Wake Me Up When Lestember Ends

I’ll tread lightly here, in case someone’s personally experienced the aftermath of a wildfire. It does not look like fun. Batiuk hasn’t treated us to any reference photos of the hot zone, so I’m assuming that BatAyers queried Grandpa Google for some pics. Of 1945 Dresden. Or that Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

77 responses to “Wake Me Up When Lestember Ends

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Another thinly-veiled BatYam revenge fantasy. Why, pray tell, was it necessary to burn Mason’s house to the ground? Because BatHam had to twist that knife in Hollywood’s back one more time, that’s why.

    Ever seen the aftermath of a natural disaster firsthand? I have and it was decidedly less wry than this. This is why ol’ Tom is often accused of being a deranged madman who only writes this crap for himself. It’s like when he killed Bull or banished Susan forevermore, it’s cruelty for the sake of cruelty disguised as “storytelling”. He hates Hollywood and he’s never going to stop grinding that ax.

    • Boots Gandalf

      Seems like Batiuk also didn’t make the cut for his high school golf team.

    • SeaCountry

      Even though Mason himself has been absolutely nothing but nice to L*s! I’d hate to be someone who actually knew Batiuk.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s deranged and boring. Every misfortune that befalls these characters is just another reason for them to smirk and roll their eyes at each other. No other emotions exist in the Funkyverse. There is no happiness, no sadness, no anger, no fear, no love, no hate, no uncertainty (because Batiuk announces everything well before it happens), no tension, no collateral damage, no problems that have to be solved, no personal growth.

      Mason and Cindy will just live in the apartment above Montoni”s while they shoot the movie in Westview! Or they’ll time skip to a year later and everything will be rebuilt! Or they’ll get a publishing deal, write Boo Hoo My House Burned Down and win three Ohio Book Fair awards!

      Why should we care about what happens to these characters when they don’t, and everything is solved for them anyway?

  2. Banana Jr. 6000

    Well, go ahead, Les! Tell Mason that you’ve decided Lisa is going to tell her own story now! What are you waiting for?

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    Can’t wait for tomorrow’s strip, where Masonne and company return to the marina only to discover that stray embers got caught in his boat’s sails and burned the vessel to the ground…er, water.

    Also, you gotta love Les’s nonchalant pose in today’s knee-slapping goings-on.

    • Hitorque

      Damn if that doesn’t look like post-Civil War Richmond…

      • Charles

        It’s amazing. This is supposed to be a densely developed neighborhood full of houses worth at least 20 million dollars, and the whole place burned to the ground. And they were all comprised almost entirely of combustible material.

        This isn’t a suburb, after all. This is supposed to be in the middle of a city. The whole premise of this strip is ridiculous.

        • Charles

          Also, I have no idea where Batiuk thinks Mason and Cindy lived. If they lived in the Hollywood Hills, it’d be, you know, hilly, but this place shows land as flat as you can see.

          If they’re suppose to have lived in West Hollywood, another spot Batiuk mentioned when he failed geography, it would be that flat. But the house wouldn’t have been that large, it would have been tightly packed among the apartment buildings, hotels and commercial buildings, and more importantly, Batiuk has just completely burned down the city proper so badly that it’s devastation as far as the eye can see.

          Seriously, here is the intersection of Santa Monica Bl and San Vincente in West Hollywood. Does Batiuk really all of this burned to the ground?

  4. Gerard Plourde

    Without detracting from the tragedy depicted, I’m also curious what happened to Mason and Cindy’s house in Malibu? As an actor who is the star of the successful Starbuck Jones franchise, owning multiple homes would be completely in line with his level of wealth. There’d be no need to sell one in order to buy the second. But since this is assuredly out of TomBa’s personal experience and given his disinclination for research, that fact doesn’t even cross his radar.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That seems like an important story point. The story took the time to tell us the fire started in Malibu, they have a home in Malibu, and they didn’t go to it to seek refuge from the fire. Whether or not they have a place to sleep tonight seems relevant. But I bet it isn’t addressed.

  5. William Thompson

    So, Mason, do you still have your beach house? Or did l’Auteur Glorieux forget to mention you sold it? I don’t remember Cindy mentioning the sale of the old place when she brought Les to Mason Mansion, but then she wasn’t saying anything worth hearing anyway.

    • They still have the beach house:

      April 24:

      • SeaCountry

        Ah. So it ain’t like they have nowhere to go. (I expected they’d find something soon enough, but forgot about that.)

      • William Thompson

        Thanks for answering the question. Just the same I expect that Mason and Cindy will end up in Westview, reading Starbuck Jones comic books as they sleep on somebody’s guest-room floor.

        • SeaCountry

          “Hee hee, *someone* didn’t notice his daughter had a poster of Ruby Rose hanging on her ceiling!”
          “You think L*s ever notices anything about Summer or Cayla?”

      • comicbookharriet

        Unless BOTH houses burned, OR they had irreplaceable keepsakes and heirlooms destroyed, (gifts from grandparents, childhood memetos) I have no sympathy for Masone and Cinders.

  6. William Thompson

    “And, damn it, I paid extra for those three MC Escher garage doors!”

  7. William Thompson

    Just to say something positive, Cindy looks like she’s aware of how close she came to death. Okay, back to normal: Les is thinking, blast it, if Cindy had died here I could have written a book about it!

  8. billytheskink

    Panel 2 cuts to Hershey Barr and Bubu Zayla laughing like Ronald Reagan and Walter Cronkite:

  9. Hitorque


    1. I thought it was a condo and not a house?

    1a. No way in hell is that wreckage site from the previous art of the condo as we know it. If it was, first thing we’d see is the charred hulk of Masone’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT (which cost him upwards of $450,000 depending on options.)

    2. Masone’s lavish beachfront mansion in Malibu is still standing, right? Don’t you think he’d check there first?

    2a. I’m disappointed that Masone couldn’t think of anyone else to rescue in those several hours he was speeding through the city and driving through literal walls of flame like he had a death wish. And don’t tell me he couldn’t have found a random stranger or family to save…

    3. So the fire was raging like hell on Earth just 24 hours earlier yet today it’s completely gone without a trace? And wouldn’t the National Guard block off the area to everyone except essential personnel?

    4. Is Batiuk really trying to make us forget that Masone is A. Insured, B. Has another, better place to live, C. Is worth at least 100 million and D. Should be thanking his maker that he not only made it out of the ordeal with his balls unburnt but also doesn’t have any friends or relatives to bury?! Stop trying to make this a tragedy that only 7 people out of 15 million had to endure.

    5. I’m sorry, the utter callousness and utter lack of empathy from our gang of insecure, self-centered “heroes” who haven’t given the first thought to the countless numbers of locals who don’t have 1.1% of their wealth, resources, luck, or a social safety net is really pissing me off…

    6. I still don’t give a shit… Batiuk damn well better find a credible way to explain exactly how Mr. Decoder Ring, Marianne and Cindye almost managed to get themselves killed in a fire they should have easily been able to see and smell from a minimum of 20 miles away.

    6a. I stand by my earlier statement — Batiuk just should have created an earthquake if he absolutely needed a disaster… It would have allowed him to write the same exact story while masking over a lot of continuity errors.

    • Epicus Doomus

      There is no outside world in the Funkyverse. Like when the post office blew up, there was no concern for anyone else affected by the blast, just Lisa. Or when Bull died and not one single former student or teammate bothered to attend his sad funeral.

      When the Great Pulitzer Nominee (did not win) was in Hollywood he found himself staring at the famous sign and seething with disdain, at which point he fantasized about watching it burn. Then he went home and cranked out this revenge fantasy. In the Funkyverse a massive natural disaster is merely a sub-arc within the “real” story. Remember, until today the two major events brought about by the fire were a stupid nostalgia trip and Les deciding that Marianne was worthy enough to watch the Lisa Tapes. The fire was just a sidebar, a brief diversion and a way to bring the story back to Westview.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Until today the two major events brought about by the fire were a stupid nostalgia trip and Les deciding that Marianne was worthy enough to watch the Lisa Tapes.

        So two stupid nostalgia trips then.

      • Hitorque

        Yeah, Jerome Bushka’s funeral was a travesty… I absolutely refuse to believe that a coach who took the losingest high school in Ohio to state championships in both football and girls’ basketball did have a single former player show up…

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yeah especially up here Battyville (NE Ohio). Football coaches are gods here. Huge funerals that are even covered by the local news.

          Batty should be reminded that the football coach is typically the highest paid teacher in any district while the English teachers are typically at the bottom of the pay scale. This makes sense since it seems like the English teachers are always galavanting around going to book shows, Hollywood, etc. while the football coach actually shows up every day to work with the students.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Not even one. He had to have coached and taught at least a minimum of a thousand students. Not even one bothered to show.

      • SeaCountry

        I just took a look at that funeral scene and…Good Lord, that’s awful. Literally kicked Jerome “Bull” Bushka while he was down. Wouldn’t it have been packed with current Westview staff and students, as well as family and former team members?! Like, no available parking at the church, people have to cross the street, we’re gonna need a lot of dark umbrellas crowded? I’m just blown away by how much he truly hates so many of his own characters.

        • And those he likes are easily the most loathsome characters in comics.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Not just loathsome, but incompetent. Les, his “work wife” Poodle Head Linda, and other Westview teachers like Kablichnik, show no signs of even giving a shit. Bull actually seemed to be good at his job. He built a lot of winning teams at a school with a legacy of failure. And I don’t recall him belittling his students like those others do.

        • Hitorque

          Oh and don’t forget that his old “rival” from Big Walnut tried to get balls deep in the ass of Bull’s widow…

      • Hitorque

        And because I didn’t ask at the time, what the fuck is Masone doing there? It’s not like he ever even met him…

    • William Thompson

      And Batiuk says “What is continuity?”

  10. SeaCountry

    So now we’re off the boat and Mason and Cindy have officially lost their house. “Send the DVDs to the smouldering pile at….” Doesn’t quite look right, but at least a different character’s perfectly legitimate pain is being acknowledged, so I’ll accept the improvement.

  11. Olive McSweeney, LLC

    LES: Meh. What do I care? Doesn’t affect me. BORING.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “What’s wrong, Les?”

      “Sigh. These ashes remind me of Lisa after she was cremated. Sigh.”

      “OH you POOR POOR MAN!”

      • SeaCountry

        See, this is why I accept someone else being in his feelings over something that happened this century as an improvement for this strip.

    • comicbookharriet

      Les: How can I turn this into a book?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      If I ever go to one of his appearances, I’m going to ask Batty why he made Les such a reprehensible character. I’m hoping he then asks me why I think that….20 min later I will still be listing reasons!

    • Charles

      Seriously, this should be a real emotional moment for Mason and Cindy, so what the hell is Les doing there? Why would he even want to be there? It’d be like Crazy hanging out in the hospital room when Lisa died.

      • Mela

        Good question. If I were checking to see if my house were still standing (especially if I had a strong suspicion that it wasn’t), I wouldn’t want Les or anyone I wasn’t super close to to see my reaction to what is most certainly a devastating sight.

      • Epicus Doomus

        And while his pals Mason and Cindy were braving a massive wildfire in an attempt to save PETE of all people, Les was on a boat waxing nostalgic over Lisa with an actress he didn’t want anything to do with as recently as a few months ago.

  12. Barnaby Scones

    I’m still amazed at how easily these “people” move around smoldering LA. And real sorry your manse burned down, Masone. Now maybe you know how the homeless feel.

    Oh, right. HAHAHAHAHA. That would require empathy.

  13. Professor Harlan Grankle

    Well, Lisa’s in good hands now, apparently.

    Are YOU in good hands with Allstate, Jarre?

    Though I feel I should point out that a 15-minute call…

  14. J.J. O'Malley

    Unseen Panel Two: Tripping over the charred fender of Mason’s Porsche, Les falls and breaks his glasses. “That’s not fair,” he wails. “I was going to show Marianne the hallowed DVD Gospel—transferred from hallowed VHS Gospel–of Dead St. Lisa, so that we could finally get the story told right! There was time now! That’s not fair at all!,” as he collapses sobbing into Cindy’s arms.

    Thanks, TFH, for mentioning my favorite TZ episode (assuming that’s the one of Meredith’s four you meant). I first watched a rerun of it when I was 10 or 11 and thought it was the saddest thing I had ever seen on TV.

    • SeaCountry

      I once watched this as part of a marathon and saw a commercial for Lenscrafters and their two for one special right after it. I laughed for over a full minute. That could not have been a coincidental placement!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        While this is darkly funny, it probably was coincidental. I’ve worked in advertising placement, and they don’t give much thought to these things.

        • SeaCountry

          Really?! Well, thanks. Lenscrafters totally could not have asked for a better spot, anyway.

          • Mela

            Yes, coincidental but definitely amusing. Radio/TV ads are bought and placed by time period or specific program (which is still a time period). Knowing specific content of everything on the air ahead of time would require being clairvoyant :). And in the case of TZ, the person scheduling the episode (my mom finds that one most depressing too) and the person scheduling the Lenscrafters spot are most likely two different people who might not even be in the same room. Which is probably more than anyone needed to know here, but that’s how it works nowadays.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Rod Serling (of blessed memory) would have loved the irony in that.

          He would have also liked Futurama where they spoofed his show, calling it “The Scary Door”

          Batty should have studied Serling if he wanted to learn how to tell a story. But glad he didn’t because he would have just messed it up.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            The writing on Twilight Zone is just exquisite. Watch that episode, “Time Enough At Last” (you can watch it for free on the CBS app) and marvel at how much ground it covers. We all know the famous ending, but it’s also about abusive relationships, suicide, anti-intellectualism, dependence on technology, isolation versus interdependence, the workplace, and nuclear annihilation. In a 30-minute episode!

            And they’re all like that. Some episodes are better than others, of course. But they’re all densely packed with themes about life, death, and what it means to be human. Straightforward stories that really know how to strike a nerve. It lives up to its narration: The middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. “A quarter inch from reality” just doesn’t measure up to that.

    • Hitorque

      If eyeglasses were *that* essential to him, why didn’t he have at least one spare??

      • SeaCountry

        Might’ve been harder to come by in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Dude wore Coke bottle bottoms. Plus he was a bank teller supporting a hateful bitch of a wife and a household on his own. I always hoped he’d fumble around and find a pair of readers or something eventually.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        He wasn’t carrying them at the time, and they were destroyed by the nuclear bomb. See also the Futurama version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKgjahj-3qg

  15. Petula Clark Five

    Somehow this strip features characters so loathsome that I was actually rooting for the fire.

  16. DreadedCandiru2

    This is yet another of his many weaknesses as a story teller. The horrible fire that cost billions of dollars in damages can only be remembered in terms of how it affects the protagonists. The other people caught up in its wake might as well not exist to the sunken-chested bozo with the rubbish beard.

  17. Count of Tower Grove

    I bet there are plenty of bent nails to be found.

  18. Dood

    Les casually surveys the scene and imagines he’s right back at home in the comfortable surroundings of Westview. Ohio that is.

  19. Professor Fate

    Aside from Les’s’ho hum what is for lunch’ body language being utterly wrong why the hell is he here in the first place? “Come on person who whines all the time and has made this movie shoot a nightmare let’s go look at what’s left of my house.” Honestly one would get more emotional support from a hunk of wood with a nail in it.
    Also how was buying this house, condo, whatever ‘getting closer to the action’? that was never explained.

    • SeaCountry

      Everyone else on the boat insisted that L*s was absolutely necessary to provide moral support for some reason. Flights aren’t available yet, so the other three Ohioans are currently teaching Marianne the card game Euchre in the cabin. It’s the most fun Marianne’s had in days.

      • Mela

        I’d take three days of Euchre over watching the Lisa tapes/videos any day.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Love the Euchre reference. Totally Midwestern (although I first encountered it in Southern Ontario).

        • SeaCountry

          My mom’s family is from Michigan and a game or 2 always happens at our family reunions, which is how I know about it.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          My first year in college, I remember the New York kids always wanting to play Euchre. They taught it to the rest of us, and it became the dorm’s prestige card game. I could never get my family and other card-playing friends into it, though. Something kind of northern about it.

    • Hitorque

      The condo is in West Hollywood, iirc which would have meant a much shorter daily commute to the studio than driving in from Malibu.

  20. Don

    I was going to comment that if they all end up in Westview, they’ll end up holding the premiere in the area (just in time to save a certain theater from closure (again) caused by not being able to show movies due to COVID-19), but then it hit me…the premiere will be at Sundance

  21. Jimmy

    I can confirm that this is pretty much what the aftermath of a wildfire looks like, though, as others have stated, I don’t think this jibes with the architecture of Mason’s house.

    The spire behind Les reminds me of the
    Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

  22. batgirl

    So many characters vanishing. Les and Marianne were on the boat. Mason & Cindy were heading off to rescue Pete and Mindy. Then Mindy wanted someone to rescue Jfff (well, presumably – she might have been exclaiming in delight that her dad was out there in the firestorm). But nothing came of that, because Jfff and The Invisible Boy were rescued by firefighters. No sign of Mason, Cindy, Pete or Mindy – so who brought Jfff to the tiny yacht? Marianne has escaped or drowned. Mindy isn’t there to call home (and Jfff said nothing about her to her mother) so maybe Mason didn’t have room for her as well as Jfff and The Invisible Boy and left her in the ashes. With any luck he left Pete there as well.
    Also mysteriously missing – the massive firestorm that just … went out?