Sentencing The Construct

Link to today’s strip.

I think the original intent here was that Mason would say the production survived various disasters, and Les’ remark was meant to categorize his cameo among said disasters. It’s typical of this strip’s style of “humor,” which is either self-depreciation or a dreadful pun. It’s also typical in that it turns real life suffering into a moment for a horrible person (Les, in this case) to smirk about how he sure suffered too.

But the way Mason’s sentence is built, it sure looks like Les is claiming his cameo is “stellar work.” In which case, ego much, douchebag? Your cameo took take after take, frustrated and angered everyone involved, and actually drove up the budget.

If that’s not the case, then once again Tom Batiuk is taking overweening pride in that which does not exist: his writing ability. He could have taken an extra five minutes and constructed Mason’s dialogue to fix the “joke.” Conversely, I suppose his editors could have fixed it for him, but they’re too busy having a picnic with Bigfoot and Mothman.

47 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

47 responses to “Sentencing The Construct

  1. William Thompson

    “And let us not forget the monster hunters who gunned down so many of our colleagues, in their mistaken belief that our cast and crew were the vanguard of a hideous mutant invasion! . . . . uh, they were mistaken, weren’t they?”

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    So, which of those two women in the center of the “crowd” (mighty small turnout for a movie wrap party) is A-List actress/ingenue starlet Marianne Winters? Or did she skip this party to take in a Dodgers/Padres game? if so, good for her. And where is producer Cassidy Kerr? Shouldn’t she be around to see the fruits of her economic labors?

    Also, did someone forget to clean up the set after the final shot, or is that meant to be the fake snow/wheelchair/bench (of course, the bench!) display meant to be the equivalent of a dinner table centerpiece? Oh, well, fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a frumpy ride.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This set, with the bench and the wheelchair and the snow, was the first thing they shot over a year ago:

      Are there any other scenes in this movie? It’s like they’re making My Dinner With Lisa.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I love how Batty pretends to be an insider by using words like bounce boards, sizzle reels, etc. I guess he has to justify that research trip he took, just in case he gets audited!

    • Mr. A

      Is the wrap party typically held on set at all? That’s an honest question, I have no idea.

      • firedmyass

        I haven’t been involved with any Big Hollywood productions, but the handful of smaller projects I’ve produced/art directed that had any sort of wrap celebration did actually use the final set or location for it.

        Even then, it was rarely a separate “event” because most of the cast/crew already had other projects lined up so convening everyone involved after-the-fact would be logistically impossible.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I would definitely skip this for a Dodgers/Padres game. Dodgers have spent a lot of the season as an odds on favorite to be in the World Series again this year, but they’re slipping behind the Giants and the Padres aren’t completely out of the Division race yet. Since they’re in the same division every win or loss against each other counts double!

      But, then again, I would also skip this to watch the Orioles and Diamondbacks sitting in their respective dugouts glaring at each other over the course of a five hour rain delay.

    • be ware of eve hill

      In Batty’s fevered imagination, the fake snow/wheelchair/bench will be procured by the Smithsonian Institution, to be displayed next to Archie Bunker’s chair.

  3. louder

    You know, your beloved Mr. Louder just a couple of months ago lost a very good friend who took his own life. Wonder what who were left behind are telling each other now? “We need to move on, we can’t spend our lives controlled by that one day; for our health, we need to begin to live again.” Has anyone around Less even thought of saying those words?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Many condolences for your loss. Hopefully Funky Winkerbean provides a useful roadmap for how NOT to deal with grief.

      Though, lets be real, The Epic of Gilgamesh provides a more useful roadmap for dealing with grief…and that story ends with a snake stealing Gilgy’s loot, and him just going home to rule and die.

      • Professor Fate

        To be fair Gilgamesh is extremely broken up about the death of his friend Enkidu which is what sets him off on his eventually futile quest for immortality.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      My condolences to you. I have lost family members due to suicide and so I understand the pain. Last month a good friend of mine found his son dead of an apparent overdose and so I am doing all I can to support them.

      I read Lisa’s Story and found nothing that would comfort me. It’s horrible and I would not recommend it to anyone. I lost my mom to cancer and the process was traumatic. My mom, being an actual strong woman, decided to end her treatment and it took me awhile to accept this.

      I’m not saying one couldn’t use comics to tell a serious story, you just need a good writer to actually write a compelling story.

    • Professor Fate

      So very sorry to hear this. And yes you will move on, in fits and starts, grieving isn’t a straight line process so remember to be gentle with yourself. It’s not quite the same but we had a family friend who drank himself to death and the hardest thing I had to deal with aside from the loss was the anger at what he did. So again so very sorry to hear this. My condolences to you all.
      In answer to your question – if anybody had said this to Les he would look at them as if they were speaking in Urdu. Lisa’s death is his reason for living sick as that sounds – without her he never gets published and never gets the fame that he needs to justify himself. Without Lisa dying he’s just a bad high school English Teacher, the one the students hate with a passion. So he’s never going to move on, as his doormat of a second wife well knows. I’m shocked that he actually had Lisa cremated rather than stuffed and set up as a family shine. He’s going to milk Lisa’s memory until it moos with pain as the saying goes.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        You give me Les-as-Norman-Bates vibe here.

        “Lisa — uh, what’s the phrase? She isn’t quite herself today…”

        The Taj Moore-hal is famous for its porch swing, but perhaps the Moores should have tours of its fruit cellar.

        No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar! Ha! You think I’m fruity, huh? I’m staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it, least of all my big, bold son!

        (Change “son” to “husband,” as soon as you stop laughing at the notion of Leslie “Spanky” Moore as big and bold.)

    • I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I don’t think that FW is a very good guide to dealing with loss or grief, but at least you are safe in the knowledge that you’re not a Les.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    “So what movie would you like to see?”

    “I dunno. That poster with the empty park bench, empty wheelchair and dead tree looks interesting.”

    Uh, yeah, sure Tom. Not only has he been taking a fourteen year long “Lisa’s Story” victory lap over the story itself, but he also takes these sub-victory laps over that imagery, which he obviously thinks is pure molten genius of the highest and most art-y magnitude. The empty park bench symbolizes death, the empty wheelchair symbolizes death and the dead tree? Yep, death. Because he killed Lisa off, you see.

    Sigh. Yeah, the terrible gag here falls flat thanks to BatYarn’s always-awkward dialog. And of course Les, as usual, grossly overstates HIS role in the film, as if his two second cameo and one line of dialog made any difference whatsoever. The crippling insecurity was cute back in the 1970s when Les was the perpetually downtrodden nerd, but here in 2021 it’s just annoying.

  5. Sourbelly

    Good lord. When’s the last time Batboy wrote a punch line that was funny? At this point, I’d settle for a punch line that at least made sense. But I guess even that is too much to ask for. Why does he still bother with attempted humor? Nowadays, this comic deals exclusively in the mawkish and maudlin. Just own it, Batdick.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “And I’d like to thank our cast, who were fabulous…with one notable exception…(winks Les’ way as everyone points and laughs).

      That was pretty easy. But when it comes to gag writing, BatYam rarely takes the obvious path, preferring the stupid one instead.

      • Mr. A

        No, no! Les can’t allow anyone else to make fun of him! That would be humiliating! Only Les is allowed to make fun of Les, so everyone can admire how humble and un-egotistical he is.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Have you noticed Les is never the butt of the joke? And he never has to justify anything he does? It seems to be a standing rule that no other characters are allowed to make fun of or criticize Les, even in the mildest and friendliest way.

        • Charles

          There have been occasions when Les was the butt of the joke. Cayla has made fun of him, and if Summer hasn’t done it herself, she at least joined in to make fun of Les. You can guess why Batiuk would find this acceptable.

          Of course, it was really silly and Les still acted aggrieved as if what Cayla was doing to him was the worst thing that had ever happened.

  6. Mr. A

    That “plague” reference brings up the awkward question of the timeline again. Filming started last summer, when the pandemic should have already been in full swing. The “best” explanation I can come up with is that the pandemic happened in a “lost year”, neither 2020 nor 2021. But that would mean that principal filming lasted roughly two years, which seems implausible even under the circumstances…agggh. Why are you making me think about this, Batiuk? why?

    • Hitorque

      To be fair, the billion dollar Starbucks Jonese movie took at least two and a half years in Funkyverse time to complete… And somehow the sequel was done in six months. I guess the third part of the trilogy was written, filmed and edited sometime between yesterday’s Instagram flex and today’s wrap party speech…

  7. Gerard Plourde

    So I assume that Mason is referring to the massive fire that spread from Point Dume to Griffith Park, a distance of about 40 miles and the all but invisible (in this strip) COVID pandemic.

    TomBa’s comic book-centered reality makes another appearance. It appears that Los Angeles rebuilt as quickly as a city in a Silver Age title would.

    And was the entire project filmed indoors on a sound stage? Even Gilligan’s Island used an outdoor set.

    Lastly, the presence of wine and other beverages leads me to believe that this is the wrap party.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      “All but invisible”? Why, have you forgotten that Funky had to close down Montoni’s so they could remove the jukebox, have it disinfected, and then put it back? If you have, go to this week’s Westview AA meeting, where I believe he’s still talking about that traumatic event.

  8. billytheskink

    We’ve survived a fire and a plague making this movie… but enough about Martin John’s direction.

  9. The Dreamer

    Mason is buttering up so he can let them down easy when he tells them the movie isnt going to theaters due to COVID “So who will bid more for Lisa’s Story? Netflix? Amazon? Hulu? Peacock? No? How about Unknown Last Chance Streaming Service? Maybe!”

  10. Jes Wundering

    So this is “Brian’s Song” with a park bench?

  11. Hitorque

    1. Holy damn that’s a small crew for a Hollywood movie, and are wrap parties usually held on the set? And where the hell is Marianne Winters? And why isn’t Les up front? Am I the only one who remembers that he’s a fucking co-producer? Or did I imagine it?

    2. Of course that stupid park bench in the snow is still in the background… I’m starting to wonder if the entire goddamned movie takes place in a park and a restaurant. Isn’t it weird that Masone pretty much halted filming of Starbucke Jonese just so he could film a battle scene on location in Cleveland (not that the city had anything to do with the movie, he just wanted to film in the CLE because comic book history or some such bullshit). And yet he didn’t film a single scene in Westview? Nice to know all those weeks of stalking Les in a rental car and following Lisa’s Official Historic Trail in midtown Manhattan in the name of “character research” was put to good use.

    3. At least Masone mentioned the wildfire for the first time which means Batiuk is reading my comments; so hello, Tom… But then Masone doesn’t know the difference between a pandemic and a “plague”? Is he coked up right now? What a fuckwit…

    4. Is Masone the worst-dressed A-list actor who ever lived? You’d think a hyper-obsessive controlling micromanaging busybody like Cindye would have started dressing him for public events…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Cindy needs to layoff the wine for five minutes.

    • bad wolf

      I can imagine a ‘wrap party’ on set when they’re finished filming. I can imagine a ‘?’ party at a restaurant or hotel for when there’s a premiere or release date.

      I can’t imagine keeping a set on a rented sound stage for several months of post-production and then going back to have a party there. Unlike Les, everyone else has moved on (to other productions).

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Jokes on you! That’s not a rented sound stage any more. Since the filming of Lisa’s Story wrapped the entire building has been bought by Masone and carefully converted into a tourist attraction/temple to the cult of Dead St. Lisa. The stage where the famous ‘bench scenes’ were filmed will be preserved forever AND and available for fans to tour, take photographs, and meditate on the suffering and death of Mrs. Moore. It’s like a cross between the Hobbiton location in New Zealand and The Grotto of the Apparitions in Lourdes.

        • Sourbelly

          And on your way out, don’t forget to visit the Gift Shoppe, fully stocked with “Lisa’s Story” action figures and the soundtrack album, featuring the hit single, “Blue Jeans and Bloody Tears” (see Banana Jr.’s post yesterthread).

          • Charles

            Could you imagine the soundtrack Batiuk imagines this thing having? Maybe not for this film, since it appears he hasn’t thought much more about it beyond reproducing old strips word for word, but maybe for the film he’s convinced that Hollywood could actually make if they were brave enough to address stories as real as Lisa’s Story.

            Would he imagine it having a soaring orchestral soundtrack? Maybe a totally inappropriate action score by Hans Zimmer or someone. Or maybe we could go hilarious and give it a soundtrack by Ennio Morricone (as Batiuk has shown, just because a guy’s dead that doesn’t preclude him from continuing to do things).

            But considering that this is done by a production company called Pink Entertainment, I’d imagine the whole soundtrack’s done by a pair of washout women singers who peaked decades ago, doing the whole thing on acoustic guitars and no other instruments. “Plus, a dynamite soundtrack by Lisa Loeb and Joan Osbourne! Together for the first time!”

            I’d bet they sing over the dialogue.

          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Action figures?

            In this case, isn’t that an oxymoron?

            (Unless the Les figure comes with a baseball directed at the glasses.)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Tom Batiuk loves putting death-related fetish objects in the strip. He’ll use any excuse to shove that wheelchair and that bench in your face. I bet they’re in every strip this week.

  12. Gg83

    What’s up with the coiled cord on the floor? What happens when you plug in the snow?

  13. Perfec

    This movie is going straight to cell phone.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    Batty aims for Les being “witty and charming” but squarely hits “insufferable douchebag” instead.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    You know Les, if I had a Producer credit for a movie and hadn’t been seen on set for over a year, I would just not attract attention to myself right now.

  16. Professor Fate

    As noted what Masone said and what Les said don’t fit together as a setup and a punch line. It’s the classic “do you walk to work or take your lunch?” moment where you have to wonder what is he talking about? And if you have to wonder if something is a joke, it’s not a joke.
    Still this does show that the editor of the strip simply scans the strip to make sure the Author hasn’t just written ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over again and then clears the strip on to publication.

  17. Not only is Cindy displaying the Amazon logo smirk…Jeff Bezos himself is standing right nearby! Also, the traveling green shirt makes an appearance today.

  18. I read it in the latter “Les brags about his cameo” sense. Which makes about as much sense as anything about this story has.

    And as always, I am thrilled to see the Bench. They’re always the life of the party (sorry Lisa.)