Eats, Shoots, Leaves

Link to today’s strip.

Oh good grief, Batiuk, learn to write. That sentence in panel two is atrocious. Any teacher would mark that like crazy, with a note, “Don’t see me after class, you should just drop out of school.”

Let’s give it a second chance.

Far better than the original. (Can’t really do much about the berserk expression on the guy’s face, though.)

And don’t get me started on Dinkle’s dialogue. “Repeating the sign in front of me, with a question mark added? I really do think my readers are a highly polished set of dimbulbs, don’t I!”

There is one bright spot in today’s episode: Dinkle’s usual skull-grin is missing, replaced by a face full of melting sorrow. Then it gets ruined with what looks like his most smug expression ever in the last panel.

58 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

58 responses to “Eats, Shoots, Leaves

  1. Epicus Doomus

    OMEA has apparently completely caromed off the rails, as today we have a couple of band weirdos brazenly skirting Ohio’s liquor license laws, which seems like it’d be kind of contrary to the whole intent and spirit of the OMEA. But whatever. TomBan had a “booster shot” gag clanging around in that mushy head of his and you know it was gonna come out eventually, one way or another.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, this is kind of in bad taste, isn’t it? Official scholastic endeavors have been trying to downplay alcohol for awhile. The “World’s Largest Cocktail Party” and “Beer Barrel” college football games aren’t called that anymore. And that’s college, not high school.

      Not that bad taste has ever been an obstacle to Funky Winkebean before.

      • Epicus Doomus

        It’s definitely odd FW fodder, no question. You just don’t see a lot of comic strips endorsing the consumption of hard alcohol on school grounds these days. I assume that the underlying idea behind the gag is that being a band booster is so miserable and so unrewarding that you need to get wasted while doing it. Apparently, every single aspect of marching band is awful and the only reason anyone does it is so they can someday wryly reflect upon how horrible it was. At least that’s what I get out of these Dinkle stories.

        • The Duck of Death

          Maybe that explains all the testimonial letters Dinkle was presented with in the hover-box.

          “After living through high school band, my time in a Turkish prison was a piece of cake!”

          “Mr Dinkle, you prepared me well for a life as a UFC champion. Every time I get a well-aimed heel to the face, instead of crying out in pain, I just think to myself, ‘At least I’m not in Dinkle’s band any more!'”

          “In the decades since I played the trombone for your band, I’ve had 11 children. I’ve never once needed medication for childbirth! I got so used to brain-shattering agony working with you that I can keep doing the Jumble even through the strongest contractions! Thanks, Mr D!”

      • be ware of eve hill

        Unbelievable. Is there a more tone-deaf writer in comics than Tom Batiuk?

        Once again, Batty should ask himself, “Is this appropriate for a family newspaper?”, “Would this be offensive to someone battling alcoholism?”
        🤦‍♀️

    • William R Thompson

      From the look on Berserk Guy’s face, I’d say that vodka shooters would be a step down for him.

      • billytheskink

        In fairness to Berserk Guy, he appears to be the reanimated corpse of Mitch Miller. Whatever got him out of the grave probably is a big step up from vodka.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          He looks like tony Isabella to me, without whom Holly wouldn’t have been able to complete Cory’s *Starbuck Jones* collection.,

          Co-creating Black Lightning will absolve you, sir.

    • gleeb

      Doing exactly as they please and expecting others to go along if they know what’s good for them is consistent with OMEA being filled with Dinkles.

  2. Sourbelly

    “Jell-O Vodka Shooters” kind of reminds me of Funky’s “Vodka and Orange” drink order from years ago. They’re both examples of Batdick’s uncanny ability to phrase things just wrong enough to make your teeth itch.

    • Epicus Doomus

      A uniquely Batiukian quality. He gets so, so close sometimes, but it inevitably ends up being a little bit off in the end. Everything’s always all askew in a really annoying sort of way.

      • The Duck of Death

        It’s infuriating, because he’s almost impossible to imitate. Each time, the mangledness of the syntax presents in a slightly different way. He’s like an Enigma machine for sentence structure.

  3. Gerard Plourde

    The resemblance the “booster shots” punch line has to last fall’s push for Covid vaccine boosters makes me wonder if TomBa actually wrote a strip in less than his professed one year time frame. (It still doesn’t make the scenario funny).

    Also, aside from the inappropriateness of a booth pushing booze on the floor of elementary and high school educator’s gathering, I think that the recipe for Jello shots is readily available from any number of sources.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This whole week is so disjointed, I wonder that about all the strips. The jokes look like they were all written at different times and don’t go together at all.

  4. billytheskink

    These folks have brochures?! What details about “Jell-O Vodka Shooters” could possibly fill up a brochure? I guess if they hired Tom Batiuk to write it…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Comics Curmudgeon makes a great point: why aren’t there any bottles present? Have you ever seen a liquor promo in a grocery store? They’ve got bottles present for you to buy. These guys just have pamphlets. Are they selling the instructions for how to make Jello shots? Everybody knows how to do that.

      • Maxine of Arc

        If this is happening at a convention center, I’d guess the venue has concession rules as that’s where they make a lot of money. I was at a convention dedicated to weird fiction a few years back in a city whose large brewery had recently been doing a line of beers tying back to that theme. The brewery had a presence in the exhibit hall but they were not allowed to sell beer, I assume because of the convention center concession rules. They were allowed to give out those little Costco-cup-sized samples. But that was beer. Hard liquor with the corresponding ABV would undoubtedly not fly as I’m sure the convention center didn’t have a hard liquor license. So these folks might be here to build brand recognition (for, uh, “Jello Vodka Shooters tm”) but if they can’t hand out samples, what’s the point?

  5. William R Thompson

    Batiuk, you don’t need to invoke vodka to make this joke work. Set up a photographic booth, with cut-outs that let people show their faces above the bodies of musicians or baton twirlers and call the pictures “booster shots.” Same effect, same waste of time, but nobody stumbles over the issue of licensing liquor sales around minors.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      There’s another problem: “Jell-O” is a registered trademark. I’ve seen TV shows that avoided that term when they meant “gelatin dessert.” It’s a genericized trademark, but it’s still a trademark. Maybe, finally, Batiuk will get a cease and desist from one of the many trademarks and copyrights he rips off.

    • The Duck of Death

      Any normal person, if they had the (very stupid) idea of “booster shots” for band boosters and wanted to sell something, would be peddling shot glasses engraved with “Booster Shot” and the high school band logo of your choice.

      Does — does TB think that Jell-O™️ shots are a new, hip thing that people need to buy instructions for?

  6. Y. Knott

    Well, you can see the wheels turning here…

    “Oh, I’ve got a doozy today. “Booster shots!” But for the joke set-up….a booth at the convention? Yeah, sure. Why not? And they’re selling … wait. I can’t call ’em Jell-O Shots because that might give away the pun at the end. Hmmm….Jell-O Shooters? No. Jell-O Vodka Shooters! Yeah, otherwise the audience won’t get the fact that these are alcoholic shots. Okay, good. Now, I’ve got to do whatever it takes to work “booster” into the verbiage in panel two, so that the “booster shots” pun pays off in panel three. Right. Blah, blah, blah, “band boosters” …….. ugh, is it still too snappy? Maybe a few extra words in panel two to kinda make that rhythm a little more herky-jerky. Yeah. Something about, uh, “cold fall nights at the band boosters concession stand”? Yeah, there we go — that’ll really make the final panel pun pop!”

  7. Hitorque

    1. Yep because if there’s ONE THING youth sports need, it’s even MORE drunken belligerent parents acting like assholes and winding up on the 10 pm news or the police blotter…

    2. Forgive me because I’ve abstained from alcohol all my life so I honestly don’t know — Why wouldn’t volunteer parents just drink coffee to stay warm? Or just bring a portable outdoor space heater?!

    3. Holy hell that dude’s got a suit that defies description… Yet it was still in better taste than today’s punchline…

    • Mela

      Volunteer parents either buy a cup of cocoa that is being sold at the concession stand or they drink their coffee from the giant Starbucks cup that they’ve brought with them.

  8. Hitorque

    4. It’s funny because the comic strip’s title fucking character is a recovering longtime alcoholic… But DJ Funkytimez luckily told us he stays on the wagon by watching the national news to remind himself that the entire world has turned to utter shit and there isn’t enough liquor on the planet to cope even if he did wish to start drinking again…

    • Hitorque

      I just have to reiterate for the record that Funkenstein’s infamous line to his AA club was the single most depressing and nihilist thing I’ve ever read in ANY newspaper comic strip, much less the Funkyverse…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Yeah, that was some bullshit.

        Tell me, Funky, what on the news makes you so depressed?

        The economy? You live in a McMansion far bigger than your needs, which you just had renovated. You own the only functional business in town. Your many failures in this role, including an expensive and stupid expansion to New York, never had any repercussions for you or your lifestyle.

        Too much death and sadness? You live in Westview, the cancer and misery capital of the world. Your best friend is a ghoul who built himself a career out of mourning someone who’s been dead for almost 25 years. Your own son dismembered a music prodigy by driving drunk. He was also a prisoner of war who came back with crippling PTSD, which you didn’t exactly help by making friends with his captor. Your wife had cancer, and just now had a broken ankle that required surgery. To say nothing of your own alcoholism. None of this seemed to have any apparent emotional impact on you. Or, as before, any repercussions.

        Climate change? You whine about it occasionally, but sure as hell don’t do anything to prevent it. You own the aforementioned McMansion, and a fleet of vehicles. You drive everywhere. You once drove 500 miles to New York to rescue Les from his own uselessness.

        Politics? I’ve never once seen you express a discernible opinion. You rescued Adeela from ICE deportation by calling in a favor to Bill Clinton, and then immediately stopped caring about the larger problem once your $9-an-hour employee was rescued.

        Funky, it’s no wonder you like Bill Clinton so much. You’re basically Brian Griffin, but even less witty and more self-absorbed. You whine that people aren’t funding the school, or the newspaper, or social services, or whatever, when nobody’s doing less to help them than you. But breaking your Walkman, missing the end of a televised basketball game, and getting routine cataract surgery were existential crises to you. And the news is so depressing it keeps you off the sauce? Give me a goddam break.

        (Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Tom Batiuk stays aways from partisan politics. But Funky’s comment is really hollow in this context.)

        • The Duck of Death

          Don’t forget that Mr Performative Climate Despair has to fly across the country for his annual routine medical checkup. It’s too bad there’s no reputable hospital nearby — other than the Cleveland Clinic, consistently rated one of the top three hospitals in the country and #1 for cardiac care three decades running. I mean, other than that. I guess he has no choice other than to fly to some doctor thousands of miles away. Poor Funky.

        • hitorque

          It’s not even that… From what I’ve read about addiction, recovery is supposed to be about contrition, atonement, redemption etc., right?!?

          Addicts don’t relapse because the proverbial “rock bottom moment” of their addiction is never far from their thoughts… Perhaps they ruined a once-promising career? Or they wound up in prison for a few years? Did they lose all their friends? Were they a monster to their spouse and/or kids?? The list goes on…

          BUT NOT FUNKENSTEIN… HE LITERALLY BELIEVES EVERYTHING IS GOING TO HELL (despite the fact that as you noted, he leads a pretty charmed and successful life) SO THERE’S NO POINT IN EVEN REACHING FOR A BOTTLE(!) I mean for fuck’s sake, Dr. Funk doesn’t even seem to have an iota of gratitude for the SECOND CHANCE HE’S BEEN GIVEN TO HAVE A HAPPY LIFE AND MEND HIS LITANY OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS(!!)

          If Dr. Funk really believed everything is so hopeless and there’s no point to anything, he might as well take a high-speed midnight drive around Dead Man’s Curve and get it over with…

          • The Duck of Death

            Yes, this is not how addiction works. “I’m too depressed and hopeless in my dead-end life to bother with drinking” isn’t a thing. It very much is not a thing. TB’s unwillingness to learn about the subject is infuriating.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Excellent denunciation — but i should mention that Wally isn’t Funky”s son, but his cousin, even though he calls him “Uncle,” as if he were his nephew.

          By the way, is Les’s full name “Leslie” or “Lester”?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Thanks for the correction. I knew I’d get something like that wrong. I can barely tell any of these characters apart.

          • Hitorque

            It’s officially “Leslie” but I never learned that until a few years ago. As a kid reading this strip in the mid-80s I assumed it was “Lester” and that’s his name in my mind canon so I’ll keep on calling him that…

    • Dood

      I apologize for the oversnark. I should read first.

  9. robertodobbs

    So are they selling Jell-O shooters? There don’t seem to be any on the table. And that would probably be illegal. So what is all that literature? Recipes? I’ve never done a Jell-O shooter but I know how they’re made; you just make Jell-O with some vodka glugged in. And this refrigerated glop would be the best way to warm up, better than a nip of brandy? And hasn’t the idea of drinking to keep warm been exposed as a myth? And we’re encouraging parents to get tipsy at a school event? And people would take the time and effort to man a table at a conference for all of this? The mind reels.

  10. Dood

    It’s funny because the titular character is an alcoholic.

  11. Dood

    I wonder what Dinkle’s assistant Becky — a victim of intoxication and who actually possesses the credentials to attend this event — thinks of this booth.

    • The Duck of Death

      Just off-panel, she’s smirking wryly.

      She’s not a deranged asshole, she’s just drawn that way.

    • Green Luthor

      She made a pun about “driving off a clef” when she lost her arm after LITERALLY driving off a cliff. I think her only complaint would be that she’s not plastered on Jell-O shots right now.

  12. The Duck of Death

    “Cold nights”? I associate Jell-O™️ shots with summer, if anything. They’re the last thing I’d want on a snowy, windy Ohio winter night. A hot toddy would be just about right. Or an Irish coffee, or mulled wine or cider, or Glögg, as long as we’re being “Nordic.” So why Jell-O shooters?

    Let’s take a peek into the Great Man’s thought process:

    TB [thinks]: Okay, we’re at OMEA this week. Band stuff… band stuff…. what kind of band stuff puns can I think of…

    Radio: …and the governor today encouraged all Ohioans to get booster shots as soon as they are approved…

    TB: Booster! There are band boosters… so they can get band booster shots! like liquor shots! Wait, didn’t I hear something about kids drinking Jell-O “shooter” shots on spring break? Okay, that’s it!

    TB’s wife [overhearing]: Honey, don’t you think that “shooter” is maybe not the word to use in connection with school gatherings? And should alcohol be sold at a high school event? I mean —

    TB: And… SENT! Another day’s work in the history books. [glances at watch] And still only 7:10! I’ve got the whole morning ahead of me. [reaches for comic book] Let’s see what Flash is up to.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Sorry Duck, sometimes the filter eats comments for no reason.

      • The Duck of Death

        I figured it was some kind of WordPress giltch. I mean, it’s not like I wrote something crazy and way beyond the pale like “ørgäñ” or “štrôkę.”

      • be ware of eve hill

        Sometimes my comments go through immediately, and other times it takes a few minutes. Is that because of the filter?

  13. be ware of eve hill

    Meanwhile, over in Crankshaft, two of Batty’s most sucktacular characters are featured in the same strip. Les is being an insufferable know-it-all. Lillian is easily insulted.

    Let’s all hope the week ends in bloodshed.

    • The Duck of Death

      Yesterday, I was wondering whether Dan Davis could make Les’ mug slightly less slappable.

      Nope.

      I think it’s the goatee and the hair. And the glasses. And the wry expression. And the yellow shirt. And every other single thing about him.

      • He looks exactly the same as he does now, despite the ten year difference. Or has that been jettisoned?

        • Also, Lillian looks the same when she appears in the current FW strips as she did 10 years ago, despite the fact that present day Crankshaft is depicted as a shell of his former self.

          • be ware of eve hill

            The Dan Davis Lillian has hair that looks like a white hen on her head.

            Bangs in the front. Chicken butt in the rear.

        • billytheskink

          Well, Les did grow the goatee pretty much immediately after Lisa died.

          Didn’t have the graying sides yet, though. I suppose we’re now far enough from the start of Act III that Crankshaft could finally be encountering FW at the beginning of Act III. But I think we all know the real reason we’re seeing Act III Les in ‘Shaft…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Actually, Lillian, you’re a wonderful storyteller and I only have a few tweaks. Mainly, your story doesn’t focus on Lisa enough.”

    • Gerard Plourde

      Judging from Les’s appearance, I think we can safely assume that the ten year time gap has been completely forgotten.

  14. I’ve been doing Jello shots all day and this strip still sucks.