You Took the Bird Right Out of My Mouth

Now I know meatloaf is typically not gluten free, especially the way I make it, and the way I make it is different every time (my pièce de résistance is my heart shaped, bacon wrapped Valentine’s Day meatloaf).  Pizza may be the most ubiquitous foodstuff in the Funkiverse, but I was just thinking back to a little over a year ago, to the last time we saw a wife preparing a meatloaf.

Back at the Dinkle home (which has been repainted at some point in the last three weeks) we find Harry and Harriet joined by daughter Halle, and some fella whom we’ve not met. From the way his right arm seems to disappear behind Halle, he’s either her amputee fiancé or a heretofore off-panel conjoined twin. The last place Halle Dinkle was spotted was at her parents’ 50th anniversary pizza party, but the character was created by Batiuk for the National Association for Music Education (she’s a music educator like her dad). This most niche of comics heroine has her own shrine here at SoSF.

On behalf of all of us who bring you Son of Stuck Funky, here’s to a peaceful and joyous Thanksgiving to you and yours!

34 Comments

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34 responses to “You Took the Bird Right Out of My Mouth

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Thanks TFH, I totally forgot all about Halle Dinkle. I wish I could forget this arc, but that’ll have to wait for Monday. I really hate that overly self-satisfied eyes-closed smirk, he just did one of those last week for crying out loud. What the hell is he so happy about anyway, the way he’s ruined Thanksgiving for his family forevermore? What a dick.

  2. William Thompson

    I had some bad teachers at my old parochial high school, but the bar-none worst was the biology teacher. His day-before Thanksgiving tradition was to lecture each and every class on all the diseases, parasites and toxins you could potentially find in your dinner. Complete with a slide show. Being an asshole, Father Fred ended each lecture with “Gentlemen, bon appetite!”

    Batiuk would have hired him on the spot.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. And damn, that smirk should split Dinkle’s face–but I guess I’m glad it didn’t, since hideous monsters would then fly out from his head and…and knowing the Funkyverse, they’d torment us with terribly puns.

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    Just wondering; Did you get the inspiration for the heart-shaped meatloaf from those early ’70s Alka-Seltzer commercials? If so, nice callback.

    So, are we to gather from this week’s slices of dull that all those years of fondling raw turkeys as he schlepped them door to door gave Harry some form of Meleagrisphobia, a fear so intense that he forbade the bird from ever crossing his Thanksgiving table and now manifests itself in November nightmares? Will he spend the rest of his life crying out in the night as he relives his most painful poultry interactions? If so, good.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    It would have been funnier if he went the opposite way with it and had Dinkle forcing everyone to eat nothing BUT turkey. Turkey, with turkey stuffing, topped with turkey gravy, with mashed turkey and turkey sauce on the side, as everyone rolled their eyes in disgust. Every year he’d come up with a new dish, like turkey on the cob, turkey pie and so forth. It would have made more sense too, given the last forty-five years of the strip and all.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    And for a beverage – cranberry juice cocktail.

    And no Dinkle grandchildren. TomBa’s war on children continues.

  7. Mr. A

    Judging by that roofline, the Dinkles now have a 0.5-car garage.

  8. Aurora Snorealis

    Fucking corny goddam SHIT

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Tonight TB introduces Chaz, Halle’s new boyfriend. Halle inspired Chaz to quit his warehouse job and pursue his dream of becoming a taxidermist/ventriloquist. Pleased that Harry and Harriet are duped by his Halle meat puppet, he decides to take he show on the road. “Chaz and Halle-she’s the sassiest girlfriend ever!”

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    This strip is actually very, very sad.

    Look how many details in this strip are about Dinkle’s toxic workaholism. The house decoration and the choice of Thanksgiving meal are based on his career. The annual band turkey sale makes Harry tired of turkey, so turkey must not be served, no matter what anybody else wants. This has risen to the level of family tradition. His daughter entered the same career as him, so you can guess what the table conversation is going to be about. I’m surprised he changed out of his uniform.

    Look at Harriet’s face as she presents the Thanksgiving non-turkey. Her weary eyes seem to be seeking his approval. Her dead Barbie doll smile is a combination of feigned happiness, antidepressant abuse, and struggling to maintain the facade of a happy, normal family life. Her daughter gives her companion an aside glance, as if to say “see, I warned you it’d be like this.” He seems to respond in kind, as if acknowledging he’s seen this in his own family. Harry is genuinely happy, because everything revolves around him, exactly as it should. And everyone knows it better stay that way.

    Finally, look at the meal. It’s not very impressive, is it? The meatloaf is an unadorned brown lump. There is one choice of vegetable, haphazardly dumped on the plate, and not enough of it for four people. The potatoes are a gelatinous mass, with an ugly yellow butter pat sinking into it like a Rubik’s cube in quicksand. There are no other dishes. It looks like what the Lockhorns would feed each other, except they actually have a turkey!

    This is the Thanksgiving of a family that revolves around a selfish, obsessive narcissist. And it’s a common theme in Funky Winkerbean. If this year’s Thanksgiving story wasn’t about Dinkle and his band, it would be about Funky and Montoni’s, Les and dead Lisa, Cindy and her popularity, or somebody and their comic book collection.

    Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I hope yours is a lot better than the one we see here.

  11. Charles

    It just occurred to me, if Halle is also a music director, why doesn’t Batiuk have Dinkle harassing her at her job instead of Becky? He’d be able to do all the same dumb sequences that he has with Dinkle and Becky, only the story’s regular infantilization of the band director would be rationalized by something other than Dinkle treating his female successor like an idiot and an incompetent. Plus, he’d have his legacy to be concerned about to justify his ridiculous presence. Also, Halle could tell him to go blow his comments out his ass, so to speak, without it being a huge deal.

    Have him deal with Becky if there’s a story that requires it to be about Westview High, but otherwise make it a conflict/interaction between him and his daughter. Just that difference alone makes Dinkle’s behavior seem a ton less toxic and sexist. I mean, it’s not as though it would preclude any of the dumb band stories Batiuk’s done over the last fifteen years.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Because Halle escaped Westview and exists in the nebulous ‘out there’ between Westview and LA . This place is so mysterious it can only be imagined with great difficulty, and so appears and is recorded only rarely. Halle is only obligated to swim upstream returning to her birthplace once a year so she can spawn children she will then abandon to the unseen aether where she resides.

  12. sgtsaunders

    What is WRONG with these people?

  13. Gerard Plourde

    A number of really good observations about today’s strip made me think more about the Dinkle band storyline and wonder if it’s another example of TomBa not knowing what happens in a contemporary high school.

    First of all, kudos to Banana Jr. 6000, for nailing the effect of TomBa’s lack of character development and lack of attention to detail. The meal being shown, lacking even a second vegetable, would be meager as a weeknight dinner. One-dimensional characters can inhabit a gag-a-day strip, but failure to give Dinkle so much as a hobby only reinforces the picture of an obsessed monomaniac.

    Charles’ observations made me think more deeply about the job now nominally held by Becky at Westview as marching band director and apparently the sole member of the music department faculty. Thinking about what’s happened in the school I attended in the half-century since my graduation, it dawned on me that there’s no way that that would likely be the case today. A quick look at the Medina, Ohio High School web site revealed that, even in TomBa’s locale, the music department isn’t that stunted. Here’s the list of music activities at Medina High in the order the school presented them (note the lack of prominence of Marching Band): Concert Choir, Women’s Chorale, Men’s Chorale, Women’s Chorus, Symphony Orchestra, String Orchestra, Beeliners/Singers, Marching Band, Concert Band, Winds and Symphonic Band. There’s no way that Becky, even with Dinkle’s help (interference?) could juggle that single-handedly (oops – sorry, Becky).

  14. I think the reason Mr. Nobody has his arm like that is because Halle doesn’t have a chair.

  15. Perfect Tommy

    Ding Dong! Hey Harriet, what can I do for you? Oh Linda! I hate to impose, but my dickweed husband refuses to eat turkey for thanksgiving and I have nothing to serve him. Well, I have an old meatloaf in the freezer. I made it for Bull before he, well, you know. Oh thank you Linda! Maybe it will bring me that kind of luck as well! Happy Thanksgiving!

  16. ComicBookHarriet

    Cheers to Heart Shaped Valentine’s Meatloaf, sweet love note of my childhood. TFH, you and my mom seem to have the same sense of moulded hamburger whimsy.

  17. ComicTrek

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your day is full of thankfulness, joy, and much better things to eat than Dinkle-loaf!

  18. So, if I understand correctly… After terrorizing the entire town for weeks on end every year of his career, this guy doesn’t even have the decency to BUY A BAND TURKEY FOR HIS OWN FAMILY?!

    I… kinda got what I wanted out of the Crazy Harry’s Anniversary thing, so maaaaybe tomorrow’s strip will be something like “… and the Food Bank sure was happy when we donated the turkey that we can’t have because Harryina’s husband is allergic to turkey.”