Waitersday, July 22

Today’s strip was not available for preview; I guess that’s a Wednesday thing now. Les is, presumably, still antagonizing over the terrible horrible no-good very bad fate of making a 6 word cameo in a major motion picture. ¡Qué mala suerte!

While we wait on that, why not take another trip in the WABATIUK machine with me and check out a particularly disgusting Act II scene with Les Moore, the Midwest’s greatest monster, and his legendarily thin skin.  Here, less than 3 months into their marriage, Lisa made the mistake of offering up some constructive criticism of Les’ in-progress and all-stupid John Darling book manuscript.  Les acts like Les and Lisa complains about it downstairs in a conversation with co-worker Funky (EVERYONE in Westview has worked at Montoni’s at one time or another, it’s like compulsory military service in countries that have that).  Lisa has Les pegged perfectly…


This rare moment of seeming self-awareness from TB about the monster that Les truly is proves fleeting, though. The very next strip, Lisa regrets not giving Les ten thousand words of well-reasoned adulation.  Funky and Tony convincer her to bring him a pizza, and for good measure she stops by Komix Korner on her way home as well.  Seriously,  Les’ oversensitivity is rewarded with pizza and comic books and… an “apology” from Lisa.

This man must be stopped! This film must be stopped! This strip must be stopped!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

33 responses to “Waitersday, July 22

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Wow, that’s very much like what happened when he forced Funky to grovel for his forgiveness over a mild (and completely true) joke about what a dork Les was back in high school. Even LISA had to grovel, pizza in hand, on bended comic book.

    • Hitorque

      And that’s why I blame the other legacy characters for enabling and rewarding Les’ pissy-shit tantrums for fucking *decades*…

      They are the ones who created this Frankenstein monster and still feed it almost daily…

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    Who in the name of Siegel and Shuster (sometimes misspelled “Schuster” by people who don’t know better) would eat pizza and THEN pick up comic books!? “Oh, sorry, dear, I just dropped a pepperoni slice on this Incredible Hulk No. 181! It’s not worth anything, is it? I mean, it’s the 181st issue, after all!”

    • erdmann

      [Casts a nervous glance at the nearby battered long box containing old issues of the Hulk and shudders]
      Dude! Don’t even joke about such things!
      On the other hand, if you want to use a copy of “Lisa’s Story” as a place mat, I’ll order a large with extra toppings.

  3. Wow, so Batiuk’s…peculiar vision has been a thing for some time, now.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Les ascended into martyrdom way back when he agreed to be Lisa’s birthing partner. It’s been snowballing ever since. Once he latched onto that Delicate Tortured Genius author/avatar thing with Les, though, that’s when he went from bad to completely insufferable.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    He’s trying to do jokes, but they don’t fit into the story at all. Suddenly Les has morphed from “deeply conflicted grouch” to “high school dork”, just completely out of nowhere. Maybe he should have spent more time “writing” and less time trying to perfectly capture the look and feel of studio walls.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      A friend on mine stopped by recently and showed me her photos from her vacation in Italy. I was immediately taken aback by how beautiful her photos were, the composition, the varying viewpoints, they were a totally fresh and unique take on scenes familiar to me. It was obvious to me that she had an artistic eye. (I didn’t know it but she had also taken some photography classes)

      With Batty’s photos of LA, it was the exact opposite. Oh sure, he beams with pride that he can see beauty in the brick walls of a Hollywood studio, but that is not art, and it conveys nothing of interest to the viewer. This strip provides the same experience.

  5. billytheskink

    We’ve gone from spending weeks on scene 3 to spending weeks on scene 32. Lisa’s Story is exactly like this strip.

    • Epicus Doomus

      The famous “Lisa’s Story” dinner scene, where Lisa informs Les that the doctors mixed up her medical charts two more times, thus confirming that she does in fact have cancer again again. That was a twelve week arc none of us will ever forget.

  6. Hitorque

    “What’s my motivation!?” How did I know some bullshit cliche like that was coming?

    This is the part where Masone snatches the script back and says: “Uh Les, I think I left my official movie star sunglasses out in Death Valley somewhere… Don’t suppose you could be a pal and find them for me?”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I’m waiting for Les to say “I’m beside myself” to Mason-as-Les. The probability of that punchline happening approaches 1.

  7. Barnaby Scones

    Nothing like making every line of dialogue count.

    “Your order will be right out” has several deep, nuanced meanings. It’s crucial to the plot. It reveals character.

    And only Les can make this line work.

    I just wish/hope there’s a scene where Masone/Les and waiter/Les go at each other over an incorrect side dish.

  8. Charles

    So they’re setting up a scene to shoot and they haven’t even cast one of the roles in it. Quite a production, this thing.

    A better question would be “What’s the motivation for this stupid line?” Since it’s the only line this character has, it’s supposed to be essential to the scene, otherwise they’d just get rid of it. Color me not surprised that the script is littered with extraneous lines like these.

    Also, Mason apparently has no teeth in panel 1 and in panel 3 he appears to be older than Les. Is he also going to be wearing the same outfit as he was in the bench scene? This sort of sloppiness should surprise no one.

    • Epicus Doomus

      And how can “are you ready to order” be his only line in the scene? Does he just jot down their orders and silently walk away? What sort of elegant waiter would do such a thing? Something would have to happen between that one line and the expected reply. But what could possibly happen?

      “I’ll have the…OWWW! The cancer! Ahhhhhhh! (passes out)”

      “Step aside, Frenchy, I can GET HER TO THE HOSPITAL FASTER MYSELF!”

      IMO a Batiuk written movie would be epic. Seemingly major characters vanishing without explanation halfway through, long tedious scenes that just end abruptly, everyone speaking in puns, tons of useless wry banter, it’s be unlike anything anyone’s ever seen before.

  9. Y. Knott

    Les Moore: an extra in his own life.

  10. Paul Jones

    And the grandiosity marches merrily on. A waiter can’t simply have the job of asking two people what they want to eat, he has to be critically important for Les to even consider playing him…despite the fact that to the world, Les is a mere spear-carrier, destined to be forgotten after his oh-so-timely passing.

  11. William Thompson

    I hope the order is for baked ham, with a side order of ham salad.

  12. William Thompson

    Is anyone surprised that the script has a black cover? Do you want to bet the script has gone through so many revisions that it’s now printed on black paper?

  13. Dood

    If only Flaming Dragon would attempt to ransom Mason and Les.

  14. Professor Fate

    As others have pointed out – this line has no point – and dialogue in movies has to have SOME purpose, it’s not a medium in which you can have irrelevant time wasting dialogue as in say daily comic strips. Time is too precocious to waste on irrelevant fluff. Hell even Peter Benchley’s cameo in Jaws served a purpose showing that the shark attack was big news.
    And while I do want to thank billytheskink for that dive into FW history and showing that ‘Les is an angry god who must be appeased with pizza and comic books’ the implication that this was followed by make up sex is well… I just wish I had not seen that.
    Still thank you.

  15. J.J. O'Malley

    Is Les’s “What’s my motivation?” meant to be his snarky revenge on Masonne for the latter’s questions on the set of “Lust for Lisa”? If so, way to harbor an unjustified grudge for years against someone who apparently believes in your “artistic vision”! What a passive-aggressive response to someone who thinks they’re doing something for you.

    Also, is that supposed to be an outdoor restaurant scene they’re setting up on the soundstage (I’m thinking maybe due to the abundant foliage)? There was no restaurant exterior in the whole of Southern California they could have used for this shot, so they’re going to greenscreen Ohio instead?

    • The set building bugged me a bit too, until I realized that they are making this on the cheap. Getting a real restaurant means hiring the entire place for a block of time, and I assume that wouldn’t be cheap. They’d have to get a location manager, so that a bus full of high school students won’t wander in. Plus, they’d have to do a ton of ADR work because of street noise and what not.

      Of course, here it’s going to look on film like a Saturday Night Live sketch. If it saves a few bucks, I guess….

      • Hitorque

        But why? Even if this movie was being made “On the cheap”, Masone’s salary for this movie will be at least $20 million, and that’s assuming Masone is giving Les some kind of buddy discount. Marianne can also demand $15+ million, so why would the producer cut corners with such a low-rent, amateur hour production?

        Les could have gone to some film school students at Cleveland State University and gotten the same result for 0.01% of the budget…

  16. William Thompson

    “What’s my motivation?”

    “To keep earning your paycheck. Same as being a teacher.”

    Uh, oh . . . .

  17. Hitorque

    FWIW, it took like 18+ months of Funkyverse time to shoot the Starbucks movie, which included two complete teardowns and re-writes of the script, and multiple casting/location changes in mid-production.

  18. Banana Jr. 6000

    I’m reminded of a Calvin & Hobbes arc:


    Calvin is in the same situation as Les: he’s a non-actor playing a role in a production. He asks the same question: “what is the motivation of the character I’m playing?” Why does Calvin make us laugh while Les makes us want to punch him?

    Calvin wants to know the inner thoughts of an onion, which is a funny idea to start. But the real joke is that Calvin is asking a valid question. He wants to do a good job, and he’s asking a question that a real actor would ask. The setup panels, previous day’s strip, and history of the characters, establish all of the context that makes this question funny. Hobbes even gives him an answer!

    Funky Winkerbean fails to provide any context that would make Les’ question funny, relevant, or even believable. In fact, it does the opposite. Tom Batiuk’s writing is so sloppy that it creates a sort of anti-context. The more you know about the overall story, the worse it all is. Nothing makes any sense, and the characters are all terrible people.

    And this is a perfect example. We know that Les worked at Montoni’s, and that he wrote the story he’s appearing in. He knows his motivation better than anyone on earth, AND has spent years whining that it be done correctly. So when he asks Mason “what’s my motivation?”, he comes off as a gigantic asshole.

    You could argue that this is just a joke strip of Les being a smart-ass, and not relevant to the overall plot. But it’s not drawn that way. Les’ facial expressions are serious, and Mason seems annoyed with the question. We don’t get the wry smirk panel, in a case where it would actually be appropriate. Which is another reason nothing makes any sense: Tom Batiuk has no concept of tone. But that’s another post.

  19. Westview Radiology

    Gazing at the last Act 2 Panel … The thought of Lisa much less Kayla “knowing” Les in the biblical sense actually produces cold chills and me.

  20. newagepalimpsest

    Today’s strip is boring!

    Okay, so getting onto the vintage strip… I assume that Lisa’s criticism was not along the lines of “HOLY SHIT! This is the worst book I’ve ever read! It’s so bad I can feel my cancer coming back! When your editor sees this, she’s going to piledrive you into the dirt and you’ll die alone and friendless because I am divorcing you IMMEDIATELY!!!!”

    Because that would be the only reason in all the world why SHE “needed” to apologize. And I say this as someone who can relate to feeling defensive about something I’ve written that I can tell isn’t quite up to par. (I’m sure many of us have felt this way from time to time about our hobbies, whatever they may be.) Mrs. Tom Batiuk must have the patience of a saint.