For someone who prides himself on his writing ability, Tom Batiuk sure doesn’t show any evidence of possessing any. Today’s strip is full of unneeded detail, as if Batiuk was certain the reader couldn’t remember what happened–not just in the previous strip, but in the previous panel.
Of course, he has space he has to fill. I remain convinced that he does, indeed, draw the strip a year in advance including the word balloons, but the word balloons are not filled in until the last minute. Notice how a cleaned-up version reads:
Notice how the flow is much better. But it obviously wouldn’t do to leave all that white space. So, off he goes filling the space with whatever comes to mind.
The second flaw in Batiuk’s “writing” is the fact that the joke isn’t a joke at all, yet he’s got his characters laughing uproariously at what is little more than a simple observation. I would guess that DMV officers test drivers in all kinds of vehicles; it kind of comes with the job. Though I should note that when Wally and Adeela came back to Montoni’s, she was driving a standard robin’s egg Batiukmobile. How is this a “first time” for a DMV (or if you insist, Tom, BMV) officer?
Did “the officer administering the test” have to shove piles of pizza boxes into the trunk before he could fit in the passenger seat? Batiuk, you should at least 1) try to set up your joke properly, and 2) try to have an actual joke.