Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Oh, so we have another week of this… How, exactly, can Melinda Budd tell when the photo in today’s strip was taken? It looks like every other old photo/Act I flashback/actual Act I appearance of Holly.

I guess Holly figures her pageant days are over now that she’s looking more like Gloria Daze… but we all know that’s not going stop Melinda or TB from stretching this story concept so thin you could toss an Oldsmobile Bravada through it.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Why, there are PLENTY of local pageants Holly could enter. Miss Wry Banter, Miss Frumpy, Miss Resigned-To-Disappointment, the list is practically endless. She should speak to Cayla, who’s won the Miss Good-Natured Doormat pageant for twelve years running. She keeps her sashes in her corner of the hall closet, right under Les’ archived Lisa stuff.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    The key word in Mama Budd’s Panel Two sentence is, of course, the “we” in “WE should do this again.” Exactly what “this” she’s referring to–a high school competition that would permit entrants of AARP age, joining another marching band, or just wearing spangled uniforms around the neighborhood–is a tad nebulous, but the fact that she still sees this experience as something she took part in is too sad for words. With such a cockeyed view of reality it’s no wonder her fake eyelashes have slid to the sides of her eyes (or are those supposed to be crow’s feet?).

    • William Thompson

      Mrs. Budd comes across as a narcissist. Holly may have won the awards, but Mrs. Budd would have let everyone know she was the reason her daughter did so well–coaching her, motivating her, managing her and creating her new moves (and when Holly failed, she would have trashed her daughter for being such a loser). The old battle-axe probably has found a bizarro competition for former majorettes and wants to relive her glory days.

  3. billytheskink

    I know someone whose cartooning days are over but that somehow hasn’t stopped him…

  4. Hitorque

    1. Okay, I think the real story here is Momma Budd has advanced dementia and this is no laughing matter.

    2. Where’s Dr. Funk when all this is going on?

    3. If these are ALL majorette photos (which means Holly is the most-photographed non-naked majorette in U.S. history), why even bother trying to sort them? And if Momma Budd was that obsessed over her teenage daughter’s success, you’d have thought she would have cataloged or at least framed that shit 40 years ago…

    • Hitorque

      4. And am I the only one wondering why there’s 10,000 photos snapped by an obsessive mom yet no videotape??

      5. Batiuk isn’t *really* going to try and give us another full week of majorette gags, is he? Because I will be legit impressed to see him stretch it out that far…

      • William Thompson

        There are undoubtedly hundreds of VHS tapes stashed somewhere, but you don’t sort them and photos (and 8 mm films, for that matter) at the same time. Right now Holly is probably sorting the photos by chronological order.

        The surprising thing is that the photos weren’t enshrined in fancy albums when they were new.

  5. TimP

    Spending time with your elderly parent, gleaning insights about your youth from their perspective.

    – Easily the worst thing possible, Funky Winkerbean (probably)

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    Scott Adams said “it’s fun to write dialog for characters who are equally defective but in different in ways.” In Funky Winkerbean,everyone is defective in exactly the same way: they instinctively know, and believe without question, whatever stupid shit Tom Batiuk has decided is the plot this week.

    Melinda’s remark raises so many questions. Mostly along the lines of “can you move all of your face? Can you say this short phrase? Do you need me to call 911?” It’s not even clear to the audience what Melinda wants, and what’s being implied would require massive leaps of logic in a “quarter inch from reality” world. But Holly knows exactly what it is, and reacts accordingly.

    It’s like a joke out of Borat, where the humor is in the juxtaposition of the bizarre request with the flat, affectless response. But we’ve been shown how unhealthy this relationship is. A 90-year-old wants her 60-year-old daughter to revive her majorette career so she can continue living vicariously through it, even though the story just spent a week telling us how much she suffered from it. It’s sick, and nobody bats an eye at any of it.

    By the way, do you think Melinda is giving Holly’s achievements short shrift here? “Most beautiful majorette at the Midwest Majorette Pageant” sounds like a big deal. The most beautiful member of a group that is by definition beautiful, across a multi-state area? Despite Holly having the lengthy list of burns, injuries and disfigurement we read about last week? And it’s just one vague photograph in a room full of them. Holly, sweetie, if that didn’t impress your mom, it’s pretty clear that nothing ever will. Shove her into Bedside Manor already.

    • Hitorque

      Adams must have said that before he turned to the dark side…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yes, I remember it from one of his books about 20 years ago. It’s an idea that always resonated with me.

    • William Thompson

      re: short shrift. I think Melinda is doing that. “You didn’t win because of your looks! You won because of all my hard work for you! And don’t you ever forget it!”

  7. Janitor Joplin

    “Maybe I could give birth to you again too! Why not start from square one?”

  8. Mr. A

    The concept of a daughter rebelling against her overbearing stage mom has solid dramatic potential, in the abstract. In practice, I’m sitting here scratching my head and thinking, “Shouldn’t they have had this conversation three or four decades ago?”

    • Mr. A

      Perhaps “rebelling” isn’t quite the right word… Replace that with “finally pushing back”. But my point stands.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is what I said about the 2000 Kent State shootings arc in Crankshaft. Pam was re-telling the story to her children, who were visiting the college. She was personally involved in the incident in 1970, but continued to hide this from her father, Ed, even though there was nothing she should have been ashamed of. And she was now 50 years old. Him hearing for the first time how close his own daughter came to getting shot by those out-of-control soldiers would have been very powerful. And it would have illustrated the wrongness of the “you kids should have listened to me” bullshit he was spewing about it the whole time. Pam’s needless obsequiousness completely undermined the story.

      Batiuk was trying to make it a story about generational conflict. Funny thing about that: when you become an adult, sometimes you tell your parents to put a sock in it. But he wouldn’t let Pam do that, even when she was powerfully in the right, and the story was begging for it. Just like he won’t let Holly tell Melinda to shove it today. Just like all those choir women silently let Harry Dinkle crack the whip on them until 2 AM. No one is allowed to stand up to a parental authority figure, even when they’re over age 50, and the parental authority figure is completely out of line. Note also that all these characters are women. You wouldn’t see 80-year-old Jack Stropp making 50-year-old Les climb the gym rope, would you?

      Between this, the comic book stuff, and the general portrayal of women in his comic strips, I have to think Tom Batiuk has some serious mommy issues.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I thought the KSU shootings arc was one of his better arcs because he wasn’t so ham fisted with the story and actually showed how each generation reacted to the event.

        Now I agree with you that he could have dug deeper and written a better story, but remember that we are talking about Batty, and he just doesn’t have the chops for that…nor do I for that matter but I’m not chasing Pulitzers either.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It’s not bad. But for a guy who was at Kent State when it happened, Tom Batiuk has surprisingly little to say about the incident. And the story is full of his usual problems: too wordy, too treacly, and fails to explore the more interesting plot points it raises.

      • gleeb

        Jack Stropp is as dead as Phil Holt.

  9. Lord Flatulence

    I think mom means they should get together again and look at old photos.

    • Mr. A

      Should be easy to arrange. They live in the same house.

    • Hitorque

      This crazy-assed woman was proudly remembering the day that she tossed a real baton into her infant daughter’s crib and started drilling her on the basics. Why accept what she’s saying at face value now?!

  10. Gerard Plourde

    “Most Beautiful Majorette”? Didn’t we just go through a week where we established that Holly’s school pictures were always taken before school started because she was recovering from burns during the year?

    And do we really need another week of Melinda’s psychopathology and Holly’s apparent co-dependent relationship with her?

    • William Thompson

      An extra week or two of this arc could work, if Bathack delved into Melinda and Holly’s problems, but that isn’t going to happen. This arc will end when Batiuk is ready to drag out that dumbass pizza-box monster again.

  11. I don’t see anything resembling a joke here. I mean, that’s true for every day, but at least you used to be able to see the attempt.

  12. Sourbelly

    “…and besides, I’m too busy keeping my husband sober.”

  13. Looks like Comics Kingdom is down. It’s Crankshaft’s fault.

    • Gerard Plourde

      But it looks like Crankshaft is going to take a detour into a “meaningful” storyline which is “an inch from reality” this week.

    • be ware of eve hill

      The Comics Kingdom website has been down for the majority of the past two days. I feel bad for the people who actually pay for it. They should receive a couple of days credit.

      My brother is a CK subscriber who usually receives a daily email from them with about thirty comics strips in it. This morning, his email from CK consisted of a whopping three comic strips. Way to go, Comics Kingdom!

  14. Professor Fate

    We are drifting towards true sickness here yes? It’s feeling a bit like an Ohio mashup of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Grey Gardens.
    Seriously why is Holly SAD that her days as a cheerleader are over? She’s had decades to get on with her life yes? Her mother meantime is rapidly becoming one of the worst monsters in FW which is saying something.
    It will end in Axe murder – at least I hope so, it’s the romantic in me.

  15. be ware of eve hill

    I’m lost. What’s Batty’s point with this story arc? As @Beckoningchasm pointed out, there’s no humor involved. As @WilliamThompson pointed out, there’s a plot with potential, but I’m not exactly holding my breath in the hope that it actually goes anywhere either. What message is Batty trying to convey? I don’t know how to write a (compelling) story?

    Is Batty trying to share an issue from his childhood? Did his mother make him endlessly practice the piano in the hope he would become a concert pianist, while he just wanted to read comic books?

    Am I supposed to relate with Holly? Am I supposed to relate with Melinda? That’s a hard pass on both characters.

    This story arc has gone nowhere in seven strips. I can’t wait for it to be over. (Russian accent) Is next!

    Comics Kingdom just checks a box that Batty delivered a strip, and he just deposits the checks. As I’ve said in the past, the strip should be retitled Dreadful Stuff.

    Batty: Eh? It’s a living.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Funky Winkerbean sometimes sets up compelling scenarios, but it never does anything with them. This story should be about Holly’s relationship with her mother, but it’s going to be about everything but that. The two of them will smirk and passive-aggressive at each other until Holly starts following whatever banal series of events Batiuk wrote 11 months ago.

      • be ware of eve hill


        The ICE story arc was interesting premise but it fizzled and ended with an eye roll worthy conclusion.

        The Bull Bushka suicide arc also started well but failed to show Bull’s point of view. The story fizzled to an unlikely and somewhat confusing conclusion. Seriously? The highway patrolmen hid the fact that it was a suicide? Why would they risk their careers?

        The Butter Bricknel story arc introduced us to Zanzibar the Murder Chimp but was also unsatisfactorily concluded. No justice for Ms. Pond?