Bobbleheaded Booby

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, I’m genuinely baffled by what the Hell Buck is talking about.  I mean, I think I’m aware that there are “bobblehead days” for major league teams, where toys are given out in the likeness of one of the star players.  And he wishes he had that kind of fame.  I get that part.

It’s the “not with my own head” that seems to come out of nowhere…that, I don’t get.

If I had to take a stab at it, I’d guess that Batiuk has no idea at all what sportos talk about when they get together, so any errant bit of nonsense is good enough to mail off to the printer.   “What would sports fans do?  I’ll use Google.  Huh, ‘Bobblehead Day’?  That sounds interesting!  Let’s just click–oh, wait, time for Flash comics.  Oh well, it’s probably just a day where they take off their heads and juggle them.”

Now, if it was comic book fans, every utterance would be accurate down to the smallest detail (unless one of those details is spelling Joe Shuster’s name correctly).

All of the above makes me wonder what this arc is supposed to be about.  It’s clearly not about any of Batiuk’s passions; it seems too banal to be award bait; and it isn’t entertaining at all.  Is it supposed to be heartwarming and sentimental?  Because it’s nowhere near that.

That leaves the only remaining answer as “one more week of carp pumped out on the way to that 50th.”

Imagine if the last fifteen years of Peanuts had been panel after panel of Linus in a beanbag chair in front of the TV, Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse, and Charlie Brown with his head in his hands.  No dialogue; just those things, over and over for years.

I suppose it could always be worse.  Linda hands Buck a book.  “I think you would’ve wanted to have Bull’s autographed copy of Lisa’s Story!”  “Lisa’s Story?  Oh wow, I’ve heard that book is supposed to be entirely awesome, uplifting and kind of humbling, at the same time.  Oh, I’ll treasure this–and I can’t wait for the movie!”

31 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

31 responses to “Bobbleheaded Booby

  1. spacemanspiff85

    I seriously think Batiuk has no idea what a bobblehead even is. And if he does, comparing people who have chronic brain injuries to bobbleheads seems tacky as hell, at best.

    • CRM114

      This is so seriously weird. A total disconnect from anything even remotely normal or funny…Linda smirks, “Well. During the crash, at least Bull’s head was like in a pinball machine.” They both chortle…. Batty runs the bases. Does Mrs. Batty ever talk to Tom about any of his so many issues? I wonder.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Not only that; it’s a total disconnect from itself. This CTE storyline has been a clownshow of incoherence and self-contradiction. It raises story points, and then just dumps them with no explanation.

        Bull has CTE, but no symptoms beyond excessive clothes-washing. Linda spent a week anxiously opening a letter from the NFL, and later says “eh, he was never eligible anyway because of his short career.” She hides the car keys because Bull is unable to drive, but he can tamper with the engine skillfully enough to engineer his own car crash death. Which he wears a helmet to, making his suicide attempt much less likely to kill him. Then the police cover up Bull’s actions, because high school football, thus destroying the meaning he intended to give his life. And now Linda’s probably going to find a suicide note and act shocked, even though existing story points make no sense if she hasn’t already figured that out. And that helmet’s been handled enough times to void the warranty.

        This is not nit-picking. Tom Batiuk told the New York Times this was a serious and important story, and he raised these points within it. The audience expectation is that these details matter to the story. Yes, a writer can sometimes plant a false lead in a story, but you can’t just raise a point and then declare it unimportant. You’re just wasting your audience’s time.

        And that’s what Funky Winkerbean is. A waste of time.

        • spacemanspiff85

          I really, really don’t get why he doesn’t just do pseudo-reprints where he has a panel of a character reminiscing about the good old days and then reprinting something that happened in Act I or II. At least then he actually put some effort into the strip.

        • Hitorque

          Wait a goddamn minute… Linda actually WROTE the NFLPA on Bull’s behalf? For an NFL “career” Batiuk says lasted all of a two week stint in Cardinals training camp??

  2. I seriously think Batiuk has no idea what a bobblehead even is.

    If only that was his excuse, but Batty knows bobbleheads: in 2016, the Toledo Mud Hens of baseball’s International League gave out 2,000 Ed Crankshaft bobbleheads, as TB boasted in his blog.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    More brain damage-centric hilarity from the dying-yet-affable Buck. He’s sure taking his imminent death pretty well, affably smirking away like he’s reminiscing about high school cafeteria food and not the impending loss of his mind and identity. The tone and the art in this arc is just so, so hilariously wrong.

    So the CTE arc was originally a (sort of) indictment of football, but now he’s throwing around gags about “bobbleheads” like it’s all a big joke. So which one is it? Is it still OK to laugh at stupid sportos or what?

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    One, two, three drawings of the death helmet. In support of an alleged joke that makes zero sense. This is basically a low-key Faces of Death.

  5. William Thompson

    Can we please get to the part where Buck and Linda discover Bull’s suicide note tucked inside the helmet? If there’s a betting pool, I’ll put some quatloos on “written in pencil in a childish scrawl, with several letters backward” and some on “so damned depressing that it drives Buck and Linda to suicide.”

  6. billytheskink

    What’s amazing about this strip is that Buck’s incoherent bobblehead babbling works as a window into his advancing CTE-induced cognitive decline… but then Linda’s panel 3 smirk betrays that this is simply coincidental and that TB wrote this as an entirely straightforward gag.

    • Charles

      Seriously, what is she smiling about?

      “Yeah, instead of fame and the adulation that goes with that, football just led to you experiencing major cognitive decline prior to an early death. It’s pretty funny, when you think about it.”

      Does Batiuk just not remember that this condition is what led Linda’s husband to commit suicide? (And how does Buck know it was suicide? That was covered up. ) And that Buck is lamenting a life he led that is now going to have him decline into a drooling lump in constant pain before he dies, with his death coming most likely because he decides that he can’t take living in this condition anymore. And Linda already went through that with her husband. And they’re smiling at this.

      You know, I wouldn’t be so hard on Batiuk if the gravity of this story wasn’t the fucking story he’s claiming to be telling. Jesus.

      • Epicus Doomus

        He couldn’t even be bothered to do an arc where Linda and Buck exchange wry anecdotes about Bull, instead it’s witless gags about Buck’s broken brain, gags that undermine the whole point of the story.

        “Gee Buck, you have no one to help you and soon you’re going to lose all cognitive function, what are you gonna do?”

        “Oh well, that what I gets for bonking the ol’ noggin, I guess. See ya!”

        It’s just so tone-deaf and bizarre. And the artwork is way too lite n’ breezy for the subject matter too.

  7. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Football playin’ gourd done fucked up think can’t straight.”

  8. AmigoLupus

    One thing we have to remember, NO ONE ELSE knows that Bull killed himself other than Linda, the cop who brought the helmet to her and Les. Linda pretty much confessed that she kept that detail quiet so she could get Bull’s insurance so no one knows Bull was driven to suicide because of his feelings about his condition.

    Which, you know, is the icing on the shitcake that is Batiuk’s handling of the whole stupid story.

    I don’t know if Buck would be so composed here if he was aware of what really happened, or that Linda hid it from everyone. (Oh who am I kidding, he’ll make wry jokes anyway)

    • Mela

      And if I’m remembering correctly, the only evidence that it was suicide was that he was wearing his helmet. Which is a pretty assumption to automatically make since I don’t think Linda ever talked about Bull being depressed or expressed any concern other than his repetitive laundry habits.

  9. Paul Jones

    Well, at least we now know someone can be maudlin, ignorant, tone-deaf and stupid. That’s at least something.

  10. William Thompson

    Is a “Bobblehead Day” when a sportsball team says “Today is Buck Futt Day at Unsteady Stadium! The first two thousand BWT fans to show up for today’s game will receive a Buck Futt bobblehead, in honor of Buck Futt’s historic history as a benchwarmer.”

    Something like that? Okay, today is also the day that Buck Futt found out his probable CTE is getting worse. He’s a–a bobblehead! Because what do you think of when you’re holding the helmet that your best/only friend wore when he died? You think of yourself! It’s a Funkyverse rule.

    Jeeze, Bathack, a joke should be obvious. Want a freebie? When the doctor diagnosed me with Sjogren’s syndrome, I said “Can’t I have something I can pronounce?”

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Also: compare Bull with Lisa. Lisa’s death is treated with John F. Kennedy levels of reverence, 13 years after she died. The strip expects us to sympathize with Les’ desire to protect her memory from Mason Jarre, who only wants to treat her life with more unearned reverence and tell her story to millions

    Bull just committed suicide because of a horrible condition brought on by an uncaring sports industry. The night his widow learned of his death, she seemed more concerned about the uneaten meatloaf. She was given the tool he used to kill himself with as a souvenir, and is now passing it around like a prop on Whose Line Is It Anyway. And Bull did generous deeds in his life, something that can’t be said for Lisa. Or Les.

    I absolutely do not understand the tone of Funky Winkerbean. Who and what it expects us to root for, and who and what it treats with nasty scorn, are just the polar opposite of what is natural.

  12. The only way this week’s strips make sense is if Buck ends up wearing the same helmet when he kills himself.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    The tone deafness of this entire arc has been amazing. There’s no evidence of any of the research that was touted in the New York Times story. Instead we’ve gotten blatant coverup of the cause of a fatal accident by the clearly identified Ohio Highway Patrol, undeniable insurance fraud by Linda, topped by this week’s idiotic attempts at mirth and hilarity.

  14. @beckoningchasm: I think she also said the airbags had been disabled.

    Now that I think about it…police report or no, I would imagine that an insurance claims inspector would be sent to inspect the wreckage of Bull’s car before any settlement was offered. And un-deployed airbags in a vehicle that went off a cliff would be very suspicous. If Linda thought that letter from the NFL was bad news, wait until she gets that registered letter from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

  15. Count of Tower Grove

    Time to call George Gene Gustines of The New York Times!

  16. Professor Fate

    I’ve read today’s strip several times (sometimes I think I hate myself) and I have to go with everybody else – this doesn’t make a lick of sense. Not one. To borrow a saying this is so off that it’s not even bad. Some times I joke about this strip being a Dadaist exercise in anti-narrative but the Dadaists were doing that on purpose – sadly I think the Author thinks he’s making a point.