For a given value of save.

Link to today’s strip

Les, I am going to explain this using short unequivocal statements, that way there is no way for your spotty memory and outsized ego to twist my words.

You. Did. Not. Save. Lisa.

All you did was let her out the door first. That’s not a rescue, that is chivalry so lazy it’s a 50-50 shot if it was intentional.

Wally. Saved. Lisa. And. You.

Wally Winkerbean, that poor sad, pizza baking man has had his wife, his dignity, the childhood of his son, his sanity, and his agency as a character taken from him by Batiuk. Don’t you take one more damn thing from this strip’s number one whipping boy, who took all of that abuse, and survived, without a single legacy foundation to his name.

Les, I don’t know if you could ever lay claim to ‘saving Lisa’. Unlike some, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the Act II drama. But you can’t even really take much credit for saving Marianne. You drove shotgun through a fire, and then carried a woman out the door who really should have been able to walk.

Why did I have to be given a Les arc? I would rather have a week of Dinkle.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

68 responses to “For a given value of save.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    No one can go from zero to creepy faster than BatHam can. Who knew that the key to having Les accept Marianne as Lisa 2.0 was to have her re-live Lisa’s Greatest Tragedies? Perhaps tomorrow he could bury her under some rubble or plant her in front of a defective X-ray machine so he could re-live more of his favorite Lisa memories.

    Also note how he once again reduces another female character to little more than a prop. He just rescued this woman FROM A FIRE, yet there’s no concern at all about her, instead it’s all about how it fits within the context of Les’ life and not his life right now, but his life thirty-whatever years ago. And of course Marianne will gaze at him all awe-stricken by his sensitivity and depth, because in this warped insane world Les’ feelings re: Lisa absolutely trumps everything else, always. It’s totally repugnant.

    • SeaCountry

      And can he apologize to her for saying she’s a lousy actress? Tell her he’s happy she’s OK? Ask about her house & her mom? Treat her like a human individual with her own life and agenda? Oh, HELLLLLLLL NO!

      • Epicus Doomus

        Nope. All that matters is that she reminds Les of Lisa, his first wife who died twenty-three years prior. Marianne isn’t even a one-dimensional character, in fact she has no character traits at all aside from “vapid Hollywood starlet”. She’s just a vessel for Les to re-live another Lisa memory, as playing Lisa in a movie is apparently the only significant thing she will ever do in her life.

    • vince

      it reminds me of the Robot Chicken Star Wars sketch where it points out that Leia is expected to comfort Luke when Obi-wan (a creepy old guy he just met days ago) dies, despite the fact in the same timeframe Leia was captured, tortured, and had her entire home planet destroyed.

      • SeaCountry

        Marianne probably made the damn coffee or hot chocolate or whatever to comfort Les. Who cares about her mental or physical health, her home, or what this might do to her career? I always hated that scene in Star Wars.

  2. SeaCountry

    Some of y’all called it! Damn it.

    Well, now I feel bad for Wally, too. You’re right, Batiuk is just plain cruel to him for no good reason.

    If Batiuk really wants to make some money, he should forget trying to promote his books and sell a 99-cent app that allows FW readers to virtually slap, backhand, and/or punch L*s any time he appears in an FW strip.

    Like I said in my intro, I hate that character more than some honest-to-God literary villains. (As in, they were actually intended to be villains.) I do not care for whiny, entitled Nice Guys. And I truly don’t understand why Marianne is just sitting through this. Neither does she, probably.

  3. William Thompson

    Les is angling for a pity-fuck from Marianne, although he’ll “joke” about it being a solo boat date.

    • The Merry Pookster

      Ya…that was my thought also…. it’s a lousy way to scrore… but consider the source

    • batgirl

      I would put a bigger bet on Les hoping that Marianne will offer herself to him in gratitude, so that he can turn her down like a gentleman.
      Then she could attempt suicide like Susan Smith (she’s already tried it once) and he could rescue her from that HIMSELF!

  4. Y. Knott

    Can we go back to Les not talking?

    Also, this yacht gets smaller and smaller each time we see it. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s strip, by which time the yacht will have room for only Marianne.

    Not a problem for Les, of course, as he can walk on water.

  5. As far as Batiuk is concerned, Les is always the hero. He’s the only hero. He’s the only man here who could actually father a child. The rest were shilled orphans, to be posed as props.

    I hate saying this, but Batiuk is a deeply disturbed man. Thank God he’s only a cartoonist and not a serial killer.

    • SeaCountry

      Oh Lord, so L*s is like a Commander on the Handmaid’s Tale—men who can father children get promoted. I guess it’s as well that Cayla is still called by her name and not Ofles.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    Unseen fourth panel: Marianne lights herself on fire.

  7. SeaCountry– if you’re interested, I could re-post some of my Les-Being-Killed animations. They’re probably in the archive here, too.

    There were a lot of them…;)

    • SeaCountry

      You have my attention. I’m currently watching the National Zoo’s Panda Cam in hopes of watching Mama Panda give birth, but those sound pretty entertaining, too.

  8. J.J. O'Malley

    But Lisa still eventually DIED, Les!!!

    Too harsh?

  9. billytheskink

    Les conveniently leaves out that Montoni’s caught fire because of arson, and that he himself believed the arsonist was trying to destroy the evidence he had assembled while attempting to solve the murder of John Darling, a man so spectacularly unloved that many of his former coworkers expressed dismay that they weren’t the one to murder him.

    TB recently responded on his own blog to one of our very own commenters, who e-mailed him about the incongruity between Les’ present “heroics” and the 1997 Montoni’s fire story arc last week. Accused of retconning those 1997 strips, TB specifically says:

    I was able to point out that the two flashback panels were taken directly from the original story that ran in 1997, and that there was no retconning involved at all (Not that I would be averse to doing something like that, mind you, I just didn’t do it here).

    First, taking the panels directly from the original strips does not necessarily mean that they can not or have not been retconned, a retcon doesn’t require the original work to be altered in any way, only for new information to be presented that changes its context or results. Even so, I will allow TB the benefit of the doubt here that he did not intend to imply that Les saved Lisa by placing that 1997 panel next to one of Les carrying Marianne out of Masone’s burning house last week. Unlikely, of course, but we’ll play his game here. Today, though? Les explicits says he saved Lisa “again”. What else could the first time be but the fire he mentions in previous panel?

    You know who actually did save someone, though? Lisa (and Cindy), who kept Plantman from killing Les (and two Channel 1 employees) later in 1997. Bet that’s not in the movie script…

    • none

      Please, dear readers, allow me to perpetually regurgitate the past in the present strips. Please be sure to recall this strip’s expansive and rich history.

      By the way, I can alter that same rich history on any passing fancy. Because I can.

      PS: Buy my books, so that you can have one version of the past which I may or may not adhere to, forever.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Once again a relevant information deep dive by billytheskink. Thanks for showing a rare instance of women doing something other than serving hot chocolate and cookies to comics devouring man-children.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I can’t believe he actually reads his emails. I assumed he only knows how to update the blog section of his site, mainly because the “cast photo” on his home page hasn’t been updated in decades. There are characters there who haven’t been seen in ten-plus years.

      • Y. Knott

        Check out the FAQ, which regretfully informs us that there will NOT be a complete collection of Funky Winkerbean strips published.

        • Epicus Doomus

          I do know that many of the old Sunday strips are apparently lost forever (his words), which is odd as I would have assumed that he keeps a personal archive, but I guess not.

  10. Professor Fate

    Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. Los Angeles is ON FIRE people are in mortal peril – some worse than others and what does the Author give us- Les talking about his feelings. I can’t imagine any reader who on Sunday who saw that and thought gee I hope Les comfortable and able to talk about Lisa to someone. Not a single one.
    And the author’s dissing of Wally as noted elsewhere continues.
    Still what is the bloody point of this? Who cares? Are we supposed to feel happy for Les that he’s so obsessed with his dead wife that he drags her into every action and conversation that he can? That he’s jabbering now about Lisa when as noted Los Angeles is ON FIRE and people he knows are in danger (I won’t say friends he doesn’t really have them) How is this moving the story what ever the hell the story is forward?
    This as others have said borders on the pathological.
    And oh yes what happened to Marianne’s car?
    God what train wreck.

  11. none

    It’s a good thing that Masonjar had a way to brew coffee and serve it in mugs on that yacht. Yes sir, nothing says a day on the waves like brewing up some piping hot Folgers and savoring that first sip as the ocean salt wafts in the wind.

  12. Boots Gandalf

    So, in this masterpiece of a movie, where do we start? If it’s early in the relationship, wouldn’t Marianne already know where Les and Lisa lived when they were first married?

    Or does “production” plan on using some sort of Star Wars exposition scroll to explain how these two lovebirds met, where they first lived, the first time Les had a major bout of the pout, etc.?

    I guess all you need is a wig and make-up to become a character. Never mind backstory. George C. Scott probably played Patton without ever knowing who the guy was!!

    • SeaCountry

      She’s a silly, vapid actress; it wouldn’t occur to her to read the book or even the script.

      • newagepalimpsest

        That book has lines in it such as “Once the chemo starts, this playground will be closed for repairs.”

        Marianne’s doctor probably doesn’t want her to handle that thing without gloves, let alone expose her eyeballs and brain to its contents.

  13. Professor Harlan Grankle

    Oh how I wish the next panel showed Marianne saying, “Who the hell cares?”

    • SeaCountry

      “That’s sweet. I remember that from the book. Sorry, but can I borrow your cell phone to check on my mom and a couple other people? I just remembered I’m not a sociopath and I have a life.”

  14. Charles

    Why’d they have to drink coffee when the acrid smell of smoke is undoubtedly all over the place? Eccch. And besides, should they really be wasting that water considering there’s no place left to buy something to drink? How well stocked is Mason’s boat? It’s not as if he knew he’d be using it.

    Unlike the rest of you, I totally want Marianne to reward Les by banging him. It’d be disgusting and horrible and Batiuk would be disgusting and horrible for having it happen, but I’d find it hilarious. Just imagine Mason and Cindy coming back, with Mopey, Mindy and Jfff, with them stinking and exhausted, to walk in to see the nude Les lying on top of the nude Marianne, his gross naked old man body mooshing up and down on Marianne in the pull-out bed in that little space in the boat.

    And then because they can’t use the water, and because the clothes Les and Marianne were wearing are the only clothes they have, they can’t clean themselves up and have to put their dirty clothes back on. So they’re sitting their with their gross fuck musk, uncomfortably across from Mason and Cindy, whose boat they just violated in this fashion. And everyone there knows that he’s just cheated on his wife, and that she just banged…. THAT, and they all have to sit less than six feet away from one another.

    And the only thing that anyone thinks can break the awkwardness is “DID I TELL YOU ABOUT THE TIME MY STARBUCK JONES DECODER RING SAVED THE DAY?” Well, here it is again! And now Jfff will have another story he can tell about how true heroes save the day as his Starbuck Jones Decorder Ring momentarily distracted everyone from Les and Marianne’s fuck fumes by encouraging everyone to beat him senseless.


    • Mela

      This just brought so much joy to my insomnia :-).

    • SeaCountry

      As Sheldon’s mother taught us on the Big Bang Theory, when a friend is hurting and needs to be comforted, you offer them a hot beverage. Of course, they would probably benefit much more from a bottle of plain water or Gatorade if those were available.

      Regarding the rest, it would at least be interesting for once.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Ghost Lisa would give it a thumbs up.

    • Y. Knott

      Just because I’m new here and curious…

      Why is Jeff consistently referred to as Jff or Jfff? Memorialization of a long-ago typo of some sort?

      And while I’m at it, what’s the meaning behind the website title “Son Of Stuck Funky”?

      • As to the first question, he’s called Jff because that’s how Fred Fairgood referred to him after Fred had a stroke. It just kind of stuck.

      • batgirl

        Not one of the elders here, but Jff/Jffff is from an arc where Teen!Lisa’s pregnancy was retconned from date-with-jock-sleazebag to date-rape-by-jock-sleazebag based on testimony from Jeff&Pam, the clue being stroke-victim Fred Fairgood’s memory of encountering them post-Lisa-rescue. Because of his stroke, Fred said “Jfff….Pmmm” or something similar.
        Son of Stuck Funky is the successor to the Stuck Funky blog, which TB had taken down(?) on the grounds that his strips were copied there, rather than the links on this site.
        Hope I have that right!

      • Y. Knott

        Thanks to both of you for the explanations. I should have known there’d be something depressingly illness-related about at least one of the answers!

        • Epicus Doomus

          We actually used to post the strips right here, but we were cease & desisted, thus the links. The original Stuck Funky guy guest hosted here a few years back.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Les and Marianne, basking in the afterglow. Les’ phone rings.

      “Could you hand me my phone?”

      “Sure. Uh, who’s Cayla?”

      “Oh, yeah…right. Her.”

  15. DreadedCandiru2

    Les needs to think that he saved Lisa. Les can’t admit that he’s a passive schmo who stands there like a shivering pillar of shit when faced with having to make a choice. Les can’t share credit with other people. We should be watching Lisa talk about how Les died of testicular cancer.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000

    I want to do a thought experiment here. Consider the following question:

    How many loved ones have you lost since October 4, 2007?

    For me, it’s three: a grandmother and two aunts. And my father died not long before that.

    A “loved one” is anyone you think it is. It can be a family member, friend, mentor, or pet. Anyone whose death caused profound grieving in you. You can say who they were, talk about them if you want, or just give a total number.

    I suspect most people have lost multiple loved ones over that time.

    • SeaCountry

      A friend in Connecticut, my mom, my kid brother, 2 aunts, and my grandmother. So, six.

    • Charles

      Seven, most prominently my father, but they all affected me profoundly.

      Hell, I’m struck by how affected I was when I found out Claudine Auger died late last year, and I never met her.

      • Charles

        But it does raise the good point that with the way Batiuk presents it, the loss of a loved one seems to be not a shared experience, but a competition. None of your losses are as profound as Les’s when he lost Lisa. That’s the thing that again and again disgusts me when it’s brought up.

        • SeaCountry

          I keep thinking of my grandma saying “You don’t stop loving them, but you do start living again”. Batiuk hasn’t allowed L*s to live again in over 20 years’ strip time, and seems afraid to try it. L*s is a creepazoid for many reasons. But holy cats, it doesn’t mean his love wasn’t real if he has a two-way conversation with Marianne or expresses concern for people caught up in that fire!

          • Paul Jones

            He appears almost to believe that Les being in a constant state of mourning is required. Remember how we used to say that every time we saw Jessica and Darin, they reset to being young marrieds treading water? Same deal. Les can’t move on lest Batiuk have to come up with something new to do with him. It’s why I expect to see Bull waking up in Bobby Ewing’s shower.

  17. Gerard Plourde

    Much as this looks like a segue into “Chickweed Lane” territory with the added complication of condoning adultery, I doubt TomBa is actually going there. But this mess does raise the question: what story is he trying to tell?

    Does this fire which appears to have destroyed entire neighborhoods in the north of Los Angeles County and UCLA as well as a number of major studios put “Lisa’s Story: The Movie” into hiatus? Or is this Marvel/DC comics level of urban devastation merely a plot device to allow Les to finally embrace the project? (Although I can’t help but notice that, just as Bull’s funeral pivoted into an opportunity for Les to whine and lie about his high school mistreatment at the hands of the awful Sportos, this tragedy has just given him a platform to lie and elevate his heroism during the Montoni’s fire, a crime where we should remember he and no other victim was the intended target.)

    Whatever the intended plot, I’m certain that it will just abruptly end, leaving a tangle of loose ends. Maybe at least we can hope the fire flushes out Zanzibar The Murder Chimp for a cameo appearance.

    • Mela

      As I think others have mentioned, the fire could somehow force the movie to now shoot on location in Westview. Regardless of how this plays out, I would like to see Les give Marianne some kind, sincere praise for her portrayal of LIsa.

      • SeaCountry

        “@LesIsMoore1960: My first wife Lisa was a unique woman. I didn’t think any actress could truly capture her. But @WintersMoon (from “Starbuck Jones”) is busy proving me wrong! Save some room on your awards shelf, Marianne!”

        Nope, we won’t be seeing that. Batiuk and L*s better throw her a freaking bone, though.

  18. Dood

    Is anyone else a fan of the “angry” button on the Comics Kingdom site? It really does provide another outlet for putting up with this shyte.

  19. This is like the point in the horror movie where the heroine realizes that the person she’s trapped with on a boat in the middle of a fire is a psychotic killer and she has no way of escaping…

    Anyway, I don’t know why I let this strip bother me so much. I have to keep reminding myself that this is TB’s comic strip, and it’s within his rights to do whatever he wants with it. If he wants to continually retcon strip history, go off on meaningless tangents, depict impossible contrived situations, constantly pull meaningless characters out of his ass while ignoring all the potential interesting characters who’s stories need to be told, then it’s all up to him. All I can do is just sit back and watch the train careen off the rails.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      I used to read the comics and grumble and mumble when I came to FW. The conversation between my wife and I would go something like this: “What’s wrong?”
      “Oh, this Funky Winkerbean is so stupid!”
      “If it’s stupid, why do you read it?”
      “I paid for all the comic strips, and I’m going to read them!”
      Then I would bury myself even further into the paper and the cursing would continue.
      I’ve been reading FW since the beginning, but I missed huge blocks when I was in school, etc. It really became hate reading when the characters became adults.
      My wonderful wife died in 2017, and I’m convinced that TB put a curse on her. I’ll explain it all soon.

      • SeaCountry

        My sympathies about your wife. I cared for my mom her last few years, and she wondered why I persisted in hate-reading FW & mocking the soap opera comics, too. I think a good part of the frustration is Batiuk has elements of what could be good stories in place, if he looked past his own nose, took advice, and didn’t try to make awards-bait. Instead, he consistently punches above his weight class, majors on minors, and minors on majors.

    • SeaCountry

      Honestly, I’m dealing with some health & work problems (I know, not alone there right now), and this makes me laugh. Oscar Wilde was reported to have said that a critic can use a lousy piece of art to build a great critical essay.

  20. Banana Jr. 6000

    Today’s strip legitimately made me wonder if Les has a psychiatric problem.

    I looked to see if excessive grieving is a listed mental disorder. It’s proposed in the DSM-5, it’s called Complicated Grief Disorder, and… Les doesn’t seem to have it. He’s not suicidal, depressive, unfocused, emotionally numb, stressed, or any symptoms other than his endless moping. He’s not in one of the categories most likely to get it. And it’s not like he doesn’t accept her death; he just won’t shut up about it. By the way, the amount of time allowed for ordinary bereavement is 6 months. Les is going on 14 years.

    I literally looked in the DSM-5 for a way to make Les Moore sympathetic, and he still fails at it. He’s just a pathetic, boring, codependent, selfish, one-topic jackass.

    • William Thompson

      He’s a narcissist. He expected great things to come from his life and to be widely recognized for them. He was nice to the unreachable high school beauty one night! He married the girl who got knocked up! Stuck with her while she died from cancer, damn it, cancer! Raised her daughter on his own! Married a woman of color and was nice to his high-school friends,
      And he didn’t have to be a nice guy! Now where’s his apotheosis? Where’s his Pulitzer? He’s not leaving this life until he’s properly worshipped by the masses!

  21. Hitorque

    Of course the entire narrative shifts back to the massive black hole of Les’ memory of Lisa despite Batiuk wasting our time with those useless flashback panels because of course…

  22. newagepalimpsest

    At least this HAS to be working its way toward some form of apology, even if only a “Now that you have walked in Her shoes, I truly believe that you are fit to shine with Lisa’s Light” kind of apology, so there’s that.

    Les is exceptionally Damned in the world of this strip because not only will his one storyline never end, it can never end because the author has decided that the purpose of Les as a character is to remind everybody of that time he wrote THE SADDEST STORY IN THE WORLD ABOUT CANCER. And as we all know, recovering from grief and learning to live life in spite of it is y’know, healthy and junk like that, but if we do that the story is no longer THE SADDEST STORY IN THE WORLD ABOUT CANCER.

    • William Thompson

      And if the story is no longer about cancer, then what is it about? Batiuk would have to write about things like Summer and her life, or Cayla and her daughter, or Skyler and his parental units, or how Linda is doing, or even about Funky and Holly Winkerbean.

      • SeaCountry

        Linda’s the widow of an ex-sporto &
        bully. Surely her grief isn’t anywhere near on the level L*s has suffered. Also, L*s doesn’t have to take an interest in his daughter’s career trajectory or love life or anything; just make sure the VCR still works and put in the appropriate tape.

  23. batgirl

    This is minor, but is anyone else having trouble believing that Marianne wouldn’t at least have finger-combed her hair since escaping? Mason’s “yacht” has to at lest have a comb and wash-stand.
    I guess it’s to remind us that there was a MASSIVE FIRE, even though there’s no smoke in the sky.