Taking Fred’s Job Away

Link to today’s strip.

First of all, nice ventriloquist’s dummy of Wally in panel one.  If they revive “Tales from the Crypt” you should definitely apply to play the Cryptkeeper.  Secondly, there’s an actual kind-of joke in panel two.  But naturally, Batiuk has to ruin it with panel three with something meaningless yet vaguely depressing.  From what we can see, he has definitely brought the mood down for everyone.

I guess this makes today’s episode a grand slam!  He’s out on that tiny baseball diamond even as we speak!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

46 responses to “Taking Fred’s Job Away

  1. William Thompson

    Wally, “problematic” is far too polite a word for your delivery–either of your line or of your birth.

  2. Barnaby Scones

    Sure looks like Adeela’s smirk-smile faded 3 million times faster than a Montoni’s delivery.

  3. Count of Tower Grove

    Is that Roseanne in panel two posing as Tony?

  4. SeaCountry

    At least it’s a slight amount of movement! (And nobody would have guessed this means another delivery person is available days ago!)

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Know what else might “help out” with deliveries? Not taking the delivery car out for personal errands in the middle of the workday! Unless the gag here is that no one respects Montoni’s at all, in which case bravo, well done. I mean why would they have any respect for the town’s number one employer and pizza provider, right? Sigh.

  6. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    This strip would work so much better by swapping panels 2 and 3.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    Wow, talk about stepping on the punch line. And how long has it been since Tony actually ran Montoni’s? Wasn’t Funky’s big expansion that failed an Act II story line? Aren’t we talking decades? If delivery is still a problem, it’s very fortunate that Westview mandates that Montoni’s possesses a pizza (and possibly a general take-out food) monopoly.

  8. Professor Harlan Grankle

    I wonder how many times it took a customer muttering “Asshole” and slamming down the receiver before Montoni’s changed that greeting?

    • comicbookharriet

      On the upside it gave him an idea for new pizza toppings. I mean, pork rectums are a delicacy in foreign countries. A DELICACY!

  9. William Thompson

    Can this please be one of those weeks where Batiuk loses interest in the story and goes haring off in another direction? Maybe something interesting can happen, like Creepy Les gets diagnosed with emphysema from smoke inhalation, or Cayla gets a line, or the whole Atomik Komix gang gets held for psychiatric observation.

    • comicbookharriet

      “Wish!” she cried, in a strong voice.

      “It is foolish and wicked,” he faltered.

      “Wish!” repeated his wife.

      He raised his hand. “I wish this plot alive again.”

      The talisman fell to the floor, and he regarded it fearfully. Then he sank trembling into a chair as the old woman, with burning eyes, walked to the window and raised the blind.

      • William Thompson

        Ah, the final lines of “The Macaque’s Paw,” by Todd Depressaunt.

      • erdmann

        So, at one time things were so bad Westview was beset by what appears to be a roving gang of punk rockers who waylaid pizza deliveries? Wow.
        And boy, Rachel could kick some serious butt. Not that she needed to. Becky obviously could’ve taken out the whole gang singlehandedly.

  10. billytheskink

    Rachel definitely knows how problematic Montoni’s deliveries can be, Wally.

    How are Adeela’s kickboxing skills?

    • comicbookharriet

      And yet, when Becky and Rachel went out for dinner to discuss Rachel dating Wally and his PTSD, you got no hint that they’d ever been back to back badasses.

  11. Hitorque

    1. How in fuck’s name do you have problems with deliveries when you’re the only pizzeria in a three-stoplight burg??

    2. Are we certain that Wally is a “manager”?? If so, could he be ANY worse at his job?!

    3. I don’t even give a shit anymore; I’m only curious to see how many consecutive days Batiuk can show us the most popular pizzeria in Westview without a single customer in the late afternoon…

  12. J.J. O'Malley

    Yes, because in a pizzeria that’s displayed absolutely no signs of selling a single slice of pizza in a week and a half, what you need is help with deliveries. Maybe, in lieu of delivering pies that no one is ordering, Ardeela or one of the other people on staff could take over wiping down the counter from Cory. His arm has got to be tired by now…and the countertop probably has a hole in it.

    I did appreciate the cameo by Avery Schreiber in panel two. Loved him on “My Mother the Car.”

  13. Charles

    What sort of pizza place sends its manager out to deliver?

    Adeela was made the daytime manager because she…. has a degree! Because if you want to maintain morale among your employees, make sure to hire someone without relevant experience to manage them, and make sure to indicate that the reason why that person with no relevant experience was hired instead of them is because you’re a snob who believes someone with a degree is just naturally better at everything than someone without one.

    • comicbookharriet

      It’s Montoni’s. Everyone is hired out of pity, nepotism, or, more likely, both. Everyone is given a meaningless title on paper based on their qualifications on paper. Everyone, (save Funky,) has the same minimum wage, fringe benefits, and responsibilities. And no one is managing anything.

  14. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Panel #3 makes me crave some monton soup. Mmmm – monton!

  15. Rusty Shackleford

    Wait,I thought Funky was a pizza “king of industry “ type for awhile. How did he become one if he couldn’t deliver a pizza on time?

    And how come in Crankshaft we see Ed getting an “enhanced “ drivers license which requires a lot of documentation (it’s actually not bad) but here, ten years later, Adeela comes back with hers instantly.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Typical dishonest, incompetent writing from Tom Batiuk. When he wants to give Funky awards and praise, Montoni’s is a model of industry. When he wants to make a tee-hee joke about incompetence, Montoni’s is unable to perform basic tasks.

      This is the core of why Funky Winkerbean fails: because it has no believable reality. Everything is whatever Batiuk needs it to be for today’s lame joke or contrived drama. It tries to build stories on things the audience knows aren’t true, while disregarding things the audience knows are true.

      And, failing to recognize the story elements it does create. Instead of a lame flashback panel, Wally could have said “maybe Montoni’s would have fewer delivery problems if its employees could keep busy.” This works because we’ve watched them goof off for a week now. And, Wally’s the manager, and that’s something a manager would say in that situation.

      • Gerard Plourde

        You’re right. I think part of the problem is that he can’t resist the urge to fall back on the “gag a day” format when he needs to fill the space. No one cares if there’s no continuity in Garfield or Beetle Bailey because they make no pretense of being a quarter inch from reality. The same was true in Act I of FW. Part of the fun was seeing the principal in a Starfleet Uniform interacting with the school computer. This doesn’t mean that a realistic strip can’t contain humor. It just means that the humor can’t violate the reality created in the strip, which is exactly what today’s offering does.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          And note too that all of his memorable characters were act 1 characters. Crankshaft, Dinkle, Bull. Lisa was an act 1 character, however she wasn’t beatified (batiukfied?) until later, but nobody cares. He has to struggle to keep her memory alive. Lisa’s tapes, Lisa’s run, Lisa’s story made into a movie.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The strip’s continuity problem overlaps with its character problem. You can’t do gags when all the characters are identical, and there’s never any conflict between them. Even worse, Batiuk ignores relevant character history, like Wally’s driving record and Adeela’s own PTSD problems (really, you want your business driver to be someone who’s triggered by sirens?)

  16. Dood

    Cory’s swiping that counter like it’s a Lisa’s Legacy cigar box.

    • batgirl

      What the heck happened to Cory’s arm in that panel? Didn’t he ace the army physical with 20-odd pullups? That arm looks like an 80-year old woman’s (one who doesn’t exercise or carry groceries, at that).

  17. I always thought that was a neon “Montoni’s” sign hanging in the window. Turns out it’s those gel window cling thingies.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Also, why is the curtain outside? The window and characters are covered in zip-a-tone to create the impression of glass, but the curtain and rod aren’t. It looks like the curtain is outside.

  18. Professor Fate

    As elsewhere noted the panel sequence hurts the joke (never mind should the joke be there in the first place – a better writer could balance the weirdness and the normality – witness Charles Shultz in his prime with Peanuts the contrast between Charlie Brown’s struggles with well everything and Snoopy’s fantasy world)
    At least the arc got a little bit away from “I got my driver’s license” now it’s “Oh you can use your driver’s license” (confess who the hell is Jeff?)
    And honestly the only reason I can imagine why Cory is still wiping the counter is that before all this happened he’d murdered someone and he’s making sure as best he can there are no blood traces left. Later he will grind the body to make Montoni’s signature sausage. No of course not but at least it would mean something was happening.
    Thinking on this I realize nothing ever happens in the prestige arcs either but there is at least some peripheral activity: fires, murder chimps, the gay hand, and such that can distract one’s attention at least until the inevitable anti-climax.

    • Professor Fate

      sorry who the hell is Fred? (not Jeff) – my head is not in the game today it seems.

      • Fred is Darrin’s step-father. Apparently he had a habit of saying “I helped with the delivery” on a number of occasions, so the title was based on that. Titles, especially for amazingly boring “stories” like this one are sometimes hard to forge.

        • billytheskink

          Most notably, Fred said “I helped with the delivery” when he and Ann brought adopted son Darin home for the first time. Or rather, he said “Here, let me get the door so I can say I helped with the delivery.” as Ann carried infant Durwood up to their house… and he has recounted this many many times

          I thought the title was a winner, BC.

        • Margaret

          I think he’s Darrin’s adoptive father, not stepfather. He’d be the stepfather if he married Lisa, wouldn’t he? Which would be pretty creepy, since a: he was already married to Ann, and b: I think he was the school principal in Act I, so he’d be some 30 years older than Lisa.

  19. newagepalimpsest

    You know, Rex Morgan has also been rather dull lately, and the most recent Sunday strip has just the most “Neato Peachy Keen” depictions of teenagers this side of a 50s PSA about keeping Clean and Neat.


    !) When the most recent creative team took over, they very clearly read, considered, and listened to the feedback that the public gave them (and a large part of the public gave that feedback on their own time because they cared enough to be engaged, at least.) They made key changes to the strip that appeared in print within weeks, and while the current state of affairs appears to be “dull surprise,” at least they make efforts to change things up and give it a shot of adrenaline like in the old days. (The recent storyline with June’s eccentric aunt whose ex-husband is a pro-wrassler had some moments that took me out of the story briefly, I do consider it to be an overall good arc, and I really would like to see those characters again sometime.)

    2) Rex Morgan’s current creative team is also clearly very aware and respectful of the strip’s history of providing basic, digestible, and accessible information about medical matters to the public. (There’s a great website called Comics With Problems that provides scans of many of them, as well as PSAs from other established comic strips.)

    So what did they do when COVID struck?

    They took a look at their calendars, upended probably several months worth of strips about Buck and Mindy talking about how much they enjoy installing wallpaper, and they made an entirely new storyline, with several weeks of thoughtful, informative, and engaging content, to help teach people about COVID-19 while soothing their fears and anxieties.

    • newagepalimpsest

      Actually, I haven’t visited Comics With Problems for a while. Maybe I’ll read some Rex Morgan today…

    • Hitorque

      Holy shit even RMMD is joining the 21st century?

    • Gerard Plourde

      Thanks for bringing that up. I never usually read RMMD but took a quick look. It’s clear that the team over there wanted to be timely, informative, and relevant to their readership.

  20. Westview Radiology

    What has Wally morphed into? Cory keeps wiping the counter. Looking at panel 3 ….. Montoni’s should read “Monotony” instead.