To Have and Have Not

Link to today’s strip.

First off, kudos to unca scrooge and others who noted that the joke in yesterday’s strip had to do with men being last-minute shoppers, while women were ahead of the game. The presentation was unusually subtle; generally, Tom Batiuk can’t help but have one of his characters point out how clever he is.

And the joke would have worked fine…in a sitcom made during the early 1960s. But here in the technical vastness of the future, we can surmise that surely humor is very different.

Take today’s thing. It seemed pretty obvious from the outset that the pun being avoided here was something Batiuk was aching to use. The fact that he now denies himself is quite odd. Including it would have made at least one joke, no matter how poor; keeping it out just makes today’s strip one more pointless episode in a long string of them.

19 Comments

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19 responses to “To Have and Have Not

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Panel one features what might be one of the laziest lines of FW dialog ever. “Well, looks like the premise of the arc is all played out!”. And why did he use an exclamation point there? Was Summer actually yelling?

    “IT LOOKS LIKE WE’RE FINALLY DONE WITH ALL OF THE GIFT WRAPPING!”

    Or is she excited, like “Yay! No more gift wrapping!”. Because she certainly doesn’t look excited to me. I’d say she looks more sweaty and poorly-rendered than anything else.

    Then there’s the punch line. This Batiuk guy truly has no shame. He tries to make it sort of like an inside joke, like the terrible gag IS the joke, but that never works. “Wink wink, I really suck”…nah, it still isn’t funny. You can’t insist on being taken seriously AND wallow in how awful your jokes are. Pick one already, you boring ninny.

  2. Mela

    Good heavens, she does look like a combo of an angry Pete/Jughead, doesn’t she? Gotta go with the folks who have pointed this out earlier this week.

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    I imagine Tom Batiuk loves it when we don’t get the joke, like we didn’t yesterday. He probably thinks he’s too supremely witty for us dumb nitpickers.

    • William Thompson

      He has to think that. How else to explain the dead silence every time he tells a joke to a roomful of people? It’s the curse of being the wittiest person in the room!

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    If you’re going to do a joke where the reader has to tell men and women apart, you can’t draw women that look like THAT.

  5. Mr. A

    I think it would be funnier if they suddenly remembered that they hadn’t wrapped presents for their own parents. Or at least, that’s the joke my brain supplied after I read the first panel.

  6. I was honestly waiting all week long for the premiere of Surly Hungover Elf Boy, because I thought he would be one of those characters that we are supposed to hate, but then end up loving.

    But it’s just Summer again. And we’re definitely not supposed to notice how weird it is that she looks like a surly, hungover elf boy 365 days a year.

  7. billytheskink

    When did Wedgeman start working at the gift wrap kiosk?

  8. J.J. O'Malley

    Gee, thanks for that panel-one exposition, Fella. Between the kiosk banner that reads “GIFT WRAPPI,” the unfurled ribbon and unrolled wrapping paper, the bits of adhesive tape, and the woman walking away with a wrapped gift, we poor readers would never have been able to deduce what you and Childish Gambino on your right had been up to in your Christmas Elf costumes.

    On an unrelated first-panel note, how is it that a five-foot something female college basketball player seems to have broader shoulders than Bronco Nagurski?

  9. Grift McDrum

    You’re all missing the point. What we have here is a hand suddenly going where it doesn’t belong.

  10. Jimmy

    All I see in panel one is a disheveled mess. There is no way they’re any good at this.

    Extra points for shock value, whe ln it is revealed that the dude in the banner is Summer.

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Typical Batty pun gimmick. This is variation number two where a character leads into a pun, but another one stops them.

    The other, frequently used gimmick is having one character utter the pun while the others groan or smirk in annoyance.

    Both cases prove Batty cannot pull off a joke a day either. The whole deep stories thing is just a crutch for his lack of ability.

  12. Gerard Plourde

    I think it’s interesting that Summer has been relegated to the status of a third string character, whose role is either to be derided by Les for changing her major every semester (which explains why she’s approaching Zonker Harris’ record for being a matriculated college student) or to be the subject of gag-a-day type strips like this “Holiday Hijinks” outing.

    Speaking of Holiday Hijinks, I”m curious to see who gets trotted out for the coming week’s installment. Will it be Lefty and Dinkle struggling through the holiday concert or Pete and Mindy visiting Crankshaft at Bedside Manor? Maybe Wally and Adeela can go buy a tree for Montoni’s, only to be picked up by the crew from ICE for buying a smuggled Canadian tree.

    Speaking of Bedisde Manor, we can be pretty sure now that Dinkle can again haunt Westview High, he has totally abandoned Mort and the Manor Band. (are they called “Mort and The Manorisms”?)

    • Epicus Doomus

      When Act III began it was largely “about” Summer. Then she graduated and BatYuck lost the thread completely. Now she might as well be Harriet or someone like that.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Here’s a sampling of Summer’s Act III appearances, taken from the chronology at this website:

        – Les continues to deny to Summer that he and Cayla have a thing.
        – Summer watches a videotaped message from the late Lisa.
        – Les attempts to come to grips with his anxiety over Summer being taught to drive by Les’ bully-turned-faculty-colleague Bull.
        – Les relives his own student driver nightmares as he helps Summer practice driving.
        – To save up for a car, Summer applies for a job at–where else? Montoni’s.
        – Les’ bon voyage gift to daughter Summer is a pen that sprays Mace.
        – Lisa advises Summer to “follow your heart”. Summer’s heart decides that she and Les will climb Mount Kilimanjaro together.
        – Summer and Keisha are treated to the story about how Les forgot his and Cayla’s first wedding anniversary.
        – The June 2013 Frankie plot, where Les refused to read Lisa’s diary entries about being sexually assaulted, effectively forcing Summer to do it. And be recorded while doing it, for Cindy Summers’ documentary.

        Summer is nothing but a prop for Les, Lisa, and Montoni’s stories. Like so much else in this world

  13. The Merry Pookster

    Jughead…. once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

  14. Westview Radiology

    Summer is one fugly dude! Can’t have St. Lisa’s Jughead daughter compete with mom in the looks department.