Slowly they turned…

Today’s strip is pretty inoffensive, as these things go. It might border on “nice” if we liked a single one of these characters.

Not sure why Funky and Holly look so surprised to see Morton playing the trombone. They know Morton is in this band. They know the band is playing at St. Spires. They walk into the Christmas Eve service hearing the strains of “Silent Night”. Put two and two together…

OK, sure, most of the churches I’m familiar with place both the choir and orchestra in front of the congregation rather than behind, but such a slight difference wouldn’t floor me like a character from the late They’ll Do It Every Time.

Maybe Funky has an excuse, he thinks churches are places to practice driving, but Holly has been depicted as at least a somewhat regular churchgoer.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

29 responses to “Slowly they turned…

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Yeah, why would they be surprised to see Morton playing the trombone? I mean sure, he has dementia AND he smokes, which does make his trombone virtuosity all the more shocking, but I figured they were used to it by now. Oh well. The bar has always been set pretty low re: Xmas strips.

  2. William Thompson

    I think the Winkerbeans are shocked to discover that Harry Dinkle can step on consecrated ground, and that he has the nerve to turn his back on the Competition. God, if you exist, now’s your chance to prove it! Give Dinkle a thunderbolt in the rear!

  3. Yesterday, I asked the question: Who is the reader that Tom Batiuk is writing for?

    There were a lot of very good and thoughtful responses, but none I think that actually hit the target. After doing some thinking on the question, I think I might have the answer.

    The audience he aims at isn’t readers, or award committees, or even casual comic strip readers. His audience, the people he aims his writing toward…are his critics.

    Because the message from the most recent months of strips seems to be pretty consistent.

    “I HATE YOU.”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I’m hearing “I HATE YOU” in a Yosemite Sam voice, which makes it all the funnier.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I’m hearing it like Anakin/Darth Vader growls it at Obi-Wan right before he bursts into flames in Revenge of the Sith.

  4. Sourbelly

    It does seem weird that they’re playing behind the congregation, but I’m not much of a churchgoer, so I speak from ignorance. Sound like anyone else we know?
    Even on boring strip days like today, the tags always pull me through. I love “An idiocy of Winkerbeans”, along with yesterday’s right-to-the-point, “stupid” tag. Keep up the great work, mods!

    • Gerard Plourde

      Many churches have choir lofts and it’s not unusual for the choir and the musicians to be located there.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Second this. In some churches it has an acoustic function, or is to keep the choir out of the way of the business going on up front. In other churches the musicians are kept out of sight because they feel that sacred music is supposed to be about and for God, and not for the aggrandizement of the performer. That’s why in a lot of churches you don’t clap for the musicians and singers when their music is part of the context of a service. (As opposed to a Christmas Program, or Church Concert.)

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    Are Funky and Holly looking back in confusion because they can’t find Mort anywhere behind Dinkle’s massive ego?

  6. Gerard Plourde

    So they weren’t in time for the “Our Father”. The Christmas Eve Masses (admittedly Catholic and not Westviewian Generic) use “Silent Night” as a meditational piece near the conclusion of the service.

    On the plus side, it looks like Mort will be in time for Christmas Eve Dinner at the Winkerbeans. I wonder what kind of pizza Funky traditionally serves.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    This all begs the question, what will Funky’s reaction be should he and Holly encounter Dinkleberg after the service in tomorrow’s or Sunday’s strip: “Gosh, Harry, that was just beautiful! Good luck in Pasadena next week!” or the more logical and realistic “How dare you take my dad out of the nursing home on Christmas Eve without letting his family know just to feed another one of your band-directing ego trips?”

    • Gerard Plourde

      While I expect no encounter with Dinkle to occur (far too coherent storyline), what I think to be most likely in that event would be Holly inexplicably introducing Funky to Dinkle just like she did at Thanksgiving.

    • Green Luthor

      “Hey, Dinkle, did you know that, since you decided to check Morton out of the home, you’re now his legal guardian? Yep, that’s definitely the law and not something we’re making up to get rid of the bastard. Hope your wife doesn’t mind you bringing a sex offender home.”

  8. Hitorque

    Q: What’s the difference between God and Harry Dinkle?

    A: God doesn’t think he’s Harry Dinkle…

    I still see zero reason why a half-assed amateur jazz band is required for this occasion… Wouldn’t a classical strings quintet be more appropriate? Or a rock drummer with an electric bass guitarist? Or even some weirdo with a keyboard synthesizer?

    And since when did a jazz band automatically know all the popular Christmas songs? Oh I forgot it’s Harold LeRoy Dinkle we’re talking about… He probably taught them the entire Christmas song catalog in just an evening.

    The pastor could have easily hired some real, honest-to-god PROFESSIONAL musicians, along with a REAL choir… And don’t tell me St. Pyres is hard up for cash when they hired Dinkle with no problem.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I don’t see how St. Spires could be hard up for cash, based on how the choir got their robes. As long as Bingo the Choir Cat’s around, their coffers should remain comfortably full.

      Good as “St. Pyres” is, I like “St. Pyrites” even better.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Or, if the church wanted musical accompaniment for the choir on a night of Christmas songs, how about…oh, I don’t know…maybe an ORGANIST, which is the position I thought Dinkle originally applied for way back when, after the old biddy tickling the ivories previously croaked on the job! Have we EVER seen him playing the organ since he was hired?

  9. The Duck of Death

    That is one hell of a huge choir loft, that can accommodate a full jazz combo, drum kit, trombone, and all.

    I don’t imagine that it sounds very good, though. I’ve never heard of a church choir singing along as a jazz band plays anything, let alone “Silent Night.”

    Sometimes I’ve heard small brass orchestras accompany choral singing, if it’s Baroque music. But a jazz combo? I can’t even imagine what the arrangement of this music would be. Everybody appears to be playing and singing at the same time. Perhaps it’s an arcane Westview ritual to create a cacophonous racket so hideous it will drive the Devil out?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      There’s plenty of church music that has been arranged for keyboard plus random, because you never know what instruments a small church is going to have access to. I don’t understand how the drum kit could be integrated. Any of the other instruments would be fine to add flavor and flourishes on top of music being played on a piano or organ

      Oh, right.

      Who is playing that giant honking organ that Dinkle was hired to plunk away at?

      • The Duck of Death

        Well, today I learned something! As usual, thanks to the mods/posters here, no thanks to Batty.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Agreed. Trumpets (and often strings) are pretty much the default additions for Christmas and Easter.

        As for the drum kit, I don’t know where they’d set it up in the choir loft without displacing a significant percentage of singers and musicians. Those things take up a huge amount of space.

        And the violin playing at the same time as the wind instruments? I guess it’s possible during a crescendo, but it’s more suitable as support for a solo or by itself in an instrumental meditational piece.

    • It will drive the readers out.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Hey, remember when Dinkle’s job was to play the church organ? And not to bring whatever musicians he feels like so he can conduct them?

  11. be ware of eve hill

    SURPRISE!!! … I guess.

    Play the sad trombone sound, Mort. I’m not really following what’s going on here.

    Maybe Batty needs to implement a feature from South Park. At the end of every episode, either Stan or Kyle will reflect on the lessons they have attained with a speech that often begins with “You know, I learned something today…”.

  12. The Duck of Death

    I like to imagine that the drummer-crone is playing some kind of Gene Krupa-esque rave-up as the choir sings, and that she will punctuate every reading from the gospel with a rim shot, and perform a drum roll as the basket is passed.

    • Charles

      Yeah, the band is a shamble. I can’t possibly imagine how a five-person band sounds when it’s drums, a clarinet, a violin, a trumpet played by a guy who can barely breathe and a trombone played by a guy with dementia and a penchant for getting distracted any time a woman comes by, and we don’t even know what horrific health circumstances undoubtedly afflict the other three members.

      But I find some totally unintended amusement when I imagine whoever-on-the-drums there totally shredding inappropriately or going into a Keith Moon-type frenzy. Something like this:

  13. Suicide Squirrel

    Both ‘Crankshaft’ and ‘Funky Winkerbean’ featured heavy snowfall this week. I guess Batyuk is pining for all the Christmases he celebrated at the North Pole as a child.

    Today at my home in the Akron Ohio area it is currently 53° with no precipitation of any kind.

    It hardly ever snows here on Christmas.