The Winterbean Of Our Malcontent

Link To Today’s Installment

Where’s Fitness Girl? She was actually one of the less irritating characters in the strip. But of course, just like with Buddy, he had to go and f*ck it all up. Fitness Bro’s already getting on my nerves and ordinarily a “Funky Goes To The Gym” arc is like Ambien with none of the cool side effects but in all seriousness I was genuinely relieved when I saw it wasn’t about Lisa and her stupid f*cking ashes and benches again. And I know you are too.

The guy who writes this thing really, really sucks at naming his strips, you know? “John Darling” gives you no indication that the strip is about a wacky TV host or whatever he was supposed to be before Batom spitefully killed him off. “Crankshaft” has all sorts of hilarious connotations and if he was unaware of those connotations that only makes it funnier. And of course there’s “Funky Winkerbean”, a title that practically demands a “huh?” from anyone who hears it. I mean it probably sounded totally hysterical under a black light with a homemade honey bear bottle bong under a “Just Hang In There, Baby” poster, but sometimes perhaps it’s a better idea to refrain from mailing the letter to the trademark office until the next morning. You can’t even say it out loud without getting confused glances, as it sort of sounds vaguely obscene in a weird G-rated way. Bet you he wishes he could have that one back.

22 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

22 responses to “The Winterbean Of Our Malcontent

  1. William Thompson

    Hey a twofer! Funky gets a put down at the gym, which reminds him of the put-downs he gets at–wait, at Starbucks? Since when does this strip use a real-world name? Where’s the mocking twist on the company name? Are you telling me that with a whole year to perfect this offering, Batiuk couldn’t come up with a Sharkbux or Starvecups or anything equally lame?

  2. The summer of ’71 was a game changer…I began serious work on my new as-yet-unnamed comic strip…Moondog had only been a holding name, and nobody at the syndicate even liked it as a holding name…
    We all started spitballing names for the strip and its lead character, but nothing was really working. Then one day at school I asked all of my classes to write down funny or interesting names…The one that came back with the Publishers-Hall seal of approval was Funky Winkerbean, the name that has been my blessing and my curse. Had I known that the strip would be around for forty years and the directions that the work would take me, I think I would’ve spent more time working a little harder on the name.”

    Tom Batiuk, from the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. One

    Also, didn’t know “honey bear bottle bong” was a thing.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Those plastic honey bottles shaped like a bear. Very popular for bong conversions. Small, concealable, disposable. I knew someone who made one from a hamster water bottle and the mouthpiece from a trombone.

      That Batiuk is such a character. So is he saying he went into it expecting it to fail so the title didn’t really matter? That’s exactly the kind of lackadaisical half-assed approach that’s been confounding FW readers since the 70s.

      “Let’s call it Meet The Beatle Wo-Wheedles Bo-Bop-A-Deedles.”

      “But it’s so stupid.”

      “Yeah, but who’s gonna even care, right?”

      • Another proposed (and much better) strip title was Three O’Clock High. TB did inject that into a strip last year, and it also was used as the title of a 1987 teen flick. Major missed lawsuit opportunity there, Tom!

        • Epicus Doomus

          The idea that we spend more time on our post titles than he did on naming the strip is totally mind-boggling. He was already bored and out of material for the strip before he even had a title for it. Just ponder that for a moment.

          Then when presented with the opportunity to begin a new strip with a new title he settles on “Crankshaft”, another title no one could possibly ever like. It rolls off the tongue like a mouthful of aluminum foil. It’s still better than “Funky Winkerbean”, though.

          Anyhow, I think his story sounds like the kind of bullshit story someone would make up in order to cover for a blunder they don’t want to take full responsibility for. It’s so dumb no one else could have made it up and we all know it. In his defense a lot of people were doing some pretty odd things back in the early 1970s which doesn’t excuse “Funky Winkerbean” but does present a backdrop where believing such a title was good might conceivably be plausible.

    • Doghouse Reilly

      “I think I would’ve spent more time working a little harder…” Probably the best artist’s epitaph since W.C. Fields’ unused “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”

  3. Charles

    Fitness Girl has been replaced with Fitness Boy so that Batiuk can once again reuse the “Funky has a weird name” joke. That’s it. That’s the only reason why Fitness Boy exists.

    Watch later this week as Batiuk brings out the “Funky is lazy” and “Funky applies himself to the benefit of his laziness” jokes again this week. The befuddlement and bemusement of Fitness Boy wouldn’t work if it was Fitness Girl because she’s already used to Funky’s crap.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Another clever Batiukian loophole: don’t rehash the premise, just re-use it with different characters. It’s almost diabolical in its labor-saving efficiency.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Over the week, other reasons for this character’s existence will be to humiliate Funky, and show that sportos are jerks.

  4. Oh, a “Funky Goes to the Gym” week. It’s been so long since we had one, I’d forgotten how dull they were. I sure remember now!

    • billytheskink

      And then you will forget again tomorrow… that’s how dull these strips are!

      • Epicus Doomus

        It’s pretty much the benchmark of unfortunate SoSF guest host draws. It’s a fifteen in blackjack, a 7-10 split, a batter fouling off nine straight pitches in the 15th inning of a 1-1 game as it’s starting to rain. There are way worse arcs you can get, of course, but few as dull. These gym arcs, anything involving Dinkle and the band, those are the ones that generate the instant sighs from me.

        • The thing is, “Funky at the Gym” is basically a single “gag” stretched out over a week. It’s a clear time-killer (and waster).

          Worse, IMHO, are the “Claude Barlow” weeks, where Batiuk is actually congratulating himself for his “gags” over an entire week.

          Hope I didn’t just put the curse on….

          • billytheskink

            “Funky goes to the gym” is, remarkably (but relatively) much much fresher than the Claude Barlow bits. Funky has only been going to the gym for a decade, Dinkle has been making dumb Claude Barlow gags since the Shah ruled Iran.

          • Charles

            Yeah, when I was lined up to host, I lived in genuine fear that I was going to get a Dinkle week. Those were day after day of three panels showing the same thing, with mild derivations of the same lines. I’d have run out of things to say halfway through Monday’s entry.

  5. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  6. Paul Jones

    The irritating thing is that the only time this strip came within spitting distance of humor is when it became a throw-away gag on The Simpsons.

  7. GB

    Were Stinkerbean, Finkerbear, *bleep*erbean, and Loserbean some of those many variations, Winkerdweeb?