Ch-choke On ‘Em!

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, so, I actually found today’s punchline pretty funny. It’s wordplay that actually works–referencing the “net” in both the virtual and real worlds.

Which is why I don’t think Tom Batiuk came up with this one. It’s too clever by half. I think this is yet another clever witticism he overheard and thought, “Well, I’ll just steal that.”

Admittedly, it would have been far more effective as a daily three or four-panel strip, with all the Dinkle Worship in the opening panels stripped away, but of course Batiuk has to hype Dinkle’s Rose Bowl appearance. Because of course he has to. He HAS to. There’s nothing else left.

And honestly, I’ve never been happier to type the following words: that’s it from me, folks, my two week stint is over and done, and I am going to collapse into a comfortable chair and watch movies where band directors get horribly disembowled and have to watch as their still-beating hearts are forced into their faces.

I’m not sure there are such movies, but I’m working on one. Be patient.

And as for pity, please put in a big order for Epicus Doomus, whose time in the chair has at last approached. I can already hear the lamentations, which is my cue for buggin’ out of here. Happy trails!


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

34 responses to “Ch-choke On ‘Em!

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I’m kinda with you on this one, BC. It took a while to get there, but the punch line actually generated a brief chuckle on my end, which means he’s now batting a cool .003 on the season. I kind of thought the same thing, too, re: where’d he lift this gag from, but hey, a chuckle is a chuckle and Lord knows his own material can’t even generate apathy anymore, so what does he have to lose? It’s not like whoever actually wrote the joke is ever going to know, because come on.

  2. J.J. O'Malley

    So, Dinkleberg decided to get himself a bunch of (one can only hope) frozen Thanksgiving turkeys and hawk them door to door on the streets of Westview in order to collect money for his own New Year’s Day SoCal ego trip? Sell them door to door, even though he is almost certainly aware this puts him in direct competition with the local high school band? You know, the band which he oversaw for decades and still subs for, and which depends on this autumnal campaign to raise much-needed funds?

    Our protagonist, the guy we’re supposed to identify with and root for, ladies and gentlemen.

  3. billytheskink

    Not-Linda here is a fine addition to the FW character roster. She would gladly have deprived those shiftless high school band kids their turkey fundraiser money if only Dinkle was willing to sell online… or, y’know, if the closest 4 Krogers hadn’t closed years ago because this is Westview.

  4. Mr. A

    Now we know why Dinkle has to keep learning about online fundraising over and over again. It’s not because he’s forgetful; it’s because he’s set in his ways and too stubborn to take anyone else’s advice. Which is perfectly in character for him, now that I’m thinking about it.

    Also, didn’t we have a whole series of strips last year where selling turkeys again was literally Dinkle’s worst nightmare?

  5. none

    The Bedside Manor collection posted previously was from 2017 and had to spend a few days to educate Dingle about Indiegogo.

    Two years ago an entire fucking Thanksgiving week was spent repeating the word “Bandigogo” because apparently he forgot that he mentioned Indiegogo by name two years before that.

    Earlier this year he found out that posting cat videos online does much more for fund raising than hawking candy in person.

    And here we are today. Again.

    It’s easy to work without a net if you never get off the ground.

    • Hey, Batiuk can’t even remember his character’s names. Expecting him to remember his stories is a little too high an expectation.

      –except Lisa’s Story, of course. He’ll never forget every detail.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is the most selfish and pathetic sales pitch I’ve ever seen. Airfare to Los Angeles isn’t that expensive, Dinkle. And anybody who knocked on my door and introduced themselves as the “world’s greatest” anything would quickly get it closed in their face.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    I know that FW Sunday strips are often unrelated to the daily ones but I find it weird that today’s is so totally disjointed from what preceded it while being centered around the same character.

    Also, are we to believe that Dinkle is so economically strapped that he has to sell turkeys door to door in order to fund his trip to the Rose Parade in spite of his having at least two part-time jobs in addition to his school district pension and Social Security?

    • Mr. A

      You think Dinkle is getting paid for his St. Spires gig? I thought it was a volunteer position.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Church organists and choir directors are paid staff positions because they are trained professionals who are expected to teach the volunteers.

        • Mr. A

          But does Batiuk know that? The decision to find a new organist/choir director was presented as a spur-of-the-moment decision by the choir itself, and the job hunt was also apparently conducted by the choir, with no reference to the pastor or anyone who might keep the books.

          Lillian was “hired” in a similar fashion; she got volun-told by the other choir members that she the new organist, and reluctantly agreed to do it “until a permanent replacement can be found”. Then she stayed in the role for ten-or-so years, until she was physically incapable of doing it any longer. It’s also made clear that Lillian’s predecessor, Elenor-who-died-at-the-organ, had agreed to a similar “temporary” arrangement.

          And to bring up my pet peeve again: if Dinkle had signed a formal employment contract, he probably would have found out before the first practice that they expected him to play the organ AND direct the choir…

        • Mr. A

          Addendum: that being said, there’s nothing in the strip that disproves that Dinkle is getting paid. I’m just not prepared to take it for granted.

          • Gerard Plourde

            If memory serves, Dinkle saw an advertisement for the church organist job. Also, the strip claims to be “1/4 inch from reality.” Therefore, the presumption should be that Dinkle is being paid until evidence to the contrary is produced not the reverse.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Well he has a great pension from being a teacher.

  8. Y. Knott

    I mean, yes, a real writer would have come up with something amusing for the throwaway panel, so it wasn’t such a looooong drive in to get to the punchline. And maybe also had a little fun along the way with our homeowner wondering what the hell a “banned turkey” is. But, still, overall this is — not bad.

    Bonus: you don’t have to turn it on its side to read it.

  9. Hitorque

    1. The most expensive package cost is $2500 and CLE–LAX airfare round-trip is about $500… Why should other people be subsidizing the Big Dink’s vanity tour?? Yeah, junior and high school kids fundraise because THEY DON’T HAVE ANY INCOME TO SPEAK OF… But the Big Dink has multiple freelance teaching jobs, he works at the church, he’s a published author, as agent and producer he gets a piece of anything “Bedside Mannerisms” brings in, and depending on what his employment status is, he’s either pulling a fatassed paycheck with 50+ years seniority from the public schools system, OR he’s pulling a fatassed pension check from the public schools system… *AND* he’s getting Social Security… Is he that much of a cheapskate?

    2. I’m surprised the Big Dink didn’t demand a discount since his image is being used to advertise the event:

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Join Harry L. Dinkle, the World’s Greatest Band Director!” And that’s not even the scary part. The scary part is you’d be joining 299 other people who identify with Harry L. Dinkle, The man in the promotional video even looks like Dinkle. Can’t they all march into an open manhole cover and die one at a time, like in the old George Carlin bit?

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Here’s how today’s strip connects with the “New Orleans Jazz Funeral” series of events (I hesitate to call it a story): we’re almost halfway through November, and the website is still inviting people to apply to be considered for a spot in an event scheduled for early January. Still to be done in the next seven weeks: select the Chosen People, confirm they’re actually coming, collect their money; hope they can get tickets during a peak travel season (in a year where the travel industry is stressed by a pandemic and staff shortages); and then, only then, turn this mob into a band good enough to make spectators cheer and say, “y’know, when I get home, I’m gonna vote for that school levy, and insist it all go to the band department!”

      Seems about as likely as assembling a competent N’Awlins jazz band from a bunch of geriatric Ahia church ladies and inmates of the dementia home before the dead guy starts to stink…

    • gleeb

      Round trip? You want him to come back, you masochist?

    • none

      Two main observations I have from that application page:

      1) Comic Sans in the banner.
      2) The “special message” from the organizer has 295 views and 0 comments as of the moment of this post.

      The registration has been up for months and not even 300 people can be bothered to watch whatever that YT clip is about or say anything about it. For free. And the 300 applicants who will be selected will need to pay $200 to join.

      That’s going to be some festival, yeah.

      • Y. Knott

        According to the site, they already have 275 band directors that will be on hand to march — which is pretty impressive, I’d say. So I guess the application site is still up because there are 25 remaining spots, and what the hell, someone might still be wanting in.

        Anyway, I’m not gonna snark on the Rose Bowl parade, or the real-life band directors. The parade is specifically using the Dinkle character from when FW was funny, and the bandleaders are probably all dedicated educators for whom marching in the parade is a real thrill. And who am I to make fun of that dream?

        Batiuk and Dinkle, are of course, totally fair game for snark.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    “watch movies where band directors get horribly disembowled and have to watch as their still-beating hearts are forced into their faces.”

    It is unfair of you to imply that such movies exist, without providing us with some titles. We’re all suffering too. We all deserve catharsis.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    So this is what passes for “good” in the Funkyverse now? It’s six panels plus a splash panel, for one tiny bit of C-minus wordplay. And it pushes one of Tom Batiuk’s one most tired agendas, “the Internet is bad and people shouldn’t use it.” To say nothing of Batiuk using his comic strip to promote his personal appearances.

    Compare this early appearance of Opus the Penguin in Bloom County. It’s got three more clever bits of wordplay and an actual punchline:

    To think these two men were both nominated for the same Pulitzer prize. No wonder Berke Breathed won.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      If forced to choose, I would select Bloom County as my all time favorite strip. I like silliness and Berkeley always delivers.

      • Margaret

        For me, Bloom County and Calvin and Hobbes would be tied at number 2, after Pogo. I’m not sure any strip could ever beat Pogo.

        For single panel comics, I have to go with The Neighborhood.

    • Epicus Doomus

      You have to grade FW on a really steep curve. A C minus FW strip is the best you can possibly hope for.

      • Y. Knott

        Well, comparing Pogo or Bloom County or Calvin & Hobbes to FW is a little like comparing the sun to, say, a 10-watt electric light bulb hooked up to a faulty dimmer switch…..

  12. robertodobbs

    What happened to “never touch a turkey?”

  13. The Duck of Death

    Somehow lost in all of this uproarious wordplay and breakneck pacing is this: The turkey itself is encased in a net.

    Boy, you wouldn’t have imagined a comic this richly imagined could have yet another layer of meaning, yet here’s Tom overdelivering yet again.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    I have a feeling Harry is not going to leave that poor woman’s porch until either he makes a sale, or she closes the door in his face.

    Today’s strip would have been funnier if Harry had said “I prefer to work without a net” after she had already closed the door.

  15. be ware of eve hill

    I’ve always been curious about this scenario. Harry is shown going door-to-door trying to sell a turkey.

    Is that an actual frozen turkey or just a display model?

    If it is a frozen turkey, and he sells it, does he have to walk all the way home to get another one, or are there multiple frozen turkeys thawing in his car as he drives door-to-door?

    • be ware of eve hill

      Perhaps Dinkle is dragging a half dozen frozen turkeys around in his little red Radio Flyer wagon.