Passed Pass from the Past

Maybe she didn’t beat him up like Bull did, but during the twenty years they spent in high school together, Cindy generally treated Les like shit. She wouldn’t have him for a lab partner, let alone a boyfriend. Even when Les wound up keeping her company on that dateless New Year’s Eve, Cindy swore him to secrecy. And decades later she has the gall to break his chops for being a gentleman.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

33 responses to “Passed Pass from the Past

  1. Epicus Doomus

    As demonstrated during the now-infamous Linda/Buck arc, no one does playful male/female wry banter quite like Batty Thomas does. It’s quite simply f*cking nauseating. Cindy is as vapid and thirsty as ever today, wildly retconning away about that stupid New Year’s Eve she spent with Les nine hundred years ago. Cayla lives in a shrine devoted to Les’ dead first wife, thus I doubt hearing about Les hypothetically getting to (sorry) first base with Cindy (which, based on her dialog today, wasn’t all that much of a challenge) back in high school would have fazed her too much.

  2. billytheskink

    Did Cindy tell Cayla about the time Les tried to sue her after she turned him down at her? Seems less forgivable to me…

    • Epicus Doomus

      Wow, this is a good one. I’m assuming it’s pre-Lisa aka the “good” era of Act I. IMO it was all over as soon as Les and Lisa’s braces locked. The pregnancy arc was really more like the coffin being shut. Nailed shut and entombed in concrete and lead.

      “Hey Les, remember when you sued me? What a dick you were” seems like a more believable Les/Cindy interaction than “I like totally told your wife we didn’t do anything that night but I totally like would have tee hee” does. It looks more and more like BatHead just went into the 2020 strips with wish-fulfillment front and center.

      • billytheskink

        This is pretty much immediately pre-Lisa, actually. It was part of a story arc where he asks out Cindy and two other girls (Allison and Tracy) before he winds up asking Lisa to dance in the gym and after they dance he asks her to go to prom with him (why they are dancing in the gym before prom is not explained). He doesn’t even seem to know Lisa’s name when he first talks to her, he calls her “that girl” in his head before asking her to dance.

    • comicbookharriet

      BTS. I know we say it all the time. But thank you thank you thank you thank you for providing much needed context for those of us who don’t remember the Reagan Administration.

  3. AmigoLupus

    Why would Cindy even be mad that Les didn’t make a pass at her? Or is she mad that Les didn’t give her the ol’ Cancerwife Treatment? Maybe she’s angry that her death wasn’t completely milked for money for decades, or maybe she’s mad she didn’t get a husband who constantly treats her as second place to his dead wife? Who wouldn’t want Les “Paragon of Romance” Moore, right?

    Honestly, Cindy sleeping with Les now would be WAY less skeevy than Batiuk constantly having the entire universe verbally fellate Les’ ego.

  4. William Thompson

    I’ve tried to parse this, and all I get is “Cindy demands to be treated as nothing but a sex symbol.” Which makes sense, when you realize that a symbol isn’t the real thing.

  5. Charles

    It’s funny how few things these lifelong friends have to talk about.

    • William Thompson

      “I would have hit on you, Cindy, but I was too busy fantasizing about my bromance with Bull Bushka.”

      “Les, if I’d only known we had that in common!”

    • Epicus Doomus

      There’s a whole weird psycho-sexual nostalgia revenge fantasy thing going on here too. “Cayla told me all about your little conversation with her, Cindy. Pray tell, what exactly was THAT all about, hmmm?”…that’s a strange way to begin a conversation with an old friend. Did Cayla grill Les about Cindy after that conversation? Did she not believe Cindy? They presumably had many conversations during their last visit, why bring that one up right away?

      Cindy then proceeds to reassure Les that she made sure Cayla understood that he never made any kinds of sexual advances toward her, as if it was ever called into question in the first place. Then, after thirty-whatever years, Cindy Summers finally admits that ya, like, she totally would have like gone with Les if he’d have made a move because Les is, like, so cool and everything. He might as well have had Bull tearfully admit his homosexual feelings for Les, as it’d be just as believable. If there’s any doubt about this being a perverse revenge fantasy, just look at the smirk on Les in panel three. Les wins again.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Les is the ultimate white knight…at least in Batty’s mind.

      • Charles

        Good point about the revenge fantasy idea. I also think it has something to do with Batiuk trying to “correct the record” for his hero.

        Even though Les was a loser in Act I, Batiuk’s trying to retcon him as not a loser. The hottest girl in the school would have gone down for him if he had asked. He wasn’t really that big loser whose repulsive personality repelled any girl worth a damn, despite what all those strips showed.

        Bull wasn’t really bullying Les. No, Bull respected and cared for Les so much that he only pretended to bully him.

        Les didn’t glumly settle for Lisa because no one else would go to the prom with him. No, it was that he was the only person in the school who realized how beautiful Lisa truly was.

        Les didn’t man an actual machinegun nest when he was hall monitor, no, it was cardboard.

        And of course, Lisa didn’t really have sex with Frankie and get pregnant. No, he got her drunk and then forced himself on her. She had nothing to do with it.

        He’s been going back on his own characterizations and plots for a long time now. So why not go for broke and try to claim that Les never was the loser that defined his entire character for the first twenty years of the strip?

  6. Gerard Plourde

    Actually this is another TomBa retcon. As billytheskink has unearthed, Les did try to “hit on” Cindy and sued her when she declined. Maybe I’m giving Cindy too much slack but TomBa has made Les so repellent that I feel justified.

    • billytheskink

      Heck, half the plot of the stage musical Funky Winkerbean’s Homecoming is about Les trying to date Cindy (or an expy named “Suzie Peterson” in some versions). She shoots him down in the play by singing a song called “I Want A Hunk”.

      • Epicus Doomus

        That was a running gag for years, although I was blissfully unaware of the contents of that play until now. I…I just couldn’t. Giving Les this retconned conquest is just adding insult to injury. Women being unable to resist Dick Facey’s bearded charms has been an unfortunate running theme throughout Act III but this is just ridiculous.

  7. William Thompson

    Is this supposed to be a burn on Louse? “You could have scored, if you’d only known how easy I am, you nerd!” Nah, Batiuk wouldn’t do that to his beloved boy-toy.

  8. Paul Jones

    Batiuk might not have realized this but he has done the world a service by driving a semi through the myth of the lovable loser. Ain’t nothing sympathetic about Dick Facey.

  9. sgtsaunders

    This could be a turning point for the entire FW enterprise. Tomorrow Les makes his invited pass and Friday, Mason catches them in flagrante delicto, the movie is called off and Cindy is kicked out, Saturday, Les gets his ass beat by Mason’s security detail, and Sunday is some dumb-ass comic book cover.

  10. TB has been desperately trying to reclaim the whimsy of Act I, and just can’t face up to the fact that the direction that he’s taken the strip pretty much makes that impossible, and the result looks forced and contrived.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    It’s a mythology gag that misses the point of its own mythology..

    This “McArnolds” arc has been done in many high school settings. The popular person and the geek get stuck with each other, find out they have some things in common, bond a little, then lament that their newfound friendship can’t last. Inevitably, things return to the status quo, as a mini-commentary on the strict social rules of high school. If TV Tropes doesn’t have a name for this plot, it should. Still, Funky Winkerbean executed it well back in the 1980s. Les was a much more sympathetic character, and it was nice to see him get a little dignity for once.

    With that in mind, remember what Les told us at Bull Bushka’s funeral: “High school follows you.” Cindy only went to the funeral because the rules of high school required her to. She said that herself! And today, the story is treating a meal at McDonalds 30 years ago as some big scandal that must still be kept secret. The strip wants us to believe that high school social constructs remain relevant well into adulthood.

    But if that’s true… how does it make any goddam sense for Cindy to be offended that Les didn’t make a pass at her? Even if she was somehow attracted to him, “high school” wouldn’t have allowed it! That was the ENTIRE POINT of the McArnold’s story, and also the entire point of keeping it secret all this time. Cindy saying something like “secretly, I always thought you were kind of cute” would have made sense, had the same effect, but acknowledged the realities the strip is otherwise beating us over the head with.

    It’s like if the movie Gremlins had said “don’t get them wet or feed them after midnight. Oh, you think I’m hot? Go right ahead then.”

    • Hitorque

      For the record, even Greg Freaking Evans of “Luann” had a much better execution of the “Hottest and most stuck-up girl in high school (Tiffany) is dateless and ends up with the nerd king (Gunther) for a quiet night” and in a heart to heart conversation, both parties realize that their opposite number across the great divide of “Cool kids/Geek losers” is, you know, actually human…

      Of course Evans’ problem is going back to that same well a thousand times to the point where a once-relatable underdog loser gets undeserved victory after victory and a longer string girlfriends than even the “cool” guys and now he’s an utterly despicable douchebag with a world-class entitlement complex… Hey, that sounds like someone we know?

    • All right, but, to give it a charitable interpretation and something that I think actual humans might do:

      Cindy, today, might think that of course had Les asked her Back In The Day, she would have been courageous enough to step across caste lines and date the loser whom, she now knows (somehow) has a Heart of Gold. And that she would have enjoyed him as boyfriend as much as she now (somehow) enjoys him as a friend. It is extremely hard to put ourselves into our old mind-sets. We project our current mindset back into our past and try to understand our life stories as if we-today were living them.

      This is why when you tell that great story about the nonsense you were up to when you were 16, you can’t remember your motivation past “I was a dumb 16-year-old”. You weren’t any dumber than you are now; you were a different person who valued different things than you do now and you’ve forgotten that you did that.

      What Cindy is really thinking is that if grown-up she, having recovered from like 10 percent of the high school trauma, were back in her 19[7/8]8 body and grown-up Les were to make a pass, then sure she’d accept. She’d today find dating grown-up Les to be all right (somehow). Why wouldn’t she always have?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I like your interpretation, but I don’t think it matches what Cindy says: “I still haven’t forgiven you.” Not “I would have said yes if you asked.” She’s not revisiting a past situation with her current self and coming to a different conclusion. She’s expressing how she felt at the time, and apparently has carried this feeling for three-plus decades. Also, there’s a mountain of evidence that Cindy wanted nothing to do with Les in Act I. Which was often completely justified.

  12. Hitorque

    Good old Act III Cindy Sommers-Winkerbeane-Jarre, with the successful career, the millions in the bank, the happy marriage to Hollywood’s hottest star (15+ years her junior), the Malibu beach mansion, the Porsches in the garage, the kids and family she never, ever has to deal with and the fact that she’s the most fuckable 58-year-old since Helen Mirren… And at the end of the day, the only life-giving affirmation she gets is how knowing exactly how many men want to sink their meat into her ass at any given moment — When it falls too far below the “Daily Fuckability Index” she had in high school, she falls into a deep suicidal depression…

    Lest we forget, the last time we saw Cindy (when Les+Cayla visited Malibu) she was literally and un-ironically upset that she didn’t get the hoots, hollers, whistles and catcalls from random men on the street that she used to… (Evidently the whole #MeToo phenomenon has yet to hit the Funkyverse)…

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    Remember that Curb your Enthusiasm episode where Mel Brooks recruits Larry David to perform in The Producers? Mel knows Larry will screw it all up and Mel wants to kill the show so he can go on with his life.

    Be funny if Mason were doing that to Les…bringing him out to LA to make a fool of himself again and kill Lisa’s Story.

    • Gerard Plourde

      That would be a great plot twist. Sadly, the reason it won’t happen is that Les is an author avatar. We can dream though.

    • Hitorque

      Sadly, in some twisted convoluted way, Masone feels like he “owes” Lester for all those encouraging words on the set of the first aborted Lisa movie project, since afterwards he had the confidence to accept the Starbuck Jones role (which grossed a zillion dollars and swept the awards), *and* Lester is responsible for introducing him to Cindye, his eventual wife… So while he has some pull in Hollywood, Masone is trying to do Les a solid — Which makes Lester’s reluctant mopey douchebaggery all the less forgivable…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I like to think that Mason is just kissing Les’ ass to get him to get Les to sign whatever agreement he needs him to. Once he does, Mason will instantly lose Les’ phone number and never call him again, like Hollywood people tend to do.

      It’s really the only way a Dead Lisa movie can ever be made. Les Moore is completely unpleasable, and cannot be allowed anywhere near the production.

  14. Hitorque

    And lest we forget, the only reason Cindye got back on top of her journalistic “game” after her career was dead in the water was because Douchebag Les had to blab out loud in Montoni’s that Hollywood star Mason Jarre was hiding out in his guest room (“But don’t tell anyone because it’s a SECRET!”) reading the entire anthology of Starbuck Jones comics while eating nothing but Chips Ahoy and milk (since in the Funkyverse this is how Hollywood actors prepare for roles).

    So now Cindye got her scoop “interview” (to which she wore her best “Fuck Me!” -Little black dress, flirted with him all night and asked mostly first date/prospective husband questions), which she parlayed into a job at in SoCal, a job she didn’t even want to take because she clearly thought it was beneath her and her salary was 100% crowdfunded, but her eyes were set on getting her hooks into Masone the entire time (not out of love or any silliness like that, but as PROOF to HERSELF that she was still hot enough to land a desirable man)… Seriously, if the genders were reversed on this Cindye would have been arrested for stalking…

    And that still isn’t as outrageous as story to how Pete Rizzo went from fired comics artist to award-winning Hollywood blockbuster scriptwriter to the highest-paid comics artist in the industry with his own publishing label…

  15. Christopher Robin

    Okay, the third panel is just ewwwgrossgrossgross so I’m gonna ignore it, but I’m honestly baffled about the first two. So… they had a conversation in a burger joint back in high school? Why would Cindy bother to tell his replacement wife about it, years later (“Say, did Less ever tell you about that one time we talked to each other in high school?”)? Why would Cayla care enough to mention it in turn to him (“So, I hear you and Cindy interacted socially a few decades ago?”)? Why does he care enough to bring it up now?

    Obviously it can’t be some kind of jealousy thing, both because Cayla pretty clearly doesn’t mind being CONSTANTLY reminded of her status as replacement wife, and because she met him in the middle of a veritable plague of women inexplicably throwing themselves at his gross garbage personage.

    So I’ve only been able to come up with a few ways to parse this, and none of them seem entirely satisfactory:

    1) Nothing in this strip bears any relation to human behavior, so there’s no point in looking for sense (the null hypothesis);

    2) Less honestly believes that when the popular girl asked him not to tell the other high school students that she was talking to the geek, this represented a lifelong vow of deathbed secrecy;

    3) He’s aware that Cayla stays with him only because she’s attracted to gross garbage people, so he’s worried that Cindy may have revealed that on this one occasion, he behaved like a decent human being (in the passive, didn’t-actively-do-bad sense, of course, never the active, did-something-good sense);

    4) While they were talking that New Year’s Eve, Less revealed the location of the hidden pirate gold, and in today’s strip he’s cautiously trying to find out if his replacement wife now knows the cursed secret.

    Maybe someone who’s been following the strip longer (instead of being primarily exposed to it by reading backwards through Fruhlinger’s blog) can make more sense of this.

  16. Professor Fate

    I’m hoping for a sudden car crash that kills the both of them – I know it won’t happen but a man can dream yes?