for work means you should get an award. That’s all he does is show up for work, because I haven’t seen any effort put into this strip for years.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It’s just like when you wake up one day and decide you want to write a book. You just jump on a plane and head to New York, then you go to some convention and run into an agent.

      Just flip the words around if you decide you want to be an agent.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    Where are Cayla, Les, and Vera? On the beach watching the grunion? Or did TomBa forget about them?

  10. So Cindy brings up Butter Brickle and Cliff’s first response isn’t “Why yes, we worked together in [insert film title, or year] etc. etc.” Instead Cliff gets directly to delving into the man’s personal problems, or what Cliff perceived as such. And Morone smells “another Emmy,” not “another Emmy nomination,” which leads us to presume that of course Cindy’s shitty documentary natuarally won. Which would maybe have made for a story arc where Cindy travels to New York in October when the News and Documentary Emmys were handed out. But October was taken up with Book Tour/Lisa’s Legacy Run/Phil Holt Dies/Buck and Bull/more Book Tour.

  11. The Nelson Puppet

    Cliff (Look Back In) Anger!!!!!

  12. Jimmy

    Line of the week, as far as I’m concerned: “I would not be shocked to find her surprised that Cliff played Starbuck Jones.”

    Why the hell does everyone stare at their drinks in FW? The answer at the bottom of your bottle is misery, and lots of it, folks. You’re characters in Funky Winkerbean, for crying out loud!

  13. Professor Fate

    Wow this even by the standards is awful. One there is no such thing as a ‘serial comedian’ Movie serials were action adventures, science fiction, stories about comic book heroes, westerns, et al …the entire point of a 15-16 part serial was that the hero or the heroes girl looked to have been shot, blown up, died in an airplane crash et al at the end of the serial only to escape that certain death at the start of the next episode. Seriously how in god’s name could you have a comedy serial? Will the pie hit him in the face or not? Tune in tomorrow.
    Comedians did shorts – Three Stooges for example, Laurel and Hardy, even WC Fields did a few. There was no call for a ‘serial comedian’ – serials did have ‘comic relief’ but they weren’t the focus of the serial.
    And second – if, as per the strip Butter Brickle was as famous as they imply wouldn’t there have been a documentary or three about him in the intervening sixty years? It’s not like he’s Cliff who arguably was obscure.
    Does the Author know anything about anything? And how can he not see what utter nonsense this is?

  14. Hannibal's Lectern

  15. Hitorque

    1. “The brighter the picture, the darker the negative” who in fuck’s name talks like this??

    2. Now Cindy is instantly going to track down this Bickle and cast him in the Starbucks Jones sequel, right??

    3. You know, there are a whole lot of writers/filmmakers who do nothing but track down forgotten celebrities, criminals, artists, politicians, war heroes, the hidden talent behind musicians, etc… So to think Cindy Fuckin’ Sommers-Winkerbean-Jarre is going to magically stumble upon another treasure chest is pretty farfetched…

    4. May Cindy’s eternal punishment be an assignment as Forrest Gump’s official biographer