All Strung Out on Heroine

If nothing else, today’s strip sheds a little light on why Mason struck out with those guys at Mixmaster: it was their “practice pitch.” Because there are no other ways to rehearse and refine an important presentation that don’t involve humiliating yourself and wasting other people’s time. Mason compounds his folly by daring to smirk at the mention of St. Lisa, and draws a withering rebuke from Les. A cancer superhero?  How dare you, sir! What twisted mind would ever even conceive of such a thing?

 March 4, 2007:

July 1, 2007:


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

46 responses to “All Strung Out on Heroine

  1. William Thompson

    A “practice pitch?” Were you kidding, Todd? Don’t kid. You’re no good at it. No kidding.

  2. William Thompson

    What if the Unsuitables had been overawed by Mason Jarre and agreed to film the Lisa movie?

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Oh my God…it’s the worst Sunday strip of ALL TIME. Not today’s, the one above. Gak.

    Is gently poking fun at Lisa’s tragic death a sign the Les is finally at long last getting over it? Ha! Just kidding. The strip will be funny again before THAT happens and ain’t no way FW is getting funny anytime soon. “Practice pitch”…uh yeah, Mason, that’s real normal and exactly how Hollywood works. I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Les but he’s right. “Lisa’s Story” is deader than Bull Bushka and it deserves to be buried twice as deep.

    • Mela

      So he actually has gone with the superhero thing before, only it was when Lisa was doing the chemo. Thanks for the reminder-I had totally forgotten about that! It does make me wonder, though, if LIsa actually told Les that’s how she felt while going through chemotherapy. Because if she did, then his comment here slams on his own wife’s feelings about fighting cancer. . If she didn’t (and only shared that with her gal friends) then it’s an strangely ironic comment.

  4. spacemanspiff85

    You know, in all honesty I do miss the older style of comic covers, where it would be related to what was going on in the strip. Now it’s just “here’s a fake, bad comic cover!” with no context or relation to anything.

  5. Christopher Robin

    “Practice pitch”? Yeah okay dude just keep telling yourself that. Ugh, does this mean we’re going to have to go through a parade of differently-wrongheaded Hollywoo types, like a string of themed boss battles, before they find the One True Producer? Great. If we’re lucky, maybe one of them will be a giant spider.

    Our Hero, folks:
    “Flippant comment about cancer superhero.”
    “Playful response to that idea.”

    Anyway, Masonite… where do you think you go to “register” an idea? Do you suppose there’s a Federal Office of Concepts where you can go and say, “Hi, I’d like to register my idea for a story where a guy has robot arms and fights crime”? Maybe it’s in the same building as the Registry of Fanfic OC’s.

    I’d write this off as just a passing bit of dialogue, but I think it genuinely reflects a belief on the author’s part that “cancer wife story” is HIS idea and nobody else better steal it or there will be LAWYERING up in here.

    • justifiable

      Industry Insider Todd is so hip that he’s not gonna explain that in order to document originality of your work, you register treatments, screenplays, commercials, etc. with the Writer’s Guild of America.

      Just kidding – Todd has some vague idea that you can somehow register “ideas” but he deliberately didn’t define it so he could get back to Masonne being a pissy whiny manbaby whose “practice pitch” was a pathetic failure. There’s no such thing – you don’t indiscriminately pitch projects all around town like band candy, especially to production companies that don’t have “Love Story Ripoffs” in their wheelhouse. Not unless you really want the stink of “amateur fuckup” to spread faster than a fart in an airlock.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        That’s a very good point. You can’t copyright an idea, only an expression of an idea. As in, “Lisa’s Story” is copyrightable, but “story where a woman gets cancer and dies” is not. It would be just like Batiuk to not know the difference. And, to think his precious Lisa’s Story is so original it has to be protected.

  6. Christopher Robin

    OH AND ALSO “Mutated into superhero after risky cancer treatment” What a ridiculous idea for a movie OH WAIT THAT’S CALLED DEADPOOL.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    At this point if you were a comic strip character in the same position Les is in now (note the wording there to avoid any semblance of sympathizing with or relating to Les) you’d probably be thinking that this Mason asshole is a real dick who hasn’t followed through on his original proposal at all. And how many times does he need to be reminded about how pissy Dick Facey gets over this Lisa stuff? Every time you see Les and Mason together it’s like it’s the first time they’ve met.

    If you’re Mason, though, maybe it’s time to ask Les if he has any new ideas that don’t involve adding to or amending the cancer book, because that cow has been milked. It’d be so great if the found a mystery benefactor who turned out to be Frankie, wouldn’t it? Man, I miss that guy.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The sad thing is… Batiuk actually set up a funny scene here. It’s a high-stakes business meeting, where we know one of the two partners secretly wants it to fail. Also, we know that the one who wants it to succeed isn’t as slick as he thinks he is. Let me punch this story up a bit:

      Mason: “At every pitch meeting I’ve ever been to, the receptionist says the person you’re there to see is tied up and on a call, and then offers to get you some sparkling water.”

      Receptionist: “Hi there, Aaron and Marc are tied up on a conference call, can I get you some sparkling water?”

      Les (to Mason): “You didn’t say ‘conference.'”

      This joke doesn’t work because Les isn’t overdressed. He’s wearing what he always wears. Put Les in those clothes that Cayla made him buy for book signings – and as awkwardly as possible, like Joe Pesci in the light blue tux in My Cousin Vinny. – and it improves.

      I have to admit, China was a good twist. Hey, you didn’t see it coming .Just give mohawk bro a decent echoing line, like “It emotionally resonates with the audience.”

      Marc: “Mixmaster specializes in export films for the Chinese market.”

      Aaron: “You didn’t notice the lobby on the way in?”

      The second panel depicts the lobby, festooned with American-style movie posters, that have a mix of English and Chinese lettering on them.

      Omit the pointless Friday strip. Drop the Saturday strip from 3 panels to 2, move it to Friday, and reverse the order:

      Aaron: “So as much as we like this story, we can’t greenlight a picture like this.”

      Marc: “Plus, with Lisa dying at the end, it kind of rules out a sequel.”

      Les (to Mason): “Did you see THIS coming, Nostradamus?”

      SATURDAY: They are in the car now.
      Panel 1: Mason: “Those people at Mixmaster are idiots!”

      Panel 2: Les: “It’s not like Lisa turns into a superhero.”

      Panel 3: Mason “Hmm, maybe we could pitch that instead…”
      Les: “…you want to make Deadpool 3?”

  8. Gary Stephen

    Oh, fuck you, Mason. “Practice Pitch?” According to you an hour ago, you’ve been to so many pitch meetings you can predict what people say. What do you need practice for? Oh, wait: you need practice because you flailed helplessly in there. You didn’t know this company would demand a China- and sequel-friendly movie, you tried to assuage this by pointing out that Starbuck Jones exists, and they’re the idiots? You know, for a guy who’s so rich and famous and powerful and talented, nobody seems to hold you in much regard.

  9. billytheskink

    “Don’t kid” sez the guy that chuckles at chemo-sabe jokes…

  10. Doghouse Reilly

    Les can “kinda see” their point? “Kinda see”!? I know that it may feel as though the only movies made over the last decade or so have been sci-fi/kids’ fantasy/hunky vampire/capes-and-outside-underwear CGI showcases, but he is aware that indie filmmakers and even major studios have successfully tackled complex and serious issues, is he not? “The Help,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Whip Lash,” “Lady Bird,” and “Marriage Story,” to name a few, didn’t exactly break the bank to make or need to kowtow to Chinese audiences (no pun intended).

    If you really don’t want your hagiography to be transferred to another
    medium, O Lard of Language, please put on your facemask and hop on the next flight back to Ohio, so that don’t waste any more of Masonne’s–and our–time with these nonsensical pitch meetings!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Remember, Les doesn’t want the movie to be made:

      So it makes sense that he would side with the people who just rejected it. His disinterested, DGAF attitude during this pitch meeting also makes sense.

      This is our hero, folks. A guy who wastes huge amounts of other people’s time and money, because he’s too spineless to say “no.” Hell, he’s even wasting our time. How many weeks of strips have there been now of Hollywood talk that Les doesn’t want to happen, and has a history of sabotaging? This whole godddam arc is utterly pointless.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        How does Les know how Hollywoo works?

        One other thing that bugs me is the amount of coffee people drink at Montoni’s. Have you ever seen a pizza shop like that? Sometimes we see that there is a counter where people sit and drink coffee? WTF?

        Yes, Luigi’s in Akron has a counter, but people drink beer and wine there, not coffee.

        • Christopher Robin

          There’s nowhere else to drink coffee. Montoni’s is Westview’s only remaining commercial enterprise.

          I kind of like to imagine that the parts of Westview we don’t see are enveloped by thick fog, and periodically air sirens sound out from nowhere.

          • William Thompson

            Any hope Les will rejoin the other Mooreloks?

          • Maxine of Arc

            With the weirdo psychosexual issues lurking in the background of pretty much everything, Pyramid Head can’t show up soon enough.

        • justifiable

          Les has been through all this before, when MCE wanted to do Lust for Lisa. What’s odd is that Todd seems to have completely forgotten it.

          Good point about the coffee – not even my Folgers-addicted mom would drink it with pizza. Funky’s an alcoholic, and IIRC Todd has shown him tempted by a bottle of wine in Monotoni’s, so why the joint is dry now doesn’t make sense. I would’ve thought drinking heavily is the only way you can live in Worstview and not blow your brains out.

  11. Paul Jones

    And yet again, people who have a point are called idiots because they don’t want to make an abysmally boring movie that has a downbeat ending. No one who isn’t Mason wants to make the next Cutthroat Island.

    • Hitorque

      But they said they liked it? Their only sticking points was not doing well in Red China and not being able to slap on a bunch of sequels

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        My interpretation is “we like it, it’s just not the kind of movie we do.” Creative media companies, especially small ones, tend to specialize in certain types of projects. If I say something is a Dreamworks picture, you can immediately imagine the kind of movie it is. The same can be said of Touchstone, Happy Madison, Merchant Ivory, etc. It’s not unfathomable that a production company specializes in franchises that play well in China.

        I can even buy the idea of them meeting with Mason personally just to say “no.” When a major movie star – which we are led to believe Mason is – sends your medium-sized production company a script, you don’t just blow him off. But Mason completely misses the point of why they don’t want to make the movie.

        Then I ask myself “why am I inventing all this complex head canon to make a goddam comic strip make sense?”

        • Christopher Robin

          Thing is, if they’re a small company, how can they specialize in global action blockbusters?

          • justifiable

            They can’t – and even if they did, there’s no way all their films could be profitable in China, since only 34 foreign films, not just American, are allowed to be released in China each year. Mainstream US films that aren’t big CGI blockbusters, like the magic thriller Now You See Me, occasionally make the cut and do well, but it’s never a sure thing – unless you make a sequel where a good chunk of the action is set in Macao.

  12. Hitorque

    1. I liked how Cindye looked older way back in 2007 than she does now…

    2. Jesus Fuckin’ Christ Masone Jarre is a pussy-assed bitch… Way to cash in on your newfound clout, loser… Don’t ever start talking shit again about going to hundreds of pitch meetings and claiming to know how the game goes. In fact, don’t ever attend any pitch meetings again. Just give the Lisa story as a class project to the students at USC’s film school and hope for the best…

    3. Good job Les for not standing up for your art and meekly accepting the narrative from some smug hipster pansies that your book A. Has to do well in Communist China, and B. Must have sequels…

    4. So which member of the Westview Nepotism Mafia is going to step up and make Lisa’s story (with a crowdfunded budget) the highest grossing movie of 2021? Cindye? Darrin’s wife? Darrin? Cayla? That weirdo rapist who now runs a taco truck in L.A.? Maybe Les himself will direct, produce and act?

  13. Smirks ‘R Us

    Outstanding Zevon reference in the post title TFH!

  14. Perfect Tommy

    Does anyone remember the comic book “Metal Men”? They had an antagonist called “Chemo” that was a transparent, humanoid-shaped receptacle that became sentient after being filled with spent lab chemicals.
    I bet that movie would do bank in China.

  15. louder

    I have a million dollar story I want to copyright: Guy loves Woman. Guy losses Woman. Guy gets Woman back. It can’t lose, I’m going to be so freaking rich! Right?

    • Christopher Robin

      Remember, to make it legally binding you have to add “Original Idea DO NOT STEAL!!!”

  16. Batgirl

    Okay, Lisa and Les’s marriage ceremony involved Batman & Robin cosplay (and presumably slashfic, but let’s not touch that). Lisa envisioned herself as a costumed superhero fighting her cancer (kind of cool, that).

    But Lisa’s Ghost told Phil’s Ghost that she never really read comics.

    What can this mean? Is Lisa’s Ghost the ghost of some other Lisa entirely? A fraud, maybe a demon, preying on the obsessions of Les Moore?
    Maybe it’s behind Cayla’s remaking, turning her into a suitable vessel for possession, so it will have a physical form to do more evil.

    But no, because that might be kind of interesting.

    • Christopher Robin

      Dead Phil is such a FunkBean character. “Someone doesn’t read comics?!? Argh– ack– DED”

  17. Christopher Robin
  18. Christopher Robin