Question the Numbers

Link to today’s strip.

Aw, look at Tom Batiuk, all using film terms and everything! Too bad he has no idea what he’s talking about.

You know what a timecode is, Batiuk? It’s a series of numbers that are displayed on the bottom of the screen, showing the running time and the frame count. I’ve never heard of a timecode used on a trailer; typically it’s used on raw footage so the film-makers can see what happened when while they were filming a movie. It helps with the editing process, because the director can say “I like camera 3, from 15:05 to about 17. After that, camera 2 is much better.” It allows the film-makers more accuracy in choosing takes and assembling scenes.

I don’t know why you’d put it on a trailer. Maybe you’re trying to impress a hayseed douchebag, by bamboozling him with your jargon?

But that’s okay, Tom, because you know what’s not on your trailer? A timecode. It ain’t there on screen, hayseed.

To your credit, there’s not a Time Cube on there either. I guess you aren’t educated stupid.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

64 responses to “Question the Numbers

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “This is the fugazi trailer. The sound hasn’t been spurged and it’s time looped, but…”. Hey, look, I can make up clever “insider” movie lingo too. One guy suggests a “Crankshaft” movie a thousand years ago and suddenly BatYam is David O. Selznick or something. Sigh.

    And here we go with the sad Lisa pathos…again. The mileage he’s gotten out of that fourteen year old arc is just amazing. It’s been one lengthy victory lap for ol’ TomBan and there’s no end in sight. Sigh.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      At the end of this ‘victory lap’ I fully expect Batiuk to rush into the Athenian Assembly completely naked, covered in dust and sweat, having discarded everything except the message carried in his heart. He will gasp out, “Lisa Has Died!” before collapsing, his triumph secure.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I wonder what really happened with that alleged Crankshaft movie. Movie projects fall through all the time for banal reasons. But I wonder if Tom Batiuk’s egotistical, overdemanding personality was a major factor in its demise. This is a man who expected Marvel to immediately promote him to the top writing job, at age 25. And he learned nothing from that experience, except how to hold lifelong grudges. And he uses Funky Winkerbean to vent his spleen at things, so we get an arc where the Hollywood sign gets torched. And makes a huge show about how everyone in Hollywood must obey and praise Les at all times.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yeah, I can totally see that happening. Back then, a Crankshaft movie probably would have done well and would be playing in theaters in the summer before the kids go back to school.

        Someone in Hollywood thought Crankshaft was a great movie idea, but nobody in Hollywood would want anything to do with Lisa’s Story. Batty just has to relive that time he almost won a Pulitzer.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Considering the crap franchises that have gotten movies, there’s no reason the Funkyverse shouldn’t get a look-see. There are even some blog pictures of George Kennedy (from the Naked Gun movies) in full character makeup as Crankshaft. Apparently he loved Crankshaft and wanted to play the title character, but he died about five years ago.

          • Epicus Doomus

            Being dead makes him PERFECT for the role!

          • Bad wolf

            Tbh i thought the pitch (Crankshaft’s baseball career) was a decent enough hook to hang a movie on, baseball nostalgia is popular even if Crankshaft isn’t. Yeah, an 80’s-style feel-good thing, with a touch of John Hughes…

  2. William Thompson

    Beautiful? Okay. That’s a beautiful garbage can on the right side of the screen–oh, that’s the cupola atop the gazebo? If you say so.

  3. billytheskink

    Did someone say “time code”?

  4. Sourbelly

    Love the Time Cube reference. Our first indication of how fucked up the Internet would become.

    • Mr. A

      Evil Marketable “Hollywood”
      Stupid – ignores the Lisa
      Wisdom of Wisest Human
      and The Greatest Thinker.

      No human or god can match
      Ohio’s simultaneous 3 book
      publication in 1 Lisa story.

      No human has a right to
      believe wrong – for that
      would be evil thinking.

      Ignorance of 3 Lisas is evil,
      Evil Hollywood shows 1 movie.
      1 movie will destroy humans.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Good sir. I stand in line. As the late great Terry Davis might have said.

        What’s writing? I don’t know. When Batuik was looking at his computer monitor I thought, ‘Batiuk has no idea what he’s writing.’ And yet what does he do? Does he panic? No, he can’t really panic, he just does the best he can. Is he able to live in a world where he’s so ignorant? Well, he doesn’t really have a choice. Batiuk is okay even though he doesn’t understand the world. You’re that writer looking at the monitor, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I can figure this out.’ Maybe you have some Batiuk ideas. Maybe that’s the best you can do.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    I can’t believe I didn’t notice Les’ long-lost doppelganger there on the right. Yeesh, WTF is that supposed to be? There are TWO of them now?

    • erdmann

      Since both Crankshaft and FW both time-jumped into 2022 the barriers separating the worlds of the multiverse have broken down. As a result, multiple versions of some characters now exist on Earth-Winkerbean. The Les running the trailer is the Les Moore of Earth-6. He’s on his cell texting his husband, the Les Moore of Hovering Squid World 97A.

      Just wait until New Year’s Day when all 300 band directors marching in the Rose Bowl Parade are Dinkle variants.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    You know, I’m no Irving Thalberg, but aren’t most movie trailers put together by the studio’s publicity department, not the film’s director? Anyone want to bet that this one gives away that Lisa dies at the end (“In a world where cancer test results get mixed up and no one thinks to double check them…”).

    Also, what’s up with Masonne’s head in panel two? He looks as if he’s suffering from Flash-cromegaly, a rare condition where one’s facial features grow out of proportion to one’s body…or maybe Mr.Jarre is planning to take Rondo Hatton’s place in a remake of “The Brute Man.”

  7. Hitorque

    1. This is the part where I remind everyone that Les is a freaking co-producer on this project, and in typical Les fashion he went from the extreme of having way too much hands-on involvement in the movie to absolutely none at all…

    2. Obligatory “Where’s Darrin+Summer??” Mention for today…

    • Bad wolf

      “Someone made a what about my mother and I’m not even invited to the premiere!?!” Good catch

  8. Jeff M.

    Weil, in Bat’s defense, it’s common for something like an unfinished trailer to be circulated with visible time code, because it makes it easier to give notes regarding changes to be made before it’s finalized (as described above with reference to raw footage), but HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OHMIGOD I CAN’T TAKE IT the fact that there isn’t even time code there is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a comic since I don’t know when.

  9. be ware of eve hill

    What’s beautiful? The cinematography?

    Sure as hell can’t be talking about the “story.” Lisa’s Story is eye roll inducing, at best.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Said in the comic book guy’s voice: Worst movie ever!

    • beware of eve hill

      Just finishing up my thought in my previous comment. I hate to throw out a blanket statement and not follow up on it without some proof. It was late last night, and I didn’t want to get too worked up before bed.

      Lisa’s Story isn’t a beautiful story. It’s total bullshit. Lisa didn’t go without cancer treatment because she couldn’t afford health care. Nor were her symptoms ignored because her cancer wasn’t even on the medical radar. Lisa was given a clean bill of health due to a chart mix up. And when that happened, Activist Testifyin’ Lawyer Lisa was suddenly so uninvolved that it didn’t even result in one lawsuit. Wow, what a difference she made to absolutely no one.

      It was a joke when Lisa hijacked Holly’s trip to Washington, D.C. to testify before Congress. Who gives a damn about her telling Congress what everyone already knows? Cancer is bad, and there needs to be a cure? Wow, gee, thanks. How heroic! /s

      I had a beloved boss in the 1990s who battled breast cancer for almost six years. She hired me, was my best friend and mentor. During the last phase of her illness, my department moved to another building. It was so sad to see her desk still full of her belongings, hidden around a corner near the fire exit, waiting for her return that never came. She battled, and she fought hard. Lisa’s passiveness is an insult to people like my boss, who never gave up. She was only in her forties. She left a husband and two children.

      The bottom line is: Lisa is not a “strong female role model” because she wasn’t a “strong” female in the first place. She had life shit all over her, and then she died. Then her ghoul of a husband made a cottage industry out of her death. There’s nothing “compelling” about this story. Unless, by some miracle, it eventually involves Les simultaneously getting a dozen forms of cancer.

      The real joke here is that Lisa was the most passive doormat ever, Batiuk is a blatant misogynist, and “Lisa’s Story” is all about Les.

      Damn! I love a good rant! Whooooo!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I stand in line.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Yes to all of this! You’ve nailed it and touched a raw nerve I have on the subject. Excuse my following rant.

        Lisa the Lawyer had possibilities (I’ll admit the possibilities were of the TV dramedy variety, but potentially worth a daily one-minute read.) He dropped that ball.

        Turning to the Lisa Cancer story, the resurgence arc was obviously a rehash designed as award bait. He had to create situations that would lead to the end he planned, i.e. her death. That’s why there had to be negligence (unchallenged) and her totally inexplicable decision to stop receiving treatment, which made the takeaway message, “In the face of a life-threatening disease, just give up!” Way to go, TomBa!

        Then to top everything off, he age-jumps ten years to avoid any possibility of a compelling storyline concerning the challenges of a single parent and a young child coping with the death of her mother. What a wasted opportunity.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          There is also Les’ very active role in encouraging Lisa to die. “I’ve been thinking, and it’s okay for you to go”, he said. As if his emotional needs were the important issue. As if a cancer patient wouldn’t have their own opinion about whether they want to be alive or not. The Funkyverse is so centered on Les Moore’s asshole that Lisa let herself die painfully because it’s what Les wanted.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Jumping on this rant bandwagon.

        I think that there is an argument to be made for adults in the last couple decades of the maximum human lifespan to forego painful or debilitating medical treatment when the time gained will not be more fulfilling or enjoyed due to side effects, than a shorter time without treatment.

        But for a parent with young children to give up fighting?

        I have an acquaintance whose husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Ewing Sarcoma in 2013. It’s a basically unbeatable cancer with a 5 year survival rate in the single digits. He has four children, and the youngest was barely six months old when he was diagnosed.

        He signed up for every experimental treatment possible. In 2014 they flew him to New York to basically be cut open twice, first abdominally, then thoracically to remove tumors. He’s had targeted radiation. He’s been on chemo almost constantly, which has gradually destroyed the body it is simultaneously saving.

        But he’s still alive. Currently in New York again for the entire summer getting an new experimental chemo drug (tumors are shrinking again!) He has fought and fought and fought, and he’ll probably lose in the end. But every year is another year of memories for his children. They may not all be perfect and happy memories, but they’re a chance for him to pass on his love and wisdom to his kids.

        His fight was, literally, the difference between his daughter remembering him or not. She’ll never remember a dad that wasn’t sick. But she will remember her dad. She’ll remember how he fought tooth and nail for every precious month. Because a conversation is always going to be better than a video tape.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Thank for sharing this, CBH. That is a story of courage. Let’s give all the moral support, prayers, positive feelings (whatever anyone’s belief system calls intentional positives wishes), that we in this community can muster.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I think that there is an argument to be made for adults … to forego painful or debilitating medical treatment

          There is, but Lisa’s story completely biffed that too. It never said anything at all about why she made the choice to forego treatment. She didn’t even make that choice; Les did. And on a meta level, Tom Batiuk needed Lisa to die so he could write all his sappy maudlin award-whoring bullshit.

          Even if Lisa did choose to forego treatment, it’s not very noble of her. People depended on her. She had a young child, and a career that provided for the family. And she gave up very easily; if her cancer was really that advanced, she should have been much weaker, and died much faster. She droned on for months and went to Washington D.C. on a whim.

          Both Les and Lisa are shallow, selfish, passive-aggressive twits who’d rather die just to spite the world rather than even attempt to solve their problems. And this supposed to be inspiring?!

        • Jeff M .

          Thank you for this story – and everyone else for their thoughtful comments/self-described rants. No wonder this is my favorite website; I don’t comment often but look forward to it every day. Come for the snark, stay for the human emotion beautifully expressed in ways the actual strip in question totally lacks.

        • The Duck of Death

          I have a child, and I’ve often thought that this was the most gaping of many gaping plot holes in Lisa’s Story: Nobody who gave the slightest bit of a damn for their child would give up so easily. Losing a mother is about the most devastating thing that can happen to a child. No mother would go gentle into that good night and leave a toddler behind. No mother, that is, except Lisa, who had the strength to record 6,749 passive-aggressive VHS tapes for every occasion, but not the strength to go for one more treatment.

          Notably, I don’t recall Summer ever showing the pain of losing her mother. It reminds me of “The Brady Bunch” — the deceased father of the girls and mother of the boys were never mentioned, and nobody seemed to miss them. Of course, Sherwood Schwartz was not aiming for Meaningful Social Comment; he was aiming for brainless fun. What’s Batiuk’s excuse?

          • batgirl

            Lisa had to hang on to life long enough for Darin to open that damned letter and meet up with his bio-mom. Then she could let go.
            Honestly, her interactions with Darin read as far more engaged and meaningful than any of those with toddler Summer. In fact, Summer seems to be filling the caretaker/protector role at the time, trotting off to fetch Lisa’s wig as Lisa heads off to Washington to take over Holly’s breast-cancer testimony.
            Lisa of course refused the wig, just as Becky refuses a prosthesis, because what’s the point of having a disability if you can’t constantly remind people of it?

        • be ware of eve hill

          Thanks for sharing Doug’s story with us. Doug is one incredibly tough man, and hearty kudos to Angela and the kids for being such a great source of support. Also, compliments to Doug’s employer for being so flexible and understanding. I’m so glad to read he qualified for the trial.

          Without a doubt, my friend’s kids were a crucial reason why she fought her breast cancer so hard. Both of her kids were already in high school when she passed, but she desperately wanted to see them graduate from college, get married, and have grandchildren.

          She was a determined fighter by nature, anyway. Her S.O.B. husband abandoned her and the kids for someone twenty years his junior. She battled the good ol’ boys’ network and broke through the glass ceiling to become a financial manager in charge of several groups totaling over a hundred associates. You don’t achieve that level of success by being a “Lisa Moore.”

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        And this was a doubleplusgood rant!

        Those who worship evil’s might would do better to beware of eve hill than of Green Lantern’s light.

  10. Edsel Nader

    Here’s the chassis of a 1981 Chevy Citation. It’s still 95 percent rust, and the rear axle has a date stamp on it, but I think it’s beautiful.

  11. The Duck of Death

    A quiet, intimate, deeply personal moment — the perfect place for a crane shot. “Lisa’s Story: A Johnny LaRue Production.”

    • Gerard Plourde

      With LaRue casting Bobby Bittman as Les and Lola Heatherton in the starring roles.

      • billytheskink

        Les and Lisa enter Dr. Hallet’s office while Dr. Hallet sits at her desk. The mood is somber and everyone is a bit on edge. Dr. Hallet’s nameplate sits on her desk facing her instead of her patients for some reason.

        (gesturing wildly with both hands)
        HOWAREYA?! Hehehehehe

        DR. HALLET
        Thank you both for coming in.
        (draws a deep breath)
        I won’t kid you– The fact that there are new tumors is very serious.
        The good news is that having been off chemo for three months–
        You’re probably eligible now for that trial we tried to get you in earlier–
        (voice quivering with emotion)
        And again…

        I know… You’re SORRRRRRRRRR-EEEEEEE.
        I love you Dr. Hallet, you’re so apologetic it’s SCARY!

        Listen, sweetheart, let me deal with this. As a writer, in all seriousness–
        (rising in anger)
        This is unacceptable! Where did you go to medical school? POLAND?!

        I love you Les Moore, I want to bear your children! AHHH HA HA HA

      • Dood

        Would Lola want to bear Voldemoore’s children?

    • SpacelySprocket

      Hey, isn’t that Guy Caballero in the wheelchair?!

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    I would just like to point out that today’s comic attracted references to Strange Brew, Time Cube, and Futurama… in consecutive threads. That is awesome.

  13. Hannibal's Lectern

    Sad to hear that since his house burned down, Masoné’s forced to live in a FEMA-provided mobile home–and because it’s federal property, alcohol is prohibited. Oh, the humanity!

    Well, that’s the only sense I can make from his comment that “This is the dry trailer.” But I’m not as hep on the movie lingo as Battocks.

  14. SpacelySprocket

    Uh oh, I’ve seen this scene in Eye of the Needle, by the edge of the cliff…

  15. The Duck of Death

    I really hope the trailer includes the scene critics are already calling a “stand-up-and-cheer” climax. Variety is already calling it the “feel-good movie of the year”!

  16. Perfect Tommy

    No one will be seated during the wheelchair portion of this movie.

  17. Epicus Doomus

    Hey, remember when Summer wanted the first Lisa movie to be in 3-D?

    “Aaaahhh! It was like the wheelchair was coming RIGHT AT ME!!!”

  18. I have a feeling that my gag reflex is going to get a workout for the rest of the week.

  19. SpacelySprocket

    “Um, Les, we… took a few liberties with your script.”

  20. Jeff M.

    Dry trailer? Never heard that in my 10+ years in TV production. I genuinely believe that on his “research” trip to LA the author visited a post-production house where someone decided to be a d*** and give him a bunch of BS jargon. Like the plumber telling the new apprentice to go get a left-handed monkey wrench.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I found this on Reddit:

      What’s the difference between a dry and wet edit suite?

      Wet: editor (the person who does the editing) included in the rate. Dry: editor is not included, you’re just renting the room/equipment.

      Maybe that’s what Mason means. In this context “trailer” means “mobile home”, not “brief promotional preview of a movie.” And Mason is saying that this particular editing trailer was rented “dry”, without an editor.

      The question then becomes, why the hell does this matter? Maybe Mason wanted to reassure Les that the production company’s own people were doing all the editing. Because Les wouldn’t want Lisa’s Story to be edited by some freelance heathen who wasn’t fully inculcated into the Cult of Dead Lisa.

  21. Banana Jr. 6000

    There’s a new Funkyblog entry of note. It shows the cover of the Dead Lisa book trilogy, and a congratulatory letter from Charles Schulz. Batiuk says “I received this letter around the time I was beginning to work on Lisa’s Story.” It seems to be implying that Schulz endorsed Lisa’s Story, even though Schulz died in 2000 and Lisa lived until 2007.

    The letter is dated July 15, 1997, which would have been the very beginnings of the cancer arc. The letter also says “thank you for the wonderful Sunday page,” as if responding to a particular strip, but Batiuk doesn’t tell us what that was. The letter also says he wanted to talk to Batiuk in person, implying Schulz had never done so.

    Does anyone know what “Sunday strip” Schulz might have been responding to? Was it even Lisa-related? Am I forgetting some famous episode like “Lawrence comes out” in FBOFW? July 15, 1997 was a Tuesday so my first guess would be the July 13 strip.

    • The Duck of Death

      Here’s how I read that letter. Batiuk sent Schulz a Sunday strip, unsolicited, with a gushing fan letter. Schulz, being a decent guy, sent a friendly, encouraging letter to a younger syndicated cartoonist, along with vague praise and a vague allusion to perhaps speaking with Batiuk at some future event they would both perhaps attend. I don’t see it as anything more than professional courtesy and human kindness from an elderly Schulz.

      If he’d been bursting with enthusiasm, he would have picked up the phone, or said, “If you’re ever in the Bay Area, you must visit me and we can have lunch at my favorite little bistro,” or something.

      I’ve often mentally compared FW to Peanuts, though there is, of course, no comparison. Peanuts was character-based, and those characters were consistent throughout the decades. There was more honesty, truth, and pathos in one “Linus dabbles in theology” or “Lucy’s love for Schroeder is unrequited” or “Charlie Brown can’t talk to the red-headed girl” strip than in the whole of Lisa’s story.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Schulz was a prolific letter-writer, so your description sounds very plausible. And he could be pretty blunt sometimes. Most comics fans know about the infamous Charlotte Braun letter.

    • billytheskink

      TB may have been working on the beginnings of Lisa’s Story in 1997, but it was not until 1999 that the story of Lisa’s first bout with cancer debuted. I’m guessing whatever he sent to Schulz was not related to Lisa’s Story and that TB is just bragging about getting a letter from a cartoonist far more famous (and far far better) than him.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I was hoping you’d chime in. That what it sounded like to me too, but Batiuk is clearly trying to make it look like Charles Schulz endorsed Lisa’s Story. And where did this blog except come from? Why, from the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10, of course! The one with smiling Lisa on the cover!

        That is low. I hope the Charles M. Schulz estate sues his ass off.

  22. SpacelySprocket

    Exclusive still from the Lisa’s Story theatrical release:

  23. The Dreamer

    So no explanation for how the sixty-ish Mason is playing Les in his late 20’s? (Remember that Mason is dating Cindy who is the same age as Les. Of course Cindy could be a cougar)