Ugh. What an anti-climax. It is the peak of Batikuian storytelling to hinge an entire week’s worth of strips on a non-existent conflict. We never had to be worried about how Donna would receive her bottle of salad dressing, because Crazy Harry always had a stock fancy restaurant in his back pocket. He didn’t mention this to Funky or Holly because he doesn’t want to ruin what’s left of his eccentric mystique by admitting he’s basically planning a cookie cutter anniversary with a bit of oil and vinegar pregaming.
Unless the entire salad dressing gift ceremony was some kind of morality test? And if Donna hadn’t sufficiently appreciated the bottle of Montoni’s finest Crazy would just have driven her to Toxic Taco.
Regardless, it’s a good thing that the salad dressing wasn’t actually a tiny bottle of champagne, because judging by the look on Donna’s face in panel two, she’s already plenty intoxicated.
24 responses to “Test of Patience.”
Chez Francoise? Is this another one-shot feature that’s going to vanish after this
storycollection of panels, or is it going to develop a style that makes it at home in the Funkyverse? Is it an eatery so bad that you have to bring your own salad dressing? Will Crazy Harry have to use his beard to filter the insect parts and rat hairs out of the house wine? Do you tip the waiter by saying “Pro tip, kid: quit the day job before it gives you cancer?”
Only Westview would have a trashy French restaurant.
“The lady will have le pizza with le pepperoni. I shall have le pizza with le sausage. And a liter of your finest le Diet Pepsi, monsieur.”
“Oui, oui, excellent le choice, monsieur.”
“And please, extra le napkins for the table, my good man.”
It may be a one shot, but it’s a shout out to a real restaurant in nearby Vermilion, Ohio.
I’m sure the folks at Chez Francoise consider today’s strip to be up there with that time they were name-checked in an article on Vermilion in The Atlantic… I’m sure.
It is a very nice restaurant. I finally made it up there last summer. The food was outstanding.
Batty is plugging for a free meal.
Oh goody, another northeast Ohio product placement. Indulge Tom Batiuk’s ego once, get free mentions in Funky Winkerbean for a lifetime. I wondered why the restaurant’s name wasn’t a stupid joke like “The French Connection.”
“Is it an eatery so bad that you have to bring your own salad dressing? ”
Are you kidding? Why, it’s the latest thing now that so many places are getting limited liquor licenses!
BYOB is dead, now it’s BYOSD!
Saturday: Crazy and Mrs. Crazy get kicked out of Chez Francoise when Mrs. Crazy insists on using her bottle of Montoni’s on Francoise’s special Salade Lyonnaise. “But the sign in the window says ‘B.Y.O.B.!’ That’s what we did!,” exclaims a shocked Crazy.
This week-long attempt at whimsy was…just sad.
LOL I knew it. Having this end with Donna merely thanking Crazy for his shitty gift would have been too much of a downer given the “light-hearted slice of zany marital life” theme he’s trying for here. So really the entire salad dressing gag was a set-up for nothing. Sigh. Lord knows I’ve seen that before.
So what was TomBa’s concept going into this? “I’ll make everyone think that Harry is a clueless jerk giving Donna salad dressing as an anniversary present and then give the surprise ending that he’s actually taking her to a fancy French restaurant. That’ll show them!” (Runs imaginary bases).
Real Cayla: “ oh Tom, the NYT is on the phone, they want to interview you”
Real Cayla: “Oh sorry, it’s the New York Post”
TomBa’s concept is what it always is: fill 7 days worth of strips and get paid for it.
Today’s strip further supports my theory that Donna is being over-the-top sarcastic because Harry is too dumb to notice it.
Here’s the weird and/or stupid part: why couldn’t Harry have let Funky in on the gag? “Yeah, I’m gonna pretend this is her gift, then take her someplace nice”. What was the purpose of making his pal Funky the straight man here? Right now, wherever he is, Funky thinks his “friend” is some sort of weirdo cheapskate, all for no reason at all. It’s not like Funky would have ruined the surprise, as when was the last time he even spoke to Donna?
If he thought Harry had any money at all, he’d ask him to take a chunk out of his tab.
I dunno, how would Funky react if Harry told him, “Then I’m going to take her someplace nice for dinner” with the implication being “unlike this dump here.”
Chez Francoise? “In Frankie’s?” Sounds like hot dogs at Tony Packo’s.
I realize that the gender is wrong, but I can’t help wondering if Darren’s bio-dad moved his food truck back from Hollywood.
You just know that Crazy Harry pronounces it “Chezz Fran-coy-zee.”
I imagine it as “SHEZZ fran-koy-ZEE”, so it sounds just like “Chef Boyardee.”
Does this mean Chez Francoise has a counter and pours an endless cup of joe? Why else would Crazy go there?
You want to see a good comic strip story about an unwanted gift?
There’s so much affection in this little scene. Dilbert annoys Dogbert by telling him he’s getting a cheap gift, but it turns out to be something substantial and heartfelt. Dogbert is so shocked he can’t even snark back at Dilbert about it. Dilbert declines to rub it in, and just lets this sweet moment happen. It shows us that their friendship is genuine, despite their constant sniping. A very nice comic strip for Christmas day.
Funky Winkerbean lacks any of this. This week’s arc has no affection, warmth, emotion, subtext or anything at all. Like everything else in Westview, it’s a pointless ritual that must be performed. Harry must give a gift, and Donna must pretend to like it. The end.
The Dilbert strips do something else that I think this week’s strips should have done: it conceals the “twist” until the recipient actually opens the lame-seeming gift. Imagine if we saw the “salad days” pun at the same time Donna did, instead of reading it two days beforehand. That would have given it a hair more dramatic tension, right?
It probably would. But was Donna reading the card SUPPOSED to be the dramatic moment? Was that supposed to be the funny moment? Was Harry meant to be the focus of the story? This arc is so badly written I can’t even tell what story it’s trying to tell. It’s what scientists call “not even wrong.”