Charles in Charge

Link to today’s strip.

Yes, our very own Charles called it.  Congratulations, sir, you may pick up your prize at the ticket window.

I’ve never read it, and have no intention to do so, but my impression of “Lisa’s Story” is that it is (and I’m being generous I know) a story about a young couple, and how they cope with the knowledge that one of them will be dead soon.

Of course, I’m sure the actual book is all about Les, his feelings, his sufferings, how could the universe do this to him, and how will he mope, etc etc.   Even so, I imagine that there isn’t anything in the book about how Les drives to work.  The route he takes, the little quirks in his driving habits, how long he takes, what he listens to on the radio (“I need to know that for the movie’s soundtrack album!”).

Tom Batiuk seems to think everyone is as obsessed with trivia as he is.  Fun fact:  no one is.  If this is seriously how Mason researches a role, how the hell did he play Starbuck Jones without traveling into space?

Look how manfully Les tears open the door.  Almost as if he knew there’d be a “friendly” inside.  Just imagine anyone else on the other side of that door, and Les would be getting the well-deserved (and long overdue) beating of his life.  Which would be much more satisfying than anything this strip is capable of offering.

25 Comments

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25 responses to “Charles in Charge

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This arc has been like a Batom bad writing showcase. The “climax” of the weekly arc feature Les behaving wildly out of character and an incredibly dumb misdirection “twist” that makes even less sense than having Frankie re-appear for real. Why would Mason need to follow Les around to see what he’s like twenty-three years after “Lisa’s Story” ends? What was Les going to do if it really was Frankie, assault him for having the nerve to drive through the town where the girl he impregnated in high school used to live?

    He could have at least tried to take this premise in a comedic direction (that idiotic banter between Les and Cayla doesn’t count) but instead he decided to name-drop a few old prestige arcs then have Les passionately defend the cancer book’s honor again, just to remind everyone about his biggest ever prestige arc, in the middle of an arc about that prestige arc, no less. The lack of imagination and degree of self-absorption here is just off the charts. There was a time when I started to think that maybe (at least for the most part) he was finally putting Lisa and the cancer book behind him somewhat. But it was just a lull, like when you have a few mild winters in a row then it snows forty inches in December.

    Imagine Mason’s notes.

    “Fruity stride, beard, gray wings in hair, whines a lot, sulky, new wife is afterthought, car…eastern European maybe?????”

  2. William Thompson

    Let’s see: Les gets paranoid, jumps out of his car, rushes to the other car and opens its door. That’s probably a crime right there–breaking and entering, maybe? Now, suppose the driver had been Frankie or Jared and they’d fought back? They would be in the right to defend themselves. And what if Cayla had been dragged into the fight, say by being assaulted after Les was stomped into road pizza? Yeah, Les, as usual you didn’t think of Not-Lisa. Ladies and gentlemen and Mason, our hero!

  3. William Thompson

    Congratulations, Mason! You wanted to see the real Les and you got him– the deranged, paranoid, violent, egomaniacal him.

    • justifiable

      You forgot “abusive” and “narcissistic.” Those are, after all, Less’s best qualities.

      • William Thompson

        “Impulsive,” too. Can you see him explaining this action in court? “I had a nightmare that somebody from my past . . . well, not exactly my past; he’d annoyed Darrin Fairgood and Marianne Winters, years ago. But I’d dreamed he was now after me! So when I saw this strange car following me one day, I felt sure it was, uh . . .”

        Prosecutor: “A dream come true?”

  4. billytheskink

    I’ve been accosted by butterflies that are more intimidating than Les is here.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Wow! If only this were an arc in which Cayla and Mason have hatched a plot to have paranoid, egomaniacal Les involuntarily committed. Cayla could report that Les was obsessing about a person he’s had a grudge about for forty years. Mason could report that Les came over to his car, pulled open the door and threatened him. Maybe even Principal Nate could give a statement that Mr. Moore’s behavior has been erratic lately sending students to the office for pretextual reasons with the student he just sent to the office, mistaking him for long-graduated Jared, as the latest example.

    It makes about as much sense as the plots we’ve been presented for the last year and a half.

  6. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Well, I thought for sure it would be either Harry the Hypnotist, Professor Hyde-White, or Don Knotts. I would also think Mr. Jarre would know to lock his car door. Isn’t he worried about Starbuck Jones fans coming up to his car on L.A. street corners and opening the door so they can grab pieces of his shirt for souvenirs?

    As far as the “Lisa’s Story: The Movie: The Soundtrack” album (also to be made available, I assume, on 8-track tape) i’m going to venture some educated guesses and assume its nostalgic repertoire will include “More, More, More” by Andrea True Connection, Roxy Music’s “More Than This,” “A Little Bit More” by Dr. Hook, Elvis Costello’s “Less Than Zero,” and “One Less Bell to Answer” by The 5th Dimension. Sadly for Jesse Coulter, they will hold off on “I’m Not Lisa” for the “Last Leaf” sequel, which will feature Jennifer Aniston in minimal blackface as Cayla.

  7. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Masone watched Less and wife go to work, and he watched them leave work. He apparently spent hours there, so I hope he peeked in the classroom window to see Less in action. He’d see what Posey did that got him sent to the office, and he’d see how Less handled it. Naw, that would’ve been interesting to see, so we got told about it. Maybe Masone just wants to see how Less holds his briefcase on his way into and out of work.

  8. erdmann

    The real twist comes next Saturday when Mason, back in the privacy of his hotel room, pulls off his Scooby Doo-style rubber mask to reveal that he is really… dun dun DUN… Frankie! He secretly replaced Mason during Bull’s funeral and is carrying out his masterplan of revenge. He will have “Lisa’s Story” filmed, supposedly to Les’ exacting specifications, but during post he will re-edit it to tell his own version of the tale, one that hews closer to the truth. Les will be devastated and his reputation will be in ruins. Cayla will divorce him and run off with Jarod Posey. Frankie and Cindy (who was in on it all along) will disappear with millions of dollars.
    Later, Les will be found dead below No Bottom Road, another apparent suicide. No one will ever know that he drove off the cliff after his tire was shot out by Frankie’s other partner… dun dun DUN… Zanzibar, the talking murder chimp!
    Sigh… I just love happy endings.

  9. Paul Jones

    The header hints at the real problem: Mason going from manic to depressive because no one wants to hang out with someone doing a chick flick.

  10. 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?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Mason said at the beginning of this arc that Les wouldn’t be writing the script this time.

      • William Thompson

        But what does Batiuk say now? We still haven’t seen Creepy Les meet the scriptwriter, which would be a bigger story point than “Messon spies on Les” or “Les hates Marianne Winters.”

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Batiuk will continue to say the word “Lisa” as much and as long as possible.

          Because he seems to have formed the impression that this sells copies of his Dead Lisa book trilogy, and/or improves his chances of winning an award for it. That’s all this arc is about anymore: keeping the tragedy of Lisa in the public consciousness. It’s not about telling a story, not even a tedious, Les-glorifying, unrelatable one.

          Les will meet and/or become the scriptwriter whenever it serves this purpose.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    This should be the fatal blow to Lisa’s Story: The Movie We know Les is suspicious of Hollywood, and what Mason did here is a serious violation of Les’ trust. The “researching a role” bit doesn’t fly, because he’s been around Les plenty.

    But it won’t. We’ll get a week of Mason explaining himself, and then we’re right back to “gosh, Cayla, I don’t know if I should make this movie or not.” The one time Les should be snippy and offended, he won’t be. And this betrayal will have no effect on their relationship. Just like Mason’s incompetence and Les’ assholish behavior at the pitch meetings didn’t.

    Even Batiuk’s centerpiece, Mary Sue character will completely forget who he is and what he wants just to keep the story droning on endlessly.

  12. robertodobbs

    For many years all cars self-lock. Les couldn’t open the car door unless the driver had hit the unlock button. Little errors in comics like this drive me crazy.

  13. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    This arc, and today’s episode in particular, is overflowing with more crap than when your fat cousin severely clogged the toilet on Thanksgiving. Where do I even start??

    Unless Masonne (facepalm!) were following three inches behind, how would Goatee Boy even think there was something wrong about the guy behind him? LOTS of people on the road are going where you’re going, and might be behind you for a while.

    There was no mention of being followed on the morning drive, so how could Goatee think “It’s THAT guy again!” This encounter comes off as extremely random. You can add forced and contrived.

    Even in 1947, which is THIS year in Batty’s pointy little bald head, let alone in this actual century, it’s an EXTREMELY bad idea to get out of your car and aggressively approach another car. And ripping open the driver’s door??? Even if the other driver wasn’t initially inclined to fight you, it’s goin’ DOWN. And Crayola sits there allowing this to happen???

    Most people I know carry a little somethin’ in their car in case of extreme emergencies like this one. Not necessarily a gun, but more people have a gun stashed in their car than you’d think. But pepper spray, baseball bats, billy clubs, tire irons, knives… I kid you not. It’s the world we live in.

    Just go to YouTube. There are dozens and dozens of road rage videos that start just like this, and they usually don’t end well.

    And the very thought of Les Flippin Moore going Grade A Road Rage on ANYBODY like this is beyond absurd. Come the flip on, BatWit! Fact is, if the other driver were anyone BUT Movie Darin, Goatee Boy would be laid out in the middle of the road in a bloody heap.

    Hey BatWit, why not just call time out and rewrite this. We’ll give you a do-over. Have Goatee Boy notice the car following him, and just make snide and frightened remarks about “drivers these days.” Have us find out it’s Movie Darin some other way.

    And I won’t even bother to address the profound stupidity of Massoon doing this for whatever mind-numbingly stupid reason.

  14. Does anyone actually think Les would really confront someone?

    A more realistic strip would be three days of him sulking to Cayla wondering who it was, followed by a clumsy pun and a smirk.