Friday the 13th – Jason Takes Ipecac

Link to today’s strip.

In honor of the date, let’s hope Jason Vorhees shows up and butchers the entire cast. Then he turns his machete on the Lisa’s Story. It could certainly use some cutting–I thought this was supposed to be a trailer, not a rough cut of the whole film.

Once again, we’re going through the same stuff. I guess Batiuk thinks people will be touched by this, but the truth is, it’s as boring as it could possibly be. Lisa is so thoughtful, so observant of life all around her, and so in touch with her feelings, and so perfect in every way that she’s as dull as Les.

Lisa’s Story is going to be the most boring movie ever made. Of course, in the Funky Winkerbean universe, it will be praised to the skies as a–no, the–defining moment in the history of cinema.

Why not just go to the awards shop in town and have the folks make up a bunch of them for you?

You might also have them make you a timecode.

47 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

47 responses to “Friday the 13th – Jason Takes Ipecac

  1. Epicus Doomus

    LOL that look on Cayla’s face. “Could this trailer BE any longer?”. My God, “Lisa’s Story” was a big fat tripe sandwich smothered in cliché sauce with a stack of tropes on the side for dipping.

    “Oh Spanky, I’m so wistful about the things we’ll never get to do when I’m dead.”

    “What should I do to properly honor you, Leese?”

    (Wry remark)

    Blech. “Take THAT, Lynn Johnston! Heh heh heh!”. If you’ve never read the original “LS” arc go do so right now. You just won’t believe it. Then ponder the fact that pretty much all of Act II was just like that, only with less cancer.

  2. William Thompson

    “Surprise me.” Those were Bob Hope’s last words, said to his wife when she asked where he wanted to be buried. At least Batty has the sense to steal from a good comedian.

  3. Smirks R’Us

    BatHack doesn’t even remember that Tuesday Starsuck Jones said here is the trailer for this amazing schlock fest we call Lisa’s Story. Then he spends the rest of the week clearly just showing a scene from the movie. No way in hell that is a trailer. Ponderous. Freaking ponderous.

  4. Sourbelly

    That look of existential dread and ennui on the faces of Cayla and L___ says it all. That IS the movie (let’s not call it a “film”). Exasperated, stupefied boredom.

    Also, quick question: Why does The Unbearable Asshole always have teal highlights in his hair. It’s been very consistent for a long time, so it’s not just a colorist’s mistake. What gives?

    • Mr. A

      Eh, “blue as black” is fairly common in the medium.

      In older comics, blue was used because it was one of the basic pigment colors and thus inexpensive (and because Hollywood Darkness is generally blue-tinted). This has led to some mixed messages over whether (for example) Nightcrawler’s fur or Spider-Man’s leggings are blue, or if they’re blackin the same way Superman’s hair is black (despite having blue highlights). Also very common in anime, where dark purple/blue hair will be intended to be black and will be listed as such in official sources.

      https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PurpleIsTheNewBlack

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    I’m a little confused…at what point do the M&M candies come out to let the audience know that what they’ve been watching is a movie parody, and that they should take this opportunity to turn off their cellphones before the main feature starts?

  6. Hitorque

    Silly me for thinking this preview would show some happier times, like when they first went on a date or got engaged or God forbid when their daughter was born…. Nah, much better to center an entire two-minute trailer around Lisa with one foot already in the grave…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Showing happy times doesn’t win you awards, and that is all this is about. Batty’s just gotta keep reminding us of that time he almost won a Pulitzer.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    The thing he’d prefer that you forget is that “LS” was noteworthy because of the atypically maudlin and grim subject matter, not the actual story itself, which was really pretty elementary and ridden with cheap cliches. He carries on and on about it like “LS” (both the fictional one and the real one) was some sort of storytelling masterpiece, but really it was just the shock value of it all that generated what little “buzz” existed. That applies to every one of his cheap shock value stories too, everything from the Teen Pregnancy arc to Becky losing her arm. The premises generate the attention but the stories themselves are shamefully weak and cheesy.

    • spacemanspiff85

      That’s one thing I’ve always wondered. As utterly crappy as his writing is, the last thing he should want is more attention on it. But nobody reads it, they just see interviews where he says he addresses serious subjects in a thoughtful way, and they think “Oh, that’s nice, comics are serious literature now” and they never think about it again.

      • Charles

        I think that Batiuk genuinely believes that he’s a brilliant writer, who brought drama to the medium of comic strips unlike anyone before him. He believes he belongs in the pantheon with Faulkner and Morrison and Melville because he didn’t go with the easy and idealistic tack of having a character get cancer and survive. No, he was truly brave and visionary because he decided to kill her. Lesser writers would have had her survive. He thinks it’s that simple.

        I suspect it’s because he’s rarely read anything more sophisticated than comic books for children, and on the rare occasions when he would read something more sophisticated, he didn’t quite understand it.

        Going back to the idea I mentioned earlier this week about context and theme, if I were able to ask Batiuk anything, I’d ask him these questions, and ask him to be very very specific in his answers.

        1. What’s the first scene in Lisa’s Story: the Movie?
        2. What’s the last scene in Lisa’s Story: the Movie?
        3. How is Lisa introduced in Lisa’s Story: the Movie? What is she doing when the audience is first introduced to her?
        4. How is Les introduced in Lisa’s Story: the Movie? What is he doing in the first scene he’s shown?

        I’d be willing to bet that he hasn’t even thought about these things, and if he were to answer, they would turn out to be perfunctory and unilluminating choices. And that’s because he hasn’t shown that he quite grasps the elements that separate good stories with coherence from simple rote recollections of events thrown together in a pile.

        And just presenting more evidence of how he doesn’t quite understand the elements of a good story, there’s the retcon of Les first asking Lisa to the prom. In the initial strip decades ago, Les decided to ask Lisa as sort of a last resort after he had exhausted all of his alternatives. He obviously didn’t give a shit about her and was only asking because he wanted to take somebody, anybody, to the prom. He didn’t even seem interested in her response, failing initially to realize that she said yes, because he was so used to girls rejecting him. And thus begins their relationship where Les goes from this to where he falls in love with her and ultimately marries her.

        That’s a story that could conceivably work. It goes somewhere. Les changes over the course of it. He develops some character.

        So of course Batiuk fucks it up in the retcon and instead changes it to where Les was always interested in her. It goes nowhere. Les doesn’t change, and he doesn’t develop any character. Batiuk took the elements that could make it a story and systematically removed them.

        And he does it in Lisa’s Story. I don’t think he even realizes that if someone could throw together a reasonable facsimile of his monstrosity into some coherent whole, the audience would respond most readily with anger at Lisa’s doctor who fucked up her charts. I don’t think he understands that that would be the flashpoint in this story. That would be the thing that his audience would most readily react to. A woman was killed because of someone’s negligence and inattention. But that’s not why Batiuk included it. I think he only included it because it meant that no one could blame Lisa for dying from cancer. She was strong and had a lot of pluck, and she would have beaten it had someone else not fucked up. It’s not her fault. And that just completely blows away whatever theme he could develop from her inevitable death. Her story is no longer simply about her. It’s as much about her idiot doctor. And Batiuk has no idea how that changes the story he’s telling.

        And he misses these things because he’s already convinced that he’s a brilliant writer. If everything you come up with is brilliant, what’s the point in thinking any more about it? Just get it down on the page and call it a day.

        • Charles

          To put it more simply: Do you guys remember the first time you read a novel or watched a movie with adult themes and actually understood it? That you could understand themes and context and appreciate an author or filmmaker putting together an intricate story that cohered into a satisfying whole? And it opened up an entire world of stories to you that you never would have understood or appreciated when you were a child because your lack of experience and understanding of the world around you made it impossible for you to comprehend the context.

          I remember it, and it made me feel brilliant. I think Batiuk just barely hit that point and never got any further. It didn’t make him interested in more sophisticated things. It just meant he was done and knew all he needed to.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            This strip is the equivalent of The Jerry Springer Show. Contrived situations designed to grab your attention and generate awards and interviews for Batty.

          • William Thompson

            I remember seeing “Sleepless in Seattle” and being the only person in the theater who was horrified by it. Nobody else was bothered by the way Meg Ryan stalked Tom Hanks or exploited Cute Generic Little Boy. Or by the way Ryan’s best friend persuaded her she wasn’t crazy to obsess over a man she only knew from a phone-in radio show. She was clearly fixated on being the magic caregiver who mended Hanks’ wounded soul, and what would happen once he was all better? Really, if you had swapped Hanks and Ryan’s roles, it would have been a perfectly bland stalker film. I didn’t feel brilliant; I felt creeped out by the people around me.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            @William I had that reaction to Pay It Forward. One of the most vile movies I’ve ever seen. It’s a lot like Patch Adams: It beats you over the head with a stupid moral, in a story that perfectly illustrates why it doesn’t work. And it’s too busy staging Oscar bait scenes to notice.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I stand in line.

  8. Mr. A

    Let’s compare this to the original strip, shall we? There are two minor word swaps in Lisa’s first line: “we would get back” becomes “we could get back”, and “that carriage ride” becomes “a carriage ride”. The rest of the dialogue is identical.

    Obviously, Batiuk must have the old strip at hand to reproduce the dialogue this precisely. So why is he making these tiny changes? Do they have any significance? Does he like the sound of the altered sentence better, and wish he had written it that way the first time? Or is he just being incredibly sloppy?

    • Gerard Plourde

      “I’d always hoped we would go back to New York” – just like Cayla would like Les to come through on his promise to take her to Hong Kong. (With her luck he’d turn her over to the authorities claiming she insulted President Xi by not being grateful enough for Les’ largesse.) I guess Les thinks his wives aren’t worthy of any consideration.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      A better question is; why is TB stretching this nonsense out over an entire week? I assume he believes his readers are mostly devoted fans who keep copies of the Lisa Trilogy paperbacks on their coffee tables or nightstands. They–and we snarkers–are all well aware of this story and how it unfolded. What compelled him to think that a week’s worth of rehashing dialogue from old strips to make the world’s most drawn out film trailer was the way to go? This whole “unveiling” could have been done in a single Sunday strip with Masonne taking Les and Cayla to a screening room, having three or four panels showing clips from the movie, and end it with the tearful Moores saying “It’s amazing!” or “Wow.” or some other exclamation…or is he going to devote an entire Sunday just to Les’s climax…er, reaction?

      • be ware of eve hill

        The only purpose this week’s trailer trash serves is so Batty can rehash – yet again – that magical time when people thought he was actually going to do something meaningful with the strip, before that dissolved into trite, maudlin sentimentality and the self-delusion that everything he writes is award-worthy simply because he writes it.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      The slight difference in the dialog will be enough to send Less into a fit of righteous rage over Masoné’s not being sufficiently faithful to the “story.” The movie will never be released, Less will collect his “kill fee” again (even though, again, that’s not how a kill fee works), Masoné will never work again in Hollywood…

      In other words, a Batiukian “happy ending.”

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        This almost has to happen. Les can’t accept the finished Lisa’s Story movie, because once he does, he’s out of Funky Winkerbean for good. There’s nothing left for him to do. Fretting over Dead Lisa has been his only role for years now. He’ll be relegated to short arcs, and bit parts in other people’s lame arcs.

        • Dullard knocks on Les’ door. “Hi Les, Pete is having trouble coming up with meaningful stories for our new hero, The Douchebag, and I thought…”

          Next panel. “…you might want to come work for Atomik Komix.” (Smirk.)

          • Charles

            No, no, no. You’re giving it too much credit.

            Les goes into Atomik Komix because Darin’s been commissioned to draw the posters for Lisa’s Story, The Movie. They’re busy talking and Mopey barges in to indicate that he’s having trouble with the story for the first issue of The Douchebag. Les makes an offhand suggestion that’s JUST RIGHT. And that’s when one of the Dopesy Twins offers him a job.

            Les is flattered and accepts.

            And Chester loves having another old asshole on the payroll that he didn’t hire himself.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Well, he could dedicate himself to teaching English and Journalism at Westview High, and the strip could shift its focus to the daily lives and foibles of a diverse, entertaining group of Westview students as they struggle up the academic ladder and grapple with issues facing contemporary adolescents…nah, that would never work!

    • Maybe he’s repeated the same handful of scenes so often over the years that he has them memorized. For some reason, he thinks that the “When I’m Gone…” scenes were the best part of the story (they were not.)

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Perhaps for the same reason that Francois Truffaut had Bertrand Morane change the color of a little girl’s dress in book publication from what it was in real life in “The Man Who Loved Women”?

      But I don’t think that Tom Batiuk knows much French cinema (there’s an American version of the film with Burt Reynolds: he may have seen that), or the difference between l’esprit de l’escalier and l’esprit de corps.

      He may know that the French name for “Lisa” is “Lise,” which may be why the late saint is “Leese” for her widowed spouse.

      Why is he Spanky, by the way, rather than Stymie? Or Alfalfa?

  9. The Dreamer

    So did Mason cast hia girlfriend Cindy to play herself in the movie, in the the scene where she takes the bald Lisa shopping to buy a wig? Cindy could do the part, she hasnt aged a day in thirty years!

  10. be ware of eve hill

    I’d like to see every trace of the Lisa’s Story movie incinerated and the ashes scattered.

    Where?

    I don’t care.

  11. Paw Lean Kale

    This piece of shit wouldn’t even qualify for a Hallmark Channel schlock fest.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Or Lifetime.

    • Maxine of Arc

      I could MAYBE see it as something Netflix optioned and then quietly shuffled into its lineup without telling anybody once they saw it. But as Charles beautifully dissected above, THERE IS NO STORY IN THIS MOVIE. There are only two characters. There’s no plot. A small movie can work well when you have excellent actors and powerful emotions for an audience to connect with, e.g. “Marriage Story.” A small movie about some small-town losers being all wistful and sad in various places? I don’t care who’s in it, there’s nothing to see there. There’s no way this would get a wide release. This movie sucks.

      • Charles

        THERE IS NO STORY IN THIS MOVIE. There are only two characters. There’s no plot.

        It reminds me of one of the things I found baffling about his portrayal of the Starbuck Jones movie. There was never a third star. The only person who was even suggested as being one was Cliff, who was initially included as a cameo as something of a favor to the actor who played Starbuck Jones in the original serials 55 years earlier. After that, there was nobody. In all the promotional work we were shown, there was Mason, Marianne and then Cliff. There was no one else.

        To compare it to Flash Gordon which was obviously Batiuk’s inspiration, there was no Prince Vultan. There was no Prince Barin. Hell, there was no Ming the Merciless. The enemies were all a bunch of anthropomorphic horned toads who shot guns and wielded staffs and shit. There was no actor who played them because that person was obviously totally irrelevant.

        So from what we’ve seen, Starbuck has his dad. Jupiter Moon gets menaced by the horned toad dudes. Starbuck Jones shoots them. When he’s shot enough of them, the movie ends. That’s the story.

        And now we have Lisa’s Story, which just features Mason and Marianne. She’s dying of cancer and they talk about it. When they’ve talked enough, she dies and the movie ends. There was no one cast as Funky, or Holly, or Cindy. It was just Les and Lisa. Everything else was unimportant.

        And I’m not suggesting that Batiuk needs to delve deeply into what the stories are in these movies. I’m merely saying that he needs to provide enough elements that we can imagine that there’s a story created from this. But this? Starbuck Jones just has Mason shooting things and saving a girl. Lisa’s Story just has two people jabbering at each other about how profound it is. There’s nothing there to work with. There’s nothing there to imagine.

        He never lets these dumb stories live. He never picks up on what could make them interesting.

  12. Midwestern Opinion

    So what are the chances, having watched this, that Les says “this is all too personal and emotionally painful, you can’t release this movie”? Then, because it’s Les, Mason eats the entire production cost and shelves it.

    • William Thompson

      I can see Les doing that, especially because it would be the opposite of what he craves: to have an even bigger audience that adores him for being the bereaved husband.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Even if there were anything touching about this dreck, it would all be undone by one thing:

    Lisa chose to die.

    How does the movie handle that, exactly? Lisa’s cancer can’t be cured, but it can be put into remission for a few years. Long enough to see your child grow up, and have something of a career. In all this time Lisa spent dying, she could have been living. The story completely undermines itself for cheap pathos.

    The Nostalgia Critic has a great rant about Patch Adams that could almost be about Lisa’s Story. The female lead dies from own her bad decision, in a way that the male lead encouraged, and the movie advocates for the whole time. And it’s all propped up and milked for award-bait cliches.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Wow. Great find!

    • be ware of eve hill

      What’s really laughable here is that in a cheap, pathetic grab for the “I’m so sorry” pathos, Batty unknowingly cops to the fact that Lisa’s Story is NOT about Lisa dying and losing HER life – it’s all about narcissistic Less’s loss. As if that were ever in any doubt.

      Lousy Lawyer Lisa.🤦‍♀️ Did she do anything but give up, when the medical mistake that cost her life could have resulted in a slam-dunk college fund for her daughter? Batiuk made her God’s little chew toy because she was always a pathetic nonentity, and he couldn’t think of anything else to do with her.

  14. Jimmy

    The most (only) entertaining part of this week is the recurring time code joke. I did literally laugh out loud today.

  15. Professor Fate

    1) It’s a mark of what can only be called the Author’s delusion that this is what he decides to show us (again). In his head these moments resonate in the reader’s mind so that when we see them again he imagines we are going oh my god yes the park bench scene.
    2) The original Lisa’s story was marred by melodramatic nonsense (the doctor getting the x-rays mixed up), a passive surrender by Lisa and Les as well which sapped all the drama from the story and c) not the slightest hint of any lesson learned (even something so basic as enjoy what you have while you have it, nothing is forever) or any change (at all) in the nature of the relationship between Les and Lisa – Lisa’s Story was and remained always all about Les, as it has continued to be. And did Lisa’s death inspire him to anything other than milking her death for the literary fame he had been unable to find prior to writing the cancer book? Is he a deeper person? Is he less self absorbed? Is he less of a creep? No. He remains a profoundly failed human being, forced to buck up his broken ego by insulting the students he is supposed to be teaching or the readers of his book. This aside from treating his second wife like door mat insulting his best friend and complaining about Bull being a bully at Bull’s funeral. Les remains one of the most loathsome characters in comics.
    Again one must compare this to a real movie about a couple facing Breast cancer (Grace and Grit) from the book by Kin Wilber (and again that this film was made and not an animated version of Lisa’s story – don’t doubt for an instant that he didn’t pitch that has got to kill him) which is the story Ken’s wife Treya’s five year struggle with Breast cancer – it’s not a great film per the reviews but there is a story there about love and anger and acceptance – not moping about and wry quips.
    To be honest the only remarkable thing about Lisa’s story was the appearance at the end of Masky McDeath which I am 100% certain will not be in the film.

    • Margaret

      How could Masky possibly be in the film? Who could know he happened except Lisa? Unless she told someone about it at a seance. There was no indication that anyone who was with Lisa when she died saw him. (I think there was someone else there besides Les, but I don’t remember who.) Even TB wouldn’t be that illogical.