Total Organ Failure

Link To Today’s On Time Strip

No, she passed away while playing racquetball, you clod. This one is rather grim and depressing, even by FW standards. They just refuse to let that poor old dead organist rest. Oh well, at least her death resulted in a humorous anecdote for everyone else, so her hundred and twenty years on this planet were well worth it. Maybe next week the pastor will die during a funeral service, with hilarious consequences of course.

I get this reference, because G and C are music notes, right? Sigh. It’s not Batiuk’s worst gag ever, but still, the old lady dying sort of takes the edge off, for lack of a better term. In a FW context it’s nothing but to an outsider I suppose it’d seem rather dark, which is probably one reason why hardly anyone reads it.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “Total Organ Failure

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    This longtime organist, was she your friend? Did you share any spiritual moments with her? Was she a human being who deserved to be remembered with any dignity whatsoever? Didn’t she die ten years ago, which raises serious questions about why it’s such a punchline to you and why you remember it so well? Oh, whom I kidding, we’re all sociopaths in this comic strip. Where do I sign? And don’t give me her chair to sit in, I want a new chair.

  2. RudimentaryLathe?

    Now it’s “sadly”? Because “Crankshaft” played the poor nameless dame’s demise for laughs, over several days, with Loathsome Lillian snarking over her still-warm remains.
    And I don’t get the point of this crossover when Lillian is so poorly drawn here as to be virtually unrecognizable. (Now that I’ve started publicly hating on Ayers’ scribbles it seems I can’t stop…)

  3. Gerard Plourde

    So if the second time jump is to believed, the long-time organist died ten years previous to this conversation. By that standard isn’t Lillian also a “long-time organist” for St. Spires?

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    Heartless? Perhaps. Cruelty to a dead friend? Maybe. Kinda ridiculous after 10 years have passed? To be sure. At yet I found today’s joke actually amusing. I’m sure this says something about me, so I’m going to go sit in the attic for a while. Call me when it’s time for breakfast.

    Incidentally, that’s eight uses of “organ” and its kin so far this week. Can Battyuk make it an even dozen by Saturday? Stay tuned.

  5. Lord Flatulence

    I got the reference!

  6. “Didja hear about Tom Batiuk? He was shot by a GUN!”

    “That’s hilarious, because he was trying to come up with a PUN!”

  7. Loudwig Von Beasthaven

    So I guess just the tip of her nose landed on one key? Okaaaay.

  8. Mr. A

    Welcome to the “Show, Then Tell” school of storytelling, where we watch characters talk with each other about events that we already saw for ourselves.

    …I guess this isn’t as egregious as it could be, since the original event took place in another strip. Nope, scratch that, I forgot we already had a flashback to the exact panel where the woman slumped over dead.

  9. hitorque

    Is this shit supposed to be funny? Certainly this “organ player” had a name and a life and a family and friends and people who presumably loved and missed her…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Meanwhile Lisa’s death and subsequent beatification were approached with undeserved solemnity and dignity.

  10. Rob

    Lillian has looked liked the exact same 80-year-old for decades in Crankshaft, but the second she passes through the FW portal she melts into a generic character model. Batiuk’s artists really have to communicate better when he does one of these stupid crossovers!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Nothing but over the hill boomers and their silly fantasies or near senile seniors and their old people talk.

      Now that he ditched that gag a day stuff he can finally take the time to do painstaking research and tell the stories he wants to tell. The result is the masterpiece you see before you today.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Nothing but over the hill boomers and their silly fantasies or near senile seniors and their old people talk.

        And we already have Pluggers for that.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          But Batty talks a good game on his blog. Secret sauce, research trips…blah blah blah

  11. The Duck of Death

    Hilarious Death:
    This old lady, whose name is already forgotten. Most likely she was someone’s sister, mother, grandmother, widow. HY-LARIOUS! How she died while serving the church is a mirthful story that her fellow worshippers never tire of repeating! As they watched her body being taken out to the hearse they coldly called her a closet alcoholic and started talking about who would replace her! Ha ha ha! Oh, mercy! Whew!

    Tragic Death:
    Saint Lisa, may her name ever echo in the halls of the honored dead. Beloved wife and mother. Escorted lovingly into the afterlife with dignity by Masky McDeath. Shed a tear, visit her bench in Central Park, go on her annual memorial 5K run, buy tickets to the Lisa movie, purchase the Lisa book, contribute to her foundation in love and honor of this great soul.

  12. billytheskink

    This is slightly better than Lillian describing a friend as “passing away” from “terminal flatulence“, a joke that TB has used at least THREE times in Crankshaft. And by slightly better, I mean it is the second worst thing ever.

  13. The deceased organist is the FW/CS equivalent of the Star Trek “red shirt” character. She hasn’t been seen before in the strip, has no defining characteristics, and her only purpose is to die a comic death and kick of a really bad pun based on musical notes.

    It being Thursday already and Dinkle has not yet even begun his interview/audition (they would audition a potential organist, I hope. He wouldn’t be hired based purely on name recognition), I can see this dragging out at least another week, before he even plays his first service.

  14. newagepalimpsest

    I thought that the “organist dies during the service” bit was funny, in a dark, 90s South Park kind of way. And it is the kind of situation that is so shocking that people in the parish would be talking about it for years. But now that we’re at the point where the characters are endlessly recapping it every five minutes to strangers, it’s kind of lost that je ne sais quoi and now I hate hearing about it.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    The legendary TV episode “Chuckles Bites The Dust” is a great exploration of what we’re talking about with this dead piano player.

    The story revolves around the question “this person was our friend, should we be joking about how they died?” Mary Tyler Moore refuses to find anything funny in the tragic-but-hilarious death of their friend Chuckles the Clown. Others argue that laughing at death is part of how we deal with our own mortality. The story’s conclusion goes yet another direction. But mostly, some things are just funny, and you can’t turn off your ability to notice them.

    The characters in Funky Winkerbean don’t even think to ask this question.

    • Mela

      Classic episode! These characters were all generally likeable people who were genuinely shocked about that tragic-but-hilarious death. We knew they were decent folks debating the “proper” way to grieve. We don’t know enough about the Crankshaft-shifted characters to know whether to find their conversation tragically funny or just tacky. The only one we know anything about is Lillian-and the big thing we know about her definitely doesn’t make her likeable. As a result, her reaction to Elenor’s death comes off as unfeeling.