For the first time since time immemorial, there’s an actual punchline that’s kind of funny. A mangled aphorism, sure, but so much better than anything ever featured in Shankcraft.
The fact that the rest of it is stupid beyond measure is beside the point. Reviewers: “Yeah, I thought the movie was overly maudlin and treacly, the characters were loathsome, the production values are nil, and I was about to give it zero stars, but the quarter-finding scene turned it into a masterpiece of high art.”
I get it, Batiuk, every single trivial thing that involved Lisa is sacred, no matter what did (or didn’t) happen. It’s all part of some fantastic mosaic of incredibleness and awesomeness and every person alive (or dead) should go out and a) buy the hardback trilogy and b) give Batiuk all the awards that can possibly be awarded.
There’s no question in my mind that Batiuk is winding this thing down. The endless descents into utter trivia, treated as if they are gifts from the gods; the settling of old scores; the elevation of the hero characters; and the general disinterest he shows in his writing–all these things point to man who has spent his legacy and just can’t care anymore.
28 responses to ““Here’s a Quarter…”
Who says “A picture is worth a thousand bucks?” Other than a blackmailer?
Who writes a thousand words but says nothing? A lazy and talentless cartoonist.
Wet cement, stray quarters…Les and Lisa really tore it up in The Big Apple, eh? Maybe tomorrow they’ll take a bus over to Randall’s Island to see the famous Bronx skyline.
If only they’d gone to Ryker’s Island.
As I suspected (feared) TomBa’s concept of “Lisa’s Story-The Movie” is going to have a run time measured in days. We are in the realm of wish fulfillment of an eight year old.
Days? You’re bring very optimistic tonight. I think we’ll be saying, “Remember the COVID-19 epidemic?”, and this story line will still be clunking along.
“There is much more to scouting locations for a film than simply having a look around interesting places…” This quote is from the very first Google Search result I got for “how do they scout movie locations?” What exactly is Mason Jarre’s capacity in this movie project: leading man? Producer? Director? Producer/Director? All of the above, I guess, and add to that Location Scout. Which job Masone performs by following Les around the city and taking pictures with his phone. I guess it’ll also be up to Mason to confirm availability of these New York City locations, obtain insurance and permits, and pay fees to the location owners.
Mason Jarre thinks he’s the Orson Welles of cheesy bio-films. Just wait until his ambitions are nipped in the rosebud.
I’ll bet that quarter is still in the pay phone Les deposited it in back in ’07.
He probably did. Because we’re not told otherwise. In any competent story, there would be a reason why this lucky quarter matters. Does Les keep it to this day? Did they eventually use it to get out of a jam? Did it surface at an important time in Lisa’s life? We aren’t told any of this, and I couldn’t find any past reference to a lucky quarter. Though it may be there, since Batiuk loves to reference obscure happenings from 15 years ago as if everyone should know them.
Funky Winkerbean should be called Things A Dead Person Touched. How many have we seen? The sidewalk. The quarter. The videotapes. The bench. Bull’s football helmet. Bull’s cell phone ringing in his crashed car. Linda’s Uneaten Meatloaf. The comic art that Phil Holt bequeathed. On and on and on. We never see any exploration of real human emotions relating to any of these people, not even from Les about Lisa. It’s death fetish objects, all the way down.
That’s such bad writing. No one would say something like that upon finding a quarter on the ground, no matter how “lucky” they thought it was. He’s simply writing in reverse from the conclusion of Les needing a quarter to call Funky (as if you can reach Ohio from NYC by payphone with a quarter) to give Lisa something to say that sounds all prophetic and sagacious.
It’s obvious that Les needing to get out of a jam was conceived prior to Lisa finding that quarter and especially Lisa’s line about it getting Les out of a jam.
“Story is what will navigate us through all of this, and I’ll do my very best to keep ’em coming.” <- Tom "William McMaster Murdoch" Batiuk, declaring that the Funkyverse is a 'safe haven' that will save us from the Coronavirus in his blog.
I think I'm actually starting to go from feeling sorry for him to kind of despising him.
Yeah, great, now he has even MORE time to gaze out the window. Looks like we’ll see a lot of leaves and squirrels in 2021.
“I’ve got to get this for our storyboards”!? Dude, you’re on a walking path at some unspecific point in Central Park. Literally hundreds of movies and TV shows have been filmed there over the past 100 years. Do you not think the film’s creative crew could plot out a scene in the park–a seemingly minor scene that I’d bet 25 cents won’t make the movie’s final cut–without having a photographic reference that’s “around” where the coin was found?
Also, other than the fact that they’re talking about money, why would Mason (deliberately?) change a well-known saying like that? If he had said “…a thousand words” it still would have made sense, since he’s talking to an “author.” Just as unfunny, but still just as much sense.
“Over here we saw a homeless guy! And over there we saw two dogs fucking! And here’s where somebody had puked on the sidewalk…”
Does Self-Pity know that Les is cheating on it with Monomania, Myopia and Nostalgia.
posted on MARCH 20, 2020
Dear Followers of the Funkyverse,
Have you heard about what’s going on? You Have? Okay, then I just want to pile on and say that these are indeed the most unsettling of times for all of us (that last comment should put me in the running for biggest understatement of the year). We go from extreme anxiety to fixed determination, and that’s just before breakfast. So I just want to take a moment to send by best hopes and wishes for each and every one of my gentle readers in the days that lay ahead. I want to let you know that the Funkyverse remains a safe harbor to help us slip away from these times for a bit. That’s my job and I’m determined to provide you that place both in the strips and in this blog. Story is what will navigate us through all of this, and I’ll do my very best to keep ’em coming. And thanks to all of the Funky fans who have been reaching out. Means more than you know.
What we need now is something light and humorous, not a crappy rehash of a crappy story. Nobody cares about Lisa or her story.
Do us all a favor and retire.
Yesterday I went to the ER and got checked out for COVID-19. I can’t tell you how much comfort Batiuk’s words would have brought to me if I’d known of them. But if I’d tested positive I would have found a way to tell Batiuk to his face.
Mason is losing his freaking MIND over every banal story.
“And this is where Jesus Christ raptured our asses up to Heaven.”
“No, no. Go back to the quarter story!”
It’s almost like Les is trying to pull a “Springtime For Hitler” here. We know he doesn’t want to make the movie, and he’s taking Mason to the most uninteresting points on the Dead Lisa tour. Mason, the Biggest Star In Hollywood, gushes more and more at every unusable plot point Les brings up. As if he knows what this toxic hayseed is up to, isn’t taking the bait, and just needs Les’ signature to make the movie he wants to make. Because verbal promises don’t mean squat in Hollywood.
We all know Batiuk isn’t doing that. Which is too bad, because it could actually make an interesting story. The man is allergic to interesting.
I was going to say something about again how utterly inane and mundane this Greatest Doomed Romance Ever Told was, such that he includes Lisa finding a quarter on the ground as one of the focal points of the story, but by now it’s redundant.
Simple thing is that you can write a great and/or tragic story about a romance using mostly mundane or unremarkable incidents, but the thing that needs to carry it is a character who really is beloved, someone who a reader/viewer would think is a loss to the world when she dies. She’s wonderful and now she’s gone, and there’s a void now in the world due to her loss. And you can universalize that so that even your own mundane moments with someone you lost can become treasured, and a monument to your personal profound loss.
But Lisa’s not that person. She wasn’t a wonderful person in the strip, and there’s nothing about any of Les’s recollections that lead to that conclusion. There’s nothing about her that leads people to think that the world lost something significant when she died. Pretty much all her appearances in the strip, and her appearances since either in flashbacks or video (gag) all pretty much follow four S’s: Smarm, Smugness, Sarcasm and Self-Pity. Every single one of her appearances had one or more of these qualities. Those aren’t qualities of someone who’s universally beloved. Yes, her death may be sad to those people who knew her, but for people who didn’t, she’s not in any way distinguishable from the thousands of other people who die every day, some from cancer, who leave behind friends and family who miss them.
And I think it’s instructive that of all the characters Batiuk has in this little world, and how big a deal Les’s book is, Les seems to be the only character who actually misses Lisa. Has there ever been an indication that Funky lost something when she died? That Holly did? That Cindy did? Fucking hell, that *Summer* did?
I can imagine Summer saying “Why did mom spend so much time making those stupid tapes when she could have been hugging me?” Because Summer comes across as someone who was deprived of affection as a child and doesn’t know how to relate to other people.
Btw, the tweet in the sidebar that mentions how Batiuk thinks he’s a modern day Sherwood Anderson is such a perfect point I wish I had noticed that connection before the tweet pointed it out.
He’s not even a Sherwood Schwartz.
Hey, Sherwood Schwartz was a master at popular entertainment. Setting “Hamlet” to the music of “Carmen” and thus educating millions of viewers to the wonders of both…that’s something to hold in pride. Yeah, “Gilligan’s Island” has been a joke for decades, but, it was a well constructed and executed joke to the point where it entered universal consciousness and made people laugh. And it even saddened the Thermians!
Batiuk has produced NOTHING to compete with “Gilligan’s Island.”
Last Spring, at the animal shelter where I volunteer, a cat gave birth to six kittens, three males and three females. The shelter manager named them after the six Brady Bunch kids.
I sincerely doubt any animal shelter manager will be naming newborn kittens after Funky Winkerbean characters forty years from now.
Yes I agree. I should have phrased that better. I guess reading FW is negatively impacting my ability to write clearly.