Sagging Interest

Click here to meet Pookie, tied with Buddy for best FW character

What is this office they’re waiting in, where they for some reason have a poster of one of Mason’s most embarrassing movies hanging on the wall? If they have this poster up then it really, really doesn’t seem like Mason should be sitting around waiting for Mr. Silver to get off the phone.

I spent about five minutes looking up SAG health insurance requirements, because I found that way more interesting than this strip. From what I can tell, you either have to make a certain amount of money a year or work a certain number of days per year to maintain your eligibility. The amount of money you have to make is apparently $33,000 a year, which, if Mason headlined a movie but made less than $33,000 is pretty awful.

I also think it’s pretty awful that Les had no idea Mason was in this movie, even though he’s in business with Mason. But it’s par for the course of Les being all around awful.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

40 responses to “Sagging Interest

  1. William Thompson

    “Sorry, Mason,” Mr. Silver says, “But you’re pitching an even bigger dog than Pooky!”

  2. William Thompson

    Now we know where Mason Jarr learned that hang-dog expression of his.

  3. billytheskink

    But could Mason get Pookie to the veterinarian’s office quicker HIMSELF?

    Looks like he was born to play Les, what with his self-proclaimed superlatives…

    • Epicus Doomus

      Kudos again, Billy. This is one of my absolute favorite FW strips ever. “MYSELF”…it’s Les summed up in one word.

    • Christopher Robin

      This is a job for WEENIEMAN!

      • Epicus Doomus

        Oh those were the days, man. Back then the comics page was like this every day, for years. Carnage and melodrama everywhere.

        • Christopher Robin

          I’m amused that one of the only details I can make out in the second panel is Less’s Lego-like hair helmet.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Of course this new addition to Mason’s filmography was pure Hollywood trash, a shameful embarrassing piece of tripe Mason did only because Tinseltown had nearly sucked the life out of him by that point. Acting, along with movies at television, are the lesser arts, right there with pro wrestling, glam metal and lawnmower racing. Unlike writing, the Art Of Kings. We get the message.

    But nonetheless, I have to wonder: is it Mason’s dog or was he just treating it? And is it a conflict of interest for a veterinarian to work on his own pet or does that just apply to people?

    Also note how it’s “Jarr” on the poster. So either Batom remembered or he totally forgot.

    • comicbookharriet

      Naw. From what I’ve seen Vets work on their own animals all the time. Since animals are technically seen as property in the eyes of the law, Vet owners can do what they like with them unless in crosses into breaking animal welfare laws.

      • Epicus Doomus

        He does say “the veterinarian who saves Pookie”, so we can probably assume that Pookie wasn’t his dog, yet the title is “MY Dog Pookie”, which would denote ownership. Thus it would seem that the vet character somehow gains ownership of Pookie at some point in the story. I think I’m putting way more thought into it than BatHam did, but I have to know. It’s an ongoing problem and I’m working on it, alright?

        And what’s so bad about doing some drippy kids movie about a vet who saves poor, poor Pookie? Why is Mason so ashamed of it? I mean Mason has agreed to play LES MOORE in a movie TWICE, mind you. There’s no role lower than that.

        • justifiable

          Apparently My Dog Pookie must have been an action adventure “fix it up in the post with CGI” [WTF] film, because that’s what Masonne originally told Less was his specialty.

          This movie looks like the sappiest turd of a film ever to be cut up to make guitar picks, which is why Less has no idea that it existed before now – if it were a winner, Masonne would have be sure that he knew about it. It’d be like finding out that Hugh Jackman or Chris Hemsworth starred in Look Who’s Talking Now or Beethoven’s Big Break – you’d never look at them in quite the same way again. Or at least not without wanting to make little whining puppy noises.

          The fact that Major Celebrity Action Hero Star Masonne has quite literally returned to the scene of the crime and is being kept waiting in the outer office tells you all you need to know about the respect THIS studio has for him.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          There’s a perfectly reasonable explanation: Pookie was someone else’s dog, and Mason played a minor character in their movie. It’s simple, makes sense, and it fits the situation.

          Except that the artwork destroys that explanation. Mason’s on the poster. In a movie about a dog whose owner takes it to the vet, the vet wouldn’t be on the theatrical poster like that. The owner would. Mason must therefore be the main character.

          Which ruins the entire scene. Les knows the movie exists, but he doesn’t know Mason was in it? How could he not, when Mason’s character is prominent enough to be the focus of the movie poster? It’s like saying to Hugh Jackman “I didn’t know you were in Logan.” And Mason’s shame over this movie becomes even more inexplicable, because he was apparently the star of it.

          It’s like you said, every detail seems engineered to make no sense. Simply leaving Mason off the poster would have made the scene work better. It actually took extra effort to get it this wrong.

  5. Christopher Robin

    In tomorrow’s strip, we discover that Mr. Silver’s office contains every movie poster in Mason’s career, and dozens of posters, and an array of Starbucky action figures, and a lifesize standee with hearts scribbled around the eyes, and a bunch of photos taken from unnervingly private angles.

    Sitting in the middle of all this is Mr. Silver with a great big shiny grin. The rest of the week is just Less and Masone slowly backing out of the office, through the lobby, and into the elevator.

  6. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Sorry, Mr. Battyuk. I know you’ve employed one of your favorite “literary” devices by slightly changing its spelling, but there’s room for only one Pooky in the world of comic strips, and that’s Garfield’s beloved teddy bear!

    By the by, if the film was that big a flop to judge from Masonne’s reaction, why on Earth would its poster be hanging on Silver’s wall? And a possibly better question, why doesn’t Mr. Jarre know that he was a producer of said film?

    • Epicus Doomus

      Good call, this never even occurred to me. That poster can’t possibly be there, yet there it is. The level of care that goes into making sure every single detail of FW is all messed up and out of kilter is just incredible.

    • I’m not sure that we can read the movie as a flop, though. Something embarrassing, sure, but you could say that about most Person-With-A-Pet movies.

      I’m also not sure that, from what we’ve seen on-panel, that we can conclude Masone Jarre doesn’t know Silver. Come to it, if My Dog Pookie was a mawkish sentimental movie about how this dog taught you to love, and if Silver and Jarre got along okay while making it, this is probably a good studio for The Death of Lisa: The LisaDeathenning.

      Again, I expect my charitable reading to get blown up by something tomorrow, but for now? I don’t have to contort logic to accept this yet.

    • Christopher Robin

      My theory: Silver and H. Sunset productions have nothing to do with My Dog Pookie. The poster was put up inside the office less than an hour ago, specifically arranged so it was the first thing Mason would see when he walked in, just as a reminder that he hasn’t always been Mr. Bigshot Starbucky.

  7. Who Wants Eggs!!??!!

    So, I suppose a major plot point of the movie was that many veterinarians saved Pooky, but one saved Pooky better than anybody else. I wonder about the criteria used to determine that this vet saved the dog better than anyone else.

    I also wonder about the criteria used to determine that someone keeps a major syndicated strip, when he continues to write clunky sentences which require multiple reads to comprehend.

    • Epicus Doomus

      That’s a valid interpretation too. This thing just has layer after layer to peel back and the wild thing is that he probably put around six seconds worth of thought into it. Yet every single detail was seemingly carefully engineered to make no sense. It’s amazing.

      As I jabbered about above, he says he “saved Pookie” but the title is “My Dog Pookie”, so when did Mason take ownership? And yeah, who did he save Pookie better than? Was it a situation where whoever saved Pookie got to keep Pookie? That’s weird. I could see something like that happening in olden times, where if you saved the local goat you got to keep it, but this is 2020 for crying out loud.

    • Christopher Robin

      The whole movie is just a cycle of the dog getting into danger and/or being injured, and various people showing up to save it, until finally Jarre’s character shows up to save it better than everyone else did, and he gets to keep the dog.

      It’s like a romance movie made out of just scenes where the man stands in the rain to apologize to the woman and/or explain that he loves her more than his job, and then they kiss, over and over.

  8. Hitorque

    I’m in a bad place mentally because I’m five days from the one year anniversary of losing a small, all-white dog… A Maltese named Mimi.

    I know this isn’t Batiuk’s fault, but I’ll blame him anyway.

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    What’s wrong with being in a movie called My Dog Pookie?

    And if there is something wrong with it, why is Mason pitching his new movie to a company that would have a poster of it on the wall?

    This would have been back when Mason could barely function, before Les introduced him to the power of bent nails. How did he even get a movie role, much less enough movie roles to establish a Screen Actors Guild status that needed to be maintained?

    Jesus, this is stupid. And yet it has so much snotty, withering contempt for everything else. That’s Funky Winkerbean for ya.

    • Saturnino

      “What’s wrong with being in a movie called My Dog Pookie? ”

      It was a sequel to Old Yeller.

      BTW, Scott Adams did an exposé on the Pulitzer prize (and yes they did give them to cartoonists) and what a fraud it is……

      So getting nominated is no big deal.

      So Bathack was rejected for something that isn’t even a big deal for those in the know.

      • Hitorque

        I wouldn’t believe Adams if he said the sky was blue — He has his own agenda he’s constantly trying to peddle.

        Nevermind the fact that he’s had several other highly dubious far-fetched hot takes in the past i.e., women in the corporate workplace… I stopped reading ‘Dilbert’ because of it and I was like a Year One reader…

        In the irony of ironies, I remember the months long back and forth battle in the 90s in the “letters to the editor” page of the Atlanta Journal Constitution since everyone back then complained about his politics being to the left of Trudeau, lol

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I found this on the web:

        SCOTT ADAMS: I do not (use the affirmation ‘I will win the Pulitzer Prize’), but only because I don’t value the prize. I once met an insider. He explained the process for picking the Pulitzer Prize winners. Basically it’s just a bunch of people saying what books they liked. It is hard to get excited about that “honor.” The five-star reviews on Amazon have greater value.

        Which just makes me wonder what Scott Adams thinks an award selection process is.

        • Christopher Robin

          The “insider” had a name that sounded something like Bom Tadiuk.

        • justifiable

          If Adams and Batuk were half as creative in their actual work as they are at crafting excuses for their not being nominated/ failing to win a Pulitzer, they could’ve accomplished both by now.

    • Christopher Robin

      Specifically, in any universe other than inside Less’s head (which is to say, up inside his ass), what could conceivably be wrong with being in a sappy cute-dog aww-jerker that isn’t also wrong with being in a mawkish cancer-romance tearjerker?

  11. Paul Jones

    Ah. Having to work his way up to megastardom is seen as a source of shame. Typical Batiuk non-think.

  12. bigd1992

    Ian Zeiring has said he made the first Sharknado movie because he needed the SAG insurance for his pregnant wife.

    • Paul Jones

      They have expenses same as anyone else. If that means having to do something like that, it means having to do something like that. Since Batiuk doesn’t seem to get paying dues, this leads to garbage strips like this one.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk doesn’t just not understand paying dues. He’s actively contemptuous of it. As if Les, Cindy, Jessica, Mason, Atomik Komix and Lillian from Crankshaft are all superior artists because they don’t work on anything other than their own “artistic visions.”

        Today’s strip is also contemptuous of Mason taking work for financial reasons. Every professional artist knows “work that pays the bills.” It’s fine. It’s your job. On top of that, doing different kinds of work gives you more skill and experience as an artist. Batiuk acts like this is a crime against true art. You know, like Lisa’s Story, Murder In The Library, The Butter Brinkle Documentary, and all the crap Atomik Komix publishes.

  13. Mason headlined a movie but made less than $33,000

    A closer look at the poster reveals that Mason received second billing to Pookie. I don’t think human actors were billed second to animals even in the days of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin.

  14. louder

    Interesting, and I’m sure purely unintentional by BatHack, but say what you will, Mason is coming off as the true artist and Less as the poser. Mason was / is out there, actually working to advance his acting career, that he made actual sacrifices for, and is even branching out to produce and develop a movie. On the other hand, Less, in BatHack’s eyes, the “true artist”, has done damn all about being a writer, or writing anything new, and is content with resting on his ass, letting others carry the load, all the while whining about how his work is undervalued. I know we all comment on this, but has there been anymore loathsome, self-entitled character than Less?

    • Christopher Robin

      “Oh, you had to work your way up to get where you are? Couldn’t just become a mega-success with your first, perfect book? Hunh, I guess that’s all right for some people,” sniffs Less, quietly kicking a box of unsold Fallen Star copies under the table.

  15. bigd1992

    Is it too much to ask that Mason and Les get lost, drive into a bad neighborhood, and get caught in the crossfire between rival gangs? Today, on a very special Funky Winkerbean…./

  16. Batgirl

    Ummm… has TB shown us an actual pitch yet? We’ve had waiting in offices, we’ve had driving around, we’ve had ‘sorry not for us’ – but do we know what the actual PITCH was? Or did Mason just give everyone a copy of the graphic novel?
    By the way, if you’d like reassurance that humour on this topic is possible, check out Ryan George’s ‘Pitch Meetings’ on Youtube. Those are on the Screen Rants channel, but his own channel is also worth watching.