Geek Shrieks

As silly and lame as this story has been, I do like the second panel, where Pete’s girlfriend (fiancee?) is genuinely worried he’s not going to ask her to attend the red carpet premiere with him. Because of course she’s concerned he’d ask Darrin instead of her. I still think at least part of the reason she exists in this strip is because Batiuk finally realized how weird it looked having Pete and Darrin take trips together to buy dollies, and Darrin spending all of his time with Pete when his wife was staying in California for some unknown reason.
I do not understand Pete’s expression in the last panel. Is it smugness, like “I’m a heck of a guy, inviting my girlfriend on a trip for two someone else is paying for”? Or is he just closing his eyes and imagining fighting Zeton warriors?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Geek Shrieks

  1. William Thompson

    With a mood swing like that, Mindy has a future as a wrecking ball. And what sort of dialog is “Shriek?” That’s what you expect in a horror movie, when a young woman is slaughtered by the hideous villain . . . wow. Who knew that Batiuk understood that much about movies?

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Mindy…another strong female FW character. Insecure, hysterical and twee…oh so very twee. Then again, given Pete’s feelings for Boy Lisa, I suppose her concern about going to the premier were at least somewhat warranted. It’s pretty funny how they all dislike Hollywood but simply cannot resist its siren call.

    Why is he doing this? Every possible scenario we’ve discussed so far just seems too involved and complicated for FW. We see this unfolding and, being normal (pretty much) people, our imaginations begin churning as we seek logic and order in this confluence of events. But any scenario that involves all of these various elements coming together would be the most wildly ambitious FW arc in years, like WAY beyond anything Act III has offered thus far. I mean seriously, a huge dramatic arc where Mason and Marianne, Les and Cindy and Pete and Mindy are trapped in Hollywood by a huge wildfire? I just can’t see that happening.

    • Gerard Plourde

      The fatal conflagration scenario crossed my mind too. It does seem overly ambitious but with all of the weird, disjointed plots that have occurred lately I wouldn’t rule anything out where TomBa’s concerned.

      • Epicus Doomus

        My guess (and I’m almost always wrong): Mindy won’t be able to go for some reason (possibly Crankshaft-related) and Boy Lisa will take her place. They will fly to Hollywood, then discover the premier has been cancelled due to the fire. Having nowhere else to go, Boy Lisa will suddenly remember that his step-bio dad is in town. They will end up staying at Mason’s mansion.

        Then, also having no place to go, Mason and Marianne will show up and the gang will sit around as Les regales them with Lisa’s Greatest Hits. The pregnancy, the birth mom letter and, of course, the cancer. Then the story will abruptly end for a few months, only to return with the LS movie already finished.

      • Mela

        The trapped in a wildfire scenario makes me think of Douglas Adams’ ending in Mostly Harmless-which was the last book in his Hitchhiker’s Guide series. That was a downer.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Mindy’s concern is totally justified, because Pete treats her like shit. He gave her a stuffed animal instead of a wedding ring. He wanted to give credit for her work to Hoagy Carmichael. He made her buy him coffee on “buy your man coffee day” or whatever stupid thing that was. So it’s reasonable for her to wonder if she’s invited on this trip. Pete’s response to this is “you, of course!” as if she were stupid for wondering such a thing. He’s practically gaslighting her.

      This is not cute, Tom Batiuk. It’s not cute.

  3. William Thompson

    Why do I get the feeling that the “Zeton Warriors” will turn out to be the SJ version of the Cub Scouts? Kids! Become a Zeton Warrior and help Starsux Jones defend the Earth! Send twenty-five cents and two Chocolate Galaxitive boxtops to Box 13, Westview, Ohio, and receive your free ID card and secret Polonium-210 decoder ring!

  4. billytheskink

    Was Mindy not at the last premier, which was held at the theater that her brother owns where she worked at the time and where her own father was hauled up on stage by Mason?

    Anyways, I’m surprised that it’s not Pete shrieking. You know how much he likes avoiding his job.

  5. CRM114

    Aww, Pete is fondly being reminded of the many times Darrin shrieks.

  6. spacemanspiff85

    There’s the writing cliché “kill your darlings”, which is what Batiuk was doing when he killed Lisa off. What he’s doing now is the total opposite. “Have your darlings (or in-strip avatars of yourself) have their dream jobs fall into their laps and find girlfriends and have everything go their way and basically just live your own dream life” is not writing advice for a reason.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Lisa was never Batiuk’s darling. She’s a plot enabler for Les. Having her die was the opening for the strip to explore all of Les’ deep, wangsty feelings, and oh-so-profound class writing talent. And we’re now on Year 14 of that.

    • Charles

      Lisa’s Story is actually Batiuk’s darling, and he disobeys that writing advice by keeping it alive long after its value has passed. In fact, I’d say Lisa’s Story is a great example to use with that quote to show its value as writing advice.

  7. Hitorque

    Damn, Mindy is thirsty as hell… I told y’all way back when that it wasn’t any coincidence that Mindy ‘discovered’ how cute and funny Pete was only AFTER he started getting some major clout in the comics geekdom (and Chester also started paying him high six figures)

    • batgirl

      This is one of TB’s go-to characterizations for women. When Les was first approached to write the Lisa screenplay (the kill-fee one) Cayla was excitedly pushing him into his writing garage. When Bull was approached for the high-paying coach job, Linda was ready to jump his bones right there. I expect there are others – those two stood out to me.
      Although the women in FW technically have jobs or even careers, they are consistently portrayed as tied to the status of their menfolk and the men’s careers, and as accepting that status.
      Heck, I think the only reason FW women have jobs is so they can be conveniently in the menfolk’s workplace.

  8. Hitorque

    2. So this is it for Lisa’s Story, right? Next time we revisit it Les will be getting an invite to the premiere and it’ll have the biggest opening weekend ever, right??

    3. At least Batiuk actually concedes that Pete is only *ONE* of the script writers on the sequel… I still want to know exactly when the hell Pete was working on it, or is he the first person in history to submit a perfect script two years in advance with no alterations, edits, or rewrites needed? Seems odd, especially how long he struggled writing the first script.

    4. If this is an excuse for Batiuk to go back to that dumbassed circa 1956 Pete+Darrin, I’m done…

    • billytheskink

      Point 3 is especially well-taken.

      Pete was commissioned by Mr. Director Martin Johns to write the Zeton Warriors sequel (with Durwood on storyboards, of course) in March 2016. This was while the first film was still in production, the idea being the sequel would be shot simultaneously. After asking Mr. Johns for the deadline, Pete and Durwood lapsed into one of their Batom Comics flashback fever dreams before he could answer. When their fever dream finally ended, Mason showed up in their office to fly them back to Ohio (much to their shirking excitement) to watch one of Cliff Anger’s old Starbuck Jones movie serials. After watching the old film, Pete then flew to New York with Mason and Cindy to track down Cliff Anger. This takes us through April. In May, Pete was back in Westview because the movie with the unfinished script was now shooting scenes in Cleveland (sorry, Howard The Duck is still the best comic book film set in Cleveland). The next time we see Pete, he and Durwood are having yet another fever dream, this time the one where Durwood gets shot as he and Pete try to raid a merchant marine ship for Durwood’s favorite Japanese pens. Pete’s next two appearances after that are at the Flash Museum and at Comic-Con.

      So yes, when indeed did Pete do any of this writing? He wasn’t even done with writing the first film when he was asked to write the sequel with absolutely no guidance except for the title.

  9. Paul Jones

    And of course Batiuk’s inability to understand how human beings actually behave blinds him to the fact that Mindy looks a damned sight like Mopey Pete’s beard. It’s like how Lynn Johnston stands around screaming about fungus people who say bad things about how Mike and Weed look like gay lovers owing to her inability to understand how men interact.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, there is a lot about men she doesn’t understand. She has no idea she’s become a bitter old shrew.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      She really does. Batiuk has no clue how bad he makes his characters look, through their own actions. He’s telling us one story and showing us another.

      Les is an untalented, wangsty, passive-aggressive jerk. Cayla has some kind of Stockholm Syndrome. Mindy is too stupid to breathe. Pete couldn’t get a woman in a whorehouse. Cindy is whiny, needy, lazy, and vain. Mason exists only to glorify Les. Linda was a selfish harpy who showed little interest in whether Bull lived or died, beyond what she got paid for it. Buck seemed gay for Bull. Pete seems gay for Darrin. Summer and Keisha seem like lesbians. And Lisa never served any purpose except to die so Les can spend a decade and a half exploring his feelings that she died. None of this is what the author wants us to feel about these characters. He thinks they’re likeable.

      And the few decent characters are the ones who get shit on. Funky is portrayed as a hapless boob. Bull was the one teacher at Westview who was good at his job. The Fairgoods seemed like a decent marriage, but Ann told us out of nowhere she was unhappy because she didn’t get to be an author.

      Which is another thing: the strip tells us things we know aren’t true. Bull was not Les’ friend in high school. Cindy did not have a secret crush on Les. They hated his guts, and he did little to deserve any different.

      I could go on, but this is all just bad, bad, BAD writing. Bad and self-indulgent.

      • I think he does some of these things because he’s come up with a “witty” bon mot and he just has to stick in the strip, continuity be damned. The Fairgoods are a good example–she had a line something like “We never fell in love, we just fell in place” and when Batiuk thought that up, in it had to go in–despite the couple’s history.

  10. Maxine of Arc

    “Lisa’s Story” is, at best, a Netflix release a la “Marriage Story,” which was also a low budget, domestic-sphere movie with big name actors. No shame in that; in fact it’s more normal than ever these days. But Batiuk’s understanding, a word I use loosely as always, of “Hollywood” seems to be stuck at approximately 1948. (I considered saying the 1920s here, but 20’s film production was very much a matter of quantity over quality and pushing reels out to the sticks as fast as possible.)

    • William Thompson

      “Quantity over quality” is a perfect description of Batiuk’s production technique, so maybe he is something out of a low-rent Twenties studio. And things are much the same today: a lot of garbage gets churned out quickly, some films get over-hyped, and a few are gems.

  11. Charles

    I think Batiuk’s completely oblivious to the obvious implication here that Mindy is afraid that Pete’s going to ask Darin instead of her, which is amazing because there’s literally no other reason for Mindy to be concerned, seeing as how Pete doesn’t have any other friends. So Batiuk is evidently unaware of the only reason why this strip should be happening.

    Also, Pete deciding to invite her instead of Darin is only meaningful if Darin isn’t invited to the premiere himself, and I’ll be stunned if the two Smugsy Twins aren’t sitting together front and center at the premiere, with Jessica and Mindy flanking them as if they were their carry-on luggage. In fact, I’ll bet Ruby, her god damn bolshevik hat, Crazy and Gross John will also be there. To go further, I bet most of the crowd shown will be Westview residents; I mean, Holly and Funky catered the shoot that one day! Surely that’s worth an invite three years later!

    • Charles

      Oh, and why is Mopey wearing his slovenly slob-ass flannel shirt when it’s no doubt 97 degrees outside? It’s these little bits of ludicrousness that transforms this strip from bad to sublimely bad.

  12. Westview Radiology

    Is that Mopey Pete or Moe Howard?? Nyuk nyuk nyuk !!!