The Ups And Downs Of Being Funky

Link To Today’s Strip

In a strip where elderly Alzheimer patients cut albums in Memphis and surf the web like pros and people take sixty-plus year breaks in their careers, this whole daffy premise is pretty tough to swallow. It’s astonishing how little Holly and her mother think of Funky, which is supposed to be the joke here I guess. He can’t even count on his own wife to have his back, as she has no qualms at all about forcing him to close up shop and take a four thousand mile round trip with his mother-in-law, which would be valid grounds for divorce in at least forty-nine US states but unfortunately for Funky, not in Ohio.

Poor Funky, the FW character you always laugh at, never with. Every single other character in the strip is a wry wisecracking wordplay machine, snidely smirking after another unbearably clever pun or smart-alecky remark, but never Funky. Funky just shuts up and takes it, week after week, year after year, decade after decade, all because he was the “normal well-adjusted” kid in high school and BatNom will never let him live it down. The guy survived crippling alcoholism and an even more crippling car crash to become the local president of the chamber of commerce and the only most successful businessman in town. He’s convivially and generously hosted and/or catered literally every single major social event the town has ever seen, he’s employed a bevy of family members and pals at his restaurant and he’s acted as a kind and patient landlord too.

His reward? To be kicked and kicked again, over and over. His family doesn’t respect him at all, his friends mock him, he suffers from a litany of health woes and he’s fat, old and physically repulsive. The guy who writes this thing never stops heaping abuse on him and (oddly enough) it just makes it impossible for me to truly hate him like I hate Les and Lisa and Darin and Dinkle and Pete and Holly and Cory and Summer (whoever she is) and Chester and Mason and Cliff and Becky and Cindy and Vera and Crazy and Owen and Cody and Nate and Cayla and that bus driver (I forget his name) and the other characters (except Buddy, as I really love that dog).

Let that be a lesson to all those kids out there just now discovering FW (guf-faw) for the first time: don’t peak in high school. Pick a thing (dork, stoner, “it” girl, baton twirler, jock) and f*cking run with it because living down your high school identity will be the most important thing you ever do. Also, invest in comic books and whatever you do do NOT get involved in the pizza industry, although eating it three times a day is fine. See, there’s actual educational content in this strip, you just have to wade through forty-plus years of crap to find it.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

23 responses to “The Ups And Downs Of Being Funky

  1. spacemanspiff85

    Speaking of Funky, I was surprised when I went back and read the old strips online how much I actually liked and cared about the story, and Funky, when he was overcoming his alcoholism. It’s amazing how far downhill it’s come since then.
    Also, why can’t Holly drive to get her mom? Women can drive now, I think. And I’m pretty sure Funky is more important to Montoni’s than her.

    • The Nelson Puppet

      spacemanspiff85, I have a pet theory about Batiuk and the strip. Somewhere during the “gag a day” period, some Kent State literature professor or grad student or writer told Batiuk that he had the characters and material to be a comic strip version of Sherwood Anderson’s collection of short stories called “Winesburg, Ohio”. Maybe Batiuk stumbled across the book and was inspired by it. At any rate, in my opinion he spent several years writing “serious” material that reminded me of Winesburg. The common theme in both Anderson and Batiuk is “twee”.

  2. Lord Flatulence


  3. billytheskink

    Taxicab/Uber/Lyft drivers love to be “put out”. It’s practically their job.

    Holly’s mom is some piece of work. Invites herself to come visit her daughter and son in law, but not for the purpose of actually seeing them and then volunteers their time and money to transport her. Sounds like a perfect fit for this comic strip…

  4. Gerard Plourde

    Like yesterday’s strip, I fail to see what TomBa’s point is, unless it’s a “two-fer” on the misogyny front – Holly’s mom is unreasonable bordering on demented and Holly’s a doormat.

  5. Charles

    It’s amazing how enormous a bunch of doormats these idiots are. Mom tells them to drive from Ohio to Florida and back to bring her to a band reunion, and then take her back to Florida, and there’s no way that these two putzes can say no, they’re not going to do that. No “your excuse for not taking a plane is asinine and I refuse to enable that.” It’s just glum acceptance.

    Doctor mixes up your medical information and fails to diagnose your cancer relapse in time? Oh well, guess that’s it then. Go hang out on your porch and die.

    You sell your stupid book to a film studio and uncharacteristically demand to write the screenplay. When they actually bring you in to work on script drafts and they change your book’s original story so significantly that it’s no longer recognizable? Nothing you can do but fall asleep, demand your paycheck and run away. You certainly don’t want to stand up for your book that you love so much.

    Get diagnosed with CTE in your fifties, even though such a diagnosis on a living person is impossible? Immediately retire and go hide in your basement binge watching videos of you playing football in high school. When your husband does this? Just hang around and do nothing as he wastes away the rest of his life.

    I’d say Springsteen would write a song about these people, but I think he’d get absolutely disgusted by how unwilling they were to challenge their sad lot in life, even if they were ultimately doomed.

  6. Jimmy

    I ain’t gonna lie, I really like Panel 2 today.

  7. spacemanspiff85

    And honestly, is freaking Funky the guy you want behind the wheel with your mom in the car? Odds are that Cell Phone Girl is still out there somewhere.

  8. It’s no wonder he used to drink what with all of the idiots in his environment. His mother in law’s excuse for expecting to be driven around is not just that she’s too stupid to understand what taxis are, it’s also that she thinks it’s his job to be her fucking chauffeur because what commitments does he have really?

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Where are you going, Funky?”

    “To the liquor store. If I hafta drive to Florida with you, and back with your mother and you, I’m gonna need a lotta road pop!”

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    And over in Crankshaftenlande, Batty desperately tries to resurrect a failed storyline from the past: schizo bag lady helps grumpy old man find his daughter. Awwww, that’s so sweet. See, Batty cares. Now give him an award so as to shut him up already.

  11. gleeb

    What about Wally? Twice a prisoner of war, and the second time, his family was broken up by a comic-book hawker. I think ol’ Wal is Batiuk’s favorite chew toy.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Ugh. And if you go back and read it, the focus of the storyline where Wally came home was more “John worries about whether Becky will leave him” than focusing on Wally being back. If I remember right it actually ended on a strip with Becky reassuring John that she still loved him or something.

  12. Rusty

    Batiuk once said he time jumped the strip in part so he could show the struggles he and his friends were having with their own aging parents. Laff riot.

  13. The key question I have is, can you imagine this happening to any other character in the strip? If so, the focus would be entirely on how put upon that character is, and how unreasonable the request. The hatred that Tom Batiuk has for Funky is palpable.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Funky was the “normal” one back in high school, the happy-go-lucky, middle-of-the-road guy who married the “hottest” girl in school. He’s been paying for it ever since. Business woes, divorce, alcoholism, car accidents, depression…you name it, it’s happened to poor, poor Funky. Even the old school bully managed to enjoy some brief success but never Funky, the best he can hope for is to merely wake up each morning.

      • Charles

        I don’t know. From the looks of things, Funky’s the wealthiest of the non-Cindy original cast. He lives in a nice large house that wasn’t built before he was born. He’s able to put his father in a nursing home so great that it managed to reverse his end-stage Alzheimer’s. He and his wife can fly down to Texas to go to a special clinic for annual physicals. He seems to be doing quite well financially. (Well, he did drive a PT Cruiser, so there’s that against that conclusion)

        Much better than Les, who apparently needed a huge payout from a TV movie company for his book in order to pay in-state tuition for two scholarship athletes to go to Kent State.

  14. Professor Fate

    I get the sense he wrote this strip right after someone looked at yesterdays and said “why the hell doesn’t she fly?” I’m wondering if perhaps tomorrow there will be a strip why Holly’s mother can’t take taxis for some absurd bs reason.
    The whole premise is bloody absurd in very annoying way. Seriously the only way anybody in real life would put up with this sort of craziness is if Holly’s mom was sitting on a big Big BIG bag of money. And Maybe not even then.
    and oh yes Funky looks especially hideous in the last panel.

  15. Le Chat Bleu

    I’m a fan of the theory that Hackbatt and whoever Funky is based on had a real life falling out. I can only imagine how annoying it is for him to not be able to change the name of the strip.

  16. bobanero

    If the messenger had an opportunity to tell her mother that she’s out of her mind and didn’t let her know that there’s no fuckin’ way they’re driving to Florida to pick her up, then, yes, the messenger deserves to be shot.