Sidelong Glance

Link to today’s strip.

Why does Tom Batiuk use these stupid sideways strips? While it makes less work for Ayers to draw them, it makes more work for the reader, and there’s never any reward for doing so.

Batiuk might say they make his strip unique, as no one else does this. That’s true–no other comic strip artist does this. The reason they don’t is very simple–it’s an idiotic idea that adds nothing, and subtracts a great deal. Much like an ermine violin, it’s an impractical thing to have. Here’s an idea: why not make up a completely new language for his characters, with no translations available? That would be unique, too. And it would save time for the reader, since he could just skip the whole thing and move on to Garfield.

I guess striving to be unique, even if that makes the strip more difficult, is his goal at this point. He certainly hasn’t been trying to make his characters interesting or his stories anything other than dull.

As for today’s entry, well…when I was in college, my father would arrange summer jobs for me between years. It was decent work, and it gave me some spending money. But he never did this during Christmas break, which is (I assume) why Summer and Keisha are there now. It seems like a rather mean trick to play on a kid.

One might argue that this gives Summer and Keisha some work skills, showing up on time, knowing your tasks, etc. Except I feel certain both of them have worked at Montoni’s, so they’d already have some idea of those things.

Any excuse to ruin someone’s holiday, I guess.

By the way, I refuse to believe the person “on the left” is Cayla. It doesn’t look anything like her.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

50 responses to “Sidelong Glance

  1. Don’t these two have basketball practices and games to attend? This strip makes no sense.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Even if they didn’t, they are legal adults, and do not have to take any job somebody walks up and gives them. Nor can anyone arrange a job on their behalf without their consent. These women are adults, Tom Batiuk!

  2. Banana Jr. 6000

    Wrapping up your careers? Holiday break? IT’S THE MIDDLE OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON!

  3. Epicus Doomus

    So they’re finally graduating in 2021? That’s nine years of college in case anyone’s still counting. This might have come across as “cute” ten-plus years ago, back when Summer and Keisha were still in high school (and malls were still sort of a thing) but there’s not really anything all that cute about your step-mom getting you your first-ever seasonal temporary job when you’re twenty-seven.

    BatHam REALLY needs to get out more, as this gag isn’t just weak, it’s incredibly dated too. A week of gags centering around how much it sucks going holiday shopping? What is this, 1999?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Right. Even if you ignore Covid, this is so dated. But considering Covid, this strip is completely out of touch and totally inappropriate for today’s reality.

  4. Jimmy

    Kent State has failed these two. They exhausted their eligibility and scholarships years ago. So, now they’re forced to try to complete their degrees on their own time and money. This reflects poorly on KSU’s academic support.

    I tried to look up when Summer entered KSU (I think around 2014?), but all I got was a link to some chapbook that promotes Lisa’s Story.

    • Mr. A

      Summer entered KSU in the fall of 2012.

      • Jimmy

        Are you serious? It’s even worse than I thought.

        • Epicus Doomus

          She did indeed. She “should have” graduated from KSU in 2016. Assuming she was eighteen when she graduated from WSH this means that she’s “really” twenty-six or twenty-seven right now.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            If she’s “wrapping up her college career” as the strip says, that would still make her 21 or 22. Even that’s too old for the treatment we’re seeing here. Cayla’s talking to Summer like she’s 15. Even worse is how she’s talking to Keisha, who’s not even her family! (NOTE: I may have Summer and Keisha’s names backwards.)

            If the strip wants to do a week of zany hijinks at the gift-wrapping kiosk, fine. Come up with a better intro than this.

      • Charles

        Nine years, meaning there were kids who weren’t even in high school yet when Summer and Keisha started college who have managed to get into and graduate from college before them.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      KSU failed Batty too.

    • Count of Tower Grove

      They/re finally on their own.

  5. Mr. A

    Hey, Summer and Keisha still exist! And someone at the mall agreed to hire both of them, sight unseen, without any paperwork, or indeed any proof that they exist!

    I would suppose that Cayla had some kind of personal connection at the mall that allowed her to pull some strings, but that would require her to have a life outside of her job and her marriage to Les.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    So, if we assume that this is taking place today, December 7th, our mystery woman who may or may not be Cayla filled out employment applications and gave personal info, including Social Security numbers, for two adult women so that they could get shopping mall jobs that will last about 2 1/2 weeks, without asking them what sorts of “Holiday Break” (which seems to have ended a bit early) plans they might have. Yup, makes perfect sense to me.

    • Epicus Doomus

      At KSU it’s kind of traditional for double seniors-plus one to spend winter break working temp jobs in nearly obsolete industries. Les spent his working in an 8-track player repair shop, Crazy Harry briefly sold hot dogs at USFL games and Funky spent his interning at the local jai alai fronton.

    • gleeb

      Ohio? College? Athletics? There’s no way these two women have not been molested.

  7. louder

    Damn! We all know this is one that those underhanded, cheap, dirty, lowdown, power conference, “student-athlete” BS moves by a team booster to give under-the-table money to “star athletes.” Hey! what’s the pay Mr. Kiosk Owner? $1,000 a hour? Who’s their coach? Larry Brown?

    *Sigh* If only this story was anywhere near as interesting as cheating NCAA basketball scandals. BatHack doesn’t have the imagination for that.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Coach, you know my business is a huge supporter of women’s basketball, and those two girls are just killing us. I’ve got these ‘job openings’ that would be be perfect for them…”

      • louder

        I know, I know, I missed the obvious low-life, scummy, college coach.. shout out to Rick Pitino!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          No, Larry Brown was fine. Honestly you could name just about any coach these days. I’m just amused by the idea that someone would pay these two losers under the table to NOT play. It’s a more better premise than the real story, though that’s not saying much.

  8. billytheskink

    Summer didn’t know about Cayla’s “dark side”? Is TB baiting us to make the obvious, but tasteless, joke?

    And what is Cayla doing with her hands? Is she holding an imaginary box or is she letting her hands drip drip because are all of the house’s hand towels in the hamper?

  9. Gerard Plourde

    Wrapping gifts at a shopping mall in 2020 (or is it 2030 with the time jump)? It’s far more likely that if they’re working anywhere they’d be working at an Amazon Fulfillment Center. (And as others have mentioned, there’s no way that Cayla would be able to fill out the application forms for them.)

  10. Hitorque

    Working a job during Christmas break?

    Their father has motherfucking “MY BOOK WAS SOLD TO HOLLYWOOD TO MAKE A 100 MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE” -money in the bank and she’s going to make them toil and put up with noisy stressful holiday shoppers for a crappy $8.55 an hour?! These girls better find a roommate or boyfriend to crash with over the break instead…

    Did Kayla even go to college? Because if she did she’d know that senior year is no cakewalk…

    • billytheskink

      Cayla presumably graduated from Akron University, as she cameoed in Crankshaft about 9 years ago as a Zips softball player who knocked the opposing pitcher out cold with a line drive and then was all sportsmanlike about it.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        This stuff is like porn for Tom Batiuk, isn’t it?

      • hitorque

        5th grade little league I knocked a pitcher (who was a classmate I saw daily at school) in the head with a line drive… I never left first base in the ten minutes it took to check him over (it was 1988 so of course they let him stay in the game after he dusted himself off like nothing happened)…

        On the very first pitch (while he was CLEARLY still woozy with a giant welt on his forehead) my coach told me to steal second, and on the next pitch he told me to steal third…

        Shit was just different in those days…

        That classmate’s name is long since forgotten, but I think it was Dave Novak or something like that…

      • hitorque

        Wow… That’s more “college sports” action in two panels than we’ve ever seen in the grand history of the Funkyverse…

    • Westview Radiology

      I don’t think Summer or Cayla are in the market for boyfriends if you know what I mean.

  11. Charles

    By the way, I refuse to believe the person “on the left” is Cayla. It doesn’t look anything like her.

    She went from Toasted Almond Cindy Summers to Toasted Almond Mindy Murdoch, a lateral move, at best.

  12. Count of Tower Grove

    Time for Summer to tell Caucayla “You’re not my mother, bitch.”

  13. Bill Epps

    Well, the good news, or at least news, we find out Keisha is till alive. I mean what has it been? 3-4 years since we’ve last seen her. We saw Summer for a brief tie during the Bull suicide/funeral arc, otherwise she would be PNG as well.

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    “Since you’re wrapping up your college sports careers, I got you three-week temporary jobs.” What do these two things have to do with each other? We needed a sideways panel for this forced, nonsensical exposition?

  15. The Dreamer

    I bet that after they graduate in the spring, Summer returns to Westview High to take over for Linda Bushka as the new math teacher and becomes the new girls basketball coach. Eventually Les gets promoted to vice principal and becomes Summer’s boss.

    All leading to Summer announcing that she is Trans and is really the son Les never knew he had. 🙂

    • Mr. A

      Remind me, what are Summer and Keisha majoring in? Has it ever come up?

      • There was a strip a couple of years ago in which Les complained that Summer changed her major every semester, and he was due for a phone call. Sure enough, the phone rang and Summer said she was changing her major again.

        It was a laff riot.

  16. newagepalimpsest

    I agree that the person on the left can’t possibly be Cayla. Maybe Mr. Batiuk is trying to use the dialogue to fool us, by implying that Keisha knows this mysterious woman better than Summer does (never mind that if this were Cayla, Summer would probably know her own step-mother pretty darn well by now, since Les and Cayla have been married for around about a decade.)

    For one thing, this mystery woman is maybe Hispanic, if you squint. She’s also got prominent dimples, which Cayla has never had.

    My theory: This is an employee of KSU’s Student Counseling service, who has simply given up on these two at this point, and just decided to sign them for holiday temp positions at the mall to get them out of her face over break. Keisha is more familiar with her than Summer is, because (as we clearly see in this very strip,) she “glows up” much better than Summer does, so she gets some office assignments from time to time.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I thought she was a coach, because “wrapping up your careers” is very much how a coach talks to their players. It’s not at all how a mother talks to their child. Cayla would say something like “since you’re about to graduate…”