I’m going to guess that the “joke” here is that people get more frantic and desperate the closer the holidays get.
There’s not a lot of visual evidence for that guess, but that’s what I’m going with. In fact, panel two seems to have some of the same folks as panel one–sky-blue coat lady and blonde, for example. I guess it could be a second shopping trip, but you’d think Tom Batiuk would want to spice it up with a little variety.
At first, I thought the bald guy near the front had brought an upright vacuum cleaner to be wrapped–which would have been a good choice a day or so ago–but on closer inspection it looks like a sauce pan. Seems like an odd thing to want wrapped, as I imagine they mostly come in their own boxes, but I don’t know–maybe you can buy them loose. Fine.
What I really like is the guy in the front of the line. What a face of absolute despair. I like to imagine he’s saying “I don’t have any family or friends, so I don’t have anything to be wrapped. My dearest wish is to have something I need wrapped.” Everyone angrily waits for him to collapse, or to shoot himself.
Callow youth even furiously checks his watch. It’s been eighteen seconds, damn it. Do what you’re gonna do and let us get our stuff wrapped.
23 responses to “Wrappin’ Around”
Ha ha HA! It’s funny because it’s TRUE, you know? Sigh. This one might generate a smirk among those readers who were born prior to 1940 or so but even that’s debatable. A real “writer” might have altered this idea and maybe done a “then vs. now” kind of thing with “then” featuring hordes of shoppers at the mall and the “now” showing a huge pile of boxes on a doorstep or something, which wouldn’t really be “funnier” at all but would at least seem sort of relevant and not so f*cking dated. I mean he gets a solid 90% of his ideas by staring out his studio window, doesn’t he ever spot an Amazon van or the UPS guy or anything like that? Geez.
What’s this about Batiuk spicing it up with a little variety? In Westview variety is the spice of death (while Variety is the show-business paper that was dumped in a waste basket went it headlined the boffo box office of the SJ movie. No good news allowed in Westview!)
The joke is that the closer you get to Christmas, not only do the lines get longer but it is also made up of guys only.
And also in panel 2, where it is implied that these two will gift wrap a baby…
Exactly. This is a continuation of yesterday’s “men are terrible at buying Christmas gifts” theme.
The best way to get rid of something you don’t want is to gift wrap it and leave it in your car in a bad part of town. Lady with baby in panel two is thinking this. Also the flesh colored walls make her look like she has a chin that goes down to her chest and that she’s nibbling on his hair.
Yeah, it’s probably mostly the colourist’s fault today but it’s just so bizarre.
Nyum yum yum…
Yesterday’s unseen husband is now pulling his weight.
Hold on. Cayla got her daughter and step-daughter a job where they have to work on Christmas Eve? Is she deliberately trying to minimize the time they spend together over the holidays? It would be one thing if their family needed the money, but that’s not the case.
This whole story would make a lot more sense if Keisha and Summer had gotten the jobs of their own initiative, in order to avoid their parents over the holiday break. THAT’S A BELIEVEABLE JOKE.
Wants to keep them out of the house and thus safely away from creepy Les.
I guess, as theorized above, the joke is that men wait until the last minute to Christmas shop.
But I am mystified by the volume of customers shown. Maybe Ohio is different, but even in the days before online shopping became the norm, I never remember seeing the gift wrap kiosks at my local malls with massive crowds.
BeckoningChasm with a top-shelf post title today, referencing Rapping Around, Tom Batiuk’s first comic strip.
Ohhhhh, that IS good. I never would have gotten it if you didn’t point it out.
The only thing I took from that post is Batiuk doesn’t really understand the meaning of bemused.
1. Wait… So Summer and Black Summer were working the kiosk 4 weeks before Christmas? That means their entire semester ended before Thanksgiving? Ironically this would be accurate in 2020 but we know Covid doesn’t exist in the Funkyverse…
2. And this must be an Ohio thing because my family *always* wrapped gifts on our own?
Good catch, Hitorque,
Kent State’s semester ends December 14. Summer and Keisha should be studying for finals. DePaul in Chicago has a calendar broken into quarters where classes end before Thanksgiving and start again in January, but I don’t know of any other school that starts winter vacation that early.
And the gift wrapping kiosks charge for the service, which is why they usually aren’t crowded. I wonder if TomBa is aware of that.
Gift wrapping kiosks (or counters, at department stores) are also not usually staffed by college age types in my experience, but by retirees and underemployed adults who want seasonal work. I assume that is because those folks usually have much better gift-wrapping skills than younger people (my gift-wrapping skills were appalling at age 21-22), and with folks paying to have their gifts wrapped, they had better be wrapped very nicely. They also are not required to dress up in silly elf costumes.
Now, college age types do seem to get hired to staff the Santa Claus photo booth at malls… maybe TB thought he’s already gone to that well too many times in Crankshaft. I’ve never seen those folks dressed up like elves either (wearing silly Christmas ties and vests, yes), but I’ll allow that it has probably happened somewhere.
I do like how the mall is just getting more desolate with each passing day. At least the Batiukverse is consistently self-aware in THAT regard.
FWIW, the university I work at had a shortened semester and ended right before Thanksgiving…
Looks like we’re going to have to include Stank Elf Suits in the group with Les’ Stank Yellow Shirt. Pretty ripe by Christmas Eve.
Tom Batiuk seems to be going through an understatement phase. Everything is so portrayed so mildly we can’t even discern the joke. Jokes need to be big and obvious. Especially visual gags, like this one. Make the people blissfully happy in Panel 1, barely holding it together in Panel 2, and homicidal or suicidal in Panel 3.
Yes, understatement can be used as a comedic device. But you want an exaggerated reaction to a bland situation, or a bland reaction to an exaggerated situation. These are just people standing in line. It’s bland on bland. How is it supposed to be funny?
Here you go:
Simple as that. At least exaggerate the third panel.