21 responses to “It Really Is The Thought That Counts.

  1. William Thompson

    “Harry! You had a thought! How thoughtful!”

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Here’s a fun game. Well, maybe not exactly “fun”. More like a mild diversion, let’s say. Once this arc wraps up, when will we see either of these characters again? I figure Harry will pop up again within five or six months, probably with something involving comic books. As far as Donna goes, I figure we won’t see her again until the big “entire cast” 50th anniversary Sunday strip, where she’ll probably be way in the background next to Adeela or Rocky’s mom or someone like that.

    As far as the two of them together again, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this is the last time that ever happens. If I had to wager I’d bet that this is the last Harry and Donna arc ever. Now watch him do a six week arc about Harry and Donna buying a tandem bicycle or something, just because BatHam loves to torment me like that.

  3. Gerard Plourde


    Thanks for your reminder that the gifts real people who treasure each other can have meanings known only to them. The sad thing is that if TomBa had given at least the amount of diligence and personal experience into this strip as you did in your post we’d probably be a lot more laudatory toward him and understanding if the effort fell somewhat short.

  4. newagepalimpsest

    You’ve been on fire all week, CBH. I’m sorry that you haven’t had much to work with, but I’m happy that you have a cool family that you obviously love.

    Also… Ha ha! Salad dressing?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thanks NAP! Sometimes having almost nothing to work with can drive some outside of the box thinking. If Tom refuses to be interesting, he forces me to pull out the big guns and share embarrassing family stories.

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    …and so another Stepview Wife sacrifices her opinions and individuality for the ectomorphic body standard and a slavish devotion to her man’s supposedly adorable “quirkiness.” Woulda been nice if we had any sort of feel for Donna’s life and thoughts before this drawn-out dressing game, but since when did Battyuk ever concern himself with a married female character’s background, save possibly for Cindy’s fragile ego?

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    CBH is right that we don’t know anything about these characters that would put this in context. On top of that, what we do know contradicts what we’re seeing here.

    Donna’s facial expressions indicate that she very much DOESN’T love this gift. And Harry’s facial expressions indicate that he detects her dissatisfaction. Tell me this alternate interpretation doesn’t perfectly match the faces they’re making:

    Donna gives us disappointment, then confusion, then annoyance. Harry switches from his I’m-so-wacky face to a shameful, worried look. The non-verbal communication doesn’t match the verbal communication.

    To make this even more confusing, the Sunday and Monday strips showed that Harry is oblivious to over-the-top sarcasm. The principle of Chekov’s Gun suggests that this detail must be meaningful to the story, or the writer wouldn’t have devoted 2/7 of the entire story to it.

    Here’s my interpretation: Donna hates Harry’s stupid gift, but defuses the situation by making sarcastic praise, relying on Harry’s inability to detect sarcasm. Which would actually be pretty clever, if these were traits these characters had ever shown before. And if the implications of that scenario – that Donna treats her 50-year-old husband like a child – weren’t so creepy.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    And another thing. Here’s how that “salad days” joke should have been delivered:

    It’s funnier, because the message is revealed to the characters and the audience at the same time. Instead, Batiuk spends two days buying the salad dressing, and one day revealing the salad dressing-related punchline. Donna’s reaction to this message is the centerpiece of the story, but by the time it finally gets to her, it has no impact.

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    I love your mom’s sense of humor!

  9. Rusty Shackleford

    Meanwhile over at Crankshaft, Ed continues to bully Bernie Schlepman…


    Another deep and meaningful story courtesy of Batty.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Ugh. This is almost as tastelessly out-of-character as that baseball arc where he slept on the bus in solidarity with a black player.

      Batiuk needs to watch some Fawlty Towers and learn that If your main character is an asshole, let him be an asshole. Or if you’re going to change him, change him. Ed will fix Keesterman’s mailbox this week because bullying is wrong, and then smash it again within a month as if this week never happened.

      To say nothing of Crankshaft drafting this poor kid into helping him with a personal task. And using the school bus for personal reasons when he’s got child passengers, something that should have gotten him fired at least 200 times by now.

      • newagepalimpsest

        Fawlty Towers even explains why the Fawltys don’t get fired, and why they are living in a hell of their own making. Crankshaft just… has absolutely incredible blackmail material on the entire school bus driver’s union, I guess?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Even if he does, that’s still one hell of a strong union if they’re keeping his worthless ass employed. Centerville School District should be bankrupt from Ed Crankshaft-related lawsuits.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Just a few days ago he was bragging about all of his stickers.

  10. “If you liked this gift, you’re going to love where I’m taking you out for dinner!”

  11. Count of Tower Grove

    Donna understands. Crazy never applied for his USPS pension and can’t afford anything else.

  12. I really don’t know what to say about this. Batiuk clearly intends it to be warm and sentimental, but it just comes off as imbecilic.

    • Gerard Plourde

      It’s pretty certain by this point that he writes a first draft of dialogue, adds that dialogue to the illustration, puts it in the drawer for about a year, and then ships it off to his distributor for publication. At the distributor, his “editor” immediately passes it on for publication.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        No, give Batty a little credit. He first looks it over to see if he can milk a few more days out of the gag.

        Batty commands Ayers: thin it out some more

        Ayers: good gads man. I’ve thinned her out as far as she’ll go, I cannot thin it no more!

  13. Professor Fate

    Lord it’s Thursday – what do we have to look forward to the next couple of days? No wait don’t tell me. I’d rather be disappointed.
    Still I feel for Donna. To be so utterly beaten down as to accept salad dressing as a present. Seriously this took him what five minutes to think up? My sense is that she’s thinking at least he remembered this time. That’s something at least. So let’s humor the man child.