Hollywoodnesday, July 15

Today’s strip was not available for preview. Whether it is available for regular view in a timely manner is up to Comics Kingdom and their miserable and often buggy interface that has supplanted seemingly every newspaper’s online comics section. Oh to return to that time a few years ago when some papers let you read comics from multiple syndicates on the same single webpage… or even just a few months ago when I could download a PDF file of the physical paper with my overpriced and constantly-rising online newspaper subscription and read the comics in the pleasant manner that I would in a physical paper. The internet has never been easier to access or more difficult to use… but I digress.

I’m going to assume Les is still in the Hollywoodland Studios soundstage with MariLisa and MasoLes. As both actors are wearing thick winter clothing (in addition to their amazing wigs) in prior appearances this week, I am also going to assume they are preparing to film scenes from when Lisa first figured out something was amiss in her body.  That was back in January 1999.

Lisa and Les, Cindy and Funky, and Lu Lin and Zhang Li all went out into the snow to play football (apparently tackle football?!) in mid-January 1999. Lisa decided to perform a critical self examination for breast lumps after feeling abnormal pain when Zhang Li tackled her to the ground. You know the rest. If you don’t, TB has some books he would like to sell you…

For those that don’t remember (looking at you, TB), Lu Lin and Zhang Li were a refugee couple from China who owned and operated The Jade Dragon (see this handy Act II character guide), a Chinese restaurant next door to Montoni’s. Like everything in Westview that doesn’t involve pizza, comics, or high school, the restaurant eventually went out of business and the couple wisely left town. Montoni’s then expanded and absorbed the space that The Jade Dragon once occupied.

30 Comments

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30 responses to “Hollywoodnesday, July 15

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Wow, so the cancer story dates all the way back to January 1999? I thought it was more like 2004-2005. Man alive, he’s been beating that drum for twenty-one years now.

    I don’t remember the Chinese characters at all. I do remember that Act II had an absolutely massive cast of characters, each with their own back stories that often intertwined with other back stories. It was kind of tough to keep up and if you missed a few months or years you’d come back and be utterly baffled, especially given the quality of the artwork back then.

    • Charles

      I remember the Chinese couple because of the incident where Crazy threw out his back and the woman spontaneously and without permission walked on it to soothe him, because no minority in Batiuk-land can be anything if they’re not a stereotype.

  2. billytheskink

    I wonder who is playing Zhang Li in this flick, he’s a pretty critical character in all of this. If he doesn’t tackle Lisa then she probably doesn’t find that breast lump as early as she does. As a result, she doesn’t get the treatment needed to put her cancer into remission for 8 years and, subsequently does not become healthy enough (or even survive) to give birth to Summer. It was Summer who encouraged Les to actually write up Lisa’s Story and submit it to publishers. No Zhang Li = no Lisa’s Story to turn into a movie.

    Well, whoever the poor soul is who was cast as Zhang Li, I’m sure Les is throughly unhappy with their existence.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Just saw the Wednesday strip and yikes, what a listless outing. Even a moment as momentous as Les seeing “Lisa” again couldn’t inspire BatHam to throw together some memorable (or even passable) dialog.

    “You look like Lisa.”
    “I am playing Lisa.”

    Uh, yeah. Good job there, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy.

    • Hitorque

      That’s what irks the living hell out of me…

      I promise you that over the years whether out in public, on TV, or in his own classroom, Les Moore on multiple occasions would have seen a girl who was a 100% dead ringer for Lisa, just from the law of averages. Did he go all creepy stalker stare on those girls, too??

  4. billytheskink

    Marianne’s snarky and rude response to Les today tells me she would actually play Les pretty well.

    And oh joy, that dang park bench… This is gonna be a park bench scene. Ugh.

  5. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    “Well, since the book was all about how I dealt with Lisa’s giving up a child for adoption, and how I managed to get her to marry me, and how I supported her through that cancer thing she had, and how sad I was when she died, yes. I just assumed I was every character in this film!”

  6. CRM114

    Marianne actually is commenting on Les ( and Batty), his awe of himself, and his overwhelming desire to make love to himself.

  7. Paul Jones

    Five bucks says that this was Batiuk’s reaction to seeing George Kennedy in the Crankshaft makeup.

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    Ok so now we have three days worth of Les staring at Lisa 2.0.

    Can he stretch this out all week and then give us a sideways Sunday?

  9. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Oh, this is such forced, contrived garbage. Are you telling me that with just a wig and some makeup (no mask, no latex), Maryanne Summers Winters can look so much like Pre-Dead Lisa, that even up close, Goatee Boy is flabbergasted? Gimmeafugginbreak.

    If Ayrhead had any talent (spoiler alert: he doesn’t), she’d look like Maryanne Summers Winters in makeup TRYING to look like Lisa. Instead HE LITERALLY DRAWS LISA. There’s a difference. There really is. This is stupid.

    • Hitorque

      Yeah, I was going to mention that… Nobody ever looks THAT close to the character they’re playing to the point where they’re practically Les+Lisa clones… I mean FFS Masone wasn’t content to just dye his hair black, he went with the full Les afro!

      But this is TomBa’s long awaited chance (not counting that bullshit class reunion time travel flashback) to finally bring Lisa back to life and he’s going to milk it to the last drop

      • Charles

        Exactly, who knew that the hair was all that separated Lisa in appearance from an actress who starred in a cheesecake role in a major film? She wasn’t cast because she looked like Lisa, after all.

        If you put Brad Pitt in a wig that looks just like my hair, he’d look like Brad Pitt with my hair.

  10. William Thompson

    A matte painting? They’re going to have a fake painted background, like in an early-Sixties TV show? That worked for Star Trek and The Outer Limits, but only because the TVs of the time didn’t have great image definition. This is going to look pathetically cheap. Which may be the idea. I can hear Bratiuk pitching this idea to an exasperated producer: “It’s a great story! It’s brilliant! And you can film it for pocket change!”

    • Gerard Plourde

      Even worse, they’re filming one of the park bench scenes that could easily be shot outside on a soundstage. Even tv shows (including sitcoms) shoot this kind of scene outdoors. It’s just as easy to spread fake snow around outside as it is indoors.

      • comicbookharriet

        Even if they WEREN’T going to shoot this outside, they would be shooting with blue screen in the background so they could drop in REAL outdoors rather than a matte painting.

        This is going to look worse than the roof segments of The Room.

        • billytheskink

          That should work well for the big “You are tearing me apart, Lisa!” scene, though.

    • Yeah, I have no idea why this scene would be shot indoors. I’m thinking of all those Hallmark movies that are set in New York City. They will show a stock shot of the skyline to establish location, then will cut to a street scene that’s clearly shot somewhere in Vancouver.

    • Charles

      It’s going to be fixed camera, which means that this deeply emotional and important scene is going to be shot in the most static, uninteresting fashion available to them.

      They won’t be able to shoot different angles, they won’t be able to do closeups, the camera would barely be able to move, because the background continuity would be so obviously broken that viewers wouldn’t be able to pay attention to what was going on in the scene.

  11. c

    The bench has a walk on role in panel three.

  12. Professor Fate

    Ye gods this is tiresome. Really just what is the point and what does the author want the reader to feel and think about this? Are we intended to be as overwhelmed as Les is? And why? And as other’s have noted of course she looks just like Lisa as noted all his female characters look pretty much alike so change the hair style and viola! it’s Lisa or Summer or anybody.
    And a last question just why is Masone as Les giving Les the stink eye? Just another inexplicable odd touch in an arc full of them.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Maybe Ayers is telegraphing how dumb he thinks this week’s installment is.

      Even in the early days of television a scene like this would be shot outside on the back lot. Now, they’d probably just go on location somewhere in LA.

      • William Thompson

        I can see them shooting a winter scene indoors, given how hot it can be during a Los Angeles summer. Just imagine what would happen to Marianne and Mason if they had to do numerous takes while dressed for a winter scene. Heat stroke, sun stroke, dehydration, hyperthermia . . . c’mon, help me with my imaginings!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That’s a great observation. The only way this endless Hollywood wank makes any sense is if we’re supposed to be following Les on his journey. But all he’s done the whole trip is complain, act indifferent, make snotty remarks, and gawk at unremarkable things.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    “You look like Lisa.” That’s really all the Lord of Language has to say, after three days? Great writing, Batiuk, you really know how to convey the emotional stakes of a story.

  14. Hitorque

    Wow… Out of all the things Marianne could have done with that setup, she delivers the most uninspired one-liner recorded in Western history…

    And what’s up with that sitcom set for the bench scene? I thought this was a big budget movie project with all the trimmings? This “movie” has all the expert professionalism of the A/V club back at Westview High! After all that bullshit with Les taking Masone on the Lisa Historic Death Trail in Manhattan, they aren’t filming that scene there? What about Masone furiously scribbling every tidbit about Lisa’s life in that little notebook? What happened to Masone wasting weeks *personally* scouting his own shooting locations? I didn’t just imagine that stuff, did I?

  15. Barnaby Scones

    Well, awesome. Now I know all about the film industry. Make-up and wigs magically turn people into clones. 30 seconds after useless “chemistry reads” the shooting begins. Main actors can’t get on the lot. Studios bow down to the childish tantrums of a dick writer. And outdoor scenes are fake.