Link To The Thing

Site Rules

  1. No politics, ever.
  2. No personal attacks, ever. This includes Batiuk. The strip(s) are fair game, personal lives are not.
  3. Stay on topic. Tangents are fine if they relate to the strip content.
  4. Don’t cross the line. You know what line I’m talking about and if you’re unsure then you’re probably crossing it. If you don’t like it, too bad. We try to maintain standards here.

So, (see what I did there?) is this the same AA monologue from before or is this a whole new one? Because Funky is really monopolizing these meetings. Running Montoni’s was hard, closing Montoni’s was hard, re-opening Montoni’s was hard…yeah, Funky really appeared to be struggling to make ends meet while he was reno-ing his luxury McMansion on the hill a few weeks back. I mean, it’s a pizzeria. You make pizzas, you sell pizzas and that’s pretty much it. It’s not like Westviewians have a lot of alternatives.

People got sick, people died, people lost their jobs, businesses cratered, yet there’s the Funkman, bitching because his stupid pizzeria isn’t exactly the same as before the pandemic came along. Cue the world’s smallest violin. Typical BatYam, he decides to “address” a “real-life issue”, then centers the whole thing around pizza. You’d think that given everything Funky has endured that maybe he’d have a bit of perspective, but nope. There he is, sitting in a room full of recovering alcoholics and making it all about himself. What a pitiful display.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

53 responses to “Mon-o-tonies

  1. Your rules are how I feel about this place. Yes, we can criticize the strip, we can criticize what we IMAGINE are Tom Batiuk’s reasons for what is in the strip, we can criticize what we PERCEIVE as Tom Batiuk’s particular preferences (i.e., The Phantom Empire, 60’s Batman show)–but in the end it has to relate to what is in the strip itself. If it does not, please don’t post it.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Buuh Buuuh….Mah TANGENTS are okay right, right?

      If I can’t discuss access to the Hollywood Sign, the origin of Bolshevik headwear, and the regionalization of sandwich names here…then where can I go?


      • Epicus Doomus

        Tangents are 100% acceptable. All I ever ask is that those tangents can somehow be traced back to the content of the strips, even if it’s loosely. Which you always somehow manage to do. So tangent away, CBH!

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Whew! If I couldn’t go off on tangents…I don’t know how I would handle getting another Dinkle arc for my next shift. Transubstantiation and cat videos really saved my ass last month.

      • Tangents can be amazing–when they increase our knowledge and perspective on the strip. [Mike Stoklasa voice] As for example, CBH, your own posts on women in comics, comics lore, and comics comics comics. [/Mike Stoklasa voice]

  2. louder

    Why did he have to close? All the restaurants I know continued with take-out. Now, granted, takes-out barely payed the bills, if even that, but pizza you’d think would still be sold to all those Cancerville residents. For gosh sakes, we watched as he hired people!! It’s like BatHack can’t even remember what the past storylines were about, which, given their quality, he should consider a blessing! It’s we poor, sick, deluded sonofstuckfunyites, we are the only ones who remember… whoa is us!

    • Mr. A

      The previous installment of “Funky’s COVID Flashbacks” (starts here) covered the period from the early-pandemic total shutdown up to the point where Montoni’s started doing to-go orders and they were very busy with that. (Plus a week of Funky and his Discman falling off a treadmill, for some reason.) In this installment, we will presumably be covering a slightly later phase of the pandemic, when the restrictions loosened a bit and restaurants were legally allowed to open their dining rooms again.

  3. Mr. A

    There must be a better way to start a week-long arc than this. Instead of telling us that things will start happening in tomorrow’s strip, why not have something happen in this strip?

    In a weird way, I think I now understand why Batiuk chose this setting for Funky’s pandemic-life monologues. I can imagine the wheels in his head turning: “Hmm…Funky can’t tell these stories to anyone who already eats or works at Montoni’s, so that rules out…everyone he knows. I need to send him someplace where he’ll be surrounded by strangers. Business conference? No, I want to do this more than once, it has to be somewhere he can go regularly… Of course! The AA meeting!”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is taking “tell don’t show” to new levels. It’s telling you what it’s going to tell you tomorrow, and it’s telling you how you’re supposed to feel about it.

  4. Charles

    I’m starting to wonder if Batiuk has some weird solipsism going on with his characters. The one thing that everyone should be aware of with the pandemic is that *everyone* went through it. If the worst thing you had happen to you last year is that you had to wear a mask when you didn’t really feel like it, you got off easy. Karl Anthony Towns lost 7 of his relatives to the virus, including his mother. Then he got it himself.

    But Batiuk presents this as if it’s a terrible burden. There’s nobody in this AA circle who hasn’t gone through this. Looking at the stuff Funky’s complaining about, I would suspect that some if not most of them probably went through worse things than he did.

    But it doesn’t matter, because they don’t matter, which is what I’m talking about with his weird character-centered solipsism. What they went through can’t be worse than what Funky went through because they’re not Funky. They’re not even important enough to have names.

    And this isn’t really the first time we’ve seen this sort of thing. Yesterday I mentioned how Batiuk seemed to ignore the murder victim when assessing who suffered in that whole Butter Brinkle saga.

    Funky violates a woman’s personal space by jumping on a treadmill she was using, and we’re supposed to find it funny because we’re not supposed to think about how horrified the woman would be in that situation.

    Wally comes back after being a POW who was counted as KIA. Becky is now married to two men, and the guy whose reactions we’re supposed to be most concerned with is Gross John.

    Becky loses her arm and her bright future because Wally drove drunk, and we’re supposed to be concerned over how tormented Wally is, because even Becky seems to have that as her main concern.

    Les has Hollywood people throwing money at him and giving him all sorts of perks, and we’re supposed to feel sorry for him because the sanctity of his perfect work of art is being violated.

    It’s as if no one else exists. It’s as if no one else has ever experienced anything until they heard about one of these characters experiencing it.

    • Epicus Doomus

      A serious drinking problem. A divorce. Thoughts of suicide. Multiple business failures. Heart disease. A father with Alzheimer’s. A thieving scumbag of a step-son. A near-fatal car accident. A mother-in-law who moved in with him. An employee falsely arrested by ICE. These are just a few of the multitude of problems Funky has faced through the years. Yet here he is, complaining about how re-opening his business was HARDER than having to close it indefinitely. At an AA meeting, no less. The other attendees ought to be clubbing him over the head with a coffee pot and pelting him with cigarettes right now. He apparently learned nothing over the years, which doesn’t exactly paint him in the most sympathetic light.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Spot on. “Solipsism” is a good name for it. The strip only cares about Les, Funky, Dinkle, and what a few other people want. No one else is even a sentient being. No one is allowed to react to or get annoyed by their behavior. They just stand there helpless while these twerps dictate the proceedings.

      Like the poor people trapped in this meeting. Tom Batiuk doesn’t understand that adults aren’t going to put up with this! Somebody would have told Funky his time was up long before he started yapping about his dumb Walkman. And now we’re supposed to indulge Funky with another week of him droning about whatever he feels like.

  5. William Thompson

    The Montoni’s he re-opened won’t be the same as the Montoni’s he closed? What does that mean? That he’ll get a better class of customer? That the rats and roaches starved during the shutdown? Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll retcon in a few pandemic deaths (my guess would be Summer Moore, although Caucayla would be in the running too. Just so Les Moore can suffer and write a new book.)

    • Epicus Doomus

      Exactly. The only major difference is that he couldn’t pack Montoni’s full of people. And when has THAT ever been an issue? A pandemic-themed arc where Les grapples with “remote learning” would have (in theory) at least made some sort of sense. Although now that I think about it this is probably better.

    • Mr. A

      The pandemic “happened” (i.e. was acknowledged as a thing that had already happened) on April 19th, so there are a LOT of characters whose pandemic fates are technically unknown. Les himself hasn’t appeared in the strip since March.

      • William Thompson

        If Les died and left behind a collection of VHS tapes, I will personally hunt down and strangle every surviving VHS player on earth.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Well, we saw Lillian from “Crankshaft” make an appearance in the place last week, so there goes the “better class of customer” premise.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Nothing! It means nothing. Montoni’s never closed at all, so it means nothing to say it “wasn’t the same when it reopened.” Or that it was more stressful to reopen. And neither of these is going to be explained. Tom Batiuk loves his empty ptihyness.

      These phrases should be used after we’ve been shown something. When Calvin’s dad said “a man’s home is his castle, but it shouldn’t have to be a fortress” it meant something because we’d just seen his house be burglarized. There’s no context for what Funky is saying here.

      This is the worst kind of “tell, don’t show.” Not only is this story just telling you things it should have shown, it’s telling you how to feel about them. Oh, Funky’s suffering that we never saw was so deep, he can only speak in aphorisms now. Can’t you feel his exquisite man pain? Ugh.

  6. Hitorque

    What the hell does this even mean? Of course Montoni’s was “different” after reopening, you already told us the first time around how much more money you were making post-pandemic…

    I thought this whole setup was to discuss coping with alcoholism? So far we’ve only heard about some stupid Walkman getting ruined, and Funkmeister non-stop low-key advertising his business before a captive audience… I’m just shocked he isn’t wearing a Montoni’s shirt and ballcap while passing out coupons while he’s up there.

  7. billytheskink

    Funky talks like the reopened Montoni’s being different than the pre-pandemic Montoni’s is a bad thing… but how could anything different at Montoni’s possibly make it worse than pre-pandemic Montoni’s?

    Pre-pandemic Montoni’s entered a “gazpacho pizza” in a competition. Pre-pandemic Montoni’s employed Crankshaft as a Santa Claus. Pre-pandemic Montoni’s had an employee targeted by ICE. Pre-pandemic Montoni’s had delivery people mugged. Pre-pandemic Montoni’s was accused of redlining by the local news. Pre-pandemic Montoni’s once burned to the ground. Crazy ate pizza with COFFEE at pre-pandemic Montoni’s. A 28 year-old Pete hit on a 16 year-old Summer at pre-pandemic Montoni’s. Funky frequently got sauced at pre-pandemic Montoni’s. LES worked at pre-pandemic Montoni’s!

    Again, how can Montoni’s never being the same possibly be a bad thing?

    • Charles

      Oh man, the “redlining” story….

      Redlining refers to real estate sales and property loans. It doesn’t refer to where a pizzeria decides it wants to deliver to. Pizzerias can deliver where ever they want. It’s a god damn perk, not an obligation. They just can’t refuse to sell pizzas to someone who comes in and orders one, especially if, you know, those people are black.

      I can go into John’s of Bleecker Street and order a pie and they’d have to sell it to me absent some legitimate legal reason for not doing so. (eg. I’m not wearing any pants). I can’t demand they deliver it to me because I fucking live 280 miles from New York City.

      “So, if you guys don’t get it to me in 30 minutes, it’s free, right?”

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I mean, if you can prove that like, a pizza joint has drawn a box around say, the local Polish area, and refuses to deliver there because they’re bad tippers, even though they’ll deliver to other homes at equal or greater distance…then you’re within your rights to complain, publicize, organize boycotts, cancel on twitter, etc. It’s just not something the LEGAL system can (or should) do anything about.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I had forgotten the “redlining story”. But even though it’s an old story, it’s indicative of TomBa’s failure to effectively tell a story. In the days before GrubHub and Doordash, home delivery was completely on the pizzerias and sandwich shops and their “fleet” was usually one or two drivers, who often took out multiple orders at a time. The distance limitation was to ensure efficient and effective delivery. Now, if his point was to show that a portion of Montoni’s anticipated delivery area or a potential customer was excluded due to Funky’s bias (other than the general misanthropy they all exhibit to varying degrees), that could have been an interesting story. But we didn’t get that.

        • Bad wolf

          IIRC Funky had actual delivery drivers getting held up, it wasn’t some random ‘bias’ he just had out of nowhere

          • billytheskink

            Funky had software that flagged high crime areas as areas not to deliver to. Lefty and Rachel didn’t use Funky’s software to check the delivery address where a gang of muggers attempted to hold them up, an address that would have been “redlined”.

            Cindy’s “redlining” news story was pretty much depicted as a sensationalist piece pushed by her producer (Cindy brought the software up when discussing reporting on the attempted mugging with her producer and he wanted to run with it), though it was extremely light on details or anything resembling commentary because all TB really wrote the story for was to further the disintegration of Funky and Cindy’s marriage.

          • Charles

            Yes, but even so, someone needed to tell Batiuk that not getting a pizza delivered to you is not a god damn civil rights issue.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            Ah yes, Lefty and Rachel fight off hordes of muggers with kickboxing classes. A rare instance of women being able to save themselves in Funkyverse.

  8. The Nelson Puppet

    “Poor me.”
    “Poor me.”
    “Poor me.”
    “Pour me.”
    -a common rejoinder to whining at AA meetings.

    I hear it also at my Procrastinators Anonymous meetings, where our slogan is: JUST FOR TOMORROW.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I also hear it a lot at the bar, but I think it’s spelled differently. Homophones are tricky some thymes.

  9. Paul Jones

    The unrealistic beefing doesn’t end here. In the spin-off, we’re getting a garbled take on newspapers cutting the days they publish.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    What’s with the disembodied hand at the bottom left? It’s like the mustachioed guy is sipping from his cup, but it equally looks like it belongs to the angry man with the Jeffrey Dahmer glasses. And that guy looks sick and tired of this speech. I also like to think Funky has no clue who that man really is:

  11. So, Montoni’s has been uniquely positioned to survive the shutdown. How many years ago did Durwood develop the pizza app? He’s always had an infrastructure in place to support home delivery. The worst that should happen is that Funky discontinues in-house dining and lets go of the wait staff (we won’t need Cory to wipe down the countertop any more, and Adeela could be a delivery driver). Of all the people in Westview, Funky is probably the one who has been least affected by the pandemic. And yeah, there is nothing about this monologue that would be appropriate at an AA meeting. He could just as easily be nattering on to DSH and gang at the Komix Korner or to Les during a jog.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Not a single pizza place I knew actually ‘shut down’ over Covid. They all had delivery/take out and did just fine. Granted, I’m in Iowa, where shut downs/ lock downs were very targeted in high risk/high case areas, rather than broadly applied.

      • The Duck of Death

        And, ironically, I’m in a place where shutdowns were across the board and applied to pretty much everything, everywhere, with an iron fist, and pizza places STILL were open for delivery/takeout. So I call bull that Montoni’s was forced to shut down, unless it was for the persistent rat infestation.

  12. The Duck of Death

    What a totally slick and meaningless phrase that is at the end of P3.

    Tom B:
    “‘The Montoni’s we opened was never going to be the same as the Montoni’s we closed.’ Hmm. Damn, that’s deep. Damn, I’M deep! Ooh, I know! I’ll add ellipses in there to make it seem like there was a pregnant pause before Funky delivered the real clincher! ‘The Montoni’s we opened…’ Yes!”

    [Tom pauses to look at the empty Plexiglas showcase box on his mantel. It is lovingly dusted every Sunday, in anticipation of its future contents.]

    “Ahem. aHEM! ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ — is that transphobic? I’ll change it. Can’t be too careful.

    ‘Good people of the Pulitzer Prize Committee, I thank you for this recognition. When I first began the “Funky’s AA Ruminations” arc, I intended it to be a profound meditation on the passing of time, combined with a lament about the travails of the pandemic. Many have compared its profundity with À la recherche du temps perdu, by Marcel Proust, or the book of Ecclesiastes of the King James Bible. While these comparisons are flattering, I believe my work stands alone for its economy of phrasing and complexity of thought. I will tell you first how the startlingly original idea came to me….'”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Tom Batiuk loves his “writerese.” He’s always writing things that sound really pithy and clever and writer-y, but fail at their basic job of conveying any information. “High school follows you” from Bull’s funeral was another infamous one. What does that even mean? It’s some baloney Les said at Bull’s funeral, to justify why he still hates Bull after everything Bull had done for him and his family.

      And yes, Batiuk thinks he’s Proust and Jesus rolled into one, even though he’s not even a good enough writer to tell you how good a writer he is. His “match to flame” blog entries are rambling and incoherent, but he sure does congratulate himself in them.

      • The Duck of Death

        Ooh, let me try!

        “The truth is never far from a lie.”
        “The further we go, the longer the trip to get back.”
        “Every broken dream is a shattered mirror reflecting back our own image.”

        Hey, empty, faux-profound aphorisms are fun! I see real potential for an adult party game. Hang on a sec — just gonna pop out and call the “Cards Against Humanity” folks and pitch my idea!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Well, you know what happens when you eat the last slice of pizza. Life is a series of events. Your creativity is what you make of it!

          • The Duck of Death

            Inside every celebration is a funeral.
            There is pride in abject humiliation.
            Broken hearts are like broken carts: The cause of many a bumpy ride.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            It’s all because we have to protect Lisa.

        • Charles

          “(Flash #123) showed me that comics had a past! And opened the door to my future!”

          To sidetrack back to that dopey sequence, it would have been funnier than literally everything in that sequence combined if Batiuk had Batton Thomas geek out over some utterly inconsequential and forgettable comic book.

          “That Alpha Flight comic where they fight the villain comprised entirely of used wet naps made me the writer I am today!”

      • Mr. A

        I’m still trying to figure out what Funky meant in the previous COVID-flashback arc, when he claimed “I’ve been wearing masks in public my whole life.” I can’t point to any examples of Funky concealing his negative emotions from his family or friends, so maybe all it means is that he doesn’t inflict his doubts and misery on random strangers? Or am I supposed to understand that Funky is secretly desperately unhappy even when the strip shows him smiling?

        • Maxine of Arc

          I’m guessing it’s meant to be a comment on being a functioning alcoholic, which like living with a lot of disorders can feel like you’re actively trying to put on a front a lot of the time. I’ll let that one slide. I will however assume the reason none of these people has started throwing donuts at Funky yet is because Backwards Hat Kid has eaten them all in his boredom.

        • The Duck of Death

          Another supposed revelation just dropped and left, like a horse drops a turd and clip-clops along. Any other author would know a line like that *has* to lead to some further revelation, sure as Chekhov’s Gun has to get fired by Act III.

          Tom’s big on “unwritten rules” he pulls out of his nether regions, like “No arc should last more than 3 weeks,” but he obliviously breaks every actual rule of storytelling.

  13. Sourbelly

    In the Funky Multiverse, this AA meeting exists in the one and only timeline where the pandemic actually happened, where Montoni’s was closed for a painful but highly profitable time, and where AA meetings transformed into a work of performance art called “An Evening with Funky.”

    I suspect we’ll soon move back to the timeline where Dinkle never went deaf and never retired from being a Band Director.

  14. spacemanspiff85

    I love how when Batiuk was deciding how to address the pandemic, an event that changed the entire world like nothing else since World War II, what he went with was having Funky whine about having to close Montoni’s for a while.
    Like, he couldn’t have Les or Cayla get sick? He couldn’t do an arc with Summer and Keisha quarantined with their parents? He couldn’t have killed someone off, like Harriet or Wally or any of the other useless wasted characters in this strip? Suddenly he’s averse to melodrama and making his characters suffer? I am so looking forward to his next interview when he talks about he “thoughtfully” and “sensitively” addressed the pandemic in his strip.
    What makes it extra hilarious is how Funky is whining at AA meetings. It would be one thing if he was just griping to Crazy Harry over a cup of coffee, but rambling on about the difficulties of selling pizza to people who are struggling to fight alcoholism is bizarre. I feel like he thinks it gives automatic gravitas to this subject. It does not.
    And I can’t even imagine the people who could relate to this specific situation would care for this at all. He had to close a while, but Funky himself admitted that his business actually picked up. I look forward to the title of the Kent State University published edition of these strips: “I Had to Change My Routine, Made More Money, and (Possibly?) Broke One of my Two Discmans: Funky Winkerbean Explores COVID-19”.

    • Charles

      I feel like he thinks it gives automatic gravitas to this subject. It does not.

      See also: Bull commits suicide over his CTE
      The Gay Prom Arc of 2012
      Los Angeles Burns to the Ground and Climate Change is to Blame!
      Starlet Considers Suicide Because People on the Internet Are Mean
      Guy Smarms His Way Through the McCarthy Hearings, Loses Career Somehow
      Guy’s Chimp Kills Woman, Guy Responsible Gets Away With It, We’re Supposed to be Sad Because His Career Was Ruined
      Guy Puts His Alzheimer’s-Stricken Father in Home, Writer Promptly Forgets Father Has Alzheimer’s
      Guy Suffers Stroke, Feel Bad For His Wife, Gets Shunted Aside and Ignored
      Woman Gets Picked Up in Error by ICE, Nearly Deported, Saved By Former President Through Almost Certainly Corrupt Means
      And, naturally
      Every fucking story about Lisa and Wally.

      Man, that list was longer than I thought it was going to be when I started.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Morton’s Alzheimer’s is IMO the single most baffling Act III development of them all. Funky having to put his father in a home was a HUGE story arc, one that led directly into the genesis of Starbuck Jones (and traveling through time). He followed it up with a few Alzheimer’s-related Sunday strips too. Then one day Mort’s Alzheimer’s disappeared and I mean completely. Suddenly he was smoking cigarettes, hitting on women and playing trombone in rocking swing combos and no one was even slightly amazed. It’s all just completely inexplicable.

        And as I’ve pointed out previously, it also happened with Cory. Early Act III Cory was a surly disagreeable scumbag, the classic “troubled kid” trope. Then he joined the army. A few years later he returns as a friendly affable bloke and no one notices or remarks about this development, at all. I mean wouldn’t someone like Les or Summer be totally astonished by the change? But instead it’s just “oh, hey Cory, how’s it going” like nothing ever happened at all.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      (Batiuk) went with was Funky whine about having to close Montoni’s for a while

      Which he didn’t even have to do! Montoni’s was open all of 2020, and was never depicted dealing with any COVID restrictions. And as we all know, COVID is completely over now and there are no longer any real-world concerns about it. Damn this arc to hell. It is offensive in so many directions at once.