The Stupid! It Burns!

So at long last, here we go into the “Butter” Brinkel arc. Those readers of the dead tree editions, the ones who run only the truncated, bottom-panels-only version of the Sunday strips, are missing out on a classic bit lifted from Buster Keaton’s 1928 silent comedy Steamboat Bill, Jr. Now that they’re finally ready to start work on the documentary, Jessica is literally throwing up her hands saying she doesn’t know where to begin. What does Cindy even need her videographer for, if they have a ton of archival footage?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

17 responses to “The Stupid! It Burns!

  1. CRM114

    Blasphemous on so many levels so don’t know where to start. Stealing bits from real stars and dropping names for his fictional ego trip characters….Batuik, have you no shame???? Answer: A resounding No!!!

  2. billytheskink

    “What would Ken Burns do?” It’s a good question to ask, I think, as I’m pretty sure the answer is that he would fire both of these bubbleheads.

  3. The Nelson Puppet

    “What would Tom Batiuk do?” Oh, he’d write some derivative drivel and turn it over to a barely competent hack “artist” to scrawl it and transmit it to the syndicate.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    I know what FRANK Burns would do…he’d rat Batiuk out for treason and sedition against the art of joke-telling. So Bugner Binkwell is “based on” Buster Keaton, eh? And there’s a lot of “archival footage”, is there? Well, color me bored already.

  5. Paul Jones

    What Cindy actually needs is Batiuk’s least favourite type of person: an editor of the film variety. Messica is even more useless as a videographer than she is now because one would need a spirit medium to talk to any potential interview subjects.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    I know this is outside TomBa’s experience, but most people embarking on a documentary project put together an outline of what they want to cover before they start assembling footage.

    If they’re telling his life story, the amount of footage from his movies is only going to be part of what they need. Otherwise, what they have is a “best of Butter Brinkel” clip show, not a documentary.

    Of course, creating a story about silent era Hollywood also requires more research and planning than finding old photographs, copying them and just plugging in the fictional character, and past experience tells us where this is going in that regard.

  7. Don

    I didn’t know the special effects were that impressive back in those days; it’s amazing how that window shifted about four feet to the left just before the building landed on him.

    • Professor Fate

      Well for one thing the way the joke is shown in the comic strip the stunt would have at the least badly injured if not killed Butter (who looks a lot like Jackie Gleason.)
      And of course the joke was not the house falling on Buster not hitting him because of the open window, the joke was in Buster’s “huh how did this happen?’ take after the front of the house fell down. A brilliant moment. The strip. Not so much. In fact Butter as far as one can tell is annoyed about the house falling.
      Lord is this arc going to be painful.

      • I read the Brinkel film differently to how you do. It looks to me like they’re watching footage of Brinkel filming the Keaton-style house-falling-down gag, and then it going wrong. Notice on the bottom row the clapper trying to set up a take, and then someone holding on to the disheveled and maybe injured Brinkel.

        There’s no shortage of stories about silent movie stars being injured in films. Buster Keaton probably broke his neck on-screen. Harold Lloyd lost several fingers from a screen firecracker (and this before all his great building-climbing scenes!). Brinkel having chronic injuries from a stunt like a building front falling on him would transcend normal Funky Winkerbean bathos into being plausible. And might play into whatever mystery is supposed to be about his life.

        But I grant there’s questions to raise about my interpretation. First, who would think you could easily re-stage and re-shoot the falling-house-front bit? Second, who would wait for after re-staging the scene to check on your injured star? Third, why would they be using clappers, a device made to synchronize visual and audio recordings of a film, to film a silent movie?

        (If it was a late silent, or a semi-talkie, fine, but I had the impression Brinkel was supposed to be earlier than that.)

  8. Eldon of Galt

    Months after it was first mentioned we’re still only in the opening stages of the Butter Brinkel documentary. This is going to be a long, long haul. Batiuk’s last big interest was the Starbuck Jones movie, and that took over two-and-a-half years to happen (January 2015 to September 2017, according to Son of Stuck Funky’s Act III summaries).
    So settle in for a long, slow grind of twenty kinds of lazy and terrible.

    • Batgirl

      But we do have the consolation that we’ll never have to see the actual documentary completed, or released, or any footage of it, or anything other than an offhand mention that it won some award or other.

  9. Batgirl

    I do admit to some curiosity (which will be disappointed of course) how TB will handle the murder charge against ButterButt, given that Arbuckle was accused of raping Virginia Rappe (and rumoured to have accidentally crushed her during sex). That’s kind of heavy for a strip that consistently half-asses its stories.

  10. Maxine of Arc

    “So much archival footage that it’s difficult to know where to begin?” Well, Cindy, you could start by determining the thesis or story you want to investigate with this so-called documentary, which I believe was originally described as being about a criminal matter. So you could start by looking up actual news footage and tracking down any surviving sources surrounding said criminal matter, interviewing said surviving sources and selected talking heads, and viewing RELEVANT archival footage from around the time you’re attempting to investigate to determine what you want to use.

    But I mean, that’s what you’d do if you had any idea what a documentary is or how to go about making one.