Les, the humorless shmuck, humorless shmucks around in today’s strip.
Nothing – not cancer, not Hollywood, not even the students he loathes so much – seems to disturb and anger Les more (oy, sorry) than people laughing at him over something utterly trivial. Funky and Crazy found this out the hard way 9 years ago, in the infamous “Children left behind” strip. Despite what they are doing in Les’ imagination, I doubt they would be bold enough to so much as chuckle anywhere within earshot of Les again.
Is this how TB’s family and friends reacted to his recurring role as “Art Professor” (I think that is both his name and his profession) in the ongoing live-action saga of The Cardinal, the greatest comic superhero around who dresses like the Iowa State University mascot?
Yeah it probably is. Also, Les himself exists in The Cardinal live-action universe. *shudder*
34 responses to “Thought-Les”
Well, that’s six people, which is six more than will laugh at today’s strip. Look at that Summer drawing, the years have apparently been quite unkind to ol’ Basketball Jones. Les didn’t want to write the book, he didn’t want to publish the book, he didn’t want to option the book, he didn’t want to option the book again, he didn’t like the casting and now he doesn’t want a cameo. If only his parents had felt the same on that fateful night fifty-five years ago.
That’s Summer? I thought it was Bernie Silverburp.
I thought it was Becky until I saw the two arms.
Who’s the guy in the back row on the left, though? I wasn’t sure if it was a bad Albert Einstein caricature or Ollie from the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet stores, where I’m sure I’ll find all three “Lisa’s Story” books marked down at 90% off retail prices, next to the Cajun cookbooks and Hillary 2016 exposes.
It’s Jim, the science teacher who only exists in one or two Sunday strips a year to say something about climate change and deliver a “punchline” about kids today being idiots. I think it’s very hilarious that Les considers him and John two of his closest friends, and not his daughter-in-law, or Linda, who he’s talked to more than his own wife, or Darin, who he’s sort of related to.
The KSU shirt, which amazingly does not appear to be a hoodie. I don’t think she’s been sans hoodie since the last basketball arc.
The KSU shirt is also blue. Hasn’t it always been red? (It could bet that Batiuk was attempting a “Little Red Riding Hood” joke with the red hoodie; as evidence, bear in mind that he never carried through on the joke.)
So Les realizes people can find him laughable? Does that say something about the character or the author?
Yeah, like Les’ acquaintances would do anything other than offer sympathy and praise.
It’s really telling that he assumes his nearest and dearest–closest friends, wife and daughter–will react with such contemptuous, scornful hilarity. That’s not kind laughter he’s imagining. So much for bonds of love and friendship in the Funkyverse!
Don’t worry about it, Les. No one has laughed at anything you’ve said or done in decades. It’s pretty damned unlikely they’re gonna start now.
Oh, fuck you, Les. Your friends fall all over themselves to praise you and indulge your sick fetish, and this is really what you think of them? I wish they could see this, after all they’ve done for you. Maybe they’d finally see what an ungrateful shitbag you are, and put an end to this Viking funeral.
And you have the gall to include Cayla in that crowd? Whom you never took to Hong Kong? Whom you never spend any time with unless you need to talk about Lisa? Who’s sitting in your house, waiting for you to come home, while you take yet another all-expenses-paid trip to jerk off into Lisa’s ashes? Any real woman would have divorced you at least eight times by now. If not castrated you the second you tried that “in the main, you’ll always be second to Lisa” proposal.
God, I hate this character so much. How many goddam times can Les be given a dream opportunity and then whine about it, with that tired-ass “boo hoo hoo, I’m so conflicted” face?
Take the fucking cameo role or don’t, Les. It’s not that hard a decision.
I like that Kablichnick is there smiling and laughing, like he’s friends with Les or has ever done anything with him other than share their mutual disgust with high school students and school levy voters.
I’m pretty sure the only other time Kablichnick has been depicted as smiling in the entire history of this strip was when he met Cliff Anger at that stupid Starbuck Jones event that was promoted via coded message in newspapers.
I thought the same thing…what the f*ck is Klabinchnik doing there? How many times have they even interacted during Act III? While I think I understand what he was trying to go for here, like everything else in the Funkyverse it comes across as more strange and disturbing than anything else, particularly if you actually follow the strip.
I mean the only person he ever really seemed sincerely interested in is dead. In his mind, his wife, daughter, friends and co-workers see him as a laughingstock and a fool. He doesn’t seem to derive any pleasure or joy from anything other than when he hits one of his “friends” with a sarcastic smug zinger. He’s incapable of forgiveness (Bull) and when his old pals try to joke around with him he forces them to humiliate themselves. It paints a pretty dark picture of a deeply disturbed and genuinely unpleasant man, which I don’t think is his goal here. But if it is, well done, man.
The makeup of that crowd is a damning indictment of Les’ empty life. “Family and friends” to him means a wife he badly neglects, an adult child he barely knows, two people from high school 40 years ago he rarely interacts with, one co-worker, and Funky. It’s not exactly the crowd at Charlie Brown’s magic show:
I’m surprised Bull isn’t there.
Wow, we both mentioned Bull within seconds of each other. That’s weird. I guarantee it’ll never happen again either.
That would require Les to think of Bull as a friend, which, going by Bull’s funeral, Les clearly did not.
I’m surprised Lisa isn’t there.
It’s not like it would have killed her to show up.
If it were a good comic with a good character, I’d see this and be all, “Yeah, this social anxiety is definitely A Mood.” But it’s fucking Les, so I end up thinking, “Why are you still hung up that people from your high school used to laugh at you? You’ve had decades to get over it, jfc!”
It’s the prom scene from Carrie, right before she bolts all the doors and kills her entire class.
But with Carrie, they (or at least most of them) actually deserved it; they behaved like monsters. With Les, it’s the other way around. They’ve bent over backwards for Les, and he’s been monstrous to them.
He’s not aware that most people actually think “Obsessing over his first wife’s passing is all he has. I pity him, really.”, is he?
Don’t take it personally, Les. Everyone started laughing at the first scene and kept it up long after your cameo ended.
Expand your imagination, Less. Fungy could choke on his popcorn!
It’s good to see Caucayla getting a laugh on Less.
It’s amazing that TomBa doesn’t see how pathetic this is. Offered a cameo role in a major (supposedly) motion picture and the first thing Les thinks of is that his friends and family in Westview will laugh at him? We know that Les has been in therapy according to the Act III canon (and apparently had been for a decade since Act III begins with him on a psychiatrist’s couch) and he still has this incredibly damaged self-image? It’s a wonder he’s functional at all.
You have to wonder if Batiuk is as ignorant of how therapy works as he is of everything else. Has Batiuk described what his avatar wants from therapy? Has he described what Les considers to be his problems? Has the therapist offered Les/Batiuk any advice on how to deal with his problems? Or (as I suspect) has Batiuk used therapy as an excuse to say that Les is fine and the rest of the world is crazy?
I doubt Tom Batiuk devoted one second of thought to why Les was seeing a therapist. He needed a joke, or a one-week arc, so Les saw a therapist. The end. Funky Winkerbean defies analysis, because there’s nothing to analyze.
He used it as his introduction to Act III. If memory serves, there’s a single strip with Les and Summer with young Summer and Les on the park bench with Les saying something about how Summer grown and the final panel showing high school aged Summer and Old Les. Then there’s about a week of Les at the psychiatrist filling in about the funeral and his quest to leave Lisa’s ashes in Central Park. (Please feel free to correct if I have the details wrong or left something out.)
So, yes, a narrative device to cover the time jump.
And what if one function of this therapy scene was to say “Les had a problem, but he got help and now he’s fine”? Despite evidence to the contrary, Batiuk clearly thinks Les is a healthy individual. (Therapy, incidentally, does not cure major problems. It equips you to deal with them in a healthy way. Or a healthier way.)
You know, Les, you could just say no. It’s not a difficult thing to do.
I’d buy Les being all ambivalent if Mason was portrayed as so charismatic that Les wouldn’t want to refuse him, but it’s quite apparent that Les feels nothing but disdain and contempt for Mason, so there’s really no reason why he can’t refuse. I mean, Jesus, the only rationale Batiuk has offered for why Les can’t tell Mason any of his fears and misgivings is that Mason is too big of an idiot to understand what Les is talking about. There’s no way Les should be pushed into this beyond Batiuk wanting Les to get into a movie while maintaining his modestly modest modesty cred. If Les wanted to do this he’d reveal himself to be as much of an inane idiot as Mason.
Looks like Keisha decided to forgo the festivities.