Harry Dinkle – Male Organ Player

Link To Today’s Thing

Get ready for a shitload of organ puns, folks. I’ve been trying to work “skin flute” into a Dinkle arc post title for years. Maybe this is the one. Fingers crossed.

Anyhow, why the f*ck was that flashback necessary? It’s not like he’s applying for a real job here. And man, that’s some really crappy flashback art in panels one and two, that doesn’t look like Old Dinkle at all. It looks more like Ed McMahon trying to channel Elvis.

It’s already Tuesday and he still hasn’t even finished climbing the stairs. When I think of “most hated” FW characters I always overlook Dinkle for some reason, then he re-appears and I remember all too well that he’s right there, heroically battling for the place and show spot behind Les-retariat, who’s already lapped the field twice. I never really minded Old Dinkle but New Old Dinkle is like fingernails on a chalkboard, with his wry cackle and endless reserve of crappy band gags. He was better when he was a weird marching band fascist, as Act III Dinkle has no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

24 Comments

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24 responses to “Harry Dinkle – Male Organ Player

  1. When I think of “most hated” FW characters I always overlook Dinkle for some reason

    Seriously? He’s like right behind Les for me.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It’s a mental block kind of thing, as soon as he’s gone I just forget he still exists. To be honest, yeah, he may very well be my number two (get it?) as well. For a while my second most-hated character was Summer, followed very closely by Ghost Lisa. But they’re hardly ever around anymore.

      In a way his character is sort of like Lisa. He had this character (the deranged fascist band director) then he stripped that all away (at least he didn’t kill him), yet the entire character still relies on the very persona he deliberately destroyed. It makes me irrationally angry when he tries to have his pathos and eat it too.

      I also hate how he’s the only Westvewian who seems to enjoy any form of music. In that town if you’re not into comic books and pizza you’re on the fringe.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I don’t think Tom Batiuk stripped Dinkle’s character, so much as Act II obsoleted it.

        Batiuk often says that Lisa’s pregnancy was the impetus to move his main cast beyond high school and into adulthood. Well, when you move on from high school, Harry Dinkle is one of the things you leave behind. What’s he going to do, tell a pregnant woman she has to go to band practice? There was no reason for Dinkle to exist beyond Act I, except as a foil to younger generations of high school students.

        Retiring him was a good idea, but it didn’t stick. Because Batiuk can’t let go of the one good character he’s created in 50 years. So he keeps desperately dragging Dinkle into the strip, trying to recapture the magic, not having any clue what the magic even was.

        So now Dinkle is apparently some kind of Ted Baxter, but Batiuk completely misses the point of that character type as well. Dinkle has zero charm, gives out stupid advice, gets no pushback from other characters, and never gets any comeuppance. He just shows up, other characters ooh and aah over him, and he gets everything handed to him. His massive ego and incompetence are never even spoken of. And today we’re supposed to get teary-eyed about the day he walked into our lives back in 1972, even though this flashback doesn’t fit the narrative at all. Give us a break!

        • ComicBookHarriet

          He kind of reminds me of Boy Meets World’s Mr Feeny in that way. Getting drug from one job to another to another, because they wanted to keep the character in a position of authority over the main cast long after he realistically would have left the story.

          The difference is that Feeny was involved with the lives of the main characters, and had important comedic AND emotional relationships with them. Dinkle and Becky are so disconnected from the web of everyone else this strip is about.

          • Maxine of Arc

            And when Mr. Feeny finally said “Class dismissed” to that empty room, it actually felt meaningful because of the relationships that he had with all of the characters and that they in turn had with him.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Agree 100%.

          When the strip was light and sometimes funny, Dinkle fit right in, but once Batty decided he had to tell “real stories” Dinkle became obsolete, to be trotted out one a year to kiss butt with the OMEA crowd. I bet they are sorry they ever gave him a compliment because now like Dinkle, they can never get rid of him.

  2. William Thompson

    I dunno. Is Dinkle fantasizing that he is still a lady’s man? Or that he was ever a lady’s man? If this story had a soundtrack, would it consist of the opening notes to Bach’s Toccata & Fugue in D-Minor, played every time Dinkle enters a panel?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Well, Dinkle is one Fugued-up character, for sure. It always amazes me how, as seen in panel two, his open mouth takes up almost half the length of his skull, like those snakes whose lower jaw unhinges so that they can swallow their prey whole.

      As for Harry’s “ladies’ man” status, check out the choir member with the cat’s eye glasses in the back row as she checks him out. “Hallelujah, what a hunk! How firm a foundation he has! If he’ll take me just as I am, I’ll surrender all! O, for a thousand tongues!”

      • Mela

        Boy he sure does have an arrogant look of entitlement about him, doesn’t he? I really hope this doesn’t go down the road of Dinkle’s organ saves the choir so the ladies can fawn all over him because there hasn’t been a male choir member since whenever and they’ve all forgotten what men look like and apparently have no husbands.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Boy! Look at that creep next to her though. Who goes to choir practice wearing an ill fitting paper mask of another person’s face?

        • ian'sdrunkenbeard

          We only see Peppermint Patti in profile, but it looks like it has been rough since “Peanuts” ended..

  3. The Dreamer

    So when do we funds out that the “L” in Harry L. Dinkle stands for ‘Les’ and that he is actually Les Moore:s Uncle (mother’d brother) and namesake. This would explain TomBats obsession with Harry. TomBat is Les and Harry is his favorite relative. 🙂

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    Dinkle, you already have four jobs. Getting a fifth one does not warrant a misty-eyed flashback. Sheesh, the strip is really laying the nostalgia on thick here.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Panels 1 and 2 confuse me. In my (limited) experience, public school teachers aren’t hired by the principal, which seems to be what’s implied here.

    As for Panel 3, since he’s the world’s greatest band director, shouldn’t he be. Relatively famous in Westview and Centerville?

  6. ComicBookHarriet

    Episcopalians are proud of their faith,
    You ought to hear em talk
    Who they got? They got Henry the 8th
    And we got J.S. Bach.
    Henry the 8th he had six wives
    Trying to make a son.
    J.S Bach had 20 children
    And brilliant every one.
    Henry the 8th’d marry a woman
    And then her head would drop
    J.S. Bach had all those kids
    Cause his organ had no stop.

    ~’I’m A Lutheran’ Garrison Keillor.

  7. The Dreamer

    This organist gig will once again prevent Harry from finishing his biography of Claude Barlow, which must be about 3,000 pages long since he’s been writing it for the entire run of FW. Not that substituting a week of Harry the organist strips for a week of him at the typewriter is a bad thing. 🙂

  8. This makes me wonder–have Les and Dinkle ever interacted? Since they’re both insufferable egoists who have to be the center of attention, that could be entertainingly awful.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I don’t think any of the now-adult Act I kids ever interacted with Harry Dinkle after they left high school. What would they even talk about? Dinkle’s entire shtick is bossing people around, and he no longer has any power over them.

      You’d think a strip so focused on high school life could do a “the kids meet their former tormentor as an adult” or “their child grows up and encounters Dinkle” plot. But that would make Dinkle vulnerable, and we can’t have that. Harry Dinkle must be an unquestionable authority at all times. So Funky Winkerbean avoids any situation where he wouldn’t be that. And now he’s apparently becoming another Les: charming, talented, and loved by women, despite none of this being in evidence.

      • The only time I recall was when Dinkle wanted to host his wedding anniversary in Montoni’s. So he and Funky spoke. (Spoiler alert: it was dull.)

      • batgirl

        So did Dinkle inspire anyone but Becky to continue with music?
        I mean, the only reason she had hopes of a musical career was so it could be tragically and award-worthily torn away from her, but you’d think TB might want to establish Dinkle’s legacy.

  9. …[I]n panels one and two, that doesn’t look like Old Dinkle at all. It looks more like Ed McMahon trying to channel Elvis.

    I think Batiuk’s trying to preserve Act I Dinkle’s “weird marching band fascist” mystique by not showing his eyes, which were always hidden under the visor of his military hat. But that Harry L. Dinkle didn’t have that hawkish beak, and his mouth was on the side of his face. But that wouldn’t work in silhouette.

  10. Mr. A

    So the message of this strip is, what? “Harry’s still got it”? I didn’t care that he had it in the first place.