Was not expecting today’s strip to be a standalone gag, but I guess we should be grateful for some respite from Bull’s swan song. And it’s been a while since my high school band days, but we didn’t start practicing Christmas music until football season was almost over. Speaking of football, we’ll get back to Bull’s plight on Monday; the good news is that your guide will be Epicus Doomus!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Clari-not

  1. Chyron HR

    Jesus Christ, Batiuk, what the fuck is wrong with you?

  2. CRM114

    Gotta admit, there are a number of characters I’d like to see die before Bull, this one here is in the top 5.

    • The Nelson Puppet

      Yep, my death list is Les, DSH John, Dinkle, Wally, Darin, Summer, and Becky.

    • gleeb

      Kill Dinkle and let Lefty find her own way. Give it 3 years, and if she’s still a Dinkler, kill her then.

      Or did you mean the student?

  3. spacemanspiff85

    I assume Dinkle is lurking silently (thankfully) just off panel in this strip.

  4. billytheskink

    Did Lefty find the time pool? That looks like her back when she had both arms.

  5. William Thompson

    Becky’s face in the title panel is perfect. It’s as though Batty finally realized this strip needs a warning label.

  6. William Thompson

    It’s the sound of one hand ear-clapping.

  7. AmigoLupus

    What’s this? A child being featured in Funky Seniorsbean? What heresy is this?!

  8. Paul Jones

    And this is what the strip should still be: a look at a third-tier high school loaded with doofy children and world-weary teachers doing silly and stupid things.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      There is a lot of interesting and potentially funny topics he could do about what goes on in a modern high school. But he would rather focus on nursing homes and old people.

  9. So, instead of continuing Bull’s Ballard into Sunday, TB gives up a throwaway strip with One-Arm McBimbo. And people who’ve heard about Bull are wondering what the heck’s going on.

    I may be overthinking this strip, but how did the dogs get hold of the girl’s clarinet? Shouldn’t it be in a carrying case when she’s not using it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yuk yuk, that’s our Batty! You just never know what he will do!

      It’s called writing.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      I imagined the dogs ripping the clarinet from the girl’s hands while she was practicing, much to her parents’ relief.
      For once I don’t mind not being shown the action. One of my favorite lines from the Simpsons came when Homer had a mother and baby possums living on the monorail, and he told his family, “I call the big one Bitey.”

  10. Gerard Plourde

    So for readers whose papers only carry the Sunday strip and who are unaware of the Times story, going from this to the planned September 29 strip is going to be quite a shock.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Batty probably did that on purpose to stick it to those papers who don’t carry his strip all week.

      With his laziness, I’m surprised he doesn’t do like Mary Worth where Sunday is a recap of the prior week…and the obligatory inspirational quote that sometimes makes sense.

  11. Gerald’s comment prompted me to pull the trigger on an idea that I had a while ago…I’ve wondered how Funky Winkerbean plays out for those who read it only on Sundays. I’ve gathered the Sunday strips from the past year for anyone who wants that experience…

  12. timbuys

    He really captures the withering contempt of their students most educators pride themselves upon.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Tom Batiuk lives in this uncanny valley of comedy where his jokes aren’t realistic enough or unrealistic enough for his realistic world.

    If today’s joke is going to work, it has to be explained or shown how the dogs ate the clarinet. This could be something as simple as a picture of her dogs being outrageously huge. Better, I think, would be some kind of dialog:

    “Did you practice the Christmas music at all?”
    “The dog ate my clarinet.”
    “What? How’d that happen?”
    “Well, part of it. The reed.”
    “You couldn’t get a reed?”
    “He didn’t come out of surgery until last night.”

    I think this is a lot better. It explains the outrageous claim. It’s the kind of lame excuse high school students give you, and how easily the problem could have been avoided. That’s fitting for a strip about high school, I think. And it conjures up the funny idea of the student only being able to play after recovering the reed after the dog ate it.

    Which leads me to the next problem with Batiuk’s Uncanny Valley. It makes us think of unpleasant things instead of fun things. This strip makes us imagine a dog eating a clarinet. That’s not funny, it’s horrible! The poor animal would choke to death. And we never get an explanation. Nor a drawing that would show this as being played for laughs. We’re left with that awful, unexplained scenario.

    When Opus says he’s wearing a wallpaper toga because Bill The Cat flushed the sheets down the toilet back at 2 AM, our mind conjures up that image. That’s funny, and believable in this world. When this character says “the dog ate my clarinet”, it’s just awful, or confusing.

    I said the joke could also be unrealistic. How does that work in a realistic world? Calvin & Hobbes obviously runs on that, but let’s consider Peanuts. The characters, plots, and relationships are all realistic. But the strip also had supernatural entities like the Kite-Eating Tree, and magic that actually turned Charlie Brown invisible. These things are so unrealistic we don’t care how they happen, because the story is in how Charlie Brown reacts to them. He bites the Kite-Eating Tree in anger. He kicks the football from Lucy. Hell, those were two of his greatest moments.

    Here, there’s just nothing to get us interested, beyond our hope that the dog is OK. The outrageous scenario proposes nothing interesting. We don’t care about these characters, because they haven’t been seen for months, and were brought in for just this joke.

    The writing fails on even more basic levels than that. “I couldn’t practice because had to buy a new clarinet.” Wait a minute, is the problem that she couldn’t practice the music, or is she just not used to the new clarinet yet? I can’t even tell. I can’t even tell what the joke is supposed to be. Also, about that Christmas music: it’s September goddam 15th. She’s got still three months to learn it. Hell, the school year just started, so most students wouldn’t be far along with it. This detail undermines the joke.

    Finally, the strip tells a joke without letting the audience in on what it was. That’s kind of a dick move.

    • CRM114

      Yeah. The joke could have been….”Your dog ate the clarinet!! Puhlease!!”….(student shows video of dog) ….”Wow! His bark DOES sound just like Benny Goodman.” Stupid joke. Designed for Batuik faithful elderly followers. Would make ’em happy. Why not?

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        I didn’t see your comment before I did my parody strip, CRM114. The first clarinetist I thought of was Benny Goodman, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it work. And of course, I went lowbrow.

  14. Charles

    But wouldn’t the video be on the girl’s phone in the first place because that’s how she recorded it? Why would she have to go to YouTube to show it to Becky?

    But of course, Batiuk’s joke is about name-dropping YouTube. He’s the comic strip equivalent of Friedberg and Seltzer. There’s no actual joke. It’s just a reference that he thinks is totally wild.

  15. Rusty Shackleford

    That pinned up sleeve always pisses me off. How does she even pin it?

    If Batty so desperately wanted a disabled person in his strip, then use someone in a wheelchair. Bloom County was able to do this without being patronizing, but not Batty. Smirk.

    • William Thompson

      If Batiuk does a wheelchair-bound character, he’ll give him a cutesy name like Axel Rollin, make some cutesy jokes about his Turbinator 3000 wheelchair, and never address any real issues. It’ll be like Bull and Buck Futt’s CTE, Wally and Adeela’s PTSD, Funky’s heart problem, Dinkle’s deafness and Les Moore’s sociopathy: only there when it’s time for a Very Special Arc.