Retirement clearly means different things to different teachers. Harry Dinkle comes to mind…how could he not, since nearly half the strips last month were about him? Harry’s busier now than he was before his retirement. When he’s not lurking around Becky’s band room, he oversees the Bedside Manorisms, conducts the July 4th concert in the gazebo, and hard-earns a buck or two giving piano lessons to rotten kids. Even in his sleep, he experiences nightly flashbacks to his days in uniform.
Les’ “work wife” Linda entered her lonely retirement sometime before Bull’s death. So the current, core faculty at WHS consists of Les (who’s rarely seen in the school, let alone teaching a class), Principal Nate, band director Becky, and the execrable Mr. Kablichnick.
Banana Jr. 6000
December 1, 2020 at 9:54 am
[Les is] the “cool” teacher that all the kids relate to…Batiuk thinks he’s invented the modern day Mr. Chips.
December 1, 2020 at 10:56 am
He’s invented the modern day Mr. Buffalo Chips. I’ll give him that.
That title really ought to go to Jim Kablichnick, the Science Schmuck. Despite his resemblance to Mark Twain, Jim’s corny, repetitive attempts at humor elicit only groans from his students. His climate mania is his least quirky character trait. I couldn’t find the strips, but can recall an arc where his coworkers shared their concerns that he was having a nervous breakdown. He’s a militant germaphobe, and a loner who on a class trip to Washington D.C., opted to drink alone in his room rather than join Linda, Les, and Cayla for dinner. OK, that last one’s understandable. At any rate, nobody hates his job more than Jim, for whom Wednesday, June 11, 2025 cannot come quickly enough. He memorializes his remaining days as a teacher on a whiteboard. Unless Jim’s creator plans to continue working after Funky’s 50th year, and barring another “time jump,” Batty will retire three years before Jim. Here’s hoping!
24 responses to “Wish upon, Wish upon, Day upon Day”
Oh, so this is just a WHS garbage dump arc, a place to use up the one-off WHS gags he has laying around that studio of his. This one is an obvious “outtake”, sort of a deleted scene, so to speak. Another silent strip too, he’s really done a shitload of those lately. Of course Klabichnik is literally counting the days until he can put his miserable teaching career behind him and begin his miserable retirement, if he actually enjoyed teaching they’d have to run him out of town.
Kablichnick always feels like the last vestige of the old flavor of Funky Winkerbean to me. He’s just a ‘wacky’ bitter teacher used for gags during the few times Batiuk remembers this was a High School based strip. Has he ever had ‘serious’ arcs or do we know anything deeper about his character? He’s an accretion of the school itself, like those Flying Dutchmen barnacle and wood sailors in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Again, as many have mentioned, there isn’t a single, solitary soul in this town who enjoys his work. It’s all drudgery, to be escaped at the first opportunity.
Does Batiuk think this is wistful, or poignant? It might be, if the character was even slightly likeable. But he isn’t, and it isn’t.
Do people really start thinking about retirement four and a half years from it? Maybe the number is something else.
Maybe Batiuk is telling us he’ll retire on the 16th day of the 5th month in 2022.
“Do people really start thinking about retirement four and a half years from it?”
In my experience, YEARS earlier.
Most of us started countdown spreadsheets about 2400 days before KMA day.
By the time I walked out the door, the new folks had their KMA days posted at their desks within about 6 mont6hs of starting.
If you’re a lifer in the army, you sure do! In fact you start thinking about it on your first reup.
Is that supposed to be Joe Shlabotnik’s classroom whiteboard or the living room of his lonely bachelor pad, which is decorated like a school room? And if it’s the former, what will happen if some smart-alecky student changes the number so that he winds up “retiring” a week early and thus forgoes his pension?
Also, who cares when his retirement is? A month after that, Battyuk will do a series of strips in which a restless Kopalski (whose one-man stage show “Hal Holbrook Tonight” flopped) wanders into Westview High unannounced and starts instructing the young, female teacher who replaced him on how to pepper her lessons with bad science jokes.
The ever-miserable Kablichnick has only ever been happy once in his life: when he met Cliff Anger back in 2016.
His misery and his interest in climate science both date as far back as Act II, though his grasp of the latter was… well, it was something.
That last panel reminds me of an old Abbott & Costello routine. Lou Costello reveals a deranged money-making scheme. Bud Abbott says “That’s the craziest thing I ever heard.” Costello gets worked up and says “Go ahead and call me crazy! They called Galileo crazy! They called Marconi crazy! They called Luigi crazy!” Baffled, Abbott says “Who’s Luigi?” In an aside to the audience Costello says “He’s my uncle. He is crazy!”
For Batiuk, it’s a good day when he unwittingly reminds you that there’s real humor in the world.
The first strip is actually kind of funny (and in retrospect it is a nice little character moment for the otherwise inexplicable Cliff Anger.)
The second one just makes Kablichnick look insane, and also bitter that the kids these days prefer Nintendo to hearing about how WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! (I can’t imagine where they get the nerve.)
Can’t he be retired? Preferably by a bladerunner?
So this week’s theme is “I’ve got to do something at Westview High. I must have some random strips around here somewhere.”
“Hmm, ‘write what you know’ they told me… but how… how?” mused TB, once again forcing himself to start today’s strip
Kablichnik is a failure of character development. I think we’re supposed to sympathize with him, but we don’t. Why? Because of all the detestable adults working in this high school, he’s the only who gets the contempt they all deserve. He insults and disrespects his students, and they react as any human being would. He’s accidentally realistic.
Les Moore has almost exactly the same qualities as Kablichnik, but is inexplicably respected, and portrayed as the Byronic hero we should all aspire to be. And Dinkle, who ought to be in jail for child abuse, is some sort of community pillar. Only Kablichnik gets any pushback in this world. And we enjoy it when it happens.
It’s good to know that he’s supposed to be a jerk, because writing that countdown on the whiteboard for all his students to see is definitely a jerk move. “Good morning, class. As always, I hate doing this and wish I wasn’t here. Let’s get it over with.”
I’m not sure he’s supposed to be a jerk. I mean, he is, no question. But I think Batiuk intends us to regard him as a dedicated teacher, put upon by boorish students.
I’m pretty sure the only character Batiuk intends us to hate is Frankie. The fact that we hate all the others is, I guess, a bonus for him?
I think if Batiuk wanted us to like or hate Kablichnik, he’d do what he always does: have his other characters instruct us to. Les is a hero, says Mason Jarre. Lisa’s Story is the greatest narrative in the history of the written word, says Holly. Mopey Pete is a great catch, says the young woman who just received a stuffed animal from him instead of an engagement ring. The Funkyverse runs on Character Shilling. And Informed Ability.
I Love Frankie! The angry faces he coaxed out of Durwood & Jessica were priceless LOL
Well, this is boring. Baby panda update: he’s been named Xiao Qi Ji and is just the cutest little bear, yes he is.
Go Xiao Qi Ji!
Hey-Zeus Fouquing Key-riste! Thanks Todd for having Professor Aluminum Hat dressed in my xmas outfit. Fortunately for me, I can still wear it because me galluses have a Royal Stuart pattern.
I can’t believe that a character inspired by Mark Twain could be so boring.
And also stupid enough to pay out the nose for the mini bar when there’s got to be a hotel bar or at least a gas station (I assume that they did not leave America on this field trip.)