Say Good Riddance To Hollywood

Link To Today’s Strip

Now I don’t want to jinx us or anything, but it appears that the Big Cancer Movie mega-arc is finally, mercifully over. If you had “Marianne gets breast cancer” in the “how will this arc end?” pool, please stop by the home office in Secaucus to claim your prize (a World’s Greatest Band Director key ring) on any even-numbered Tuesday between 11AM and 11:10 AM. Print out a copy of your comment and please bring four forms of ID.

Suddenly Les, who used to despise Hollywood with every fiber of his being, is suddenly wistful over seeing the famous “Hollywood” sign that Marianne nearly jumped from, possibly because yet another mundane and anti-climactic part of his stupid life is now behind him or possibly because he’s pondering how he’d feel right now if Marianne HAD jumped, the cancer movie had never been made and Marianne didn’t so thoroughly embody the role of Lisa. Either way, who gives a shit?

Coming tomorrow: Les’ plane is shot down over Lake Oahe by an errant Air National Guard Sidewinder missile. It spins in. There are no survivors.

57 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

57 responses to “Say Good Riddance To Hollywood

  1. For a strip with famously bad artwork (aside from guests) that last panel is interesting.

    It’s the best drawn from Batiuk/Ayers since I’ve been reading this strip…and interestingly enough, it conveys nothing.

    Goodbye, shallow land of small mind who cannot comprehend me.
    Here we go again, more people who don’t “get” me.
    They still didn’t make me a superstar. Their powers are waning…
    Never have to see this again, land of losers.

    Honestly, I don’t know what he’s going for here, but I’m positive it’s something about how Batiuk (and Les) are brilliant, too brilliant to be seen…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Les is so used to emotionally manipulating people, that he just does it instinctively now. And now he’s realizing that without Hollywood, there’s nobody to tell him great he is anymore. So here come the water works.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Yeah, given how pretty much every “Lisa’s Story” story centered around Les’ skepticism and distrust re: “Hollywood” and “showbiz”, it kind of makes no sense whatsoever. In hindsight, BatYam wrapped up the whole cancer movie arc last week when he had Mason explain that no one would ever see it. Then he tacked on that ridiculous Marianne stuff in lieu of bothering to write a real ending, then he put a bow on it with this hackneyed nonsense today. It was another “interesting” artistic choice, let’s say.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah it is all about how Les (Batty) are brilliant. But here in Ohio, we call it HollyWoo!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I almost took his expression as foreboding. Like he’s worried that Hollywood will continue shadowing him no matter how many times he tries to say goodbye.

      It’s so hard to be a brilliant writer, pursued by a higher level of fame then you desired.

      Do airplanes still have free airsickness bags?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      For some reason, the art in Funky Winkerbean is a lot better on Sundays. It has more texture and detail.

  2. William Thompson

    I expect that Les will be back in Hollywood, if only because Batiuk things it’s the easiest route to fame and fortune for his characters. Maybe Les will write the script for his forgotten classic, “Falling Star: John Darling Who Was Murdered To Death.” It could give Mason Jar the chance to stretch his acting skills; playing a dead guy could be his most demanding role yet.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      No, Mr. Jarre just completed his most demanding role yet, playing a guy who is so dead on the inside, not even a hot chick telling him her cancer story managed to get a rise out of him.

  3. billytheskink

    Can we move the setting of this strip to Hollywood? I mean, now that Les isn’t going to making any more trips there.

  4. Mr. A

    “I’m actually looking forward to getting back home and saying goodbye to Hollywood.” I hate this sentence. Why is Les looking forward to “saying goodbye to Hollywood” when he is actively doing that right now? Why has he phrased it as though he cannot “say goodbye to Hollywood” until he arrives on his own doorstep? And why has Batiuk found it necessary to repeat the word “Hollywood”, when Les already said it once and we see the Hollywood sign in the next panel? It’s grating.

    “I’m actually glad to say goodbye to Tinseltown and head home.” See, I even worked in some cutesy slang! Was that so hard?

  5. Gerard Plourde

    While I would hope that the sentiment being expressed here is “Home is best”, I suspect this is actually some sort of (not so) subtle dig at the people and value systems of those of us who inhabit the east and west coast metropolises rather than those of the obviously superior small-town heartland of the country, I hope I’m being overly sensitive.

  6. Sourbelly

    “Weird as it sounds, and I can’t even believe I’m saying this, I’m ACTUALLY looking forward to getting back home, to that shit state in that shit town with the shit pizza and my shit wife – er, strike that last part. No offense, woman.”

    “Oh, Lessy, you say the darnedest things! Tee-hee!”

  7. The Dreamer

    Not wearing masks on the plane! Have them arrested upon landing!

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    I like how the Hollywood sign has been restored exactly as it was before the fire.

    • Charles

      I also like how it’s totally easy to see looking out the window of every plane leaving and arriving LAX. Les doesn’t even have to lean forward. He just glances and there it is.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Given that he can read the Hollywood sign from his window, I’m going to guess he flew out of Burbank.

        I did that once. The airport is much smaller. The interior is hella outdated and beat up, but it’s kinda nice to not have to walk through the equivalent of five mega malls to get to your gate.

        • Charles

          Nah, it’d be a pretty weird trajectory for a flight leaving Burbank to have that view from a window at any point. I just think it’s one of those tropes that Batiuk’s too much of a hack to avoid, the whole “every apartment in Paris has a view of the Eiffel Tower” thing. Every flight leaving or coming into Los Angeles has a clear view of the Hollywood sign.

      • none

        “This is your captain speaking, we’ve established a cruising altitude of 50 feet and are headed to Cleveland. Johnny and I felt that we could use a bit of a challenge to spice things up on this flight. You all might feel a bit of turbulence as we reach the Rockies but after that we’ll just be on the lookout for power lines and bridges. Enjoy!”

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    “We won’t have to be making any more trips to Hollywood”? So, I guess the world premiere of “Lisa’s Story: First, Les Cries” (sorry, Betty Rollin) will indeed be held at the Valentine Repertoire Cinema and Gentleman’s Club in beautiful downtown Crankshaftville, Ohio, where the city’s namesake is either an enfeebled nursing home resident or making local songbirds wear quarantine masks…maybe both, take yer pick. Lester is already starting to look a little bit Cranky, after all, to judge from those nascent geriatric blackheads on his schnozz.

    NOW can we start the Subterranean storyline? I’m hoping he’ll smash his way into Murania and meet up with its queen. Atomik might as well do a Subby/Phantom Empire crossover; I’m pretty sure the latter is public domain by now.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “Atomik might as well do a Subby/Phantom Empire crossover”

      What a frightening thought! And sadly, one that seems almost destined to occur.

  10. Hitorque

    1. Going out to a Hollywood wrap party, staying in a famous five-star hotel with complimentary limo service, and of course they’re flying economy class back to goddamned Ohio… Does anyone fly first class in the Funkyverse? Or is the mere concept of spending lavishly offensive to their Midwestern sensibilities? (SEE: Chester Hagglemore)… And why the hell didn’t Masone send them back on his private G6? It’s been used before to ferry Funkyverse characters back and forth to Westview…

    1a. And if anyone here at SOSF thinks Les isn’t coming back to L.A. early in 2022 for Oscar night, shame on you…

    2. Yeah Les, leaving the glamour and glitz of Hollywood for the comfort of your two-stoplight shitty small town and soulless high school students makes perfect sense… You go be the big fish in a tiny pond… I’m guessing Hollywood is happy to see your departure as well.

    2a. It’s funny because for all the times he’s been there, Les hasn’t seemed to realize that there’s a bit more to the greater Los Angeles region than just people who make movies. The fact that he has completely ignored the wealth of cultural, historic, recreational, musical, literary, etc pursuits the city has on offer is a huge indictment of his wannabe highbrow intellectual ‘artistic’ mind…

    3. IF LES IS THIS UNGRATEFUL AND INDIFFERENT FOR THESE BIG MONEY HOLLYWOOD OPPORTUNITIES MOST PEOPLE WOULD KILL THEIR OWN MOTHERS FOR, WHY DIDN’T HE STAY HIS ASS AT HOME?

    4. Lester’s thoughts in the last panel: “I wonder if I should have told Masone and Marianne that I’m planning to invoke the “kill fee” again, which means the movie will never get released and nobody gets paid? Well, they’ll find out one way or another…”

    4a. Or maybe Les is finally admitting to himself that he doesn’t have another book in him and “Lisa’s Story” was his creative high water mark? That he’s just a substandard hack who caught a tiny bit of lightning in a bottle? What’s worse is this movie wrap officially means he has squeezed the last possible drop of commercial juice from his wife’s death… So what can he possibly do now?

    4b. Or maybe Les is finally wondering about the ethics of years of exploiting another person’s tragedy for personal glory and monetary gain? Whatever the institution of Lisa Moore means today, it stopped being about an unremarkable small town wife and mother who died in the prime of her life a long time ago…

    5. It’s funny because we should be seeing nothing but scorch marks and blackened burned out buildings from Lester’s view.

    6. Damn, don’t Darrin and Summer at least deserve a fucking phone call?? It makes absolutely zero sense to leave them out of this arc…

    • Epicus Doomus

      While I certainly wouldn’t put it past him, I think a 2022 Oscars arc is just too ambitious for FW. At one point I thought that maybe he’d do something like that for the upcoming 50th anniversary of FW (March 27, 2022 Sunday strip), but given how this arc has played out now I think I may have vastly overestimated BatYam again.

      In fact, now I believe that Mason’s claptrap about distribution and art houses and etc. was BatBrain’s way of blowing off the cancer movie arc for good. Now I’m not saying he’ll never revisit it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he never does, either. I believe it’s definitely possible that he had way bigger plans for the cancer movie arc when it began but, like with so many other long FW arcs, it just sort of petered out and died on the vine.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I agree, this is a very desultory wrap-up for Lisa’s Story. Les will get some kind of praise for it eventually; it’ll probably become the darling of the art house circuit. The mere thought of it makes me want to barf. But for the most part, Lisa’s Story is OVER. Thank God.

        • William Thompson

          The first Starsux Jones movie arc ended with a copy of Variety–bearing a headline about the movie’s boffo box-office–being tossed in a wastepaper basket. So maybe this is the end of the Dead Lisa movie arc, too.

        • The Duck of Death

          “Desultory wrap-up” is Batiuk’s mission statement. That is, when he bothers to wrap a story up at all. Can anyone here think of a single denouement of a FW plot that wasn’t a total limp let-down? (Zanzibar the English-Speaking Murder Chimp doesn’t count, because the fact that no one bothered to follow up on it, or even ask clarifying questions, was arguably the biggest let-down in the strip’s history.)

          • Epicus Doomus

            With BatYarn’s stories there’s always what seems like a logical path, but he almost never takes that path, preferring to just let the stories sort of fizzle out and quietly die. It’s almost like you can actually see him grow bored and lose interest, it happens all the time. I have frequently over-estimated him merely by assuming he’d take what seemed like the easiest, most predictable path, only to have him totally confound me again time after time.

          • firedmyass

            Yet again, Batty stops feeding a stray story until it wanders away.

      • gleeb

        It will become a cult classic, eternally playing at the midnight show at the Valentine, with all the strippers in the front row, weeping.

      • Hitorque

        We’ll see… I just remember that Masone only wanted to make this not because he gives a shit about the story, but because he’s whoring himself out for that Oscar and figured the academy would like the melodramatic cancer and dying wife angle…

        And it’s still outrageous to think that a major Hollywood studio just made a $100 million dollar movie with two of the biggest stars in the world just to release it in “art house theaters” of which there are so few remaining they might as well release it exclusively through drive-in theaters… Before giving a project the green light, don’t producers and studio execs first see what kind of potential market exists for the movie and then budget accordingly? Because if they did, they would have realized Lisa’s Movie was at best a streaming-only or straight to cable movie which could have been done with a no-name cast for ten million dollars instead of a hundred million.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Les is flying economy? I hope his seat is in the screaming baby section. I hope the person in front of Les fully reclines their seat pinning his arms. I hope there is a kid sitting behind Les constantly kicking his seat. I hope somebody commandeered his overhead storage bin and he has to keep his carry-on bag at his feet. I hope the kid behind Les pours their juice on his head. I hope an airsick passenger pukes on him. I hope the boarding gate for his connecting flight is located completely across the airport. Run, Les, run! I hope he misses the connecting flight. I hope his flight the next morning is grounded due to fog or mechanical failure. I hope his bags end up in Tajikistan. I hope Les is so disruptive during the flight he ends up on the no-fly list. I hope his ride home from the airport has forgotten all about him. I hope his house has been turned into the neighborhood drug den.

      How was your flight home, Les? Let the whine festival begin. Too bad Lisa’s ghost didn’t warn you about staying off this flight.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Les Moore is the screaming baby section. Look at that whiny little shit, pouting and wistfully looking out the window. Imagine having to sit in the row behind THAT. At least a crying infant makes sense. Imagine having to overhear a grown man sniffling and crying for no discernible reason. How uncomfortable that would be?

        Worst of all, imagine a stranger asking Les what he’s upset about, and the answer that person would get. ‘Well, (sniff) my wife died of cancer (sniff) 15 years ago (blow)… and I married her after I took her to lamaze classes at age 17 (sob) because she got raped by someone else (snort) and she gave the baby up for adoption (howl) and Bull Bushka beat me up all the time in high school (blow) and (this part alone would 20 minutes) …and I wrote a best-seller about Lisa (honk) and a graphic novel got made (sob) and it was nominated for Eisner award (gasp) and then they wanted to make a movie out of it (sniff) and they wanted to make it a porno movie so I used my kill fee to cancel and get a big paycheck for it (wheeze) and Mason Jarre came to visit me and said he wanted to make the movie correctly (sob) and they made me a producer (sob) and after they made the movie without me, I cried at how touching it was (blow) and now that it’s over I’ll never ever ever go back to Hollywood (sniff) and no one will ever tell me how great am (snort) well not anyone important anyway (sob)”

        Les Moore would be leaving that plane without a parachute.

  11. Patty Lupine

    WE STILL HAVE BROADWAY!!

    • Gerard Plourde

      It has been a while since a Funkyverse character has been to NYC, which used to be a regular stop. Back in June TomBa mentioned that he was working on a storyline that involved the Palm Restaurant in Manhattan. Because of its connection to the comics industry we could assume that it’s Atomik Comix related, but your comment raises a real possibility. I’m sure Les could easily see his work equal to that of Victor Hugo and deserving of the same treatment.

      Then again – if they could make a musical about Spider-Man, why not Scuba Cop?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Scuba Cop!
        Scuba Cop!
        Big Atomic Komix flop!
        Comic books, he will bring!
        Never does a second thing!
        Look Out! Here comes the Scuba Cop!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      And what if someone decides to do a TV miniseries, in order to do “justice” to the full story of Lisa?

      Think of “The Shining.”

      (And if you really want to shudder, think of the various versions of King’s first novel *Carrie.*)

      There were two films about Truman Capote, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “Capote” and Toby Jones’s “Infamous” released a year apart..

  12. The Duck of Death

    I read this as Batiuk saying, “It looks like the IRS has changed the rules and my accountant says we can’t deduct any more trips to Hollywood.”

  13. louder

    You would think the Less and his agent would be doing all kinds of different things to monetize him moment in the sun, but no, just go back to the ole sod is all that’s in store.

    I think, somehow the film will be a great success — despite no general release, no streaming contract, and we’ll have to endure more of this tripe of a story. I can’t believe that BatHack’s gravy train of “Lisa’s Story” has run it’s course, unlike Lisa, this can’t die.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      You’re right. With the apparent conclusion of Lisa’s Story: The Movie He’s going to have to find a new way to keep shoving Lisa down the world’s throat.

      But every time Tom Batiuk needs to get more creative, he gets as uncreative as possible. He’ll probably just keep doing Lisa’s Story, even though the completion of a Les Moore-approved major motion picture would seem to settle the matter permanently.

      $50 says this exciting new story involving the Palm Restaurant in New York is about Lisa somehow. My guesses are:

      – Lisa’s Story streaming content (Tom Batiuk would absolutely think this is a bold new topic in 2022); or
      – Lisa’s Story comic book (even though a graphic novel has already been published in-universe and was nominated for an Eisner Award)

      The syndicate needs to a issue an ultimatum of “no more Lisa stories.” This cow has been milked to death, except that it won’t actually die. And it only ever delivered one drop, on the day she died in 2007.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Coming in 2025: “Lisa’s Story: Once Upon a Bench,” the Broadway musical based on the award-winning film. Lester once again takes Manhattan.

  14. Oh, Les will be back for his Oscar, Golden Globe, Screenwriters Guild or some other made up award that allows TB to trot out “Lisa’s Story” one more time. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.

  15. I may be wrong, but I believe that Lisa’s Story WILL save the Valentine before the year is out with a world premiere event, Crankshaft timeline be damned.

  16. Apparently Batiuk’s contract requires that every ten years he must depict a character staring mopily out of an airplane window. Here’s a flashback to a flashback, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011:

  17. Mela

    It is an interesting expression, isn’t it? He was smiling in the panels before but then turns toward the window with that face full of sadness/disdain-hard to tell what he’s thinking. I’m assuming it’s his final frowning judgment upon Hollywood and all it stands for, but (as others have mentioned) it could also be sadness (Les liked the attention) or foreboding (Mason’s gonna call me again). And really Les, you could have followed Miss Manners and politely declined all of this ages ago.

  18. What they don’t tell you is that Les is sad because Marianne pepper sprayed him when he went in for that hug.

    Then she sprayed Cayla for being an eavesdropping weirdo. And then she sprayed Les again because there was a bit left in the can and there was no sense in letting it go to waste.

  19. Charles

    Thing that annoys me about this is how impenetrable it is. We have no idea what Batiuk intends with that final panel. All we know is that Les is looking at the Hollywood sign and *seems* sad. But if he is sad, what’s he sad about?

    Well, from Batiuk’s wildly undisciplined mind, it could be a reference to how the making of Lisa’s Story: The Movie allowed Les to revisit Lisa, and now that’s over. It could be going back to the whole “Hollywood just took and took so much from me. I gave it everything and all it did was take. It plundered my delicate memories for vulgar rewards.” This would work a little less bad if Les had originally come into this with some idealism about Hollywood. Instead, he was a turd about it all along. Reflecting on something he’s always felt isn’t exactly a powerful moment.

    He could be sad because now it means he’s no longer special. He got the most generous deal in Hollywood history and now it’s over. Now he’s just another schmoe. I somehow doubt this is Batiuk’s intention, but a person could certainly read this from the past strips.

    He could be reflecting on Marianne’s fate. That even her with all her celebrity and (*cough*) beauty and (*cough* *cough*) sophistication, she still came down with breast cancer. Maybe this uncomfortably reminds him that Lisa’s not special, or that given different circumstances she could have lived. Yes, he might even be sad because Marianne’s going to live when Lisa died. Again, I suspect this is not what Batiuk intended, but it is a viable way to read it based on what a selfish twerp Les has been this whole time.

    Maybe it’s recognition that Hollywood wasn’t as bad as Les thought it was. Maybe he’s realizing that now, at the end, perhaps he shouldn’t have been such a whining douche about all this. It’s a potentially glamourous thing that his wife certainly seems to be thrilled by, but he missed experiencing that exhilaration because he’s such a turd. It was his once in a lifetime moment and he decided to be a moping, sour grump through it all.

    Nah.

    So in the end, I think we can conclude that Batiuk intends Les’s face to not represent a indictment of *him*, but that’s about it. Everything else is a mystery. Even the expression Les has seems enigmatic.

    Again: You know that writing thing you talk about, Tom? You’re not very good at it.

    • Charles

      Oh, I forgot, maybe it was in response to the doom and gloom of Mason and Marianne, suggesting that Les’s life’s work was going to fail. Les finally got a movie version of Lisa’s Story that he found acceptable, even moving, and the universe conspired to ruin it. Its prospects are so bad that the producer Cassidy Kerr didn’t even bother to show up at the wrap party. That’s certainly one possible reading, I suppose.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Mae West once wrote and appeared in a play called *Sex.* It received universal bad reviews, which West explained away blithely: to her mind, the play was just so fine and perfect that the critics knew that nothing they could write would add to its luster.

        Therefore, they panned it.

        Mae West would have Beulah peel her a grape. Les Moore would have Cayla bring him milk and cookies.

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