Neither can we, Marian… uh, I mean, Lisa

And we’re back to Les’s cameo in today’s strip. I dunno what that golf thing yesterday was about, but it will probably be awful and unsatisfying if it is ever revealed at all.

Having seen more of this scene, I really hope Les’ fear that his cameo will elicit knee-buckling laughter from his friends, family, and assorted other acquaintances comes true. What better time in Lisa’s Story to bust a gut than this maudlin bit where Les recaps a phone conversation Lisa had with her insensitive doctor? That’s the first and only thing about this Lisa’s Story flick that makes me want to watch it.

This strip is a nice reminder that Lisa’s second battle with cancer was full of bumbling and insensitive doctors: always mixing up important cancer charts and exhibiting awful bedside manner. What timing TB has… I cannot think of a time in my life when fewer Americans would be interested in fictional depictions of incompetent and unpleasant doctors.

And that’s it for me. I cannot say I envy spacemanspiff85, who takes over tomorrow. Good luck to you. You won’t have it, but it seems the right sentiment to express.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

23 responses to “Neither can we, Marian… uh, I mean, Lisa

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “I can’t believe this is happening”. Not even an exclamation point. There is no better example of bad lazy filler dialog than “I can’t believe…”.

    “I can’t believe what happened to poor Yorick, I knew him.”

    “I can’t believe it was the best of times and the worst of times.”

    “I can’t believe he made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

    “I can’t believe how big that shark is.”

    “I can’t believe this van is made of marijuana.”

    There’s a really good reason why you don’t see dialog like that in, you know, well written stuff. That reason being that hacks don’t write well written stuff. They write things like “I can’t believe that last thing you said”, like a middle school kid trying to bluff through a book report. And it’s sad, it really is.

    • Charles

      Hell, while that’s certainly awful writing, what the hell kind of line is Les’s to end a scene on?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Why include it at all? The waiter’s presence adds nothing to this scene. It’s neither a plot catalyst nor a character moment.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    So, after spending Monday through Friday of last week obsessing over this inconsequential sub-sub-plot of Les and the One-Line Cameo, we were “treated” to the Malibu Duffers for yesterday’s seemingly disconnected detour, and now it’s back to the Hollywoodland set to wrap up the Cameo Crisis? And I can only assume we may–keyword, may–return to the Tee-Off Trio tomorrow? Boy, that’s some well-thought out arc planning there, TB. I’m an agnostic, but if Noah had been so attentive to detail with his ark design, the world would be without people or animals to this day.

  3. billytheskink

    Apologies for not putting this in today’s post, but it wasn’t until just now re-reading this strip that I was able to place this “scene 32” at the New York restaurant. We’re not on Lisa’s 1999 cancer fight anymore in this film, we’re on to the 2006 cancer flight that got TB a couple of oddly sycophant-ish interviews in the mainstream because he told the world Lisa was going to die months before she actually did.

    I struggled to place it because the original strip was not so verbose, it only consists of Lisa’s one maudlin line. It also did not include any terrible goateed waiters, so Mason and Co. have actually made the filmed version worse somehow.

    Here is the phone conversation Les is recapping in the movie-died version of this scene:

    And herein lies the great weakness of Lisa’s Story in the Batiukverse, it isn’t written from the perspective of its ostensible subject. Yes, Les is largely the subject of many/most of the actual FW strips in Lisa’s Story, but we still get strips like the one above where the story is told from Lisa’s perspective. But in this strip’s universe, we only have Les’ perspective in Lisa’s Story (amazingly, TB remembers this, so… kudos?). Maybe that works well enough in a tear-chasing paperback memoir, but it flounders badly when brought to a visual medium. “Tell, don’t show” is the antithesis of movie-making, and employing it gives us awkward scenes like the one in today’s strip where Les recaps a conversation he was not a part of and only heard second-hand. Any filmmaker worth a darn would probably take the artistic license to show something, anything from Lisa’s perspective because even bad movies usually rise to that level of competency… and because most of them have shame.

    • Y. Knott

      I don’t know whether to be awestruck or terrified at your command of the FW archives.

      The horrors you must know….

    • Charles

      I fully expect that at some point there’s going to be a scene in this stupid movie that’s a word-for-word repeat of an earlier strip where Les was not present and thus would have no reason to know the content of the conversation verbatim.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Maybe it’s just me (and my geographic proximity) but I’ve always been mystified by the importance of New York for Les and Lisa. I mean, given its importance in the Les and Lisa saga, Paris would seem to be the more likely romantic destination. Conversely, there’s no apparent reason why New York would fascinate- neither Les nor Lisa exhibit any interest in Theater or Art or Music, so Broadway, the Met, the Guggenheim, MoMA, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall would be out. (Admittedly they could love all these things but TomBa hasn’t given them enough reality for us to know.) The one place they seem drawn to is Central Park’s Thomas Moore sculpture which sits near the southeastern entrance.

      Given the prominence the City has in Comics history (and TomBa’s own history) I can understand why it would hold importance for him but as usual he doesn’t even give a scintilla of depth to his characters to explain their actions.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I just noticed that the restaurant in “The Other Shoe” appears to have been The Tavern on the Green, so I guess Les and Lisa at least made it from Central Park South and Fifth to 66th Street and Central Park West.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      The show “Six Feet Under” dealt with death in an artistic way that meant something to the viewer.

      This tripe isn’t appealing to anyone. I love how everything bad in Lisa’s life is someone else’s fault.

  4. Paul Jones

    I just wish that the Syndicate bosses had turned down Batiuk’s request to pad things down that readily.

  5. William Thompson

    So the production didn’t really run out of money? Ah, well. Bitter luck this time, better luck next time.

  6. Hitorque

    1. Did a doctor really tell Lisa that? Holy fuckin’ hell… Why didn’t they put that into the movie? Les could have played the doctor!

    2. I know the rules… All we have to do is email Batiuk and tell him we wish to invoke the “kill fee” and by law he’ll have to pull the plug on this story line, right?

  7. Hitorque

    3. I love how twenty takes later Les has the gall to instantly ask Masone for more lines instead of the director who’s five feet away… Don’t ever try to convince me that Masone isn’t the most powerful man in Hollywood.

    And as an aside, how many more lines could you give a fuckin’ waiter anyway?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Note also how Les’ failure instantly disappears. This is another hallmark of bad writing: the author immediately rescues his pet character from everything. Batiuk didn’t even bother having Les overcome the problem, he just cut to Les being fawned over again.

      The movie’s still over budget because of Les’ earlier mistakes, but that will never be addressed or spoken of. It’s almost like that out-of-nowhere golf course strip covered an incident Batiuk didn’t want the readers to see.

  8. Jimmy

    These pretzels are making me thirsty.

  9. Don

    “I really hope Les’ fear that his cameo will elicit knee-buckling laughter from his friends, family, and assorted other acquaintances comes true.”
    I can see this going two ways: Les is at the premiere (assuming he doesn’t get the “Wil Wheaton / Star Trek: Nemesis” treatment), and…

    (a) it turns out his scene is cut;

    (b) he stays in his seat through the closing credits waiting for his name, which, as you might expect, is at the end of the list – but does anyone actually leave a premiere during the credits? Don’t one or more of the producers/director/stars make some comments afterward, or does everyone just rush off to some after-premiere party?

    I can also see the movie being nominated for an Adapted Screenplay Oscar, just so Les can hear the presenter say, “Lisa’s Story, by {whoever gets credited with writing the screenplay – watch it turn out not to be Les}, based on the book by Lee Smore.”

  10. Petula Clark Five

    Confused. If Les has no more lines, does this mean the order will be delivered in total silence? (Les keeping his mouth shut? Ha.)

    Or does the scene shift to a golf course, and we never get to see our stars eat?

  11. Apparently the real-life interaction with this waiter was so important that it made it into the book?

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    From Batty’s blog:

    “Some posit that it should be an appetizer for the other books, while others considered it more of an aperitif to be enjoyed at the end.“

    Ugh, ok, I think you mean digestif.

    • Boots Gandalf

      I can only imagine what Crankshaft would call it.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This worries me, because the Funkyblog recently said there would be a “coda” to the Lisa movie story. A coda comes at the end, so it filled me with optimism that this shitshow might end soon. Perhaps he is similarly confusing terms. Maybe he meant leitmotif.