Bench+Leaves=Double Symbolism

There are so many times I’d love to have an honest talk with Batiuk about this strip. Like this week’s story. Are we honestly supposed to feel bad for Les here? “Aw, poor Les, he got peer pressured into doing something he doesn’t want to do.”, or something? I mean, he’s an adult, if he’s already regretting it, he can say “Actually Mason, I don’t want to do this.”. Or he could, once again, act like an adult and accept it and make the best of it. Batiuk so often goes for “deep and conflicted” but hits “in need of intensive therapy” instead. I wonder how soon Les is going to hallucinate a talking blue cat?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

40 responses to “Bench+Leaves=Double Symbolism

  1. billytheskink

    Les may or may not ultimately regret this, but the readers definitely will.

  2. William Thompson

    Les feels regrets? Well, it’s a start. Maybe he can move from “I regret not having total control of everything” to “I regret not having tried harder to help Lisa stay alive.”

  3. Epicus Doomus

    This is just overwhelming. The leaves, the park bench, the deeply conflicted Delicate Genius, the “Hollywood” lingo…it’s a SoSF nightmare scenario. It feels like 2011 all over again here. Apparently Dick Facey’s deeply-held cancer book convictions were just completely subverted by some friendly pizzeria banter that left him powerless to resist Hollywood’s siren call. All he needed to do was simply say “no” but, as always, the bearded dick with ears was just too lily-livered and wishy-washy. God I just hate him so much, him and that decrepit old park bench of his. I hope some teen miscreant vandals carve a Slayer logo into it.

    IMO BatYam needs to get out more and stop spending so much time staring at those “Lisa’s Story” dioramas he keeps on the award shelf. It’d probably help a little with the dialog plus it might give him some new premise ideas he could sledgehammer into the ground instead of rehashing old ones over and over. That second panel is possibly the most ham-fisted thing I’ve ever seen, just total desperation.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Along that note with the bench, you’ve got to imagine Drunk Funky passed out on it and probably stained it in several different ways at least once.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Also, whenever he gets out he hears about things like “iTunes suggests songs for you” and several fuses blow in his brain.

  4. William Thompson

    So why did we see that guy in the Mopey Pete shirt back at Montoni’s? Why did wee see Walleye amid all that chatter about heroism? Why didn’t Creepy Les get a pie in the face? Why the bench, when we can’t see Dead Fucking Lisa giving Les the finger?

  5. William Thompson

    “And along with the agreement, Les, I’m going to send you a pamphlet on the basics of screenwriting. Did you know that when you film a book, one page of the book converts to one minute of screen time? So a three hundred page book would run about five hours if you filmed it all. And you can’t have characters speak in twenty-line run-on sentences. You write a few words of dialog, maybe two lines, then have somebody else speak. And there’s this rule called ‘show, not tell’–no, that doesn’t mean mooning me, you asshole!”

  6. I could post my Les-Murder animation again, but, you know, I could do that from now until the strip blessedly stops. And I’d be like a certain comic strip author, endlessly pimping his Greatest Hits.

    I don’t have any Greatest Hits, just a one hit wonder!

    Damn, sounds like someone else I know….

    • spacemanspiff85

      Hit’s giving him too much credit. Reaching base due to error sounds more accurate.

    • Epicus Doomus

      BC, you’ve done dozens of hilarious animations, dozens more than FW has over the same span. If I had the ability to do so, I’d do a strip where the Westview Public Works Department comes by and replaces that park bench with a huge granite statue of Bull Bushka pummeling some hapless nerd. And Les would see it, drop to his knees and start yelling “USA! USA!” again.

      If Batiuk had any real smarts he would have already reached out to the receptionist at SoSF World Headquarters here in the lovely mid-central NJ valley and offered to slip us a few hundred bucks in exchange for real story ideas and killer premises. “A confused Bull beats up Les on the eve of his book tour”…”Morty is caught in a DEA sting after selling hoarded prescription meds to the local Crips affiliate chapter”…”Cindy’s eating disorder spirals out of control”…”Owen and Cody open a comic book shop and send Komix Korner into bankruptcy”…”the Montoni’s band box becomes infested with ash borer beetles”…I got a million of them. We’d turn FW into a real popular culture force, something no one would want to miss and everyone would hang on their refrigerator door.

      • Epicus, you are the man, and thank you as always, but think of the main business TB could establish–Les Moore Murder Scenarios, a joint co-production with the local Laser Tag gyms. I can tell you, my bank balance would be consistently at zero!

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        I want to read your comic strip.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    Another trip down Les-The-Sensitive-But-Tortured-Artist Lane. We’ve seen this whole thing play out before. Are we supposed to pity Les for being a pathetic, unassertive limpet swept once again against his will into the maw of Haywood?

  8. AmigoLupus

    Christ, this is such a transparent attempt to cover Les’ selfish ass. When the project fails again (because of Les), of course he’ll blame the people who pressured him into gaining more fame and fortune and didn’t listen to his misgivings about the evils of Hollywood. It’ll never be because Cancerwife’s story is a load of shit or that Les is a terrible excuse for a human being.

    Fuck you, Batiuk.

    • gleeb

      I dunno, I think we’re past the point of Cancerdeathvillains failing. The movie will be as inexplicably successful as Starcrap Jones. And eventually, we may get Cayha’s view of the matter, and wether she still wants to go to Hong Kong.

  9. AmigoLupus

    Ughhhh, this is such a transparent attempt to cover Les’ selfish ass. When the project fails again (because of Les), of course he’ll blame the people who pressured him into gaining more fame and fortune and didn’t listen to his misgivings about the evils of Hollywood. It’ll never be because Cancerwife’s story is a load of crap or that Les is a terrible excuse for a human being.

  10. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Come on , WT. You’ve been here long enough to know that you can’t ask questions that make sense.

  11. Charles

    Where are these doofuses walking to? “Let’s consummate this deal by walking by that damn bench that symbolizes Lisa to you!”

    Mason looks more than a little like Howdy Doody in panel 1. Hottest actor in the world, right there folks. What the hell is he doing with his hand? And why does he feel he needs to reassure Les than he won’t regret signing the movie rights over to him? It’s also telling that Les is getting all this attention from the hottest actor in the world and all the response he can manage is to be glum. He really works to make himself the turd in the punchbowl that is any situation in which he finds himself.

    Now if this was in the hands of a competent writer, which means that Batiuk would be right out, it might be interesting if Les asked for some time to consider it and actually, you know, considered it. We might then have some insight into why Les feels such trepidation about Mason handling this. Of course, if it even occurred to Batiuk to write this, he’d merely reproduce the week from 2011 with all of Les’s facile objections to someone from Hollywood “getting their hands” on Lisa’s Story. He’d take a premise with some potential and remove all of it.

    Man, this is almost certainly going to be the worst storyline in Act III, isn’t it?

    • William Thompson

      Let’s not jump to hasty conclusions before Act IV begins. Although something tells me it will be called “Act Poison IV.”

      • Charles

        Part of the potency of my declaration at the end there was that I wrote that well aware of all the terrible storylines that have shown up in Act III, and that it has the potential to be worse than all of them. It can be worse than the entire Les and Susan kiss saga. It could blow away Les and Cayla getting married. The Gay Prom, Frankie Comes Back to Mildly Annoy Darin, Les in Hollywood, this could make us forget just how awful those were. This could be worse than the combined powers of the Starbuck Jones Movie, The Cliff Anger Story and the Butter Brinkle Story. Bull’s CTE N’ Suicide Fun Hour might not even be able to compete with its badness. It… it could be worse than Lisa Makes a Video For The Other Woman, which even just three weeks ago wouldn’t have seemed possible.

        It was an enormous statement that I made with my eyes wide open, is what I’m saying.

        • Charles

          What I’m saying is that it has the potential to be so bad that I completely forgot about the Atomik Comix Saga, Darin Sends Two Letters to the Wife He Abandoned Who Still Inexplicably Loves Him and Mopey Pete Gets A Girlfriend Who Becomes His Fiancee Because Batiuk Ran Out Of Other Things For Them To Do.

          When this is done, we’re likely to be begging for more Mort Buys Old Seed Catalogs For Sentient Mushroom Ed Crankshaft In The Nursing Home. It’s bad, baby, bad.

          • William Thompson

            I see your point. This story has the potential to be the worst Batiuk has done. So far, that is. But the next one can always find a way to be worse, especially if it includes Creepy Les. Batiuk’s motto must be “Practice Makes Imperfect.”

  12. Paul Jones

    Being a passive idiot who doesn’t even see that he’s allowed to get out of the way of the things that make him feel bad is kind of Les’s thing. Come to think of it, it’s everyone’s thing. Cliff Anger hid himself away because he wouldn’t do anything about being blacklisted. Everyone on Crankshaft just frowns impotently when Cranky acts like a dick. Lisa declared that chemo failed her once so it was time to just die.

  13. Count of Tower Grove

    Todd is fucking brilliant! This retelling of “Lust for Lisa” makes Less P. L. Travers and Masone Jarre Walt Disney. Take a spoonful of sugar, Less!

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    Ok Batty, you learned some new Hollywood words. Now stop using them already.

    We see you did your 5 min of research for this arc. But we all know Lisa’s story is more about your humble brag than actual caring about cancer.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    Awww, they’re walking past Lisa’s Bench. Christ, how treacly can this get? All this story need now is a transparent drawing of smiling Lisa, like a dead grandparent from the Family Circus. “Who wants to make a movie?” “Not me!”

  16. Stephen King tells that James Jones, when asked about Hollywood ruining his books, replied “They haven’t. They’re right there on the shelf.” Les might take a lesson from that, if he was capable of learning anything (spoiler alert: he isn’t).

  17. They WALK past LISA’S BENCH, to the end of the sidewalk.


    End. Oh, please, please, PLEASE, END!

  18. The Dreamer

    How can they still be in post-production on the second Starbuck Jones movie when Pete and Darrin moved back east when the movie was done what, two years ago? Even the new Star Wars doesn’t need that long in post!