Dull and Duller

Link to today’s strip.

So, after a few weeks of movie-making, doddering infernos, a visit to a sci-fi kingdom and a Lisa run, what does Tom Batiuk have in store for us now?

Rachel and Wally having a date night.  Which of course will take place at Montoni’s…where they both work.

Good grief.  I think I’d slit my wrists.

I guess married couples can still have “date nights” but I would think that would mean doing something different from what they always do.  I mean, they not only work there, they also live above Montoni’s.  They can probably eat all the pizza they want, until they stop wanting to eat pizza ever again.  (With Montoni’s pizza?  Couple of bites, tops.)  It’s Montoni’s, Montoni’s, Montoni’s practically all the time for them.

And this is “special” to Rachel?  Yikes.  The relationship these two have reminds me of a scene from “Sleepless in Seattle,” when Meg Ryan’s fiance says “I don’t want to be someone that you’re settling for. I don’t want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it, isn’t it?”

It sure looks like they “settled for” each other.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Tom Batiuk has forgotten that Wally and Rachel are married, and this is just a regular date…since “continuity” for him is like garlic to a vampire.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

72 responses to “Dull and Duller

  1. J.J. O'Malley

    Gee, what a fine re-intro to Rachel for what I think is the first time this year. Who is she? Is this high school, college, or DeVry Institute? Saying “Wally and I have a date tonight,” so that it doesn’t sound as though they’re married? And, of course, “the restaurant he manages.” Not “the pizzeria he and I both work at, but business is so bad that’s all we can afford for dining out options.” Or is Wally just a cheapskate? Oh, well, hope she answered all your burning questions, unknown bun-haired girl we’ll probably never see again. If you hurry, you can still catch that bored guy in panel two. Maybe the two of you can go out to a nice, fancy restaurant and commiserate over how you’re both trapped in the most ennui-laden item on the comics pages.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I think Rachel is supposed to be in “art school”, which is pretty stupid as in Westview if you want to be an artist you just stroll on into Atomik Komix HQ and bam, you’re an artist.

  2. SeaCountry

    At least the women have hairstyles that are different from the standard straight chin-to-shoulder length cut. That’s nice. Rachel’s smiling, not smirking. And it’s nice to see focus on different characters.

    But….yeah. “Date night” at a place where you both work?! Good Lord, anything would be better. (Picnic in the park, for instance.) It’s Batiuk, so it’s gotta be boring and depressing.

  3. Gerard Plourde

    So it looks like KSU has replaced Westview High as the school setting in FW.

    But why in the 21st Century is Rachael cramming a sheaf of paper and a notebook into her backpack instead of a laptop, an iPad, or a Chromebook?

    (Especially since we’re supposed to be ten years in the future.)

    • Rusty Shackleford

      WHAT? Kids take notes on computers and iPads ?

      That’s what Batty would say.

      • comicbookharriet

        Of course, she is supposed to be around Wally’s age bracket right? Force of habit. OR she’s read some of the studies that taking notes longhand actually helps you absorb and remember the information better.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Well I take notes in longhand on my computer. I have a surface book with a pencil that lets me write notes on the touchscreen. It’s pretty nice actually.

          I wonder if this still promotes retention?

  4. Epicus Doomus

    “Well, I wanted to do something special for you, so tonight we’ll be eating AT Montoni’s, the pizzeria I manage, instead of carrying it upstairs and eating it there!”

    “OH Wally! (Swoon)”

    Clumsily-worded sentences, blatant exposition, a “young couple just starting out” and (sigh) “girl talk”…and this is just Monday. What any of this has to do with cancer, climate change or magic robots is beyond me. He’s just all over the place lately. Everyone stopped caring about Wally right after he got the dog, everything since then has been totally pointless dead weight. And no one has ever cared about Rachel at all. It was fine when Rachel was just an occasional background character who worked at Montoni’s and got a line or two of wry waitress dialog every two or three years but, as usual, BatHam had to give her a whole back story and marry her off, at which point, as usual, he lost interest. I think she has a kid, too. So does Wally by the way, but the odds on seeing him anytime soon are zero point zero. You can’t be a “young couple just starting out” with a bunch of kids from your prior marriages gunking up the stories, because then you’re just old and sad.

    • SeaCountry

      So one kid each? Hopefully that’s a good-sized apartment above Montoni’s!

      • Epicus Doomus

        Wally Jr. presumably lives with Becky, Wally’s first wife. Wally’s overall character arc is so convoluted and outrageous I wouldn’t even know where to begin, but the short version is that he was a POW and presumed dead but then re-appeared only to discover that Becky had “moved on” and married Comic Book John while he was imprisoned. That’s a vast oversimplification but close enough for today.

        Rachel’s kid had a name but damned if I can remember it now. He seems to have disappeared. Age is of course very fluid and nebulous in the Funkyverse but the little bastard must be at least 10-15 years old by now.

        • Hitorque

          Who the hell was Rachel married to?

          And you mean to say Walter was married to the one-arm girl who teaches band?

          • Albanyguy

            Yes, Becky is married to Skunk Head John, but it’s like the old joke about Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett: “Did anyone ever see them in the same room together?”

          • Epicus Doomus

            I don’t think the identity of Rachel’s first husband was ever revealed. And yes, Wally and Becky were married. Wally was also responsible for the accident that cost Becky her arm.

        • billytheskink

          Rachel’s son is named Robbie, she picked him up between Acts II and III (unlike Wally Jr., who was born in late Act II), she was a single college student working at Montoni’s to pay her way through school throughout Act II.

          Robbie last appeared in the weird vertical 2018 Thanksgiving strip where Adeela and Rana joined the rest of the Winkerbean clan at Funky and Holly’s house because sure… Before that, he had not appeared since January 2011, where he looked 4-6 years old. He has to at least be a teenager now, even in strip time.

          • Epicus Doomus

            Thanks BTS, I totally forgot his name even though I knew he had one. I assumed he had to be at least 10-15 years old by now.

      • William Thompson

        It’s a small apartment. Some day we’ll see the concealed hatch in the floor which drops directly into the meat grinder in the Montoni’s kitchen.

  5. Rachel, who must be pushing fifty, appears to be the same age as her JUCO classmates.

    • billytheskink

      Bunhead here has probably been at KS-JUCO a while. She was one of Wally’s (and Adeela’s) classmates in his unspecified senior-level class back in 2018.

      • SeaCountry

        Um….did Batiuk present a woman wearing a hijab scarf (Adeela) as a challenge and possible PTSD trigger for Wally in that last panel? Because if so, WOW.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Yup, that arc went on for something like seven weeks too. They talked, then a tornado siren test freaked them both out. Then they bonded and Wally had her over for Thanksgiving. It was WAY less exciting than it sounds.

          • J.J. O'Malley

            And to put the capper on all that Pulitzer-worthy drama, Adeela finished school and got a job at (brace yourself!) Montoni’s, where she still pops up every six months or so. Frankly, I’m surprised TB didn’t have her become the CFO at Atomik Comix, where she inspires Mopey Pete to create a shape-shifting young Muslim superheroine named Camel-la Khan.

        • Hitorque

          Yeah, we gave him hell for it back then, too

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Why is Rachel’s disembodied head looking naturally into the scene, as if the rest of her body should be there? Did she die too, or is that supposed to be Lisa again?

    • Epicus Doomus

      I was trying to figure this out and I concluded that Wally and Rachel have to be in their early-to-mid forties at least. “Young couple” my ass.

      • billytheskink

        Rachel was introduced as a college student working at Montoni’s during Bill Clinton’s second term! Throw in the 10 year time jump and you’ve definitely got someone pushing 50 (who spent 30 years working as a waitress at Montoni’s!).

        • Gerard Plourde

          And apparently 20+ years later she’s still in college. Talk about being on the “extended five year plan”!

  6. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    I haven’t been reading this site (or FW, naturally) for long, so I’m not well-versed in the characters and relationships. I peeked at the upcoming week’s strips, and let’s just say, if you think this is an unbelievable scenario for a married couple, just wait.

    • Count of Tower Grove

      You may not have been here long, but by Godfrey, your observations rate with the Funkyest of the old hands!

  7. Count of Tower Grove

    “Oh my God!”
    Jonathan Quayle Higgins

  8. Funny, I was just thinking we were about due for a sequence where it turns out Wally Winkerbean only thought he was over his post-traumatic stress disorder last time we saw him when he was going to take some classes, but now he gets to be on-screen a week and become totally over his post-traumatic stress disorder and finally ready to take some classes.

    • William Thompson

      What are the odds that Wally will be cured of his PTSD* but will fake it so Buddy the Wonder Dog can feel useful?

      *which doesn’t happen.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Poor Buddy. It seems like it was only yesterday when that dog bounded into our hearts and single-handedly saved the strip. Now, sadly, he’s been as marginalized as one of Crazy Harry’s kids. He’s never been the same since they tortured him at that heavy metal concert.

        • William Thompson

          One of my pet peeves is the absence of animals in this strip. I think Buddy is the only animal to have appeared on a regular basis, and that’s because he’s a service dog–a utilitarian creature, not a pet. It’s strange that none of these people have pets. Is Batiuk afraid we’d feel sorry for any cat or dog in the care of these emotional ciphers?

  9. William Thompson

    Oh, boy, here comes Wally and his magic PTSD! This arc is brought to you by the letter R! “Wally, do you want a peppeRRRRRRRRRRRRRRoni pizza? With a side order of gaRRRRRRRRRRlic bRRRRRRRRead?”

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is one of the most appalling things about Funky Winkerbean: How delighted the women are to receive the crappiest, most juvenile favors from their assigned males. “Look, Dad, I got an engagement tiger!” “We’re having a special date at the pizza restaurant we both work at!” These are things women say only when they’re trying to hint that they’re being held at gunpoint.

    • SeaCountry

      And of course, “He gave me a rock!” I’m not a super-materialistic woman, but I do like a guy to act like he considered what I might like and gives a damn about making me happy. The stuff in this strip…well, it’s a lesson in how to treat a woman like you take her for granted. (Or in Jfff and Pam’s case, for granite—heh heh heh.)

      • Epicus Doomus

        Wally once gave Rachel a paper engagement ring, presumably as a placeholder. Westviewian women are notoriously easy to please. As awful as that sounds, it wasn’t even the worst FW proposal of the last ten years (see: Les and Cayla).

        • SeaCountry

          My high school boyfriend proposed to me with a ring from one of those 25 cent toy machines you used to see in store lobbies, the ones used to keep kids less likely to beg inside. We were 18 and he was on his way to France for a year. It was cute and I totally understood what he was trying to do even though I said no. That kind of thing gets less cute with age, though.

        • Charles

          It was actually an IOU that Rachel fashioned into a ring.

          • Epicus Doomus

            You’re correct and somehow that makes it slightly sadder. Nothing will ever top Les proposing to Cayla on the exact spot where Lisa discovered her cancer, though.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And that’s the problem with it all. These cheap, shitty romantic gestures are loud hints that the relationship is unimportant to the man. Which it is: all the wives and girlfriends in this world are basically mothers to their men. They make them dress appropriately, pick up their room, don’t let them read comic books all the time, and perform all domestic tasks. The men reciprocate through gifts that a 9-year-old would give his mom in Mother’s Day. Relationships in Westview are based in a disturbing amount of infantilism.

        • SeaCountry

          Imagine Valentine’s Week in Westview. Heart-shaped pizzas at Montoni’s, and the local gas station’s stocked up on last-minute cards, barely-living roses, and lousy boxes of chocolate!

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Yeah, it’s like the courtship rules in Westview are all taken from Gregory J.P. Godek books.

          • Epicus Doomus

            Well, let’s see. Les and Lisa’s wedding was comic book-themed, with the guests dressing up in costumes. Les and Cayla’s wedding was held in Les’ front yard and catered by Montoni’s. Wally and Rachel got married in that crappy gazebo. And then there was that shitty Starbuck Jones wedding at that stinky old movie house in Centerville. So yeah, “romance” is defined slightly differently in the Funkyverse.

        • Charles

          My impression is that Batiuk never actually considers the point of view of the woman in that situation, because, I wonder, if he even realizes that she’d had a different point of view than his. He thinks Pete giving Mindy an “engagement tiger” in lieu of an actual engagement ring because he blew all that money at carnival games is endearing, so Mindy has to find it endearing. If he thinks Wally as earnestly sincere rather than pathetic when he presents Rachel with an IOU for her engagement ring when he proposes, that’s what Rachel thinks too. So if he thinks taking Rachel out on a date to the pizza place where she’s worked for three decades is really special, well damn it, she thinks it’s really special too. It doesn’t even occur to him that she could think any differently.

          As I was writing this I came around to the mother theory as well, because the only time we ever see women react in a manner different, they’re acting like moms responding to their clownish husbands. Like, they appreciate the joke but they’re aware that someone needs to clean up after it.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I think a genuine romantic gesture would just confuse them. The women in Westview seem bred to expect this sort of treatment, as if they don’t know anything better should exist. Westview is like some weird, cultish, disconnected M. Night Shyamalan setting.

  11. Hitorque

    1. I thought Dr. Funkenstein managed managed Montoni’s along with Holly?

    2. Isn’t Walter the same jaggoff who brought his service dog to the center front row of a heavy metal concert?? And then decided to leave after 20 minutes despite Miss Copper Top pulling God knows how many favors and paying way out the ass for tickets she really couldn’t afford in the first place?

    3. Exactly how many years has she been at community college anyway? Six? Eight? Who the hell is she, Luann DeGroot?

    4. I really want to move to this “Westview” someday… I’ve never seen such a wide population of attractive women who are so desperate and lacking in self-esteem that they literally accept anything from the men in their lives as excellence to be cherished.

    • SeaCountry

      Maybe Westview is like the opposite of Schitt’s Creek, which has more attractive single men per capita than most big cities.

      If you do go to Westview, choose wisely, my dude. Give a Westview woman pretty lingerie in her size or a bottle of her favorite perfume, and she’ll be yours forever.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “Well, that’s the news from Lake Westview (aka Lake Woe-Is-Us), where all the women are good-looking, all the men are schmucks, and all the children are used for a storyline or two, then drop out of sight for years.”

  12. Hitorque

    5. Wait… How the fuck do you have a “Date Night” at the pizza parlor where you both work?

    Are you going to close shop during normal business hours? Or is this “date night” starting at like 11:30pm after closing and cleanup?!

  13. Barnaby Scones

    Love the guy in panel 2. His expression says it all. “Good lord, get me out of this shitty arc.”

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    Crankshaft looks great this week. A small independent bookstore is driven out of business by Lillian’s book shop! Will Crankshaft’s grandkids step in to save it?


    • Gerard Plourde

      And oddly, while independent booksellers are endangered by the likes of Amazon, it’s the big retail chains that have gone under (B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, Borders).

      • batgirl

        One reason the big chains went under is that they cut costs by letting all the experienced (higher paid) staff go, and treating books as interchangeable units. Customers who knew the book they wanted went to Amazon, and those who didn’t went to the small shops where they could browse the shelves and get intelligent recommendations.
        That is – the small shops who survived did so by providing the service their customers wanted. Or what TB would consider Selling Out.

      • Yeah, years ago our neighborhood book store (where I purchased all my xmas gifts every year) was put out of business by a new Borders that opened a couple of miles down the road. Then the Borders closed and now I have to drive 15 miles to the nearest Barnes and Noble.

  15. Rusty Shackleford


    Of course Batty will waste no time blaming big evil corporations for the problem instead of asking himself why customers are buying books elsewhere instead of shopping at local stores.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He’s certainly not going to suggest that the illegal, non-commercially zoned, non-taxpaying, child labor-using bookstore in Lillian’s attic might be part of the problem.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Funny that with how little she earns from her shop, those sneaky twins still manage to skim from the register.

  16. Professor Fate

    1 – to again quote Tom Servo “Oh the really unappealing characters”
    2 – i know more than a few married couples who try and have a regular date night – to best of my knowledge none of them have their date night at the place where they work. Of course today’s strip is missing a final panel where Rachel’s friend asks “how the hell is that special?”
    I suppose we are going to be shown (or more likely told) just how special eating at the same place you work every day is but i doubt any reader is going to be convinced.
    I mean jeeze at least have a salad once in a while guys.

  17. batgirl

    I wonder if the Crankshaft strip is setting up Pm to take over the failing bookshop, the way her son took over the failing Valentine theatre.
    What with Lilian’s used book-garage, Max’s Valentine theatre, Chester’s Atomix Comix, the Funkyverse is like the home of non-profit businesses and vanity ventures. Is there any evidence that the Komix Korner turns a profit?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Is there any evidence the Komix Korner ever had a paying customer? The last time we visited it was, I believe, during an annual Free Comic Book Day promotion, where crotchety old artists and fading actors were getting all the attention.

  18. The Dreamer

    So wait If Funky is now over 65 then Wally, his cousin only a few years younger must be sixty it so and Rachel as well….they don’t look it