Non-Doubting Thomas

Link to today’s strip.

Well, we’re back to being “selected” so I guess consistent writing is a much harder job than it appears to be. And of course Dinkle was selected. Many things like this are entirely too predictable in this strip; the only surprise is how dull, horrible and irritating it can get.

Of course, both Harry and Harriet are dressed the same way they were yesterday, and standing in the same places, so my inference is that this is taking place mere minutes after yesterday’s strip. But Dinkle’s over-description in panel one makes it seem like days have transpired, and he has to remind Harriet which organization is going to shower him with acclaim. So, either he signs up for dozens of events daily, or Harriet is remarkably stupid, even for a female in this strip. That’s saying something.

Of course, she married Dinkle, so she can’t be that bright.

37 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

37 responses to “Non-Doubting Thomas

  1. Epicus Doomus

    See, at first I assumed he’d be rejected, which would inspire him to somehow enter the church ladies and their stupid cat into the stupid Rose Bowl parade, thereby tying everything together, uh, nicely. Then I realized that was way, way too ambitious and involved for FW, so I waited to see what incomprehensibly moronic “twist” this story would take. And it turns out that there’s no twist involved at all. He was accepted, it’s all resolved and that’s that. Now there’s nothing left but wry band directing-related wordplay…three full days of it…IF we’re lucky.

    I can think of a few other noteworthy FW arcs that might have benefited from this sort of minimalist approach. For example: Lisa gets diagnosed with cancer on Monday, she undergoes chemo on Tuesday, she’s cured on Wednesday. Then you’d have three days (or weeks or months) of “chemo-sabe” gags. Unfortunately, though, he was more ambitious in those days.

  2. Sourbelly

    Whew! That was quite a rollercoaster ride, folks. But Harry got “accepted” by clicking Submit before 300 other randos did! Huzzah!

    I don’t know whether Harriet is the stupidest character in this strip (that’s a high (low?) bar), but she’s certainly among the stupidest looking.

  3. billytheskink

    Not only was there no doubt in Dinkle’s mind… there wasn’t anything else in there either.

  4. Mela

    Argh!! More obnoxious Dinkle. As much as I want to think that he’s just been playfully bantering with his wife over the “Greatest Band Director EVER” thing, today shows that he really does believe it. The way he walked into the church and acted like he deserved the choir job based on some candy award shows he believes it. Why is he such an egotistical ass?

    • Because, back in the 80’s and 90’s, Dinkle strips got taped to band director’s doors. Because it was “funny.”

      Now, though, Dinkle is “what pivots attention to ME” for Tom Batiuk, because band directors have fond memories of Dinkle. And “fond memories” is the only thing that Tom Batiuk has left, now that he has killed everything in his strips.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        At my old high school someone painted a large profile picture of Dinkle and his megaphone onto the Band Director’s office door. Surprised Batty didn’t sue. This was during the 80s so the strip was still playful.

    • Maxine of Arc

      I’m curious, but not curious enough to go digging for the answer: have we seen any actual evidence that Dinkle’s bands are any good? Just dragging kids or old ladies through hours and hours of practices doesn’t mean you have the ability to get a good performance out of them.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s never addressed. In practices, the band students are always depicted as inept, lazy, and too stupid to know which end to blow into. But when the oh-so-important holiday concert rolls around, we never see the actual performance. Nor do we ever hear later how it went. I guess we’re supposed to assume that everything went fine.

        These are two major traits of Funky Winkerbean: editing out what should be the most important aspect of the story; and Batiuk’s preferred characters never failing or being wrong.

  5. spacemanspiff85

    It would’ve been much more interesting if Becky got selected and Dinkle didn’t. But interesting doesn’t happen here.
    I like to think that this entire week’s strips have just taken like, a minute. It’s obviously all been the same day, since they’ve been wearing the exact same clothes this entire time.
    Harry, 1:00 PM: I might get selected!
    Harry, 1:01 PM: I got selected!
    Harriet, 1:01 PM: Was there ever any doubt in your mind, during those seconds between when you first told me and now?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This would also be more interesting if we had any idea what the selection criteria was. They never said they were picking the “best” 300 band directors or anything like that. How can Dinkle be so smug about what’s almost certainly an arbitrary process? Does he really just not get it?

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    Question 1: Do you think tomorrow’s strip will include the helpful info that 300 of America’s band directors will be marching in Pasadena at the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day 2022?

    Question 2: Given the nationwide budget cuts to arts programs in our school systems, are there even 300 band directors available to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade (I guess if you permit retirees to take part that would help)?

    Question 3: Why couldn’t we simply have had someone nominate Dinkle to take part in the festivities, since there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in Heck that he wouldn’t be among the 300?

    Question 4: Are we sure that Harriet is an actual Westview resident and not simply a figment of Dinkle’s imagination? I mean, her name is a female version of his, she has the same facial expressions and extra-wide mouth opening, and she serves no purpose save to build up his already Brobdingnagian ego?

  7. Mr. A

    Really? No doubt? No doubt at all? Because it sure looked like you had some doubt in yesterday’s strip, Mr. Harry L. Dinkle NKOTB. Panel 3, to be specific. But it’s nice to know that I should ignore the closest thing we’ve had to stakes so far.

    This isn’t an arc, it’s an infomercial.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Funky Winkerbean is an infomercial. For itself. Every story is a contrived problem where its own tired bullshit is the solution. And often not a very good one.

      Uh-oh, your church organist died? You need Dinkle, even though he’s never shown any past skill at that! Uh-oh, your church organist was also the choir director, even though a past organist was depicted taking direction from someone else? You need Dinkle to do it! Uh-oh, you have no money for choir robes! Dinkle’s here with a fundraising suggestion! Your one-armed band teacher needs a week off, even though her husband can’t pry himself away from his failed comic book store for five minutes? Forget the substitute teacher pool, you need Dinkle! Dinkle Dinkle Dinkle Dinkle Dinkle! He’s a music teacher! He’s a bad salesman! He’s an abusive tyrant! He’s side-splittingly hilarious! He’s a dessert topping and a floor wax! He’s the world’s greatest everything! Get Dinkle now!

  8. ComicBookHarriet

    The obnoxious repetition in every strip this week makes it insufferable for those of us reading it closely, and yet it’s still probably incomprehensible for people catching random strips in the paper.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      When I would go to our local doughnut shop and I would see someone reading the comics, I would casually ask if they read FW. Not many did, and if they did, they would usually say they didn’t understand what was going on. Most people did read and liked Crankshaft.

  9. Everyone has already commented – better than I can – on how Harry L. Dinkle, TWGBD, PhD, OBE, might be selected as one of 300 band directors to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, so I’ll just say congrats to Harriet, who is completing her morph into a goblin from the 1970s Lord of the Rings cartoon.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Again, this makes a lot more sense if you imagine Harriet is being over-the-top sarcastic. “Was there ever any doubt in your mind (snicker!)” Look at her in panel 3, she looks like she’s about to crack herself up.

  11. bayoustu

    Why on Earth would Harriet wear Mr. Pringle’s mustache as a hat?!

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    What’s with this week’s Crankshaft? Totally creepy.

    Plus it’s awkward talking about social distancing one year after the fact. Does Tom really need to write this a year in advance? It’s not like he does any deep stories with this strip.

  13. The Duck of Death

    Gee, what a surprise he was accepted. The tension was killing us. Even though, if you go to the actual site, the application page (https://banddirectorsalute.org/apply-now) has a big, colorful banner reading:

    “Join Harry L. Dinkle, the ‘World’s Greatest Band Director’ from Tom Batiuk’s ‘Funky Winkerbean’ comic strip as he makes plans to march in the 2022 Rose Parade!”

    This is accompanied by a large drawing of Act I Dinkle playing a saxophone.

    So clearly there’s gonna be some Dinkle presence at the actual parade. Cosplay? Wax effigy? Cardboard cutout? Majorettes dressed as Dinkle kicking and twirling batons? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    And how will they march?

    “In a historic first, the Tournament of Roses has accepted our application for a unique combination of a float accompanied by an integrated “marching band of band directors.”

    And what are the criteria for selection? They’re not too specific on the application, but they say:

    “The band will be composed of up to 300 band directors from across the country and will pay tribute to the exceptional instruction, character development and inspiration provided by music educators everywhere. Our goal is to have marchers representing all 50 states, Canada and Mexico.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yes, how will Tom Batiuk try to make this entire project about himself? More than he already has, I mean.

    • Margaret

      I hope they don’t attempt the flaming baton trick.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Well, it’s the Tournament of Roses Parade, so I’m assuming there’s going to be a giant floral DInkle winding its way down the streets of Pasadena come New Year’s Day.

      You know, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever used the phrase “giant floral DInkle.” I pray it’s the last.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Oh, God, yes. I want to see a tribute to Harry Dinkle that puts “Springtime For Hitler” to shame. Even the 1968 movie version.

        • Mela

          Ooh, that would be tough. That has got to be one of the best bits of satire ever. And Mel Brooks managed to make it hilarious twice: in the 1968 movie and decades later in the Tony award winning musical. Both brilliantly hilarious. Not sure a floral Dinkle regardless of size would match that, but hey, guess we’ll see in January!

  14. The Duck of Death

    It’s actually tragic on a certain level, like seeing a band that tried for decades to move past their one big hit, but the only way they can get booked is as part of an oldies tour, where they are expected to play their one big hit from 1978, plus one minor hit, then get off the stage.

    The only difference is: Musicians are expected to evolve. Newspaper cartoons are expected to stick with established characters. Charlie Brown didn’t suddenly become an adult and join Hair Club for Men. Krazy Kat didn’t go on Wellbutrin and become Sane Kat. Popeye didn’t work on his biceps to make his arms more proportionate. The whole point is to stick to the same theme, with variations and evolutions as appropriate.

    Batiuk destroyed his one cash cow, Dinkle, by evolving him into deafness — which he quickly “forgot about” — and then into retirement, and then into an entirely different field (church music). But Act I Dinkle seems to be the only Batiuk creation with staying power, so here Tom stands, trying to straddle the line between “an appropriately cartoony cartoon character” and “1/4 inch from reality.” But he can’t evolve Dinkle, not really, for endorsement reasons, so he keeps trying, and then taking it back. “He’s retired! but not really. He’s a church organist! but not really. He faces a struggle! but not really. He’s really the same Dinkle he always was, don’t worry! 1/4″ from reality!”

    • The Dinkle character was perhaps TB’s best creation. Pretty much every person who was in a band in High School could relate to his over-the-top maniacal behavior. Once he retired, he lost all that sense of relatability, because nobody cares about a retired band director. He replaced Dinkle with Becky, but he made no attempt to give her any relatable character traits (or any character at all other than a missing arm), and she mainly exists as a prop for Dinkle to come back and harass.

      It’s like watching Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, desperately trying to reclaim his past glory.

      • Mr. A

        “Back in ’82, I used to be able to throw a Dinkle a quarter mile.”

        (No, I don’t know what that means.)

  15. Hitorque

    So all of five minutes have passed since Monday to today?

  16. Westview Radiology

    Hairy Dickinkle most certainly is a psychopath and narcissist. Hairyyet displays most behaviors of Stockholm Syndrome. This is pathetic. I’ll take a Les or Mason or Cindy arcc any day of the week.