OK, so apparently Batiuk recently participated in some sort of archeological joke dig and found this one deep in the bowels of Henny Youngman’s crypt. “Take my wife…please! With the shopping! And the credit card bills! She just doesn’t understand the value of my hard-earned dollars! Because she’s a WOMAN, you see?”.
Yes, unlike in the relatively recent past, a guy’s wife can’t sneak off to the mall and run up a credit card tab behind his back anymore, because technology. Funky is wise to Holly’s womanly tricks (wink, wink) and now HE’S a step ahead of HER. Which is rare and noteworthy, as you know how women are, with their womanly schemes and feminine wiles and all. Sigh. You think he would have finally outgrown the “boys vs. gurls” trope by now but obviously that one is just too deeply ingrained, which is as far as I’m taking that topic this time around. Blech.
And on that note I’m heading back to the bench until my next at bat, stay tuned for billytheskink, who hopefully managed to dodge ol’ Batton Thomas this time around.
34 responses to “She’s Gotta Have It”
So this is what happens when Dr. Frankenstein hears a cliche like “You can run but you can’t hide” and stitches some extra parts to it.
A regular Sherlock Holmes, our Funky.
With all the “Lockhorns”-inspired mediocrity on display in today’s exercise in sexist tropes from the Eisenhower era, I think it’s the Funkster’s smug look at “Aha!” in panel four that tops it all and makes me wish I could punch him in the punim, except that that would either damage my computer screen or my Sunday paper, which has the far superior “Pickles” on the other side.
How is it we have a week of comic book-inspired nonsense, and not top it off with a Sunday comic cover. Not that I necessarily want one, but at least it would provide a suitable dessert to a buffet of banality.
how in the living mother of fuck does the guy draw the strip and have another guy color the strip and it sits there in queue for a year and not once
not fucking once in the entire time from inception to now
did anyone involved say hey jackass the entire premise of the strip is nullified by what you drew
If memory serves, Holly also works at Montoni’s. So she’s fully entitled to shop at Target. Last time I was there I didn’t see any Gucci, Louis Vuitton, or Hermès items being sold. You could buy groceries, pet supplies and other everyday items, including inexpensive clothing, though.
It appears TomBa thinks that when MeTV runs Leave It To Beaver and The Donna Reed show it’s showing current events.
And Holly just directed a home renovation against Funky’s will, which we know because he bitched about it for weeks. Now he’s micromanaging her minor purchases? And she’s defensive about it? The only continuity in Funky Winkerbean is “whatever fits todays joke.”
Yes, Funky. Holly was clearly trying to put one over on you when she went shopping at a big-box store and paid for it out of your shared account. Ugh.
I want an extra panel or two where Holly stares at Funky with dead eyes. “Yeah, I’m a real shopoholic. Anyway, here’s a new shirt, a new pants, and a pack of new underwear for you. Because apparently it’s my job to notice when your clothes are full of holes and buy you new ones. When was the last time you did your own clothes shopping, Funky? What year?”
Huh, and I always pictured Westview as a Kmart (Jmart?) kind of town… largely deserted and nearly dead, reeking of stale potato chips and lead paint that has been on the walls since the 70s.
Maybe KMart is too upscale for Westview too. Start thinking Dollar Store.
He should have said “You can ride the bull, but you can’t hide it,” or “You can run with the bulls, but you can’t hide ’em.”
My understanding is that you receive credit card alerts on purchases every time your card is used in a fashion that’s atypical of your usual spending habits. You don’t get alerts for every purchase. That would get really annoying anytime you ran errands, I suspect. Text when I went the pet food place. Texts when I went to three places at the mall. Text when I went to the supermarket. Text when I got gas. Text when I stopped on the way home to get takeout.
Anyway, even if we ignore the fact that Holly is shocked that Funky’s able to figure out she went to (Target) despite her carrying a (Target) bag into the house, the only way this makes sense is if Funky had no idea what Holly was doing. If Funky had an idea that Holly was out shopping, why would it be such a shocker when she gets back for him to ask what she bought? If the store’s supposed to be a cutesy Funky-version of Target, what’s so unusual about Holly going there when she’s out shopping? Why is she acting as if she’s trying to hide what she was doing?
Also, two other bits, I’m so very tired at how all of Holly’s clothing is mauve-ish overshirt/jacket/cardigan over a basic black garment. She always wears that combination. Use your color wheel, Ayers! And in the last panel, she appears to be drunk. Those are some real droopy eyelids.
And once again, the Sunday strip is just a weekday strip with four filler panels.
So Funky is obviously wearing reading glasses (as do I) which people wear when they can see close anymore – And takes them off for a better look at the phone? That would turn the screen into a sea of fuzz. Ah, the little things!
edit: can’t see close anymore. Called presbyopia.
So, so, so.
So: sew, sow!
It’s the mark of a Class A hack to change character traits to make a joke, rather than let character traits drive a joke. Since when is Funky a knowledgeable fan of financial surveillance, apps, notifications, and the internet in general? Since an incredibly poor, half-assed joke flickered in that 4-watt chandelier bulb over Batty’s head, he fell in love with it (first thought, best thought!) and decided to devote a Sunday strip to it.
Also, the reading-glasses thing robertodobbs already mentioned. I guess it was just an excuse for a Smirk Panel™️ enhanced by Funky’s simply darling gesture. Never let coherence interfere with the opportunity for a slappable smirk, that’s Batty’s motto.
Any comedian will tell you that humor is based in reality. Even if it’s a temporary, artificial, illogical reality. Good comic strips get laughs because the characters act in ways that are true to themselves, and the worlds they inhabit.
Tom Batiuk gets this 100% wrong. He starts with the punchline (which is usually forced and not very good to begin with) and then changes his reality to set it up. It’s contrived. In improv we call this “being jokey.” It means you’re trying to force a laugh instead of creating a reality from which laughs will flow naturally.
Monty Python’s Argument Clinic sketch, especially the longer version from the TV show is a great example of how this works. The scene creates an absurd reality, the characters follow it to the letter, and the laughs write themselves.
I should have recognized you right away as a fellow improvisor, Banana Jr.! For anyone who has studied the rules of drama/comedy/narrative in general, Batty’s work is extra maddening.
“Being jokey” is a big no-no for good reason. Whether you are a cartoonist, a novelist, or an improvisor, your audience is trying to suspend disbelief and join you on a journey. Out-of-character jokey asides shatter the illusion as sure as a Rolex on Robin Hood’s wrist, or Thomas Jefferson interrupting a debate to take a cell phone call.
Contrary to what jokesters believe, audiences don’t find self-serving out-of-context jokes cute. Audiences can smell showboating and bullshit. Truly funny people can be funny within the world they have created. Batty, are you listening?
I should have recognized you as one also! I like the way you break this stuff down. And you’re right – Funky Winkerbean is trying so hard to be funny that it has zero substance. Characters’ opinions and relationships change from one day to the next. And they do whatever Batiuk needs them to do, no matter how delusive it is.
What did Target do to rate the “generic store replacement” treatment? Or perhaps it was Target who said, “Please do not associate our business with your strip”?
[climbs onto soapbox] This is one of the most infuriating things in an oeuvre that seems to exist only to infuriate. Batom Comics is real, and Starbuck Jones comix are some of the most valuable pieces of paper since the Magna Carta — but Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for 1.25M, just like in the real world. Brands are real, but expressed in a cutesy way, eg, “Grandpa Google.” But some brands aren’t real, eg, “Pineapple Computers.”
After more pondering than this deserves — and 3 picoseconds is more pondering than it deserves — I think it boils down to this: If Batty can come up with what he thinks is a cute, clever, witty nickname, he’ll use it. If he can’t, he’ll use the real name. And though I can’t remember the specific incidences, he’s occasionally alternated between the cutesy fake name and the real name of a product or company.
Even with fake names, his thinking is incredibly sloppy. “Bean’s End” is a portmanteau of “LL Bean” and “Land’s End,” both of which are best known for outdoor clothing, and neither of which sells seeds or plants. He couldn’t even look up popular seed purveyors (come on, “Burpee”? Parody names write themselves) or make up an original “hilarious” name like “Gone to Seed.”
As we saw with Spider-Man the other day, I suspect that Batiuk’s personal opinions are also a factor. Google gets to be “Grandpa Google”, but eBay gets changed to “Fleabay.”
Remember McArnold’s from Act I? I loved McArnold’s. It was so over-the-top lame and obvious that it felt like a meta-joke. It felt like “oh, I can’t use your real name? Take this, jerks.” And this was before Coming To America used the same joke.
Naming conventions are another thing that makes no sense in the Funkyverse. Some companies are referred to as they are in real life (Google); others get insulting names (Fleabay); still others get meaningless Internet-style portmanteaus (Bandigogo); some get original, realistic names (van Houten Chocolate, A&L Automotive); others get unrealistically self-deprecating names (Toxic Taco); still others get jokey names (Bedside Manor); and there are still obvious placeholders for real brands (Bullseye).
The same is true of people. Some real-life people get name-dropped (Dashiel Hammett, Gene Autry); other characters get realistic names (Cassidy Kerr, Phil Holt); and others get jokey names (Hershey Barr, Kitsch Swoon, Art Teacher). All of this in a world we’re supposed to take seriously. I realize Tom Batiuk couldn’t rename established characters like Jack Stropp after Act I ended. But he keeps making new characters with names that are even more silly, and for non-comic characters who figure into the plot.
This is yet another layer of the massive tone problems in Funky Winkerbean. It really does feel like “can Batiuk think of a punny name or not” is the key factor.
McArnold’s worked because, ironically, the world in Act I felt more “real.” By that I mean that it was a self-contained universe with consistent rules, and its characters had consistent personalities and roles. As a reader, I accept that their fast-food burger joint is McArnold’s. Compare “Krusty Burger” and “Duff Beer” from the Simpsons. It works, again, because it’s in a self-contained universe, and they don’t sprinkle in references to Burger King and Budweiser.
Speaking of the Simpsons… Van Houten Chocolate is a very real, 180-year-old Dutch company. I don’t see anything online that suggests they have a line of fundraising or band candy. If anything, they seem to do a lot of business “to the trade” — chefs and manufacturers. Yet Van Houten supposedly flew Harry Dinkle to their HQ for a big award ceremony, complete with gaudy medal. Another example of extremely confusing tone mixing.
Some folks suggested that A&L Automotive was a joke pronounced Anal Automotive. Of course, if that was intentional, it was to insult Bull’s legacy by associating his name with that stadium name.
I still think Batiuk played himself with Mason Jarr. I think initially he intended Mason to be a one-off character with no further relevance after the Lust for Lisa story got trash canned, but when he introduced Mason as “the actor who recently was turned down to play Starbuck Jones” (a truly odd way of introducing someone’s who’s supposed to be a successful actor), a little light went on in his head. He realized he could ditch the whole Lust for Lisa story, make Mason Starbuck Jones and then focus on the making of the Starbuck Jones movie through Les’s connection with Mason. So he reversed course, had Mason take a job that he’d been previously rejected for, then bail on Lust for Lisa, ensuring the failure of that project.
But then he was stuck with a brand new major character with the comically stupid name of “Mason Jarr” (again, he could have changed it before the strips appeared due to his year in advance production, but his resolve to never edit anything once it’s in the can won over there). And this guy was supposed to be almost a superhero. He’s rich. He’s gracious. The ladies love him because he’s hot. He’s tossing out jobs and marriage proposals to Les’s friends. He even says he’s going to relocate from LA to Westview.
But he had that stupid name, so Batiuk foolishly thought he could recover some of Mason’s dignity through a sequence where he changed his name to “Mason Jarre”, but the damage was already done, and that sequence was absolutely ridiculous and unrealistic. No major film star changes his name, even if it’s a minor change like adding a middle initial or junior or something. There’s a reason why actresses never take on their husbands’ names when they get married.
More than enough said about yet another stupid name that Batiuk came up with coming back to bite him on the ass due his inability to settle on a congruent level of seriousness in this comic.
I don’t think he truly perceives these stupid names as biting him on the ass. I think he’s still enamored of them. Witness “the rapper Hershey Barr” and “the alt-Latina singer Bubu Zayla,” both previous owners of Mason’s house. That was just last spring. He’s proud of this shit, which comes across as clueless, racist Cringe with a capital C to the rest of us. “Hershey Barr,” geddit? Cause his skin is brown? Cause he’s a rapper? Gosh, it’s too bad the Algonquin Round Table isn’t a going concern any more, ’cause you could sit down there and put ’em all to shame, Bats!
Oh, I think he’s enamored of stupid names. I’m sure he thinks it adds humor to the overall package that is his hilarious comic strip. But Hershey Barr and Bubu Zayla weren’t ever going to be a part of this strip. They were mentioned once in what Batiuk undoubtedly thought was an added funny tidbit in an otherwise expository strip (that strip was only establishing that Mason had bought a new house with his Starbuck Jones proceeds).
Mason Jarr is another matter entirely. I’m sure he came up with the name when he thought it was just going to be some stupid name for a stupid actor who’d appear in the strip for a couple weeks and then be gone forever. Instead, he realized later he had a “better” idea with what to do with him, but now he’s stuck with yet another major character with a stupid name.
So like all the times he has Funky complain about his stupid name, he has a ridiculous sequence where Mason changes his name to something he thinks is less obviously stupid, but it doesn’t work. He’s already played himself.
A few actresses do add their husbands’s names to their own — Patty Duke and Joanne Whalley, for instance — or change their name — as Pamela Anderson — but they usually drop them in the event of a divorce.
For what it’s worth,Stephen King has a reflection on this in *The Shining,* where Wendy Torrance is trying to explain to her son Danny why Marilyn Monroe never became Marilyn Miller.
Today’s strip is yet another case of the Westview hive mind, where everybody knows the scripted joke and plays their part in it. Today’s gag is “Funky is policing Holly’s purchases”, so suddenly this is a family rule that Holly must follow. She responds defensively, even though we recently saw her directing a large home renovation against Funky’s wishes. Her response should be something like “Yeah, what of it?” Or to simply say what she bought, because it’s a perfectly banal question.
You’re so right. What is the joke? If I come home from the store with a bag from Gacy’s or Blowe’s, and the Spousal Unit says, “So what did you get at Gacy’s?” I’ll just say, “Some underwear on sale and a nice shirt for work,” or whatever.
The “gotcha” attitude of Flunky’s interrogation and the shock on Wig Flunky’s face, followed by the dead-eyed resignation in the next panel, suggest that she knows another wave of beatings is coming.
We always knew this was a sick, sad, abusive relationship of a codependent doormat with a depressed, angry dry drunk.
That’s the first thing that struck me too (because I somehow missed the big Bullseye bag, even with my glasses on). Keep in mind, though, Funky’s had surgery on only one eye, so who knows what the deal is on that front.
The above was supposed to be a response to RobertoDobbs’ post. Oh well.
“You can run up a bill, but you can’t hide it! And these bills remind me of all the hard work we had to do to keep Montoni’s running during the recent pandemic! Sit down here while I tell you about it! The first thing that had to go was the jukebox…”