“Reserved for a vaccine”??? Yes, I know what he meant, but LOL. He really should have maybe waited to see how things played out before he sent this batch of strips over to CK. But then again, it’s been a hundred years so why start now?
Correct me if I’m mis-remembering this but didn’t he just REMOVE THE F*CKING JUKEBOX THREE DAYS AGO? This isn’t just a typical lapse in continuity, it’s like a whole other universe where “continuity” isn’t even a word. And why is Adeela being forced to wipe down the virus-infested jukebox (minus gloves too by the way)? That’s no way to treat your pizzeria’s number one Muslim architect. Someone needs to hook that girl up with a LinkedIn or Indeed account, pronto. These FW characters just settle into these lackadaisical phases that drag on for YEARS at a time. She’s squandering her talents AND her youth on these pizza-shilling infidels, if she’s not careful she’ll become an overweight bulbous-nosed sad sack before she knows what hit her and…oh, right. Never mind.
And what’s that anon-o-dude grinning about? Getting to play one of Funky’s old Danny Kaye records? Or is he just excited about the jukebox being sanitized? “Oh man, she’s sanitizing that jukebox just for ME! There’s NO CHANCE I’ll contract COVID from this now!”. Sigh.
61 responses to “Sanitized For Your Objection”
That dork in the third panel–his hickjab doesn’t cover his full mouth. Couldn’t he find one that would fit his snout?
I have to say, Batiuk’s ability to stretch this stuff out without including anything of substance is almost admirable.
I just hope I never meet him anywhere and have to listen to one of his stories. I’d walk right up to that jukebox and punch in “Rats and Monkeys” by Art Bears or “The Black Angel’s Death Song” by the Velvet Underground.
Punching is certainly an attractive option.
I just wonder what today’s strip implies about the process of removing the jukebox in the first place.
“Okay, Wally, we’ve got to unplug the jukebox and move it downstairs. We’ve got to move it downstairs. Okay, we’re moving it downstairs. Moving it downstairs now. Okay, we’ve got it downstairs and OH MY GOD IT’S GOTTA GO BACK UP IT’S GOTTA GO BACK UP IT’S GOTTA GO BACK UP IT’S GOTTA GO BACK UP!!! WE’LL TELL PEOPLE IT HAS TO BE SANTIZED BEFORE USE, BUT IT’S GOTTA GO BACK UP!!! MONTONI’S IS MISSING ITS SOUL!!! IT’S GOTTA GO BACK UP!!! NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!!”
Tom Batiuk can’t even let one of its characters be without his nostalgia fetish object for one day, in an imaginary backstory!
What is she wiping that jukebox down with, anyway? A head of lettuce?
I think it goes back to him going with the first thing that pops into his head and never going back to change it even if it’s incongruous with the later strips he wants to write.
So first Funky was talking about restaurants reopening to limited seating, with protections put in place, and all Batiuk could think to do for that is removing counter seats and the jukebox and installing plexiglass panels between the booths. He obviously needed the jukebox to go so he could run with the whole “Montoni’s lost its soul” thing. No one’s going to give a shit about the counter seats.
But then he needed to do a riff on the whole social distancing and sanitizing protections, but he couldn’t do that with booths because he’s already done the booths with the plexiglass, so the counter seats needed to be the example of social distancing, and without the jukebox, he had nothing he could show Adeela sanitizing. So that came back as well. It’s not as if he could claim “we really needed to worry about sanitizing things, so we started wiping the tables down for the first time in Montoni’s existence. Montoni’s lost something that day, but I don’t know if it was its soul.”
I don’t know what Ohio went through on their shutdowns and reopenings, but I somehow doubt it went from complete shutdowns, to takeout and deliveries, to partial reopening, to larger partial reopening, to reopening. What would the larger partial reopening look like? Four feet social distancing rather than six? As for the jukebox, what was preventing them from sanitizing it after each use earlier? Why did they have to hide it away? It’s not as if sanitizing things suddenly became more effective three months after peak infections.
On top of everything you cited the character is all screwed-up and confusing. Is Funky being the lovable Montoni’s-obsessed goofball here, playing up his anxiety over the jukebox and the stools for “comedic” effect, or is he genuinely supposed to be thinking these things? Because it’s not silly enough to be slapstick yet it’s not serious enough to, well, be taken seriously. Based on first impressions, if you had nothing else to go on, Funky comes across as being quite a dis-likeable asshole here.
Obviously that wasn’t the intent (I think), which raises the question: how didn’t he see it? he could have tried to throw a few more gags in there if he was going for slapstick or he could have had Funky mention how much Montoni’s means to him if he was trying to be serious. But instead he did neither, which (as always) is a really odd artistic choice.
which raises the question: how didn’t he see it?
Again, he’s reeeeeally committed to not going back and redoing strips. There have been a lot of strips over the years when I’ve noticed that he could have made a very easy change in a earlier strip to make an entire sequence work better, and yet he never did.
I also think he’s trapped a bit because he told this in flashback. I wonder if he thinks that telling a story like Mort getting Covid and almost dying in flashback would be weird because where the hell was he when it was actually going on? What story was he telling in lieu of Funky’s dad almost dying? So it can’t be something truly serious, but since he wants it to be taken seriously, he comes up with this half-assed notion. If it was something obviously inane, he couldn’t claim he was taking the whole endeavor seriously.
I also think part of the problem stems from what I said yesterday, which is that this guy in today’s strip is the first customer that we’ve seen since Funky started making all these adjustments, and HE certainly doesn’t seem to be bummed out about the whole thing. It’s really simply about Funky being put out. That Montoni’s isn’t what HE wants it to be, so it’s a giant bummer. I think it’s reflective on Batiuk not really understanding what a small business is. If Funky’s a successful business owner, he does what he has to do to keep his business running. He doesn’t worry all that much about things like “soul” or “essence” or “what my business should be”. What it should be is what it needs to be to be financially successful.
Instead, Funky comes at this like Max does, that his business operations serve his own personal needs for having a pizza place the way he thinks a pizza place ought to be. Max buys a theater and fails when he only shows films he or his dipshit father likes. Funky complains and moans when his business needs to adjust to shifting realities. The only difference between him and Max is that pizza is more popular with the unwashed masses than The Phantom Empire.
Hell, look at the Komix Korner, this little hole in the wall place that sells comics, and John has this whole setup where children can come by and play video games and shit for free. How much useable space did he sacrifice for that?
A hole in the wall place that sells comics, has only one entrance, and can’t be seen into from the outside. I think whoever set up free video games for kids in that place knows exactly what they’re doing.
Exactly. What about the customers who make your livelihood possible, Funky? Did you miss them? Wouldn’t the regulars be part of the ambiance of a successful establishment, and wouldn’t you miss that, too? Or does he really believe that the decor is what makes Montoni’s successful?
Yes. Thank you. The problem with this whole arc in a nutshell.
This week’s arc has another huge problem: there’s no truth to it. COVID didn’t make anyone move their jukeboxes or barstools. Restaurants just roped them off, excessively sanitized them, or did nothing at all because the whole seating area was closed anyway. Tom Batiuk is trying to satirize something he just made up.
“Tom Batiuk is trying to satirize something he just made up.”
And then there’s what real pizza places did…
A couple of weeks ago, we stopped in a small pizzeria in a small town in central Pennsylvania. As always, their pizza was great, but you could see how they survived the pandemic lockdown:
Half the seating area was roped off and piled high with stacks of takeout boxes.
It would have been so easy to draw us an interior view of Montoni’s overflowing with takeout boxes. First a montage or two of frantic phone answering, frantic scrambling to deliver takeout orders, frantic headscratching over where to store the huge supply of boxes that fly out to customers as fast as they can be delivered to Montoni’s. Then to mark the end of lockdowns, Tom Ba could show us Crazy John standing there with his pizza in one hand and his coffee cup in the other, sadly searching for a place to sit that isn’t part of the box warehouse.
Instead, we get another week of Funky serving his finest whines to the AAudience.
And I need to get this off my chest… the Funkyblog’s “Flash Fridays” really drive me insane. Here’s today’s entry:
This issue does a much better and more integrated job of merging familiar Flash action with the ongoing hunt for the killer of Iris West. As I mentioned in my last post, the editorial/writer braintrust seems to not want to lose the familiar and admittedly colorful aspect. Had I been following the book closely back in the day, I’m sure I would have
IT’S A CHILDREN’S STORY! IT WAS WRITTEN FOR LITTLE BOYS! STOP TAKING IT SO GODDAM SERIOUSLY!
There, there now. Little girls could also enjoy the heartless and ultimately senseless killing of Barry Allen’s wife, a move done to give the Flash some angst in his normally cheery life (this was before the murdered mom, dad in jail timeline) and because comic book writers seem unable to come up with stories for happy, well-adjusted couples. Sound familiar?
It sounds like all those Sixties sitcoms (My Three Sons, The Partridge Family, Julia, The Brady Bunch, Family Affair, Nanny and the Professor, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and why the fuck do I remember those puddles of glurge) where the background is that a spouse has died, and it’s very sad, but it happened so long ago that it doesn’t have a real impact on anyone’s life. It was just something the writers threw in when they wanted you to take these characters seriously.
Hmm. Has Batiuk ever mentioned any of those shows on his blog? Because there’s something familiar about that trope.
Note the proof reading: “Get. Frank Curtis.” Is “Get” a legitimate abbreviation for someone in the police force? Or is it that “G” and “D” are practically right next to each other?
“Yes, we reserved the counter seats for vaccines. The flu vaccine was our best customer! Of course, the MMR vaccine was a regular too. And the HPV and shingles vaccines used to come here all the time when they were first going steady. The polio vaccine…. well, we don’t see so much of him any more. And we all miss the smallpox vaccine, God rest his soul. Now let me tell you about the jukebox!”
The polio vaccine arrived in sugar cubes, and Crazy Harry tossed them in his coffee without checking to see where they came from.
Thus the tragedy of Crazy Harry not contracting polio.
“Reserved for a vaccine”? I had a similar reaction. LOL. Awkward.
Pfizer: “Hey, buddy! You’re sitting in my seat!”
Little hypodermic needles on stools…there’s a handful of gags in that premise but they’d be way, way too racy and edgy for FW.
That sounds like a “6 Chix” gag.
There are times that I seriously wonder if TomBa is a faithful reader of “9 Chickweed Lane.”
I’m not normally so nitpicky, but his constantly referring to the counter stools as “barstools” is really clangingly tone-deaf in the context of an AA meeting. In addition to being plain wrong, as we’ve never seen a bar in Montoni’s.
At least Funky didn’t tell the AA meeting that the barstools were reserved for the vaccinated… those who’ve gotten shots.
As we all know Batiuk uses his beloved Luigi’s in Akron as a basis for Montoni’s. Luigi’s actually has a bar but since he made Funky an alcoholic he can’t actually show that in the strip now, can he? Would an alcoholic operate a restaurant featuring a bar? Highly unlikely.
Confession: I live about a half dozen miles from Luigi’s in Akron but I haven’t been there in over 20 years. I always thought it was overrated.
As a child, my family visited Luigi’s. Luigi’s has a cash-only policy and Dad was a little short. Dad had to run home for more cash and left the rest of the family as “collateral”. We were always grateful that Dad resisted the opportunity to run and actually came back for us. I believe that was Mom and Dad’s only visit ever to Luigi’s.
Both my siblings live out of state now. Nobody ever mentions the desire to go to Luigi’s when they come to visit. My brother will want breakfast at Mike’s Place in Kent (there’s a full-sized X-Wing fighter by the main entrance). My sister will want a burger from Swenson’s and an ice cream cone from Strickland’s.
My daughter who lives in another part of the state always laughs when she thinks of Luigi’s. She once ordered something called a “Meatball Casserole” at Luigi’s. It was a couple of meatballs, the size of billiard balls, smothered in marinara and mozzarella. No pasta. No vegetable. I’ll always remember her face when the waitress placed it in front of her. Her expression was “What? That’s it?”
As for me, when I want a pizza I’ll order from Gionino’s any frickin’ day.
FYI: Gionino’s is the pizzeria Montoni’s wishes it was. They now have about 50 locations in northeast Ohio.
Which means soon they’ll try to open one in Manhattan, right?
See my post below for the pizzeria that brought their NY style pizza to Akron…..this is how you run a business.
Howdy neighbor! Yeah I always felt the same about Luigi’s. The Yelp reviews tell you all you need to know.
If I had to recommend a pizza shop in the area it would be Mr G’s in Fairlawn. The owner’s uncle owns a pizza shop in Brooklyn NY and they brought the same New York style pizza recipe here. Their pasta dishes are nice too. Good all-around pizzeria food. No liquor license but we bring our own bottle of wine. https://www.mrgspizzaandwings.com/
I rarely go out for pizza as I make my own dough at home. Thanks Nonna for teaching me how to cook!
Howdy neighbor! Mr. G’s looks great but I’m outside their delivery area. I’ve traveled much further for a good meal, so maybe a small road trip is in order.
Bring your own bottle of wine? Do you bring your own salad dressing too? Just kidding. Nobody does that. I guess that’s why they call him “Crazy” Harry.
Luigi’s cash-only policy fits perfectly with Tom Batiuk’s “everything must be done the way I want it done, no modern technology allowed” attitude to life.
He probably likes sitting by the cashier so he can watch them humiliate people who try to pay with a card. I can’t even tell you the last time I carried cash. I can pay laundry machines, vending machines, city buses, food delivery, and everything else via card now. And people who weren’t comfortable with cards before were forced to use them because of COVID. I wonder how much currency will be created in the next few years, because this is based on bank customers’ demand for it. I bet the number of bills and coins in print goes way down.
And I don’t blame your family for never going back to Luigi’s if that’s how they treated you. Even jokingly, keeping someone’s children as collateral is downright insulting.
It actually fits perfectly with the “skimming the profits, keeping two sets of books, and under-reporting income on our taxes” policy I assume any anomalous cash-only business has.
I looked through the Yelp reviews of Luigi’s a while back. First I laughed my guts out at the “famous salad” (aka 14 oz of shredded mozzarella on top of two leaves of iceberg lettuce, a wedge of cheap supermarket tomato, and a few black olives from a can). Then I called everyone else in the house to look at the “famous salad.” Many laughs were had.
Then I looked at the other dishes and reviews and just scratched my damn head. Is this my East Coast snobbery or does their food just look like “dump handfuls of shredded cheese on everything, usually on top of a pint of red sauce, and call it a day”? Cause all the food looks kinda gloppy to me.
Yes – a cash only restaurant or bar simply screams “they are skimming the take” in this day and age .
Did take a look at the Yelp page – ah no. The ‘salad’ (who needs THAT much cheese on a salad?) was among the lowlights – but the whole place had a ‘a bit better than pizza hut’ vibe to it.
This whole coivd arc is a mess. It shows that if he does write his strips a year in advance it doesn’t mean he’s putting any thought into it then either.
No you are not being snobby, just realistic. The decor is old with a lot of history, but who cares. You wait in line for an hour, get packed in and ingest a bunch of carbs. You cannot talk cause the girls at the next table are shouting and laughing at everything. Its been almost 30 years since I have been there, so it has to be even worse now.
YOU wait on line for an hour. You just know Tommy B. gets ushered to “his table” like royalty whenever he comes in. My theory is that’s why he keeps kissing the place’s ass; they treat him with the respect he thinks he deserves as King of Old-School Akron.
You’re not a snob. Luigi’s is the snob. You’re judging food on its quality, or lack thereof. Luigi’s has the same snotty attitude that a lot of old-school small-town restaurants do: “I’m old and quirky, so I don’t have to care about anything else.”
Every city I’ve lived in has a restaurant like this. All the locals pester you to go to this ancient, crummy-looking place. And when you do, your party are the only people under age 70, the servers are indifferent, and the food is mediocre. It’s not even bad; it’s passable. But you’re baffled why people hold it in such reverence.
I don’t know what it tastes like, but my assumption is that anything that over-sauced and over-cheesed is hiding something. Plus, look at the patrons’ photos of the dishes, especially the ravioli: They just scream “Fresh from Last Month’s Sysco Truck Delivery — From Our Freezer to You.”
I set up Apple Pay on my phone. It was great, no touching that filthy credit card reader. I only wish my local gas station accepted them.
And I was just proved wrong. Went for gas and they now take Apple Pay. Nice!
Leaving the wife and kids behind as collateral was actually my dad’s idea. He was honest to a fault. We only lived 15 minutes away and it was only a half-hour wait. Luigi’s never had the chance to put us to work washing dishes to pay off our meal.
It is my understanding that Luigi’s has an onsite ATM machine nowadays. No doubt there’s a fee involved.
Even the tiny scintilla of tension caused by having to remove the counter stools and jukebox was too much for Batiuk to endure, and he had to undo it immediately. And since supposedly the stools & jukebox were what made Montoni’s Montoni’s, shouldn’t everything be all better now? Why are you STILL bitching, old man?
An employee he doesn’t even need has to spray some isopropyl alcohol on some jukebox buttons twice a day. If that’s Funky’s biggest concern this is the best week of his entire life.
This is like that tired old bit where the wife makes her husband move the sofa to the other side of the living room, only to decide she liked it better where it was. Except it took four days to tell, and the wife didn’t want to move the sofa in the first place, and we’re expected to cheer as the sofa returns to its original position. So I guess it’s not much like that after all, aside from the fact that I’m not laughing.
“Montoni’s wasn’t Montoni’s anymore.” Well, yeah, the tables and seats were wiped down and sanitized, and decades of accumulated grease was missing from the fixtures. Even the plates were so clean you could eat off of them.
Couldn’t Funky’s mother-in-law make a halal pizza facemask for Adeela?
Any thoughts on whether Sunday will conclude this nail-biting monologue by the Funkster or be a totally unrelated comic book salute?
Curious depiction of the facemask on Adeela. All of the Muslim women I’ve met during Covid appear to put the facemask on first and then the headcover. Ayers appears to have done the opposite here.
And they seem to prefer the plain white paper masks. Not a cloth one with pepperoni depicted on it. Oopsy!
I like that this guy appears to have his debit card out for what is supposed to be an old-timey piece of nostalgia.
I hope in tomorrow’s strip we find out that Crazy Harry had his name legally changed to “Aquaman Vaccine” so he’d still be able to sit at his stool drinking coffee. (I was going to go with “Arthur Vaccine”, since that’s the first “A” name I could think of, then realize that wasn’t nearly nerdy enough).
Crazy Harry will doubtless change his name to “Aquaman, Arthur Curry, King of the Seven Seas Vaccine” so he can have double protection. He may not be holier than thou, but he is certainly nerdier!
As if Batiuk hasn’t put Adeela through enough. The mask on that leering anono-kid just makes him look goofier, while Adeela’s mask adds to her already exotic look.
It’s the wadded up engineering degree she earned as Wally’s lab partner.
Batiuk really is burying the lede here. Adeela, a refugee who worked her way through K*nt State to earn an architecture degree, is basically doing the work of a scullery maid. Why?
My own theory is that she was offered excellent, high-paid positions in a number of firms who were eager to snap up this highly qualified architect, who as a bonus can speak multiple languages and understands Muslim culture, so she would be ideal to work with the firm’s Muslim or Middle Eastern Clients. However, she turned them all down to work at Montoni’s.
Because in Westview, working at Montoni’s is considered the highest possible calling. Like the Supreme Court for a judge, or the Vatican for a Catholic. Why that is is never explained. It just is.
Yeah, definitely noticed that Adeela is now the person who does all the menial jobs while the other guys just stand around like assholes jabbering with whichever of their friends decided to come in that day. I’m sure it’s part of her manager job, just like Wally’s, and not because she’s the only woman in the place.
It’d make more sense if it was Funky or Holly, because when you’re the owner, you frequently end up doing every job here and there, filling in where you’re needed. It certainly would make more sense than having your manager running around bussing tables and wiping down stuff and crap.
Geezus fuking cryst!!!! Enough!!!!!!!!
People dying alone and afraid in boxcar lots means little to Tons Of Fun. The economy going down the crapper zooms over his head. A minor inconvenience is seen as being the End of the Got-Dang World and we’re supposed to feel sorry for hm. We should start calling this strip Okay Boomearbean.
Or “Funking Whitepeople.”
That famous “Shortpacked” parody comic strip needs an update anyway. FW hasn’t been about cancer for a long time. Now it should go “Comic books?” “Comic books!” “Comic books comic books comic books comic books.” “Comic books Montoni’s Montoni’s!” “Montoni’s band band band band!” “Incest!” “Band incest?”
I hereby nominate panel 2 as a Panel of the Year candidate.
Ooo, like the Worthy Awards? That sounds fun! Though my money is on Dead Organist Flashback.
Luigi’s satisfies in one way that its food apparently does not–it fulfills one’s craving for “nostalgia,” a mental condition that frequently overcomes common sense.