Wed-Les-day, Lestember Second

August 31, 2020 at 2:52 pm
[Les] can’t get past the death of his wife for twenty three years, but most of a city burns right in front of him and he’s back to being the smarmy ass he is in only a matter of hours.

Banana Jr. 6000
September 1, 2020 at 2:51 am
There isn’t even a word for what Les is. He is [one of] the most vile characters ever conceived.

It doesn’t look as if Les is gonna be joining Pete, Mindy, and Jfff on that “first flight” back to Ohio, where the new school year must be well underway. Les waited until school was out to sit in on the chemistry reads, and has been out there ever since. We went two months without seeing or hearing from Cayla, until yesterday when she was the target of Les’ egotistical bon mots.

You don’t have to be a beady eyed nitpicker to view Les and Cayla’s relationship as…unusual. Not the biracial aspect, which isn’t a factor, especially since Cayla’s been completely assimilated. It’s that she’s just so content to endlessly indulge Les’ Lisamania. As Charles pointed out in his comment, it’s been 23 years since Lisa suffered and died. Les still carries that torch while Cayla must tag along carrying the matches.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

73 responses to “Wed-Les-day, Lestember Second

  1. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    It’s a paradox. Les says it’s time for Lisa to tell her own story, but anything she says is a creation of Les’s alter ego, Tom Batiuk.

    And what the hell happened with the artwork in panel 1? It’s haunting.

    • comicbookharriet

      It’s weird also, because it seems to indicate that Lisa’s Story is somehow disingenuous /in universe/. Les’ magnum opus isn’t an accurate depiction of what Lisa would have wanted to say.

  2. The thing is, I don’t understand what the tapes could possible add to the film. If anything, I think they would make Marianne think worse of Lisa, since Lisa decided that every aspect of her husband’s and daughter’s lives had to be controlled from beyond the grave.

    • SeaCountry

      A couple videos, not so personal, toward the beginning of shooting might have helped Marianne with Lisa’s mannerisms. But Lisa is, as others pointed out, not a well-known figure like Freddie Mercury who must be captured with near-total accuracy for the movie to be a success. Plus I think an actress knows how to look and talk into a camera.

      • Mel

        Yes, before the beginning of the shoot as she was reading the script. Yes, when she might have been researching the character to try and capture some of sense of who she was. But no, not now after shooting has started and no, she doesn’t need the entire set.

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    “Tell her own story?” But that’s been your job for decades, Les! Why give up now? Or is he threatening to edit the DVDs into a feature-length film and release it as “Lisa’s Story: The Documentary”?

    Gee, I wish I could see what’s going on in Murania right now.

  4. SeaCountry

    Holy crap, and again, holy CRAP!!! He did it! He actually did it! Does he even know if Marianne’s got a place to stay yet?! We don’t even know what happened to the studio or if the movie is being delayed! And what a big ask for Cayla to box up and send those! He *may* have said things like “I love you, I miss you, I can’t wait to see you again, I’ll take you someplace nice”, but Batiuk shows NONE of that. No husbandly affection at all.

    WHAT AN ASSHOLE. I wonder if this is Batiuk’s attempt to get rid of hate readers by making L*s so awful we can’t read anymore.

    (Insert WholeManDisposalService dot GIF.)

  5. erdmann

    This is your chance, Cayla, “Send” the precious Lisa DVDs and when they are “accidentally” irretrievably lost in shipping the shock and grief of losing Lisa all over again might finally be enough to kill that annoying ass.
    Oh, and on the safe side, make sure the original tapes have deteriorated to the point they can no longer be watched.

    • SeaCountry

      They’ll be lost just because the infrastructure in the LA metro area is a mess and the address may be a smoking hole in the ground. Great idea, L*s. Number 10,000 in a never-ending series.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Nice artwork there in panel one. Apparently Les lost the left side of his face in the fire. Then again, we’ve been left to assume an awful lot here, like “why did Cayla marry Les in the first place?”. The answer is “Batom wrote himself into a corner and couldn’t use Cayla as a one-off disposable character because if he did he could potentially be accused of exploiting the racial angle for cheap publicity”. So Cayla hung around and yadda yadda yadda they got married. She’s as close to being written out of the strip as a character can get and still be in the cast, in spite of being married to the lead character.

    Les is on a boat in California with a Hollywood starlet. Cayla is back home in Ohio (presumably preparing for the coming school year, or one would assume). Les calls her, assures her he’s not running off with anyone, then asks her to ship him his Lisa videos so he can share them with the Hollywood starlet. Very realistic scenario. Mrs. B has to be the most patient woman on the planet, bless her soul.

    • SeaCountry

      Having L*s decide that Cayla’s a nice woman, but he can’t remarry or love her like she deserves, would have been such an easy and understandable fix. And then wait to introduce any new woman, or just don’t. I knew a couple widow/ers who understood that remarriage would be a terrible idea for both them and a hypothetical second spouse. Then again, they had empathy and were honest with themselves.

      • Epicus Doomus

        The thing was that the Les/Cayla interracial relationship arc was maybe the first major attention-seeking prestige arc of Act III. Having them break up would have lent the appearance that Cayla was not really a new character at all but merely a prop.

        Another good example is Becky. One he lopped off her arm she served no further purpose, but he kept her around lest he be accused of being a total madman obsessed with shock value gimmickry. In both cases he wrote himself into a sort of credibility corner where the only way out was to pretend he had things in mind for the characters all along. If Cayla had just mysteriously vanished surely (ahem) someone would have said hey, whatever happened to the black character Les was dating? Studiously avoiding even a whiff of “controversy” (in comic strip terms that means a sternly worded letter to the editor by some nut in Omaha) is a big part of Batom’s “mystique”, let’s say.

        • SeaCountry

          One-armed girls can go to college out of state and move away from their small towns. So why couldn’t Batiuk give Becky that as a happy ending that takes her out? (Oh, I know, girl, and doomed to die in Cancerview where she was born.) Good Lord, what a frustrating mindset.

      • Charles

        I proposed something similar, which was that Cayla would realize and tell Les that because he obviously couldn’t move past Lisa, she could never marry him. It could be realistic and dramatic. She would realize that if she married him, she’d end up becoming… exactly what she is now.

        Anyway, the problem with both of our scenarios is that they presume that there’s something broken about Les when it comes to his feelings about Lisa. And that’s simply not something that Batiuk believes or would have happen in his strip. Cayla would be portrayed as evil if she did something like that.

        Batiuk doesn’t believe that Les is overly attached to his memories of Lisa. He just as attached to them as Batiuk feels he should be. It would never be brought up by anyone Batiuk considers “good”.

        Plus, if Les bails on a black woman for dubious reasons and later marries a white woman, it’d be great evidence that Batiuk’s a racist, no matter what the circumstances.

        • Epicus Doomus

          At the least it would have given the appearance that he was an exploitative weirdo trying to use cultural and social issues for cheap shock value. The first example of this was the original prestige arc, the teen pregnancy saga. It was instantly obvious that Lisa would be giving the baby up for adoption, as there was no chance in hell that he would have featured a teen mother or an abortion arc or some sort of horrible mishap. It was the only possible outcome.

          The thing is, though, that she WAS a gimmick character and he DID get her together with Les for the prestige factor. You can see the resentment there in how he writes her. Whenever Cayla appears it’s always all about Les. I doubt Cayla has ever had a standalone arc where she was the central character. When she changed her hair and introduced Les to her family it was all about Les, he even made his proposal all about himself (and Lisa). Just like with Becky, he keeps Cayla around because he has to, not because he wants to. You know he’d rather be doing Lisa and Dinkle arcs, but he wrote himself into a corner.

        • SeaCountry

          Hmmm. I wouldn’t have thought that at all, especially if Cayla were shown in school scenes & L*s got therapy or something. The way L*s treats Cayla more as a maid & roommate than a beloved wife raises questions, though.

          • Charles

            But that ignores the fact that that would never happen because it presumes that Batiuk would acknowledge that Les’s behavior is not normal or acceptable. If Cayla raises an objection over Les’s devotion to Lisa, Batiuk will portray her as being in the wrong.

            Again, Batiuk believes that he is portraying Cayla dealing with Les’s obsession with his 23 years-dead wife appropriately. That’s how he thinks a wife in this situation should handle this.

            So he’s not going to show Les getting therapy because that would suggest that Les has a problem that needs to be fixed. Les was shown in therapy earlier, but that was standard therapy of someone who’s lost their spouse. The sort of therapy that Les needs now is completely different.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    A beedy-eyed nit picker might look at the strip over the years and conclude that Les is a manipulative, controlling sociopath. The transformation of Cayla’s appearance over the years is telling in itself. In addition to straightening her hair, she also appears to have had cosmetic surgery on her nose.

    There are also signs in Act I that haven’t been helped by the retcon. TomBa recently had a strip that explained Les’ hall monitor machine gun as a paper prop. Inadvertently, he took an Act I gag and made it into more proof of Les’ character as a controlling bully, using his delegated power to harass his fellow students.

    That behavior toward his classmates is confirmed by his condescending attitude toward his current students and even their parents if his performance during pre-Senior Trip meetings is any indication.

    All of this makes his whining about mistreatment by Bull (at Bull’s funeral, no less) All the more disingenuous and self-serving.

    And now, instead of going back to fulfill his responsibility to Westview High, he orders that the precious Lisa DVDs be shipped to him in California. One can only imagine how exacting he’s going to be with Marianne Winters. (The image of James Stewart’s character manipulating Kim Novak in Vertigo comes to mind.)

    Les Moore has to be the most unlikable character in the history of comics.

    • SeaCountry

      The hell of it is, L*s is supposed to be a nice guy, a protagonist, not a villain. But then again, I think most women have seen what happens when we refuse to indulge a “nice guy”. Something bad happened to him. He lost someone important to him. Well, join the club! It’s called “humanity”!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The Funkyverse is very, very MRA. It works the way “nice guys” think it should work: their empty gestures towards women are rewarded with romance, sex, and praise. Pete Richards-Reynolds is another major offender.

        • SeaCountry

          Oooh, that makes sense. The kind of guys who think basic kindness and friendship are coins a man puts into the machine until sex comes out.

          Funky Winkerbean: MRA before the term existed!

  8. SeaCountry

    BTW, wouldn’t it be cool if Cayla fired back with “Fine, but don’t be surprised if I’m not here when you get back?” Or if Jeff overheard and acquitted himself by telling L*s “I think you should be nicer to your wife”? (Yes, he and Pam have quite a few problems, but at least he hasn’t been making her compete with a dead woman and kneel at her shrine for years.)

    • comicbookharriet

      Yeah. Jff seems perfectly grateful to have a woman in his life that isn’t taking a knife to his heart and comic books. It’s weird that the character with the most explicitly damaging childhood would be the least assholish.

      I mean, he’s crazy and hallucinates little boys to rant at, but he’s not an asshole.

  9. Professor Harlan Grankle

    Is there life on other planets? Boy, wouldn’t it be something to find out? (Then again, maybe we don’t want to know.)

    At any rate, if there IS life out there, they just heard Cayla scream.

  10. Bless the Beasts

    Mm hmm. Right. Marianne Winters is going to sit down and watch 6,000 hours of a dying woman heap praise on a douchebag.

    And Santa is real.

    • SeaCountry

      Her current projects are up in the air, she likely doesn’t have a house anymore, she doesn’t know how her mom or friends are doing. She has more resources than most Angelenos, but she does have higher priorities right now!

    • Epicus Doomus

      “So Les Wrote A Book About My Death And You’re Starring As Me In A Film Adaptation Of That Book…1,000 Things You Need To Know…Tape 1 of 20”.

  11. William Thompson

    The word for Les is “narcissist.” He always has to be the center of attention. His talents are the greatest in history. His opinions about everything are the one and only absolute truth. He belittles everyone who disagrees with him. He cannot stand to be contradicted or corrected in any way. When he behaves decently, it’s an act to further his own goals. His feelings are the only feelings that matter, and they’re monumental. His “friends” are disposable when they cease to be useful. His accomplishments must be recognized as the greatest achievements ever.

    • SeaCountry

      And of course, his pain is the painiest in the entire history of pain. He doesn’t want to hear that his book reminded you of how your grandpa was a mess after your grandma died of lung cancer. He doesn’t want to hear about a local who lost their home and 2 friends to this fire. No, his pain is special and must be preserved and marveled over like a priceless antique.

      • William Thompson

        And I wonder if I was describing Les or Batiuk. Les is like a narcissist’s self-image. When real life goes wrong, Les can fulfil a revenge fantasy. Sportos were mean? Wow, Les gets to watch them suffer and die, and present himself as the nice guy who brings comfort on his visits (while gloating over the misery.) Hollywood ruins the Crankshaft project by wanting the character softened? Les exposes the creative bankruptcy of Hollywood and gets paid a kill fee in the bargain!

        (Notice how Crankshaft gets away with everything, in the process of tormenting every adult in his life? That’s a revenge fantasy right there.)

  12. William Thompson

    At least now we know why Les suddenly turned nice toward Marianne Winters. She is no longer a threat to his image of Dead St. Lisa. She is a tool that he can use to spread her legend, which means spreading his legend.

    • Hitorque

      Les turned “nice” on Marianne because he discovered that for all her global fame and fortune, she’s just as meek, awkward, passive and subservient as a typical nerdy freshman back at Westview… She has no free will of her own, no confidence in her acting abilities, zero self esteem and will blindly go along with anything a man suggests she do. In other words, she’s the perfect female Funkyverse character… Now all Batiuk has to do is marry her off — Too bad there aren’t any single men left back in suburban Cleveland…

  13. Hitorque

    Even if the studio wasn’t burnt down, I’m pretty sure half of the crew lost their homes and the last thing they’re thinking about right now is work…

  14. billytheskink

    Please don’t let this lead to a week of Cayla standing in line at the post office… please please please

    • Mela

      Followed by Marianne and Les watching them for another week. Because you know he’ll be there giving commentary.

  15. comicbookharriet

    Hey. Crazy Harry would probably have digitized those files before burning them to a DVD. Why don’t you just have him email Marianne the files, and she can watch them on the phone. Presumably while on the toilet. Like a normal person.

  16. DreadedCandiru2

    Ah,well. One good thing will come of this: they’ll finally know what a chirpy, inane twerp Lisa was in life. Before this, all they had to go on was Dick Facey’s distorted vision of his wife but seeing the real deal will convince them that nothing of value was lost when she passed.

    • William Thompson

      Add “control freak” to the Lisa’s Legacy List. Any normal person’s reaction to seeing the collection of her videos–whether a boxful of tapes, a stack of discs, or even a Windows files list–should be “Holy fuck, how much of her life did she spend trying to anticipate every life-choice Summer might face, and why didn’t she spend that time with her daughter, trying to raise her right?”

      This is like Holly’s comic-book hunt for her son Cooty. She wanders all over the map, searching for several hard-to-find Starbuck Jones comics, letting everyone know what a dedicated mommy she is. But instead of giving them to Her Son the Soldier, she slips them into his collection to surprise him. There was no interaction between the two, no emotional bonding. It was an emotionally detached experience all around.

      • SeaCountry

        Right? Hug the kid! Read her some stories! Let her tell you all the stupid knock-knock jokes she knows! A few tapes are a lovely gesture, but that went too far.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        There never is. For all the heavy drama this strip thinks it’s putting on, everything is cold and antiseptic. All the characters look like disinterested actors. “One minor thing, Cayla, could you please send me the Lisa tapes my life and the entire universe revolve around?”

      • Gerard Plourde

        Looking back, it is amazing to see the seeds of the current mess in those earlier stories. Lisa’s decision to stop treatment comes across as particularly insane, but TomBa painted himself into a corner by preordaining the outcome. He must have realized somewhere along the line that he was depriving himself of one of his major characters, so he invented the creation of the “Lisa Tapes” as a means of reinserting her into future stories. Given the amount of time and energy it would take in the real world to produce the volume of tapes TomBa presents, one wonders how a terminally ill cancer patient could have the strength to carry on.

        Worst of all, it is probably safe to assume that we are going to be treated to snippets of previously undisclosed tapes possibly from the ten years he skipped with the time jump.

        • SeaCountry

          When we were discussing why she didn’t sue the doctor, I thought, “with all those tapes, she surely could have done a video testimony if she wasn’t up to being in court.” My aunt had breast cancer. Thankfully, she was treated successfully, but she wouldn’t have squandered her few “good days” on a project like that. She was too busy talking with her husband and son, hanging out with her sisters, having a glass of iced tea with me while we talked about God and swapped stories….And I know that’s not everybody, either. But I think Batiuk is much more than a “quarter inch from reality”.

  17. Rusty Shackleford

    Will someone just give him an award already? Maybe then this crap will stop.

    • SeaCountry

      “Here, Tom, we award you this award for, um, Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence! Congratulations!”

  18. bigd1992

    Like Hannibal Lecter trying to turn Clarice into his sister Misha, Les is trying to turn Marianne into Lisa. This is creepy.

    • Charles

      If Batiuk had a strip where Les says to Marianne after she sees the videos “In the wake of this ship of fools, I’m falling further down. If you can see me, Marianne, reach out and take me home.” I’d…. well, I wouldn’t exactly change my mind about how horrible this story is, but I’d have to give him some sort of props.

  19. Maxine of Arc

    Lisa isn’t even interesting.

  20. Don

    What, nobody (else) is going to point out that TB remembered that there are DVD versions of “the tapes”?

  21. Banana Jr. 6000

    “It’s time to let Lisa tell her own story.”

    Okay, Les. Sit down. I’m going to speak slowly and calmly. I’m going to list for you all the things that are wrong with what you just said.

    1. You are currently on a boat in a harbor, because a Death Star-sized wildfire just burned two thirds of greater Los Angeles. Lisa’s story is not important to anyone right now. Not even the people whose current employment is making a movie called Lisa’s Story. It is not “time” for anything, Les, except rescuing, healing, and rebuilding. Or maybe counseling, for the three members of your group who just escaped certain death.

    2. The movie is partway through filming. It is not feasible to change the story or acting at this point. The filmmakers cannot just throw out all the work they’ve done, and start over with “Lisa telling her own story” just because you decided to allow it. Especially when:

    3. The movie is already over budget. Which was explicitly stated as being your fault.

    4. The tapes do not consist of Lisa telling her own story. They consist of personal messages to you and other individuals.

    5. The tapes are of little use, even to the actress playing Lisa. In the movie Untergang (aka Downfall), actor Bruno Ganz was widely praised for his accurate portrayal of Hitler’s voice, right down to his Austrian dialect. He accomplished this by listening to one audio recording of Hitler. One. It’s called the Hitler and Mannerheim recording. Amazingly, it is the only known recording of Hitler speaking in an ordinary conversational tone. So this whole library of Lisa tapes is of little value.

    6. Lisa is not Hitler. She is not a famous or important person whose precise portrayal is important to the success of the movie anyway.

    7. You’re the one who refused to share these tapes in the first place, when Mason Jarre asked for them. This was highly disingenuous, because we’ve seen you show some of these tapes to people in Westview. If freeing the Lisa tapes is how Lisa gets to tell her own story, then the only obstacle to it was you.

    8. The tapes are not a complete set that must be kept together. You can share some of them but not others, Les. It should have been a trivial task for you to identify one tape with a representative sample of Lisa’s speaking and mannerisms, and nothing sensitive on it. But you always speak of them as an entity that must be kept together, like… a comic book collection.

    9. You know video recordings can be copied, right? In fact, you had Crazy Harry do this once.

    10. Your refusal to share these tapes was rooted in your petty dislike of Marianne Winters, and every other woman who auditioned. You never said why they weren’t right for Lisa, or what would have been right instead. When the movie was still being planned – when the timing WOULD have been right for you to let Lisa tell her own story, or at least influence it towards what she have wanted – all you did was pout and complain.

    11. What is the right time for a dead person to tell their own story? When was the right time for Abraham Lincoln to tell his? Or the victims of Flight 93? Emmett Till? John Lennon? I think the right time is when it would best honor the deceased, when external events make their story complete, or when society is ready to hear their story. The right time for the world to hear someone else’s story is not about your personal emotional conflicts, Les.

    12. You were the screenwriter of the first attempt to make this movie, You had complete editorial control, with which you could have let Lisa tell her own story. Not only did you not do this, you failed at the task so badly they hired someone else to write it.

    13. You don’t know it, but you just made an absolutely damning admission. I’m going to repeat what you said verbatim, and ask you two questions about it:

    “I think Lisa is in good hands.” Whose hands was Lisa in before?

    “It’s time to let [Lisa] tell her own story.” Who was telling Lisa’s story before?

    I’ll give you a hint: the answer to both questions rhymes with Yes Bore.

    Les, you just admitted what we’ve all been saying for over a decade. This was never Lisa’s story. It was Les’ story. It was about what Les did before Lisa died, what Les did after Lisa died, and what Lisa did only when Les was involved. You wrote entire sequels to Lisa’s story that weren’t even about Lisa. They were about you. The only obstacle to “Lisa telling her own story” for 13 or 23 years has been you. It’s only ever been you. I just gave several examples of how you distorted what you claim to preserve. And there are more. A lot more.

    And it’s not me saying this. Not the critics, not the sportos, not Hollywood, not the publisher, not corporations, not the Son of Stuck Funky haters, not the Comics Kingdom snarkers, not the beady-eyed nitpickers… you. You said “I think Lisa is in good hands [and] it’s time to let [Lisa] tell her own story.”

    Let the record show that, for once, I completely agree with you. Give them the tapes, get on the first plane back to Cleveland, and let these elite professionals tell Lisa’s story without your involvement. Who knows? You might even like the result.

    • SeaCountry

      Can I add just two more things to your extremely excellent breakdown?

      Give your daughter a call, L*s. Hasn’t she graduated from college by now? Try taking an interest in her life for once.

      Do not dare return home without a dozen red roses and possibly a pretty gift for Cayla. (Unfortunately, L*s, you probably don’t know her lingerie sizes or tastes in jewelry. So maybe stick with the roses.) Kiss her like you missed her. Ask Cayla what she did while you were away. Listen. Take her to a nice grown-up restaurant that does not serve pizza. Tell her she looks beautiful. And avoid the L-word!

    • billytheskink

      “Lisa is not Hitler” is the sentence I needed to read that I never knew I needed to read.

    • William Thompson

      I keep thinking that Batiuk has to terminate the movie before it can be completed, because once it’s made, he can no longer write about filming “Lisa’s Story.” There goes his chance to keep showing us Les’s world-class grief over his loss.

      Or has he given himself an extra chance here? A year ago (!) Mason said he wanted to make a movie about that great hero, Les Moore. What if we’re now due for a story (and a movie) about Les’s heroic rescue of Marianne Winters, and how he was inspired to greatness by his thoughts of his Lisa?

      • Charles

        Nah, I think he’s going to have this one finished so he can award it all the plaudits that he feels he deserves. It’ll sweep all the major Oscars. It’ll get a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It will do well at the box office in China. Les will get to make an emotional and “perfect” tribute speech at the Academy Awards.

        And if Batiuk wants to do more Lisa’s Story movie magic, he just has to have Mason decide to adapt either of the other two stupid God damn books that Les has written about this unremarkable woman who died.

    • comicbookharriet

      Damn. That was the most beautiful and artful violence against a dead horse I’ve ever seen. You didn’t blindly beat it with a cudgel, you expertly butchered it before our eyes, roasted it like a hibachi cook, and served it up to us to relish like the finest French cheval.

    • hitorque


    • Professor Fate


    • Mela

      This is delightful. And “Yes Bore” was just the final bit of icing :).

  22. Perfect Tommy

    Instead of the Stations of the Chemo videos, Cayla inadvertently sends Les’ collection of adult movies. Marianne’s interpretation of Lisa changes dramatically.

  23. Professor Fate

    Again we cut away from the Phantom Empire so we could see this…
    Imagined dialogue:
    “Yes thank you second wife – do please send me those DVDs of Lisa as she will always be more important than you will ever be. Oh yes that’s right the combination of the safe is….”
    and i’d like to think that Marianne would say upon receiving the DVD’s from Les would say “Sorry Les I don’t have a DVD player everything I have is on streaming”
    Les is such a dick.

  24. hitorque

    As an aside, exactly what the fuck did Les talk about in his previous THREE(!) Lisa books besides himself? If there’s anything in those DVDs that Les couldn’t find room for in three books, he’s a worse writer than I ever imagined…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      In one of billytheskink’s recent historical posts, Les refused to read Lisa’s diary. Everything about Lisa is too painful for him to look at, but he somehow wrote three books about her life. Give me a break, Funky Winkerbean!