The Hook is She Dies

today’s strip

If you told me Batiuk was somehow writing this crap without even noticing what he was writing, I would totally believe you. Who, after being told the movie was about someone dying of cancer, would ask what the hook is and if there’s a good twist? She dies. That’s the hook, for some reason. What’s supposed to hook you in is watching someone die. And the twist is that she dies.

And Mason’s responses have nothing to do with Cass’s question. Darin wasn’t a twist or a hook, he was a boring time wasting plot device to add more melodrama. And “testifying before Congress” is neither a hook nor a twist

And how many more days of Mason being smarmy for some reason and Les being annoyed are we going to get? I know the answer is “far too many”. It’s funny how after years of being presented as just the coolest actor ever all of a sudden Mason is a Hollywood jackass, for some reason.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

38 responses to “The Hook is She Dies

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Sidewards single-panelers are the most annoying of all FW formats. And Les is the most annoying FW character. Therefore this one has to be considered one of the most annoying individual FW strips of all time. “Strong roles for women”…oh, that is priceless coming from BatHam. The “strongest” female character he ever created gave up and later died, so there you go.

    Once again poor small-town broken-hearted Les is in way over his head out there in LaLa Land, even though he’s done this before. They’ve been discussing this for months, they’re at the Big Pitch Meeting right now, yet Les has his “it’s my first day” face on. This isn’t even their first pitch meeting this day, so what the f*ck is his problem?

    • spacemanspiff85

      Lisa really is the epitome of a FW character. Whining about your fate (before Congress, even!) and then submitting to it anyway.

  2. William Thompson

    Yes, Les, you and Mason are on the same page. What a shame it’s not the obituary page.

  3. William Thompson

    When you think about it, Marianne Winters will make the ideal Lisa. She’s already played Jupiter Moon, a weirdo who was raised by aliens, who never met a man in her life and is utterly unfamiliar with human ways. Throw in a few smirks and she’s ready for Westview.

    • Maxine of Arc

      Marianne isn’t even attached to this production! No sign that anybody has talked to her manager about getting her on board. I can’t wait until somebody calls her to find out why she hasn’t shown up on set and it’s the first she’s heard about this job.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yeah really. Why are they even talking about casting at this very preliminary pitch meeting? And isn’t that the producer/director’s decision anyway? It’s not Mason’s, and it’s certainly not Les’. But the story refuses to consider that anyone else – not even the people footing the bill – might have any say in this movie or any of their own opinions about it.

  4. William Thompson

    So this time around, the movie dies because Les doesn’t want Marianne Winters to play Lisa? She isn’t perfect enough for the role? In the real world this would be seen as a sign that Les’s obsession with Lisa is sick and twisted. Here, it will kill the movie, and Mason will applaud Les for his devotion to the ideal Westview Woman. Soulless, lifeless and without a mind of her own. You know, a corpse.

  5. justifiable

    Oh, fuck you, Todd. In a high concept film, the “hook” is that unique thing that makes your idea special, that sets it apart. Say you’ve got an idea for a bank heist where the robbers dig a tunnel under the vault. It’s been done before. The “hook” would be that they’re all senior citizens and the ringleader is blind.

    Lisa’s meeting up with Duhren isn’t anything close to a hook, especially since she never told the parents who kicked her out for getting pregnant and never spoke to her again where to get off. Nor is testifying before Congress a hook – it’s bullshit since Lisa didn’t go without treatment because she couldn’t afford health care, nor did she die due to her symptoms being ignored because her cancer wasn’t even on the medical radar, which is what happened to Gilda Radner. So who gives a shit about her telling Congress what everyone knows, namely that cancer is bad and there needs to be a cure? Wow, heroic. She was given a clean bill of health, which wasn’t true – which might be a “twist,” if it weren’t so highly improbable, given that the mixup would have been almost instantly detected in the person who actually was in remission. And then Activist Testifyin’ Lawyer Lisa was suddenly so uninvolved that this lack of medical care that it didn’t even result in one lawsuit. Wow, what a difference she made to no one.

    The bottom line is: Lisa is not a “strong female role” because she wasn’t a “strong” female in the first place. She had life shit all over her and then she died. Then her ghoul of a husband made a cottage industry out of her death. There’s nothing “compelling” about this story, unless by some miracle Less getting 27 kinds of ass cancer is somehow part of it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      You nailed it. The only strong character would be Funky. Failed marriage, alcoholism, failed business venture, the butt of many jokes. Yet he cleaned himself up, stays sober and calm, despite living amongst all of these losers.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        You’ve got to count Wally Winkerbean as a strong character, just for still being alive. What that poor guy’s been through would drive Jiminy Cricket to suicide.

    • Maxine of Arc

      And absolutely no mention of Lisa’s daughter.

  6. billytheskink

    Lisa testifying before congress was an especially irksome part of her late Act II beatification because it WASN’T HER IDEA. It was Holly who arranged the trip and it was Holly (who TB long ago forgot was a breast cancer survivor herself) that was to testify before congress before Lisa hijacked the whole endeavor.

    While Holly later says “we’ll” testify before congress, here are the actual word counts of her and Lisa testifying before congress as depicted in the strip:

    Lisa – 82
    Holly – 0

    • spacemanspiff85

      Boy, the days when Holly was portrayed as attractive and not “Funky in a week” seem far, far behind us.

      • justifiable

        And yet she and Cinduh are the same age. Whatever curse Funky lays on his women, Cinduh was lucky enough to outrun it – and then some.

      • Hitorque

        Batiuk has seen the error of his ways and made poor once-hot Holly into a frumpy hausfrau while making Cindye constantly younger and sexier…

    • Epicus Doomus

      Oh yeah, back when Holly was still Cindy.

    • AmigoLupus

      What annoys me about this is that Holly is a MEMBER of the group, not the president or anything. She doesn’t have the authority to appoint Lisa to do jack shit. Hell, the fact that the group already made an appointment to speak in congress means they should’ve already filed who will be their representatives to speak for them.

      The other irksome thing is that Lisa’s testimony to the congress implies that yes, there ARE other people with cancer in the Funkyverse. So if it’s something that happens to others, then it’s baffling why Lisa’s Story is heralded as this work of art where people treat it as if Lisa was the only person in the universe to ever had cancer.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        More of Batiuk’s sociopathic storytelling. EVERYTHING is about his pet characters and causes. The minute one of them shows up, the world heads for the sideline.

    • Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

      Huh. I thought that was Cindy, not Mrs. von Lumpenprole

  7. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Hmm, let’s see how my Berlitz guide to Hollywood Pitch Meeting translates all this:

    “What’s the hook?” – “Is there a dedicated attorney to be played by Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, or Mark Ruffalo who fights for Lisa’s medical rights?”

    “Is there a good twist?” – “Is Lisa reincarnated as either a snowman, her own child, a 1928 Porter, or your dog Pookie?”

    All of Masonne’s first balloon – “No and no.”

    “Everyone wants compelling roles for women right now.” – “No one wants compelling roles for women right now.”

    “Well, Les and I are on the same page about this…” – “I’ve told my pitch partner time and time again about how I want to play Les, and he knows I’m considering Marianne Winters for Lisa, so there no way he’ll c*ckbl*ck me in front of you by saying something stupid like ‘We are?’.”

    “We Are?” – “I wanna go home and worship my dead wife.”

    • justifiable

      LOL, a 1928 Porter: “My Mother The Car [who was so clueless that she placed me for adoption in the same town she lived in so that I’d actually have a decent chance of hooking up with my half sister].”

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    By now, I’m convinced Tom Batiuk himself is a sociopath. So much so that he can’t even write other characters anymore. He can’t conceive a character who might see the world differently from his personal avatars.

    Because Mason’s actions make no sense here. He spent all that time coaxing Les, reassuring Les, promising Les he’d be involved, committing to Tell Lisa’s Story The Right Way… and the first thing he does is defy Les, on the ONLY instruction Les gave him. And, in a sensitive situation, where he knows Les will act out. Come on. No real person, or even halfway-conceived fictional character, is this unperceptive. And why does Mason have such a boner for Marianne Winters anyway?

    Mason can’t be his own character with his own motivations. He can’t even be his own villain. He has to be the villain in the way Les (and Batiuk) want him to be the villain. He has to indulge Les’ martyr complex, by going against Les’ wishes, and being inattentive to Les’ feelings. Sociopaths commonly feel this way. In Batiuk’s mind, he’s justified the tantrum Les is about to throw.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Nah, he is just a bitter old fool because he never got that Pulitzer. But he did get a puff piece in The New York Times, so he can brag to his friends about that.

  9. Hitorque

    Okay fine, Les… You tell us exactly who you want to play your dead wife… Can’t wait to hear this shit…

    • William Thompson

      “Marilyn Monroe, of course!”
      “Les, she’s dead.”
      “Yeah . . . !”

      • justifiable

        Not a chance, even dead. Les has been adamant at turning down every single woman with an ounce of sex appeal for the part. Really tells you how she saw Lisa, huh?

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    Note to Batty: if you have to make sideways strip on a weekday, then you are talking too much.

    It’s not writing, it’s verbal diarrhea.

  11. This has nothing to do with a movie. This is just Batiuk trying to convince the public that his book is important noble and everyone should buy a copy.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I’m surprised the newspapers aren’t trying to charge him for the advertising.

      The syndicate should be slapping his hand too and telling him to come up with something original and interesting.

    • Epicus Doomus

      This is always what it’s “really” about. He’s like a backup running back who has the game of his life in the Super Bowl then spends the next forty years at card shows signing Super Bowl memorabilia.

  12. Hitorque

    I love how they’re supposed to be partners and after that long, emotion walk through Central Park when they reached a mutual bromance, the last month has been a nonstop game of throwing each other under the bus…

  13. Paul Jones

    How about the real hook in which her parents reconcile with her after she dies? That’s a twist no one else noticed.

  14. Charles

    Your title ought to be the correct answer, that the hook is that Lisa dies, as opposed to most other movies dealing with cancer where the person lives due to their indomitable spirit and their brave, never give up will to live.

    I mean, that’s lovely, but people die from cancer all the time, and it’s not because they weren’t trying to beat the disease. It’s just a sad reality, and there certainly should be a place for stories about people like that, if nothing else to run counter to all the stories that suggest that cancer is something that can be beaten with pluck and spirit and a can-do attitude. Sometimes you can do everything right, and everything you can and cancer still kills you.

    But that is undercut significantly by the mixed up medical records, without which we’ve certainly been given the impression that Lisa would not have died.

    It’s as if Batiuk doesn’t understand why his story made an impression. Because he had the records mix-up, it seems as though he really does believe that if you do everything right and have the right attitude, you will always beat cancer. But he wanted Lisa to die, and he didn’t want her dying because she wasn’t up to the challenge, thus he brings in medical malpractice and that’s what kills her.

    And that’s the thing that kills the one and only “hook” he actually has here. He wants to be the guy who tells the story about how life often sucks and most of the time there’s nothing you can do about it, but leaves in things that his characters could have done but didn’t. It sabotages itself.

  15. Charles

    The Darin plot is only a hook if the search for Lisa’s-son-who-she-gave-up-for-adoption was the main story, with cancer making the search more desperate. It has nothing to do with her dealing with cancer. It’s astounding how bad Batiuk is at understanding just what a story is.

  16. Westview Radiology

    Batty-Yuck has us all fooled! After 9 years attending Kent State’s thespian undergrad program Summer Moore makes a triumphant return to Westview to star as her mother, of course who could play Les ??? Wait a minute I’m making myself sick …