Thanks to BC and everyone who kept steering the S.S. SoSF since my last stint! You’re the heroes the funny pages need.
It’s Self-Deprecation Guy himself, the actor who KNOWS he sucks, Mason Jarre! This guy needs to work with Kevin Smith, like pronto. He could mail in a performance as “Boss Who Doesn’t Give A Shit” in “Clerks 6 – The Clerkening”. Seriously though, the whole unbearably humble “my career is a big joke” shtick got old last week, so this is just typical BatYam overkill. It’s somewhat interesting how BatYarn uses this kid of wry self-deprecation to paint Mason as being a “nice guy”, as if the readers wouldn’t like him as much if he happened to be proud of his career. Everyone in the strip does it all the time, so it seems normal by Funkyverse standards but when you think about it, it’s kind of a strange world view.
Also of note: Cayla’s status as one of if not the biggest rube in the strip. It’s pretty funny how Mason unintentionally tells her as much, too. But not intentionally funny, of course, as we simply cannot have that. We all assumed she was remarkably easy to please way back when she first started (gak) dating Les, but now we know for sure.
35 responses to “My God, Pukey”
So there’s a movie Cayla loved, but she didn’t ever learn who the star was. When she actually ended up meeting the star, who she was swooning over, mind you, she never actually determined what he was in or how she would have known him. This was after she learned that her husband met and became close friends with him, and that he was going to stay at their house as a guest.
You know, I think it’s easier to just read all these strips as everyone being a sarcastic asshole with everyone else.
We’ll know for sure when someone reveals that they didn’t know Mason played Starbuck Jones. My money’s on Marianne.
It’s unbelievable enough that Mason is this embarrassed by his filmography, but even more unbelievable is how he believes his defining role as an actor was playing Les Moore.
It’s amazing that in the seven years we’ve known this chud (can you believe it’s been seven years since Mason Jarr was introduced?) no one has ever talked to him about a film he was in that was any good. There were the two crappy ones mentioned, that Mason seems embarrassed by, Dino Deer and My Dog Pookie. There’s the abortive Lust for Lisa, which never got made. Then there’s Starbuck Jones and now, finally, Lisa’s Story. There’s apparently not a single movie Mason made prior to Les galumphing into his life that was worth a shit (and there still aren’t, if we want to snark). They certainly haven’t been worth talking about, according to Batiuk.
And yet he’s supposed to be a plausible gigantic Hollywood star. Even Mopey Pete, several months removed from being fired from his job for being terrible at it and then at that point in a job he owed exclusively to Mason’s largesse, made fun of how terrible all of Mason’s movies were to Mason’s face.
To be fair to Masone, Cayla threw shade first by telling him she had no idea he was the same guy as the guy who had second billing in a movie she allegedly loves.
That must have been before Masone’s nose sharpening and spit curl enhancement surgery.
If the movie was such a box office disaster, why was its poster predominantly displayed in a production company’s office? You’d think they would show off their successes, not their failures.
Batty does this too. He always has Lisa’s Story on display at book signings.
That’s because Batiuk is still trying to make Dead Lisa his legacy. I wonder how many more books he could sell if he wasn’t constantly shoving Dead Lisa down the world’s throat. He thinks he’s promoting his brand. Which I guess he is.
I have the first of three DVD sets for Ren and Stimpy. It contains all the famous episodes, and it ends almost exactly when the show became unwatchable. I’ve always wondered how many people bought the second or third set, as opposed to the first one. I believe a similar phenomenon exists in Funky Winkerbean. His anthology series has finally reached the beginning of Lisa’s cancer, and I bet the sales figures get smaller every time.
I think most people have some horrible movie/TV show/book that they love for a good and unironic reason. But what are the chances that Batiuk will have Cayla reveal that she loved this dog of a movie because it reminded her of, say, the beloved family pet who helped her through a rough time? And spend the week using this to fill in Cayla’s background?
(If you want to see animals, death and grief handled in a way that far surpasses Batiuk’s skill, check out jenny-jina.com and her Friendly Reaper comics.)
Zero. Cayla sprung into existence as soon as Les needed a replacement. She has no background, apart from the flashback where she got hit in the head with a softball.
At first Cayla sort of had character traits. Now I can’t remember what those character traits were, but I’m pretty sure she had one of two. But since she (gak) married Les it’s been Doormat City for Cayla. She never even gets to see her own daughter anymore.
Remember what else Cayla used to have? An ethnicity.
Now she just looks like a recolor of Cindy.
The other day, Mela suggested that Les should be put into the Total Perspective Vortex from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy>. But I don’t think this would be effective. In the Douglas Adams books, Zaphod Beeblebrox survived the Vortex because the universe was made specifically for him. I can’t think of any fictional character for whom this is more true than Les Moore.
The world of Funky Winkerbean falls all over itself to give Les everything he wants at all times, and to indulge his worst behavior. He could take a shit in somebody’s hat, and they’d say “thank you Les, it fits much better now! You’re such a genius!”
The other week, you mentioned that one of the reasons I can’t stand the Funky Winkerbean strip is because of the artificial one-dimensional characters. Artificial creepy characters like in the animated movie Polar Express. Every character in the strip can best be described as ‘blah’. Let’s go to the blah place and talk to blah and blah. No character has their own opinion or perspective; they all just go along with the story, no matter how stupid it is or how contradictory it is to their own character. That’s true.
That’s a big part of it, but what really drives me nuts is the unwavering universal good fortune and ass-kissery for Les. That’s the aspect of the strip that makes me want to destroy things. (Hugging phone to my face. Not you baby.) It’s maddening because Les has done nothing to deserve it. This character has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He’s the most universally reviled character in the strip. He’s smug, conceited, condescending and boring. I can’t stand his phony suffering. “Oh pity poor, poor me. I have everything.” It’s like a balding middle-aged fat guy with coke-bottle-bottom glasses and a missing tooth being voted America’s sexiest man. It’s a fixed contest.
Common Batty, if you want us to like Les, give us something! At least I had some sympathy for him when he was losing a battle of wits with the gym rope in Act I.
That obnoxious know-it-all brat with the glasses in Polar Express was that movie’s Les. Somebody working on that movie thought ‘know-it-all’ was a likeable character. I spent most of the movie rooting for him to get killed.
And here I keep saying, if they ever do an animated Funky Winkerbean show, Eddie Deezen has to voice Les.
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And here I keep saying, if they ever do an animated Funky Winkerbean show, Eddie Deezen has to voice Les.
Eddie’s voice is a very good choice. Annoying and nerdy.
I’ve always imagined Les’s voice to be extremely annoying, like Gilbert Gottfried’s. My brother imagines Les’s voice to be like Daffy Duck’s.
In TVTropes terms, Les is a toxic combination of Character Shilling (all the other characters talk about how great he is); Informed Ability (the strip tells he’s a talented writer when we see no evidence of this); Wangst (Les’ endless fetishization of Lisa 14 years after she died); and Creator’s Pet (self-explanatory). He’s also an implied Can’t Take Criticism, because nobody dares give him any, not even when he’s being disgustingly rude.
Les’ purpose in this world is to play the role of Tom Batiuk, and receive all the accolades Batiuk thinks the real world should be giving him. Dinkle, and the entire Atomik Komix crew, also show signs of this. Batton Thomas is Batiuk’s whiny side, which he thinks is self-deprecation, “oh, kids these days don’t read the newspaper and have never even heard of my comic strip!” I think Batton Thomas will have a “why can’t I win an award?” arc one of these days.
I was working under the assumption that Les is no where near as cool as Zaphod Beeblebrox (even paranoid android Marvin is more entertaining) and that the Vortex would exist outside of Westview. But if the Vortex were completely within of FW, then yeah, Les probably survive and be just like he is now. Gotta give ya that one :).
That sounds a lot like the Twilight Zone episode where a small-time crook enters an afterlife where he can’t lose, and discovers that his now-boring existence is the perfect Hell for someone who craves excitement. But it would be perfect for Les, who only craves boredom.
There’s really not much to say about the ongoing Tinseltown shindig, but I would to ask…
1.) Are those the ghosts of the Ritz Brothers and Abbott and Costello haunting the soundstage in Panel Two?
2.) Why does Masonne look as if he aged 20 years since that pitch meeting last year?
3.) She’s had multiple meals with him, stayed at his house, and more, and Wife-Not-Lisa never once looked up Mr. Jarre’s body of work…or did she just need an excuse to gaze at him like a moonstruck calf?
4.) Why does Battyuk always feel the need to step on his “punchline’s” tail? Wouldn’t “…that the producers actually applied for federal disaster aid!” have been a sufficiently lame “Dad joke” on its own?
I don’t get it… Even as a joke, why would the producer apply for federal relief aid? It’s not like the *producer’s* money was used to make the movie… Wouldn’t the studio feel the financial burden of commercial failure?
If I ever get to meet Al Pacino, the first thing I’m asking him about is “Bobby Deerfield”…
If I ever get to meet Tom Hanks, the first thing I’m asking him about is “Bachelor Party”…
(And I’m only half-joking here)
This may be quibbling, but the set up in panel 2 ruins the gag’s punchline. Instead of using “disaster” in panel 2 and diffusing the impact of the panel 3 punchline, he could have written, “Box office sales were so bad for ‘My Dog Pookie…”
You and J.J. O’Malley are both right: Tom Batiuk absolutely cannot tell a joke. This joke is poorly constructed; it gives away the punchline; the flow is unnatural; it uses a huge number of unnecessary words; and it’s in-universe tasteless. Ignoring that last point for the moment, this would be better:
“I didn’t know you were in ‘My Dog Pookie’!”
“That movie was a disaster.”
“What do you mean?”
“We actually got federal disaster aid.”
It conveys the same information in half as many words. It does still use the word “disaster” in the setup, but the joke here is in the change of meaning. It goes from a figurative disaster to a literal one. The joke in today’s strip is… I have no idea. This isn’t even a joke. It’s just Mason talking. He’s not even responding to anything she said.
Mason is doing what hack comedians and unfunny co-workers do. He memorized a quip, and went around looking for any way to jam it into a conversation. Mind you, he’s supposed to be an A-list Hollywood actor.
And look at all the details this joke doesn’t need:
– Les told Cayla
– Mason played the vet
– Cayla loved that movie
– Cayla, in Mason’s estimation, was the only person who loved that movie
– Its failure was at the box office, and not with critics or some other way
– There were producers
– They applied for the aid
– The federal government gave it them
Batiuk probably thinks he needs to remind people of the poster in the office that Les saw, but he doesn’t. The joke as I’ve written it works by itself, even if you’ve never seen these characters before. And did Cayla just find the MDMA at the Hollywood party? Why is she so blissed out in panel three, when Mason is tearing down something she just said she loved? She should be reacting a little sourly to that.
Maybe TomBa is worried that readers won’t take his strip “seriously” if he doesn’t stuff as many possible words as he can in the balloon… (Brooke McEldowney I’m also looking in your direction, you cranky little pervert…)
Whatever happened to brevity being the soul of wit? In the irony of ironies, if this punchline was being delivered by Ed Crankshaft, it would have had exactly the same kind of streamlined bang-bang setup and payoff… So it’s not like Batiuk doesn’t know how to write this way…
You make a good point. Crankshaft isn’t written like this. The gags are competently constructed. So what the hell is going on here?
Uh, did Mason forget this happened, almost exactly one year ago?
How is a “federal disaster aid” joke not incredibly tasteless in this world?
Cayla’s eyes in panel one; Ayers has to be clowning Batdick and us, right? Or is he really that bad of an artist?
Anyway, I’m disturbed by how much of this arc has been spent showing us what a useless bubblehead Cayla has become. It’s just plain weird.
It seems Les forgot to switch off the Praisebot 6000. Yesterday I suggested Cayla was a robot built to offer Les a continuous stream of praise.
She’s sucking up to Mason now. I expect she’ll be praising the caterer or possibly even a chair next.
Cayla: The hors d’oeuvres were out of this world. The chef should have their very own cooking show.
Cayla: Thank you Mr. Chair. It was a pleasure sitting on you. I like the way you don’t wobble.
My niece had a teddy bear named ‘Pooky’.
This assclown was a finalist for a Pulitzer? Was it the same year as David Spade?
Years ago, when Les mentioned that Mason Jarr was coming to Westview to read comic books, I seem to recall both Cayla and Summer going nuts at the thought of meeting him. Generally speaking, people who are big fans of actors pretty much know their filmography. You might say the dog movie was too obscure, but apparently it was a favorite of Cayla’s. A smart writer would have had that be the beginning of her fandom.
God, I honestly bleached from my mind the storyline of a Hollywood actor hiding out in some teenager’s bedroom in smalltown Middle America for a couple of weeks reading goddamned comic books while Holly brought him glasses of milk and plates of cookies… It’s shocking that Masone has been successful despite having the dumbest and most counter-productive methods of “getting into his character” imaginable (and I won’t get into his famous “stage fright during table reads”)… Not that Les was any better, given that he was sworn to secrecy and almost immediately after spilled his guts to Funky at Montoni’s while Cindye happened to eavesdrop and naturally she blackmailed Les into setting up an exclusive interview — And by “interview” I meant “putting on her hottest ‘fuck me!’ dress and going out on the town with no camera, notepad or tape recorder and not asking a single newsworthy question, while choosing to flirt and focus on oddly specific husband-hunting date questions…” Cindye Sommers-Winkerbeane singlehandedly turned the clock back 40 years for women in journalism that night…
Now that I think about it, Masone’s visit to Westview just to read comic books literally set the next FIVE years of plots in motion — Cindye moving out to L.A. to work for BuddyBlog.com (but she never tried to hide the fact that her real motivation was getting her hooks into Masone because she was so desperate for some validation of her so-called fading beauty; Pete becoming the script writer for Starsuxxx, and naturally he drags along Darrin to draw storyboards and they make a fortune, Masone choosing to shoot part of the movie in the Westview area and putting a dozen Funkyverse characters on the studio payroll in the process, Pete and Darrin get their own comics publishing company and are made the highest paid in the industry, and Pete’s newfound fame and wealth finally gets him that requisite tomboyish blonde trophy girlfriend…
Every strip these days I’m trying to come up with some plausible way its scenario could be useful/interesting. So; Cayla admits that the dog movie wasn’t really good, but when her own dog died, it helped her process her feelings – feelings she never felt comfortable discussing with her husband, because how does a dog compare to Lisa, at least in Les’s world? A bad movie helped when her husband couldn’t. Sardonic punchline from Masyn about “Glad to know that such a terrible movie actually did someone a little good. But it still wasn’t worth it!” Or something. I dunno.
Cinematic Prediction: There will have been been more moviegoer tears shed when Pookie died in the box office flop “My Dog Pookie” than will be for Lisa in next year’s Best Picture Academy Award winner “Lisa’s Story: Dial C for Cancer.”
Dial C for Chemosabe.