I want to thank everyone in the comments yesterday for completely ruining what I was going to post today. I was going to go on and on about how Dinkle has learned all about online fundraising multiple times over the past few years, and pull up the strips to prove it. But our crack commenters Billy the Skink and Banana Jr. already discussed it in depth. Jerks.
I mean, what am I supposed to talk about today? The fact that Dinkle couldn’t wait to call his wife over his viral cat video epiphany, and is postponing practice to do it? The fact that he apparently called his wife on a Playstation Vita? The fact that Lillian is now carrying the pineapple laptop around one handed, and it made me question if she’s been doing that all week?
While going mad trying to scrape together something passing for an amusing thought, my eyes were drawn to the wedding rings Dinkle and Harriet are wearing. It’s an interesting detail to include when the art so often seems quarter-assed. Scrolling through the strips this arc, the ring is inconsistent. It showed up Sunday, but the art on the Sunday strips is always higher effort. It showed up on Monday April, 12. But after that, it was nowhere to be seen, even when the hands were in focus.
And scrolling through archives, there are more disappearing wedding rings than last call at a dive bar. Wedding rings tend to appear when the person’s marriage is either being discussed, or the spouse is in the strip, and be absent otherwise. It’s like the rings exist in some kind of phantom zone and magically phase into being when contacted with an unseen magical matrimonial energy field.
This is best exemplified from Funky’s AA exercise rant from last month. Remembering his wife causes Funky to magically manifest his wedding ring mid-speech.
I don’t even know what I’m trying to say with this, just something weird I noticed.
Even weirder, did you know that Lillian magically manifested a ring yesterday in service of a crappy joke?
This has been your daily dose of Nitpicking News! Finding something to say about nothing since 2010.
Join us tomorrow as we veer off on oblique tangents to keep from going mad with boredom and frustration, and watch with baited breath as we wait to see if the downvote fairy will visit again tonight and slip us all a little present under our comments while we sleep.
32 responses to “Give ‘er a Ring!”
Dinkle marveling over something he already knows about…it’s like the CTE arc, part two. Too bad this one isn’t ending the same way, with a state trooper handing Harriet what’s left of Dinkle’s annoying cackling head.
A remarkable display of nitpicking! I stand in line!
Seconded. I really stand in line over the way CBH’s eyes are beading over quite nicely. Splendid work.
I got the reference…well actually I didn’t…Lisa would be proud!
As an attempt at humor, the strip fails to materialize anything resembling a joke.
As an attempt at drama, the strip fails to manifest anything resembling a situation at all. This is a man yelling about a non-event.
As an attempt at education…ah, here we go. Today we learn that Tom Batiuk cannot construct anything resembling a comic strip.
Spinster Lillian has a ring, interesting. I’m guessing it was the one Eugene intended to give to her sister.
The cat, Dinkle! You have to go online, ask for it, and include a cat! Were you even paying attention?
Anyway, join us again in 2023, when the Westview Middle School Jazz Combo shows Dinkle how to set up a Patreon account. Excuse me, a ‘Pay-It-On’ account.
Thanks CBH for the great commentary. Those jerks ruined nothing and you have plenty of interesting things to say…unlike the author of this strip!
And thank you Tom for the downvote!
Sure, St. Spires has just gotten a seven-figure windfall, become minor celebrities, and drummed up a ton of new attendees, but… oh no, Dinkle’s feelings are hurt! His candy sale didn’t work! The church ignored him and did something better, and he doesn’t know what to do with himself! He’s feeling very humbled right now! He needs to re-examine his understanding of the universe!
What a self-centered prick. He can’t even enjoy the choir’s success with them. He’s got to run off into the corner and call his wife, who has to stop washing his laundry so she can listen to him whine. Look at the serious faces they make.
It’s gobsmacking where Batiuk thinks the emotional focus of a story goes.
I’m friends with two band directors….neither of them act this way. Just a PSA on behalf of band directors everywhere. They hate Dinkle too.
Can I just say that maybe Harriet should consider adding dryer sheets to her laundry regimen? There must be a lot of static cling to cause her hair to go off like that in panel two.
Oh, and I hope I get a downvote like everyone else.
Batiuk must be hate-reading the blog tonight!
“All you have to do is go online and ask for it!”
So like just about any fundraising, except that it’s online.
“I just learned that if you want to raise money, all you have to do is call interested people and ask them!”
“I just learned that if you want to raise money, all you have to do is set up a table near where people walk by and ask them!”
Meanwhile, over on Crankshaft, we see the real reason why The Valentine theater has to close. Maybe they could show a film that people want to see instead of films that only Batty wants to see.
The Phantom Empire AGAIN???!!! The syndicate just needs to put a stop to this. No more Phantom Empire stories, no more pizza box monster stories. no more trips to the Ohio Music Educators Conference, no more publishing contract/interview/book signing stories, and no more goddam Lisa stories. This is all crap that nobody but Tom Batiuk cares about. And he’s long since run out of anything to say about any of them.
The joke about cutting an episode from the serial to save money doesn’t even make sense. The entire serial is public domain, which means anyone can broadcast it for free any time they want. By the same token, anyone can watch it for free online at archive.org.
Wow, a reference so obscure that even ardent Crankshaft hate-readers miss it. “Radio Ranch” is the feature film that was assembled from the episodes of “The Phantom Menace.” What TB means is that it was “cut together from,” hence perhaps your confusion. It’s called “writing.” About things no one is interested in.
Sorry; didn’t school down enough to realize I was being repetitive.
Thanks to Jeff M. and to Mr. A for the additional info. Apparently the joke is somehow makes even less sense than I gave it credit for. It’s classic Batiukian wordplay: use a word for several days, and then randomly change the meaning of it.
As for the 69-minute version: it’s also in the public domain. In the exact same place as the whole serial. With a usage note that says the copyright holder released it into the public domain. So I eagerly await next week’s plot, where they save the Valentine theater with a Phantom Empire marathon.
Usually when you have an enthusiasm for something, it leads you to discover things like it that you can also enjoy. So why doesn’t Batiuk branch out into other 70+ year old serials? I mean, I suppose if he goes with Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers in a universe where Starbuck Jones exists, that would be somewhat problematic, but there are still plenty of them that don’t show how derivative his own creation is! How about the Lone Ranger? Or Zorro? Or the Undersea Kingdom? Or Boston Blackie? Or Tarzan to bring Crazy and his whole dumb family in to overpay? The medium didn’t start and stop with The Phantom Empire, for Christ’s sake.
Also, I know it’s a characteristic of Batiuk’s weak writing skills rather than a conscious choice, but maybe Max could branch out beyond stuff that appeals only to his dipshit father. I mean, if you go to the trouble to buy and renovate a vintage movie theater, aren’t you a little bit interested in movies in general? Why bother if your taste starts and stops with the Phantom Empire?
Also, I agree with your desire for these stories to be kiboshed, but I’d make an exception for Lisa’s Story sequences. Yes, they are genuinely terrible, disgusting, really. But they’re compellingly terrible. They’ve got pretentions that are hilarious, that elevate the sequences to sublime shittiness. The others you mention are just shit, and yeah, who would even notice if they all just stopped?
Also, it really does show the broken worldview of Batiuk and his characters that when Max’s business starts failing, it’s not “what can we do to stir up business?” it’s “oh well, guess people just don’t like the right things anymore. Nothing we can do.”
Tangential, but has Crankshaft himself ever shown any interest in Radio Ranch / Phantom Empire? It is dear to Jfff’s heart and brain, but Daddy Crankshaft’s own obsession is Bean’s End catalogues, not anything fanciful.
I think we’ve discussed before how lasar-specific TB’s interests are. Phantom Empire but not Flash Gordon. The Flash but not Green Lantern or Green Arrow. It’s very odd.
Laser. Still dealing with the invisible text.
Phantom Empire is just… it’s bad. It’s really, really bad, everybody. If you’ve sat through it once, there is zero – ZERO – reason to do so again. Even the most diehard Gene Autry completist wouldn’t watch that thing twice, much less make an effort to do so.
What I’d like to know is why the idea of broadcast appeals for contributions seems so alien to them. Were they unaware of the Muscular Dystrophy Labor Day Telethon? What about the United Way campaigns? Or a capital campaign to restore a historic building? How about public radio and television fund drives? What college or university did the Dinkles attend that they never got a fundraising letter?
It’s this total lack of awareness of common practices that’s mind-boggling.
Or is the fact that the internet has made the ability to mount fundraising appeals accessible to almost everyone what is so startling?
And does TomBa expect us to share the incredulity of the Dinkles or to laugh at their cluelessness?
I’ve noticed that people in commercials for um, men’s performance medication, always wear wedding rings. No out of wedlock shenanigans on big pharma’s watch. No sirree Bob. Do the Dinkles have side by side bathtubs?
Harry: “Did you know that if you post a video with a cat in it, you can make millions of dollars in three minutes?”
Harriet: “Well, that sounds implausible.”
Harry: “It was very humbling.”
Harriet: “Humbling? How is that humbling?”
Harry: “Because I didn’t know that!”
Harriet: “Uh huh. So what are you folks going to do with all that money?”
Harry: “Dammit, you’re missing the point! I feel bad because I didn’t know something!”
Harriet: “OK then. Look, I have some very important laundry to do. Bye.”
I find the downvoting quite funny. It amuses me to think that there’s someone out there who thinks this work is worth defending, but who is incapable of actually defending it.
Radio Ranch is a 70-minute feature cut together from The Phantom Empire footage and released in 1940. It’s not an installment of the serial proper that they’re choosing to drop. (Not that anyone could parse that sentence unless they already knew what Batiuk was talking about…)
Sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to Banana Jr. 6000’s comment.
Yeah, I assumed Radio Ranch was the name of one episode, because I wrongly assumed the comic strip was trying to make sense. The Dunder Twins had been yapping about budget cuts all week, so it sounded like they were making the unthinkable decision to shorten Phantom Empire, even though it appears to be the entirety of their schedule.
Which would actually have been a workable joke! If you were on Match Game and the question was “The Valentine Theater was so broke, they had to cut blank”, Phantom Empire would be a good answer.
I give up, I’ve got nothing today…