Watch Out, The World’s Behind You

Link to today’s strip (eventually).

As usual, Sunday’s strip was not available for preview.   It’s impossible to know what we’ll “get,” except that pneumonia would be better.  But me, I’ll go on and on for paragraph after paragraph!

I’m thinking we’re going to get more Les-Linda commiseration.

It’s an interesting compare-and-contrast with the characters Batiuk likes and those he’s, at best, indifferent to.

Les, Dinkle, Dullard and Pete have fortune rain from the skies on them. They’re handed good luck, wealth, perfect jobs (in the case of P&D), and (in the case of Dinkle) awards with no effort at all.  Heck, Dinkle’s deafness and Mort’s dementia have been completely reversed (though the latter was only to bedevil Funky).

Linda, on the other hand, just can’t catch a break. Of course, Batiuk is using her to Prove A Point, so she’s doomed.

If only she’d thought to start writing comic books.

I’m also thinking that the commentators here are correct, that Linda is going to ask Les to write a book about Bull.  “After all,” she’ll lie, “you were his friend.  You knew him best.”  Of course, the resultant book  won’t be about Bull, it’ll be all about Les.    He could call it “Bully Pulped–How a man discovered he was a monster, and got what he deserved.”

It also might be, as others have guessed, that Les will encourage Linda to write her own book.   That seems to be Batiuk’s gateway to redemption; if a horrible character like Lillian can write a book, why now she’s a lovable old coot like Crankshaft.

The only thing certain is that it will be done completely ineptly.  As the whole arc has been.  If this story had focused on Bull’s perspective, on his anxieties over his condition and his fears about what he might do, and his worries about Linda’s future, well, then the story could have been an interesting one.  But Batiuk being Batiuk, Bull is barely in his own story and it’s all about how Linda Feels Bad.  Say, that’s a great title for her book!

Well, that’s it for my turn in the chamber of torpor.  Tune in tomorrow, as Comic Book Harriet takes the reins and educates us, as the Batiuk Zone rotates trivially around us.

24 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

24 responses to “Watch Out, The World’s Behind You

  1. William Thompson

    “Linda! I see the answer to your problem! Have the NFL check its roster for bench-warmers!”

    “Of course! It’s so obvious now! Bull always said he loved the way you warmed his bench!”

  2. billytheskink

    “My husband is dead, my car is totaled, and I’m not getting any money from the NFL for, uh, things and stuff… but enough about that. Screw emotional support, I know how this universe works. I need to make Bull’s death all about you, Les. It’s the only way anything good could possibly happen to me in this third Act.

    Anyways, here’s a photo of you two in high school… or maybe after. I dunno, you two never seemed to leave the place. Why are you in pads here? Did the coach mistake your haircut for a football helmet?”

  3. William Thompson

    Les reads the note on the back of the snapshot–“Me & my favorite butt-monkey!”–and we finally get to the suicide portion of this arc. Been nice knowing you, Creepy Les!

  4. Gerard Plourde

    Are we in for a serious retcon? I don’t remember anything athletic about Les beyond his hanging onto a rope in gym class and certainly never playing football.

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    This story is so eager to glurge us to death that it makes up a photo of Bull and Les that couldn’t possibly exist, and wouldn’t mean anything if it did. And Les is supposed to be moved by this, when he expressed his lingering bitterness towards Bull at his funeral?

  6. ComicTrek

    Linda: “Of course I’m kidding! Can’t you tell, it’s Photoshopped! Hahahahaha!!! The look on your face! Oh, to laugh for the first time in 20 years..!”

  7. Paul Jones

    I wonder what horror will be unleashed upon us by this gag photo. Whatever it is, it’ll be boring, stupid and implausible.

  8. William Thompson

    As team mascots go, the Scapegoat costume is fancier and probably more expensive, but Les perfectly captures the team’s air of incompetence and misery.

  9. Banana Jr. 6000: This story is so eager to glurge us to death that it makes up a photo of Bull and Les that couldn’t possibly exist, and wouldn’t mean anything if it did.

    We might let Batiuk get away with retconning a plot point one time…but he insists on provoking us beady-eyed nitpickers again and again. It’s been eight years since TB “revealed” that Bull only pretended to torment Les, in order to protect him from the real bullies. Yet at Bull’s funeral, Les still whines about how Bull picked on him. But oh, look! Here’s a picture that Bull cherished enough to save all these years, of the two of you! And Les in shoulder pads has to be fake, else @billytheskink would already have produced the actual Act I strip where this happened.

    But wait, there’s “Moore”! Five years after Les singlehandedly torpedoed the movie version of Lisa’s Story, we’re going to go through the whole process again, with the movie being done “the right way” and Les no doubt being showered with more accolades.

    • Gerard Plourde

      This has to be a record for retconning. Can we hope that this is the lead-in to an intervention by the other characters confronting Les about his psychotic delusions to force him back into therapy and onto medication? (Answer: No)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The other characters are the ones giving him his psychotic delusions. “I came here to make a movie about Lisa!”, says the movie star. “Please make the movie about Lisa! It’s a universal story”, says the waitress. “I lost my spouse and need comforting from someone who’s been in that situation,” says the widow. This crappy town isn’t going to cure Les; they’re the ones making him sick. It’s like something out of a creepy horror movie, where everyone in a small town is just WAY too interested in you.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Once again the Ohioian Hack goes to great lengths to ensure that not a single element of his little story makes any sense at all. Les never played football with Bull or anyone else. Bull NEVER would have posed for a picture with dorky Les, his bullying was a decade-long running gag.

      • hitorque

        Nevermind the fact that even for a first-time amateur photog for the yearbook or school paper, snapping a pic of a couple of random dudes standing around after practice is pretty lame…

        I remember when my high school moved locations to a new building between 10th-11th grade, and while we were getting rid of all the old junk, the yearbook office brought down a couple of huge boxed of unused yearbook photos to give away; some of them dating back 30+ years (and just like Westview, there were 4-5 current teachers we were able to dig up graduation photos of). Not ONE of the photos I ever saw showed an athletic practice…

  10. sgtsaunders

    She keeps the Death Helmet on the mantle. Ice cold.

  11. spacemanspiff85

    “It’s when you two were in that groundbreaking, profound, inspiring arc where you two went to the Costume Ball as a gay couple! Don’t you remember that?”

  12. Professor Fate

    And my response to this :ta-da reveal is ‘ah…so what?’ Bull seems to have been a horder especially when it came to his high school football career so that out of a large number of pictures of him playing football he had one of him and Les (was Les on the team in Act 1? I would think so but I’m not sure.) without more context (it’s called writing there Tom) this is MEANINGLESS especially since sensitive Les had been bitching about getting beaten up by Bull AT BULL’S FUNERAL. (Which as a side bar i would say was damn appalling considering how much a friend Bull was to Les in later years and that Bull helped rehab Les’s now forgotten daughter after a knee injury. Les forgets and forgives NOTHING. It’s what makes him so easy to hate.
    I suppose we will be given some sort of story to explain this picture but i’m not looking forward to it.

  13. Hannibal's Lectern

    Notice that in the photo, the helmet is actually smaller than Bull’s head. This explains a lot: all through high school he played with a helmet that not only had zero padding, it actually kept his brain constantly compressed. Well, that explains a lot, and if Lindumb can find a good lawyer she should have a pretty decent case against the Worstview School District. Next year’s School Tax Levy storyline will be about paying the enormous civil-case judgment.

    • William Thompson

      There’s an idea! The School District shuts down and its territory is annexed by a real school district. The students get real teachers, while Les and his merry gang of babysitters are out of jobs. How many of them can be absorbed by Montoni’s work farce? How many move to Akrid to work for Atomik Komix as toilet-scrubbers? Or are they all so grotesque that Hollywood will hire them to play aliens and monsters?

  14. Ret ret retty ret ret retcon retcon. Ret ret.

    But does it really count as a retcon if the author has forgotten the retcon?

  15. The Dreamer

    Les did not play football, he played the Scapegoats mascot, who wore a football uniform and a goat head

  16. Charles

    I still can’t get over the idea that Linda would keep Bull’s helmet on the mantle. He died violently in that thing! Where are the rest of the clothes he was wearing at the time? Aren’t those as important to save?

    It’s so ludicrously morbid but the thing that fascinates me about it is that Batiuk seems to think there’s nothing off with this. There’s nothing weird about pulling the helmet off a dead man’s head, who was killed in a one-car accident, and putting it on the mantle to celebrate his life’s accomplishments. This isn’t abnormal to him.

    Plus, someone’s got to say it: it was amazing from the scene we were presented, especially with Bull’s head in a helmet that’s supposed to protect his brain, that Bull managed to die in that accident. It really didn’t look like the sort of accident that mangles your body so badly that you die from it. And if it *was*, well, grabbing that helmet off Bull’s head to display, with the rest of his body mangled, bloody and destroyed, just becomes that much more morbid.

    Anyway, I want Batiuk to acknowledge this so his complete divorce from normality becomes true by having Les say “Boy, Bull was lucky his suicide plan worked, huh?”

  17. hitorque

    Les the football player is the grandaddy of bullshit assed retcons

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