The Lifetime of a Role

Link to today’s strip.

Charles: I just realized that with Mason being on the masthead, the guy tailing Les is Mason, who is surreptitiously researching Les for his role.

Holy moley, I think that’s got to be correct.  It’s so utterly stupid (on Batiuk’s part, I hasten to add) that it has to be real.  I can just see Mason thinking (if that’s the right word) “I’ll follow Les as he drives to and from work, so I can get his driving pattern down perfect, for the movie to be real.”  (Let’s not bring up that it’s actually Cayla driving.)

Because I can just as easily see someone in the Valentine audience wrinkling his face with disgust and saying, “This movie is total garbage.  Everyone knows Les does a ‘rolling stop‘ when he drives away from the high school.  He also tends to weave leftward.  I’m leaving and I want my money back.”

Because I can thirdly see Mason imagining the above scenario, and breaking out into a cold sweat.

Speaking of cold sweat, our “mysterious” driver seems to be experiencing one, despite the fact that a) he could simply go around and continue on the road, and thus allay suspicion, and b) the sight of a racing Les, arms flailing, is one of the most hilarious things this strip has shown.   Our mystery driver should be shaking with laughter.

It’s a pity that “Shoot!” in panel three is just a thought balloon, rather than an order to a guy with a shotgun sitting in the passenger seat.  That would lead to the greatest Saturday strip in the history of Funky Winkerbean.  I wouldn’t even mind the sideways comic-book tribute Sunday strip showing the funeral.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

34 responses to “The Lifetime of a Role

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Charles called it yesterday, that’s definitely Mason, not (sigh) Frankie. He’s killing a week with a pointless fake-out designed to get us Frankie fans all riled up over nothing. What a dick move.

    “Oh, hmmm, very interesting. Les didn’t come to a complete stop at that stop sign. I’d better make a note of it. Oh, look, he uses the side door at work, not the main entrance! “Lisa’s Story” fans would notice that sort of thing!”. Typical Batom, you finally learn what the story will be about and it’s so incomprehensibly dumb you never could have imagined it yourself. Like I always say (and frequently forget), even the stupidest fan theories are way, way too well thought-out and complicated for FW.

    Maybe mentioning long-lost FW characters for no reason will become a new way to keep those word balloons filled. “Hey, I saw Maddie and Wally Jr. before and they told me Barry Balderman is taking over the space where Citizen Khan’s used to be!”. I think it’d actually improve the strip, as it’s not like it’d make it any worse.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Eh, what was Frankie going to do anyway? Follow them around and try to sell G-rated rumors to TMZ?

      • gleeb

        Expose that the Moores are a mixed couple, and destroy the Cincinnati market for the movie?

  2. William Thompson

    Don’t shoot! Throw a Molotov cocktail! Kill it with fire!

    • billytheskink

      Or just drive forward quickly…

      and once Les is good and run over, throw a Molotov cocktail.

      • justifiable

        Back up and go forward several times. then throw a Molotov cocktail. You just can’t be too careful.

  3. William Thompson

    Right. Like Les has ever noticed anything but himself.

  4. CRM114

    ROTFLMFAO. Les as a tough guy?? So, a year ago, somebody cut Batty off in traffic and this is his revenge, huh.

  5. William Thompson

    I don’t want it to be Mason Jarre. I want it to be somebody who will beat the shit out of Les.

  6. CRM114

    Perchance to dream?…What would be nice is a starburst “KAPOW” followed by the sub : “We regret to inform you that this content is no longer available.” Sigh. ZZZZZzzzzzz.

  7. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    If the Jarre Hypothesis indeed turns out to be true, it will certainly make perfect sense. Why do something silly like fly to Ohio, ask Les if he could sit in on a few of his classes (His face covered with a virus mask, of course, because obviously all the students are Starbuck Jones fans), and talk to Funky, Holly, Les’s Other Wife Who Isn’t Dead St. Lisa, and other Westviewvians to get an idea of the person he’s going to portray on the silver screen? Instead, follow him furtively in a car and learn absolutely nothing other than his school day schedule and small-town Ohio traffic patterns!

    • justifiable

      Only Todd would think that acting means a slavish imitation of a subject’s every move, and not the actor’s interpretation of the person as a whole. Because all of of Todd’s creations are absolutely perfect, and any variation from that ideal is blasphemy.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Also: Les Moore is NOT a challenging role.

        Look up some stories of what real actors have done to prepare for roles. Massive, even dangerous body transformations; researching complex afflictions like autism; understanding terrible events like the Holocaust; mastering difficult skills like boxing or playing an instrument.

        And Tom Batiuk has no respect for acting anyway. It’s another one of those things that anyone can stumble into and suddenly become famous, like Mason Jarre did when Les gave him a bent nail. Which is all the research I’ve ever seen him do. So to have Mason put in this level of effort to capture the nuances of Les Moore is the height of arrogance.

  8. Charles

    It’s pretty easy to determine that it’s Mason. We know from the masthead that he’s going to be around next week, and this week’s reveal hasn’t even happened and it’s Friday. So unless you think Batiuk’s going to reveal who’s stalking Les and then immediately drop the subject, it’s Mason.

    And it just, once again, testifies to his neediness. Here Batiuk has created a character, a world-famous actor, one of the most successful people in Hollywood, according to his story, who owns two multi-million dollar homes and has a private jet and he’s obsessed with Les, Batiuk’s author avatar, to the point where he stalks him. He must know everything about this fascinating man. There is no detail of his life that is too minute, too insignificant to examine. And he’s doing this in service of a movie he’s going to make about Les, who he describes as a “Real hero”. He believes that the movie will be better if he portrays Les exactly as Les is. Any detail about Les that’s off from reality will make the movie worse for it. When Les moves his bowels, Mason will be there to see his regularity.

    But it doesn’t even stop there! No, it’s not enough that Batiuk’s made this world famous, wealthy, People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive actor obsessed with his avatar. He’s going to have his avatar power trip this situation! Mason is going to beg Les to tell him everything about himself and Les is going to turn him down.

    But I have to admit that for all the uselessness of what Mason has been shown doing, it nonetheless reveals a lot more about Les than I suspect Batiuk intended.

    Hour One: Les wakes up and his wife asks him how he slept. Les tells her that he had a nightmare and she asked him to tell her about it.

    Hour One point Five: Les tells his wife about his dream and how it’s concerning him.

    Hour Two: Les and his wife go out to their car to go to work. Wife tells Les not to worry about his concerns. Les says he’s going to worry about his concerns.

    Hour Nine: Les and wife leave their place of employment. Wife asks Les how his day went, expressing sympathy for a minor ordeal Les went through. Les talks about his minor ordeal that was so trying for him.

    Hour Nine point Five: Les brings up the conversation they had about his worries that morning and demands that his wife stop the car because he needs to address something concerning his worries.

    See it yet, Mason?

    • Epicus Doomus

      In a way I suppose the Frankie dream does make a bit of (unintentional) sense. Les is worried about Hollywood violating the purity of his cancer book just like Frankie violated Lisa back in (sigh) high school. And in that context “Lust For Lisa” becomes even creepier.

      Not only is he impossibly self-absorbed, but the thing he’s concerned about is, of course, Lisa. That’s where FW and reality sort of intertwine, as they’re both the stories of guys who just can’t let the Lisa character and the arc where she died go. Les is burdening his still-living current wife with ancient Lisa stories, meanwhile BatTom is annoying his still-active current readers with ancient Lisa stories.

      I remember discussing this way back during the original book launch movie option arc. Batiuk could have done years worth of grieving widower arcs with Les, but he opted to skip ten years ahead instead. Then, in typical wishy-washy style, he did thirteen years of grieving widower arcs anyway. He’s such a disingenuous hack.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Les is worried about Hollywood violating the purity of his cancer book just like Frankie violated Lisa back in (sigh) high school. And in that context “Lust For Lisa” becomes even creepier.

        Especially since Lisa wasn’t even Les’ girlfriend at the time. He just has this pathological need to possess her.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Even worse, it’s a pathological need to possess her death. Note how LesTom NEVER shares or re-lives any happy Lisa moments. When she was raped, when she was teen pregnant, when she died…he’s fiercely protective of all that, but you never see LesTom rehashing, for example, when she gave birth to Summer or the times she “stood up” for the oppressed.

          • Charles

            She found a quarter that one time!

            Keep in mind that Summer was a preemie and that Lisa speculated that the pregnancy would probably trigger a relapse in her cancer. And the most celebrated time she stood up for the “oppressed” she defended a guy selling pornographic comic books.

            It’s a damn miracle her cremation wasn’t botched.

  9. Paul Jones

    And here we go with the stupidest research ever. He knows where Les lives, he’s been to town and he’s married to Cindy so why do this?

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Mason, you were just with Les for several weeks of meetings pertaining this dumb movie. You went to New York with him. He stayed at your house. Did all of that make no impression on you as to what Les is really like? It should have, since he did nothing but whine, obstruct, and insult you.

    Most actors would just meet the person they’re playing. Or at lesst talk to people who know them. Like YOUR OWN WIFE.

    Speaking of which, have you considered giving Cindy cancer and watching her die? That would give you some real insight into what it’s like to be Les, Mr. Method Actor.

  11. Count of Tower Grove

    Looks like Caucayla finished her pigmentation scrape. Perhaps that’s where the China vacation money went.

  12. sgtsaunders

    I guess Mason is all “Let’s find out just how big an asshole is day-to-day.”

    • sgtsaunders

      I guess Mason is all “Let’s find out just how big an asshole Les is day-to-day.” – sorry about the lack of editing. Very Batuikian of me.

  13. Hitorque

    I don’t get it… This movie is called “Lisa’s Story” so shouldn’t Marianne Winters be doing all this stalkery stuff, up to and including playing “house” with Les?

    • batgirl

      The movie is _called_ “Lisa’s Story”, sure, but I think it’s been well established that the word “Lisa” could in all instances be replaced by “Les’s Grief”. Or maybe “Les’s Grievance”.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That depends. Does Marianne Winters know she’s in the movie yet?

    • William Thompson

      Marianne Winters is a girl. She needs a man to do things for her.

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    Stalking a business partner isn’t smart under any circumstances. Furthermore, Mason should know by now that Les is touchy. And, Les apparently still has the power to pull the plug on the whole project, because he keeps pondering if he should do so. So why on earth would Mason do this? It’s just so stupid.

  15. Maxine of Arc


  16. Smirks 'R Us

    So we are to believe that Less, thinking the stalker to be Frankie, angrily exits his 1995 Chevy Cavalier and stomps his way TOWARDS his would-be attacker.

    Sure, Batty, sure.

    I think those of us that have read this work of art for a long time know that Less would exit the car and run as fast as he could in the opposite direction, leaving Cayla to fend for herself. Probably screaming “protect me, Ghost Lisa!”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, this is the same Les Moore who signs the shopping agreement and silently roots for it to fail because he can’t say “no” to a personal friend.

  17. Hitorque

    Fuck this shit, seriously… Even though folks predicted it, I was REALLY hoping Batuik wasn’t going to be this lazy, but here we are.

    Why is Masone in Ohio shadowing Les when he should be back in Hollywood hiring the crew, filling out the rest of the cast and getting other logistical/legal/technical concerns in order?? If he’s the producer doesn’t he have to get fired immediately? Does he literally have nothing better to do than fly to Westview and sit in a rental car for nine hours? And what would Cindye have to say about this? Because this is creepy neurotic stalkerish behavior even by her standards.

    This is LESLIE FUCKIN’ MOORE we are talking about here, not some enigmatic half-crazy celeb like Elon Musk. Enough with the “research” about your “role”, Mr. Dustin Hoffman… I might understand a little if he’d never met Les or been to Westview, but he has been there multiple times already, and he’s been an overnight guest at the Moore home on more than one occasion.

    And isn’t the ball in Les’ court now? Doesn’t he have to, I dunno, hunker down and start writing his goddamn script??