Somewhere, My Les

I don’t get the reference, nor do I even care. Never saw the movie Dr. Zhivago,  nor am I about to embark on reading it or any other sprawling Russian novels. I barely have the patience to inquire of Uncle Wikipedia, but here goes:

Following the October Revolution and the subsequent Russian Civil War, Yuri and his family decide to flee by train to Tonya’s family’s former estate (called Varykino), located near the town of Yuriatin in the Ural Mountains…Yuri and his family settle in an abandoned house on the estate. Over the winter, they read books to each other and Yuri writes poetry and journal entries.

…and watch a lot of football on TV, I suppose. The “Got the Reference” lady, chiming in again from the back of the room, is really starting to annoy; garnering glares from everyone but Les, who beams appreciatively.

48 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

48 responses to “Somewhere, My Les

  1. William Thompson

    The big deal about “Dr. Zhivago” and the cabin is that that Yuri Zhivago and Lara were there over the winter, with wolves howling nearby, and it was so utterly romantic that Zhivago wrote his awesomely romantic poems about Lara and their awesomely doomed romance. Plus, we never hear or read any of those poems–the movie shows the book, and we even see the title of the greatest poem (“K Lara”–“To Lara.”) So like the unknown contents of “Lisa’s Story” we have no idea what is said. (It doesn’t matter, because the story itself tells us what we need to know about Yuri and Lara. Just as Batiuk has told us all we need to know to be repulsed by Les and Lisa.)

    Pity there were no wolves around the Taj Moore-hal when Les was at work.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Yes, if the cabin was in suburban Ohio, surrounded by a multitude of modern conveniences. And Les helping Lisa to heroically avoid the flu is just like the pandemic, except just for them. It’s all so very relatable. I really glad they were able to turn that unfortunate turn of events into yet another warm life-affirming memory, I really am. It’s just that I’d prefer not to hear about it, you know?

    Seriously though, f*ck Les Moore and f*ck his Lisa stories too. And the same goes for today’s “gag” about people over eighty “getting” his dumb references. Heavily-medicated elderly folks have been FW’s target demo for years now, so what’s the joke? That they exist? Well ha f*cking ha.

  3. It’s a fine movie, really. And if he’s blathering about the house that’s coated in ice, that’s a cool scene. It has nothing to do with Les or Lisa, so of course Batiuk has to shoehorn it in, because “Dr. Zhivago” was recently on Prime or Netflix so naturally that has to fit in with his mythology.

    • Hitorque

      It’s funny because Les goes through all that trouble setting up the reference and he can’t even bother to name the characters?!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Agreed, it’s a good movie…in fact I just might watch it again this weekend. No snowstorms are predicted for this weekend..sorry Batty.

      Tom is just trying to sound smart…but he fails yet again. Dr Zhivago is hardly obscure so not sure why we should be surprised that some old lady got the reference.

      Back in high school, I tried to act smart and submitted a paper loaded with fancy words. I got a C- and a “nice thesaurus “ comment followed by “See me”.

      After class I told the teacher “I guess I am supposed to see you about my C minus?” She laughed and said that’s exactly what I wanted to tell you. What you just said was in your own words and so a part of you was communicated. This paper, loaded with big words, communicates nothing. It portrays you as an imposter, an imitator.

      I learned that lesson in high school, I suspect Tom was a student of Les Moore.

  4. billytheskink

    Again with the references, Les? Even Ernest Cline thinks this is a bit much.

  5. Mr. A

    So we’re recycling the non-punchline from three days ago, huh? Cool.

    Speaking of three days ago, remember how Les was talking about all that deep research he did? I thought he would explain to his audience what he found out, but apparently that was a standalone fact. “I learned everything I could about it. Yep. A lot of learning. An impressive amount of learning. You should be impressed. Moving on…”

    • none

      “After I did all that research, here’s how I applied that knowledge to her battle.” Oh, guess not.
      “After I did all that research, here’s the next book I wrote which distilled that information into a succinct volume.” Nope, couldn’t do that.
      “After I did all that research, here’s my book which shows what the doctors did well and poorly during her battle.” Nope, no.

      “After I did all that research, nothing changed, really. I and everyone else acted the same regardless of what I had learned.” Wait, he can’t say that out loud…

      “After I did all that research, nothing changed, and we lived each day pretty much the same. Here’s some pop culture analogies to our final days, despite there being pretty much nothing in common between the scenarios.” Nailed it! Run the bases!

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    You know, I wouldn’t have thought it possible for Battyuk to come up with a “Les Moore at a book signing” scenario wherein Les is not the person in the room whose face I’d most want to punch, but here you go. Well played, Tom, well played.

  7. Les: “Dr. Zhivago” is a tedious novel that went on way too long. Everyone dies and there is no hope.

    Everyone reading “Funky Winkerbean”: I get the reference.

  8. I need to come visit this blog more often! Your content is amazing 🙂

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Whether you become a permanent resident, an occasional visitor, or are just passing through. The snark sanctuary of SOSF is always happy to have you!

  9. Benny Hill

    Oh they were so in love, and settled in the cabin, with no doubt.

    The bed, it was all broken, and the spring was sticking out.

    But when they recalled those nights together, their hearts they wanted to sing.

    They kissed all through the winter, and made love right through the spring.

  10. Charles

    I don’t get the reference, nor do I even care.

    Good, because it’s not much of one. I got the reference and it does nothing for me. References like this are supposed to be evocative, pulling you into the scene in a way that a traditional description would not be able to.

    For this one, what’s he trying to evoke? Isolation? Loneliness? Alienation? Whatever it is, it’s not doing it.

    It really is simply more evidence that Batiuk doesn’t use these kinds of references to pull his stories or his descriptions into greater focus; they’re just to show that he’s culturally literate. It’s not to evoke a reaction to the story, it’s just to indicate that Les saw Doctor Zhivago. That’s probably why they’re so mundane.

    “And then I grudgingly waited in line, not unlike that time Christopher Moltisanti did in that episode of the Sopranos, The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti.” (The word “grudgingly” is doing more work there than the reference)

    “And then we played basketball, the sport that Lebron James plays.”

    “And so I sang a song to her, the sort of thing Frank Sinatra does.”

    “And then I parked the car, like the time Andy Garcia parked that car in Internal Affairs.”

  11. Hitorque

    Oh yeah! I remember that annis horribilis of 200X when our nation was shredded apart by poverty, starvation, lawlessness and Civil War and bloody political purges and Les+Lisa couldn’t walk in the streets not knowing any moment if they’d be arrested, shot, sent to gulags or pressed into compulsory labor or military service…

    Oh and remember when the local militia warlord of “Nova Kleevlund” confiscated Les’ car, home and all material wealth forcing him to move into the Montoni’s apartment with four other families? And then they closed all the schools so Les didn’t have a job anymore? And then they went to Komixxx Korner and burned 95% of the comics for being treasonous and anti-revolutionary? And despite being in the middle of a flu pandemic there wasn’t a doctor or a bottle of Tylenol to be found for ten miles? And then despite her cancer, Lisa got sent to a re-education camp because she was useless to the new regime as an attorney since municipal, state and federal law as she knew it ceased to exist because the constitution was ripped up and the power hungry rival factions we’re still fighting for control and nobody bothered to write a new constitution yet?

    Why yes, that long ago winter of influenza and Tom Fucking Brady cheating his way to his third of what would later be infinite Super Bowl victories was *exactly* like the bloody chaos of post-revolutionary Russia… Hell, I even remember that day they stood old Harry Dinkle up against the wall to be shot… And it was Krankenschaaften who pulled the trigger!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I’m picturing a Funky Winkerbean timeline Cranky killing Dinkle. An incredibly elderly man, hunched over in a wheelchair. Blanket on his lap, oxygen tank at his side, pistol in his hand. Glaring at Dinkle through his almost closed eyes.

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    Really, Les? You two co-dependents holed up in your shitty suburban cottage, watching televised football, “quarantining” against a disease that wouldn’t exist for 15 years, equals one of most romantic events in literature and film? REALLY, Les?

  13. The Dreamer

    But see in Dr..Zhivago, Yuri and Lara do NOT live in the cabin. They live in the mansion that had been seized. Yuri and *his wife* lived in the cabin. The wife he was at the same time cheating on with Lara, who is his mistress. So is Les saying that during that time, he had a mistress too? That he and Lisa were trying to work it out over the winter in seclusion, when the weather was so bad he couldn’t leave to meet his ‘Lara’?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That’s a really good point. Les’ poor choice of a literary reference conveys information it doesn’t intend to. Anyone who “gets the reference” should be wondering the same thing.

  14. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Less quotes Charles Bukowski, a good writer.

  15. ComicBookHarriet

    This lady would be absolutely unbearable to watch Jeopardy with.

    Look, it was funny when Captain America did it in The Avengers, but even he had the good sense to only do it once.

  16. Rusty Shackleford

    Wow, Crankshaft really sucks this week. The Simpsons did a much better church organ bit when they had their Eleanor tricked into playing music supplied by Bart.

    Anybody get that reference?

    • Hitorque

      “I. Ron Maiden”

      • I thought it was I. Ron Butterfly

        • Rusty Shackleford

          In the garden of eden by I. Ron Butterfly. Classic.

          • Mela

            One of the greatest Simpsons episodes ever! Does anyone else find it slightly ironic that Les is talking about Lisa again, while over at Crankshaft, the choir ladies have already dismissed Elenor being carted away in an ambulance (dead or otherwise) and are already debating who the next organist will be. Personally, I’d love to see Elenor back at the church next week playing Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and when the ladies walk in with their mouths agape, she just stops long enough to say “Not dead yet, bitches!” and keeps right on playing!

    • Sully

      THIS week?

  17. Gerard Plourde

    This week’s arc shows that TomBa, having painted himself into a corner with his time jump and his year-in-advance work habit, couldn’t find a way to work the pandemic into FW. None of these strips makes any kind of narrative sense, even as gag-a-day/rant-a-day attempts.

    And what was he thinking, anyway? We started with Les patting himself on the back for doing what any concerned spouse might logically do when confronted with a partner’s cancer diagnosis. Suddenly, on Tuesday, Lisa is enrolled in a clinical trial and we start the Quarantine Arc with Les whining about not having brought his pen to sign the credit card receipt. Wednesday Les becomes a sports fan so that he can complain about fantasy football and today he brings up a completely gratuitous reference to a 50+ year-old movie (or, more likely, to the 2002 miniseries) of a 1958 Russian novel. Only cult members would sit through this.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Only cult members would sit through this.

      Which is how it has to be. For Lisa’s Story to be the cultural phenomenon it is in this world, no one can ever point out the many flaws in Les’ story. To say nothing of Les’ own actions throughout, which are often highly suspect. Even the insane hyperbole of Les comparing his dull life to Dr. Zhivago must go unchallenged, or the whole house of cards falls down.

  18. Count of Tower Grove

    Less as Omar Sharif, I didn’t know anyone in Worstview played bridge.

  19. Breaking news on the BattyBlog!

    Mistakes in both Funky and Crankshaft are such rare occurrences 😉 that, when one popped up recently involving both strips, I thought I’d better jump on it for a Secret Sauce post because who knows when, if ever, another one may come along.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Wait, so does TomBa think that Crankshaft and FW are occurring in the same time frame, rather than being separated by the ten-year time jump he created?

      He’s got far more glaring anomalies in the two strips, like Thritysomething Darren and Pete being treated like young adults, Summer’s endless enrollment at Kent State, the total disappearance of Jessica and Skylar, etc.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk loves making a big show out of his trivial errors, but does nothing about the massive, arc-derailing, canon-destroying ones.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      That post just left me more confused. He used a lot of words but explained nothing.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It is very, very confusing. Batiuk doesn’t clarify whether he reused the scenery from St. Spires church to create a different church in Westview/Funky Winkerbean, or if the church depicted is actually St. Spires church as it exists in Centerville/Crankshaft.

        His correction only makes sense if Dinkle, in Funky Winkerbean, goes to St. Spires church in Centerville to help with their choir. That would flow logically from this week’s Crankshaft story, where they’re suddenly missing an organist. And because Batiuk needs constant music-related things for Dinkle to do. He also calls it a crossover, which fits. Okay, he actually called it a “quasi-crossover”, but that’s just because Batiuk weakens his words every chance he gets.

        Otherwise, there’s nothing to correct. If this is just a cosmetic repurposing of the St. Spires art to depict a different church in Westview, then the speaker isn’t a “St. Spires choir member.” Because this isn’t St. Spires church! It’s just the same scenery being used to depict a different church.

        My guess is that this correction will make more sense when we see the actual Dinkle arc. But Batiuk is such a poor writer that he can’t tell his correction story in a way that makes sense to people right now. Nor can he simply refrain from posting his “Secret Sauce” about it until the arc is published, so the reader can have all necessary context available.

        • Mela

          Hester Prynne?? So he changed the choir guy into a church choir lady who looks like his mental version of a character who was shunned by the town and forced to wear a scarlet “a” for having a child out of wedlock. With a minister. Talk about a reference…

  20. Jimmy

    I don’t think I’ve ever been to a book signing, so I have to ask. Is this how people flirt at these events?

  21. Perfect Tommy

    I made a Dr. Zhivago reference!
    Take that Charles Schulz!

  22. Sully

    Brother glancing menacingly back at insufferable ‘Got the reference’ woman is about to get medieval on her ass. Can’t wait.

  23. Charles

    Now I’m at the point where I want all these inane and superficial references to be hiding horrifying things that the “GOT THE REFERENCE” person didn’t “get”.

    “And then I grudgingly waited in line, not unlike that time Christopher Moltisanti did in that episode of the Sopranos, The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti.”
    “Wow, so it was long and tedious, huh?”
    “No, the guy behind the counter lipped off at me so I shot him.”

    “When I was in Istanbul, I visited the Sancta Sophia, like in From Russia With Love.”
    “Wow, did you take the tour?”
    “No, I killed a Bulgarian man.”

    “And I felt betrayed, like Anakin felt betrayed by the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith.”
    “So you mean you quit that job?”
    “No, I murdered an entire preschool.”

  24. I can understand why TFH doesn’t want to do any entry for Friday’s episode. One has to be able to stop vomiting long enough to write a post. Today’s strip makes that an inhuman achievement, and not the Marvel Comics one.