Netbust A Movie

Link To This One

I guess “Blockflix” didn’t roll off the tongue so well. So seriously, what the f*ck has happened to Marianne? Suddenly she’s become the frumpiest leading lady of all time, with that horrific Summer haircut and that bizarre neck/chin deal she has going on. She actually looks more like Rocky’s mom than anyone else, now that I think about it. And Mason’s face in panel three just makes me want to punch things, especially Mason. Those video screen renderings are some of the worst FW drawings I’ve ever seen. Marianne suddenly sprouts some sort of weird pigtails/mullet hairdo and Mason looks like he’s having a seizure, they’re just outrageously terrible.

“Pink Entertainment” sounds like a porn company. Sorry to be all childish about it, but it does. What a cockamamie turn of events this is. The movie was a giant bomb that ended up being relegated to the “art house circuit” even though it’s not a f*cking “art film”, then the pandemic blew that all to hell, at which point one of those horrible internet thingies picked it up, where it became a surprise smash hit. I’m kind of shocked at how much effort BatBrain put into that premise, to be honest. I would have guessed that’d be way, way too complicated for a FW premise, yet here we are.

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84 responses to “Netbust A Movie

  1. “So, let me hang up the phone I was using yesterday, and call you on the computer.”

    • Epicus Doomus

      These two dolts are supposed to be massive Hollywood mega-stars, yet they’re video chatting on 2011-era laptop computers with hilariously bad screen resolution that renders them nearly unrecognizable. It’s also funny how the artist here felt he really needed to drive home the fact that they were chatting via video screens by using that ghastly pixelated effect, as if the sight of them holding laptop computers wasn’t enough to reinforce the point.

      • The thing I wonder is, Monday and Tuesday they were talking on the phone. Today, they’ve somehow switched to Skype and are using their laptops…why? What is Mason supposed to be showing Marianne, the Variety headline?

        Why is this strip set in an eternal 1972, except with the odd cell phone, DVD and computer?

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Right, that’s the first thing I noticed. Does Batty think we wouldn’t remember? More likely he didn’t remember and just pushed this crap out the door.

  2. RudimentaryLathe?

    Netbusters? NETBUSTERS?!?!

  3. Charles

    For a woman that Batiuk had contemplate suicide when people were mean to her on the internet, Marianne would be a TMZ scandal every time she left the house looking like that.

    “YOU WON’T BELIEVE HOW MARIANNE WINTERS LOOKS WITHOUT MAKEUP”

    It’s just incongruous.

    I also hate how Batiuk’s women know absolutely nothing and need to have their circumstances explained to them by men, who for some reason have all the information they need to do so.

    • Epicus Doomus

      He went totally overboard with Marianne and stripped her of every single characteristic but gee-whiz naïveté. Since her debut she has: considered suicide after being photographed kissing someone, become Lisa, been carried away to safety during a fire (by Les, no less) and been treated for breast cancer after detecting symptoms, thanks to the tips in Les’ book. She is absolutely hapless and can’t do anything without a male mentor holding her hand.

      And now, on top of all that, now she looks like Summer Moore minus the grit. If she was any more twee she’d explode in a big puff of dandelion seeds. Remember, she was first introduced to the strip as a sexy Hollywood sci-fi home-wrecking vixen, but look at her now. It’s unbearable.

      • Maxine of Arc

        Marianne has no friends, agents, publicists, stylists, fans, or indeed any acquaintances that aren’t connected to Westview, which is why she has no work unrelated to Masone or any idea how her own career is going or indeed what “the entertainment industry” is.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      This made me think about a ’50s vintage Coronet Instructional Film about “Girl, You’re Becoming A Woman,” in which female puberty is explained by Masoné Jarré in a white lab coat.

      Tomorrow, I’m going in to cover “Video and New Media” art classes at our high school. I hope to report they’re doing the “Vintage Re-Mix” assignment, where they re-edit one of these old public domain instructional films, and indeed one of the students is re-editing Masoné explaining how the female body works. I’ll let you know.

      • Jeff M.

        As a conservator of video and new media art, it’s great to hear about it being taught in high schools. And as someone who got started in this field in part via the Prelinger Collection’s PD ephemeral films I hope your students tackle that assignment. (I’ll add that the ultimate such mashup may be a song by the Evolution Control Committee called “Sex Re-Education,” which is hilarious and extremely dark. #tangent

    • hitorque

      It’s curious to me that Marianne still has that “college freshman who just stumbled out of bed after the $1 pitcher beer Thursday Night Special at the local dive bar” – look to her when it’s clearly midday at least if not later…

      I’d almost wonder if Marianne had a drinking/drug problem or maybe instant megastardom has gone to her head or she’s just burning the candle at both ends and partying too hard… But that might make her and interesting and compelling character and we can’t have that..

    • be ware of eve hill

      Charles, I remembered your theory yesterday concerning Batiuk and his attitudes towards women with certain hair lengths.

      Golly gee willikers! Look who has short hair. Why, it’s his wife, Cathy. What a coinkydink!

  4. William Thompson

    I’m guessing that “Pink Entertainment” is what Batiuk thinks a girl-power company would call itself. Probably they’re a big name among the chick-flick crowd.

  5. Sourbelly

    “Sorry to be all childish about it…” ED, there’s no way to talk about this mess without sounding childish. The subject matter is sub-childish.
    ” So like, the movie had to go to these art house things, and then the art houses closed down, and then a porn company put it on this streaming service, and then all the important award people saw it, and then they decided that they should consider this one actress for a chance to win a big prize!”

    Also, I have no idea what Masonne Jarre is supposed to look like anymore. Luckily, I don’t care anymore than Ayers does.

  6. billytheskink

    AFLIX NIX DIX SICK CHICK FLIX

    SICK PIX UPTICK NETFLIX QUICK

    Marianne hasn’t just not read today’s Variety. She hasn’t read any issue of it in at least nine months.

  7. Green Luthor

    What with “Pink Entertainment”, I’d almost think the fake streaming service was originally “Nutbusters”, but that would probably imply someone’s actually editing this thing. (I mean, we know Batiuk never proofreads anything, so…)

    (All kidding aside, I’m assuming “Pink Entertainment” refers to the pink ribbons used for breast cancer awareness, although unless they deal almost exclusively in breast cancer-themed movies, the porn studio theory would still seem the more likely scenario.)

    (Or it’s a production company founded by Steve Buscemi’s character from Reservoir Dogs. Which could actually be kinda cool, so… yeah, not that.)

    • none

      No, it’s the actual studio which financed the thing, according to prior strips which I can’t be bothered to find right now. It happened a few months before the entirety of Los Angeles went up in flames. There was some lunch at Marmot that Les, Mason, and the owner(?) Cassidy Kerr made arrangements about it. They even made a point for there to be chemistry reads even though Mason handpicked Marianne to star from the start.

      Then, y’know, that whole “the entirety of Los Angeles retroactively burned down in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic” thing happened.

      • billytheskink

        Here you go:

        I don’t think they ever wound up screen testing that waitress, which is too bad because that would have been a nice callback to highlight the sham of the whole casting endeavor.

        • hitorque

          God I forgot how much I hated that “power lunch”… It’s funny because evidently Westview Public Schools doesn’t have the money to hire guest teachers (or “subs” as they were called in my day)…

          It’s also funny because before leaving on his three-week business trip, Les couldn’t be bothered to make sure everything was in order and scheduled for his classes in his absence.

          Maybe it’s just the lifelong East Coaster in me, because I know nothing about the social norms in Los Angeles (I’ve only been to California once in my life, in 1980 and I was 3 and a half years old) but whipping your phone out in the middle of a business lunch with a highly influential person you’d like to make a good first impression with is beyond uncouth… The ONLY time it could possibly be acceptable is if the phone call or text is directly related to the business at hand. Otherwise put your shit in airplane mode and stop wasting the time of a person who is WAY more important than your insignificant ass and doing you a favor just by showing up and trying to make you a shitload of money… And if you absolutely MUST talk or text somebody, at least have the common etiquette to excuse yourself to the john and do it there…

          And what pisses me off is LES DAMN WELL KNOWS THIS ALREADY — You think he’d tolerate his students calling or texting in class while he’s delivering his treatise on “The Great Gatsby?” No, Les wanted Masone and that Cassidy lady to see him on the phone just as a constant passive-aggressive reminder to the big-wheeling Hollywood players that he’s not one of them; just an outsider middle class mook schoolteacher from Nowheresville, Ohio worried about his car payments and getting his gutters cleaned out and texting quiz links to his students. All I’ll say is “Lisa’s Story” must be one hell of transcendent read for all these Hollywood types to put up with so much of Lester’s lowkey disrespect and smug indifference…

          (God, now I’m repeating my rants… I probably said something similar on that day)

        • be ware of eve hill

          That really would have been nice. The waitress most likely would have been available for the screen test.

          From what I’ve read and heard, the Chateau Marmont takes a very dim view of their on-duty waitstaff bothering the clientele with their “pic and res.” In real-life, that waitress would most likely be terminated. Likewise, the guests of the Chateau Marmont don’t want to be approached by every Hollywood wannabe.

          Once again, Batty doesn’t understand the purpose of a Hollywood agent. Why hire an agent when you can just toss your “pic and res” at anyone in the movie industry? You people who hired an agent, don’t you feel stupid now?

        • I know there’s bigger issues here but if they’re at the end of lunch, it’s got to be like 1 pm Pacific Time, so it’s after 4 pm back in Ohio and the school day is probably finished. Certainly third period came and went by, like, 8 am California time.

      • Green Luthor

        Huh. Honestly, I’m rather surprised. I mean, Batiuk can’t remember things he put in the immediately preceding strip (i.e., yesterday these two were talking on the phone, now they’re video calling on laptops), and with all the other details he’s gotten wrong (i.e.,the Dinkles saying they spent the previous Thanksgiving without any guests, but the actual strips say otherwise), I honestly wouldn’t have expected him to remember the name of the production studio. Go figure.

        Tom Batiuk: can remember a off-hand mention from two years ago, but not that Funky’s dad was put in a nursing home because he was suffering from dementia. Bravo, Tom. Bravo.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I mean yeah, I assumed it was called Pink because of the ribbons too, but still. It just sounds kind of porn-y, which probably says more about me than it does about BatNard, who didn’t put anywhere near this much thought into it.

      I also really hate how self-deprecating Mason is here. “Well, that little ol’ movie we made was relegated to the freak show circuit and would have been totally forgotten, but wouldn’t you know it, it got picked up by one of those joke goof internet dealies and people watched it! I know, right? I had zero expectations at all, ha ha ha!”. Yeah, that’s hysterical, you jackass.

      • I also bought “Pink Entertainment” as the name for a distributor of movies and shows and such thought to be of particular interest to breast-cancer-awareness people and groups. Partly because it evokes this link to pink-ribbon campaigns. Partly because the name sounds somehow patronizing even though I can’t say just how.

      • bad wolf

        I think “pink” as a euphemism for porn is common in Japanese culture, which is super obscure trivia as i only heard it a couple of decades ago. Still, Uncle Wiki has a page for pink films that “Pink film (ピンク映画, Pinku eiga) in its broadest sense includes almost any Japanese theatrical film that includes nudity (hence ‘pink’) or deals with sexual content.”

        Makes it sound like there were some scenes in the film they didn’t bother to show in the strip. Maybe Mason is thinking of Mr. Skin’s 22nd Annual Anatomy Awards?

      • hitorque

        Ironically it wouldn’t be that out of place for Masone to say this, assuming he and Marianne were still some D-list unknowns struggling to survive in Hollywood and they put out this low-budget gem of an indie passion project with nothing more than determination, ingenuity and heart…

        But now I’m starting to wonder if Batiuk seriously forgot he made Masone and Marianne **GLOBAL** HOUSEHOLD NAMES with the Starsucke trilogy which is pretty much the Funkyverse equivalent of Avengers Infinity War. The trilogy must have grossed over a billion dollars easily… Kids around the world were begging Santa for toys and Xbox video games using THEIR likeness… They went to school hauling backpacks and pens, pencils and other supplies using THEIR likeness… They have multiple entries over at TVTropes and KnowYourMeme and DeviantArt has thousands of fanmade drawings… There’s hundreds of parody videos about them on Youtube and social media… Kids dressed up as them for Halloween! Teenage comics geek boys (and some girls) have full-size glossy posters in their bedrooms of Marianne’s Jupiter Moon in her tightest, most revealing or most provocative outfits, you get the picture… But because this is the Funkyverse, they can freely go anywhere they want in the world using their real names and not be mobbed or even recognized, ever…

        • Charles

          But now I’m starting to wonder if Batiuk seriously forgot he made Masone and Marianne **GLOBAL** HOUSEHOLD NAMES with the Starsucke trilogy

          It’s worse. Marianne was a global household name before she was cast in Starbuck Jones: The Jonesening. Batiuk made that into a thing, that the excitement surrounding the movie was at a fever pitch because they cast Marianne, global superstar that she is. And Cindy was worried because Marianne had the reputation of a homewrecking maneater with regards to her co-stars, which now included Cindy’s husband.

          I think it changed because Batiuk really didn’t have the ability to portray Marianne in such a fashion, and because doing so would have been portraying Cindy more sympathetically than he was willing to do. If you’re supposed to care that a woman’s going to lose her husband in a cheating scandal, it’s incumbent that you like the woman, and Batiuk spent years countering that in his portrayal of Cindy.

          So Marianne comes in like Oscar-winning superstar Angelina Jolie ruining Jennifer Aniston’s marriage and leaves it like some budget, third-hand lobotomized Neve Campbell from the Party of Five era. Who we’re supposed to like because she’s almost child-like in her innocence and ignorance.

          • Charles

            I also think that part of why Batiuk failed to maintain that course is that if Marianne were as she was initially introduced, Mason couldn’t be his smug, mansplaining, jaded, all-knowing figure that he is in all of the dumb movie-making sequences. A sophisticated actress would make him look pretty god damn silly, and merely underscore the core shittiness of Mason’s character.

          • hitorque

            Yeah, I remember that now… Although to be completely fair, IIRC it’s not like Cindye could name examples or cite specific actors. And she didn’t get that tidbit of info from the New York Post or Vanity Fair or the Daily Mail… If memory serves, her source for the “Marianne the husband-stealer” rumor came from some random asshole on social media or some movie fan message board… And FFS, Marianne was what, 20-21 at the time? I’d love to know how someone that young (and whose career is just getting off the ground) gets a reputation as a loves-to-seduce-her-co-star-and-steal-him-from-the-wife type of girl, because it doesn’t add up… To say nothing of the fact that despite being Hollywood’s sex symbol du jour, her social/dating life seems all but nonexistent?

            In retrospect I’m pretty sure that Cindye was in her classic jealous/paranoid “lashing out at the world because she secretly hates herself” mood and ran with the first tidbit of information that confirmed her biases regardless of the source…

  8. Y. Knott

    “How can I be up for an Oscar nomination? And what does that even mean?”

    “It’s simple. Lisa’s Story … which is not an art-house film… was relegated to the art house circuit. But then the pandemic hit … which was about a year and a half before we finished shooting … and that created some kind of horrific time vortex where all those art house theaters somehow retroactively shut down — even as they were somehow showing a film that hadn’t yet been made.”

    “But … but … how could that happen?”

    “Something to do with trying to repair a long-standing time rupture in middle Ohio….the few who knew of it called it ‘The Crankshaft Deterioration’. Now, as a result of this epic tear in the very fabric of time itself, our entire plane of existence is permanently trapped in a nightmarish scenario where cause and effect, time and continuity no longer apply. ‘Lisa’s Story’ and you and I and everyone we know exist in a world where our appearances constantly melt and change, and even the memories of our own backstories may suddenly be restructured or simply erased without notice.”

    “Gosh. Does this explain why this conversation started as a phone call, but now suddenly we’re on Zoom?”

    “Maybe. Who can tell? ‘Reality’ is now at best a tenuous ever-shifting kaleidoscope of unconnected but not-quite-random events that center around Lisa, Westview, authorial wish fulfillment, and comic books. Given all that … an Oscar nomination for your performance in ‘Lisa’s Story’ is maybe the least surprising thing to have happened recently.”

    “Well, um, okay. I guess. Hey…there’s some old guy here trying to sell me something called, uh, ‘band candy’?”

    “Relax. All will become clear. Let the magic unfold. It’s called writing.

    • Mr. A

      Bravo!

      I was going to raise the timeline issue myself. Perhaps Batiuk meant that all the arthouse theaters shut down for the pandemic, then re-opened, then shut down again permanently for lack of business (ten years ago, in the present).

    • erdmann

      Who would’ve guessed FW is set the DC Universe? Coming this spring, Funky teams up with Batman and the Outsiders to battle the Pizza Monster and Per Degaton’s Injustice Society. Meanwhile, the Golden Age Green Lantern attends the Westview prom because Principal Nate doesn’t say he can’t.

    • Hitorque

      “Oh and did you hear what happened down in San Diego with that weirdo reclusive old-timer comics artist who made his first public appearance after faking his death several years earlier?? What was up with that!?”

  9. none

    Wasn’t there a week about how badly this movie performed for Les and Cayla to wistfully mope about it?

    Oh, the Netflix bounce happened after that? I guess? Yeah, sure, let’s say that, whatever, fuck it.

  10. Hitorque

    1. Am I really to believe Lisa’s Movie became a streaming sensation and nobody knew about it? Not Masone not Les not Marianne not Darrin not Cindye (remember when she used to be a journalist for BuddyBlog.com covering Hollywood and pop culture?) not Summer not Cayla nor anybody else in St. Lisa’s entire fucking hometown?! You know, that’s the place in Ohio where the Lisa’s Legacy Foundation Fun Run 10k IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT ON THEIR CALENDARS?

    2. It’s funny because I was the one who first suggested the movie go straight to streaming… And lest folks forgot, the pandemic was going on already when the movie was shooting so it’s not like the producers didn’t have advance knowledge that the Cineplexes across the world were going to take a major hit…

    3. It’s funny because even though it’s a streaming hit the movie still won’t break even for another decade or so…

    4. It’s funny because Masone and Marianne have already forgotten about the wildfire that destroyed a third of the L.A. region…

    5. I love how Masone Jarre is filling in backstory as if he and Marianne never worked nor lived anywhere near Hollywood, and that they don’t have assistants, agents, publicists, regular interviews with E! Magazine, etc… You know, for big-time A-listers, they are shockingly ignorant and uninformed about the industry and city they work in…

    6. Why the hell is Les “co-producer” again? Exactly what the fuck did he “produce”? What duties did he perform? Yeah he went along to the pitch meetings with Masone, but it was Masone Jarre who did all the talking… And Masone pretended to let Lester select the actress who was going to play St. Lisa even though the decision was already made before the first girl auditioned… Then Les delivered one line in a cameo as a waiter and after that he flew home to Westview and washed his hands of the whole ordeal… Has anyone in recorded history ever been this moody, indifferent and ungrateful to have their bestseller nonfiction tome adapted to the silver screen with the two current biggest stars in the world teamed up with the number one director? What does it say when Masone and Marianne put infinitely more enthusiasm and effort into trying to turn Lester’s chickenshit story into mass appeal chicken salad than Les did??

    • Gerard Plourde

      Another question prompted by this success – Wouldn’t Les as a producer be getting remuneration of some kind from the pay-per-view? Wouldn’t that be a clue how the movie was doing? (Not sure why I’m bringing this up since it’s certain that question wouldn’t occur to TomBa.)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        If Les started getting huge residual checks and didn’t even tell Cayla or Summer about it, that would be… perfectly in character.

    • be ware of eve hill

      4. It’s funny because Masone and Marianne have already forgotten about the wildfire that destroyed a third of the L.A. region…

      I don’t know if Masone and Marianne have forgotten the Great LA Fire, but you can bet your bottom dollar Batty has.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Why is this explanation even necessary? Movies don’t have to be commercially successful, or even find an audience, to win awards. If anything, Oscar movies tend to be overlooked.

    It’s here because Les must be insulated from failure at all times. Even when Les wants the movie to fail, and was smugly happy that it failed! Tom Batiuk must pile accolades on Les, so he can keep acting put upon and too cool for the room because Lisa died and people just don’t understand his pain. Which manifests itself as pining for an unfilled birdhouse. It’s all so bizarre.

    The other thing Les can never do is learn anything, or change his mind. He was happy with the resulting movie, presumably fulfilled his stated goal of “telling Lisa’s Story correctly,” and even got the dickish satisfaction of his partners losing money on it all. Why isn’t that enough? Why must Les be dragged through an awards process he doesn’t even want, did nothing to earn, and nobody on earth wants to see.

    Is Lisa’s Story so magical it can’t help but win awards, against the desires of its own creator? Is it Les’ Springtime For Hitler, where he needed it to fail, but its success will ruin him? If so, what was the ulterior motive for making it? What the hell was the point of any of this?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Batty is such a poser. He wants the fame and notoriety, and especially the money, but he has to put on that whole artist “I don’t care about money” attitude.

      Hence, Lisa’s Story can only achieve success by biting the hand that feeds it. “The big studios passed on us, the big theaters didn’t want us, but look, the art house crowd loved us and now you can’t ignore us!”

      Lisa’s Story must only achieve success in the proper way, and if it doesn’t achieve success it’s because those evil Hollywood fat cats can’t recognize a great story!

      Bah, the story sucks and maybe that’s why Batty didn’t get his Pulitzer. He’s back to stroking himself on his blog this week. A comics story on breast cancer, what an artistic triumph.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        But that’s not what Les is doing. Yes, you’re exactly right that Batiuk is indulging his ego, and his high school need to get even with anyone that doesn’t properly worship at the altar of his greatness. He’s a bitter, mediocre 15-year-old who thinks he’s far more talented than he really is.

        Dealing with unwanted success can be a great story. But we don’t know why Les acts the way he does. He sabotages the movie, hopes for it to fail, objects to every little thing Mason does, and acts like he’s being drawn and quartered the whole time. All he had to say was “no.” Why didn’t he? Why did he agree to make the movie if he was so opposed to it? The story never tells us his motivation.

        When Charlie Brown didn’t want to be in the spelling bee, we knew why: he was afraid of failure, and the story was about dealing with that. Les is just moping around, being a passive-aggressive jackass for no in-story reason. I think TB is going for a “Les’ motivation is too complex for mere mortals to understand.” But we understand Les’ motivations all too well. He’s a spoiled, arrogant, elitist, untalented, backstabbing, selfish prick.

  12. OT, but what happened to the links in the sidebar? They’re all weird or missing.

  13. sgtsaunders

    Oscar, schmoscar. It’s probably popular as campy, maudlin schmaltz that people love to hoot at. In fact, I suspect the social media buzz would be a lot like the comments appearing here daily.

    • hitorque

      Yeah, I was about to say the same thing… Not everything that’s popular on streaming services is great, or even good…

    • Jeff M.

      Yup. If this thing were playing at an Alamo Draft House or the Music Box or what have you, it would absolutely be playing to a drunken crowd at midnight who chant along with all of the classic lines. “THIS PLAYGROUND IS CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS!!”

  14. Dood

    Once again, a four-year-old writes Funky Winkerbean.

  15. be ware of eve hill

    Out of curiosity, I checked out some of the articles on the Variety website. I found this one to be intriguing.

    ‘Bloom County’ to Bring Opus, Bill the Cat and the Rest of the Comic Strip to Fox As an Animated Series in Development
    https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/bloom-county-animated-fox-berkeley-breathed-1235182440/amp/

    I always fear when comic strips are translated into other media. For example, the barely recognizable ‘Over the Hedge’ movie and the lame-o ‘Garfield’ movies. On the other hand, the ‘Boondocks’ animated series turned out well, IMO.

    Hopefully, the ‘Bloom County’ animated series won’t suck, but I don’t see a way to make it for network TV without watering down the humor. I doubt too many people would enjoy watching ‘Bloom County Lite.’ Put it on Comedy Central or the Cartoon Network, not FOX. Ack!

    • billytheskink

      While the Garfield films were not particularly good, Garfield and Friends remains well-regarded to this day, probably the gold standard for a comic strip TV show (along with Boondocks). The newer CGI Garfield show less so, though its critical reception is probably better than the recent output of the strip itself.

      The turn of the century saw a couple of major comic strip adaptations hit network TV, Dilbert on UPN and Baby Blues on the WB. Dilbert was very well-received, ran two seasons, won an Emmy for its title sequence, and drew good ratings (well, for UPN) in its first season before being inexplicably moved to follow the infamously terrible sitcom Shasta McNasty in its second season. Baby Blues, however, struggled out of the gate and was cancelled after 8 episodes (with the final 5 ultimately airing in the early days of Adult Swim). It added multiple uninspired secondary characters that had never appeared in the strip (a Simpsons-like dysfunctional family next door, a ditzy babysitter, a schmoozing co-worker voiced by Diedrich Bader) and dialed the MacPherson’s back to when they only had an infant Zoe, with the writing largely and flatly ripping off other “adult” animated family sitcoms rather than mining the comic strip itself for material.

      Adult Swim or another non-OTA network platform would seem to be a better match for the humor and edge of Bloom County, I agree, but sometimes these things can shine through on the networks. The key may be how involved Breathed will be. Scott Adams and Aaron McGruder were very involved in their well-received tv show adaptations, Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott were not involved in the creation of the Baby Blues show.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I had forgotten about Dilbert. That was a great show! Daniel Stern voiced Dilbert, Larry Miller voiced the Pointy-Haired Boss, Chris Elliot voiced Dogbert, and Jason Alexander voiced Catbert.

        I don’t remember Garfield and Friends or Baby Blues. I do remember Shasta McNasty for inexplicable some reason.

        I’m just concerned about FOX because they have a reputation for screwing up TV shows, i.e. Arrested Development, Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

        • Fox gets a lot of crap, and rightly so, but in fairness to them they kept Arrested Development and Futurama going for at least three seasons, when any other network would have dropped those shows after three episodes. They’re in the business of selling advertising, and much as I enjoyed those shows, they weren’t getting a substantial audience.

          • be ware of eve hill

            My husband and I have stopped watching dramas on the big four broadcast networks. We’re sick and tired of our shows getting canceled after one season, i.e. Debris and Clarice. Why invest any time in a show when the network will cancel it on a cliffhanger. I know we’re not in the main demographic anymore, but what’s with all the talent shows? How many ‘Law and Order’ and ‘Chicago’ shows do we need? How many cooking shows do we need of Gordon Ramsey yelling at people because they’re too stupid to follow his advice.

            We’ve started streaming shows we missed the first time around such as Schitt’s Creek and What We Do in the Shadows. We also like Amazon Prime’s The Expanse and The Boys.

            We got rid of cable last year. There just wasn’t enough there to justify the monthly cost. The people in charge of SYFY and the History Channel have lost their god damn minds.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Hoo boy. Click open the ‘Fox Animated’ folder. According to this, there are a lot of iffy decisions regarding animated shows on FOX. Be strong Berke Breathed!

            https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ScrewedByTheNetwork/FOX

        • hitorque

          And Kathy Griffin was that female character who I can’t remember… Seeing a cast full of known names for an animated show is certainly a thing of the past and I don’t recall it happening since maybe “The PJ’s?” It almost certainly ballooned the production costs so networks began to rely almost entirely on dedicated professional voice actors instead of celebrities (outside of one-time guest appearances)

          • be ware of eve hill

            That’s right, Kathy Griffin voiced Alice (and her fists of death).

            I watched The PJs. Wasn’t that originally on FOX too? The show was canceled and ended up on UPN or The WB for a while?

            You’re right. Eddie Murphy created, wrote, and provided the voice of the main character. That claymation probably cost a pretty penny too. Certainly not as cheap as filming on a studio set.

      • hitorque

        And yes, Garfield and Friends still remains the gold standard (along with the Charlie Brown/Snoopy movies)… Watched it every Saturday morning…

        And Garfield’s voice actor was **SO** perfect!! Long before that cartoon show that was almost exactly what his voice sounded like in my head when I read the strip in the paper…

        And someone help me out here — I could almost swear there was some kind of short-lived FBOFW animated adaptation back in the 80s… Or is my memory playing games with me again??

        • billytheskink

          A series of FBOFW animated specials were made in the 80s and early 90s. Lynn Johnston was heavily involved in those and her own children voiced Michael and Elizabeth in the first special. They were understandably much more commonly broadcast in Canada than the US, but aired and re-aired on the Disney Channel from time-to-time through the 90s.

          There was also an animated series made in the early 2000s, also with apparent significant involvement from Johnston. I’ve never seen it and I don’t think it ever aired outside of Canada. A look at its IMDB page shows that Bryn McAuley voiced April, which I note because early in her now-prolific career providing voices for Canadian animated productions she was the voice of Anne Shirley in the ridiculous early 2000s Anne of Green Gables cartoon where Anne invents hockey goalie pads and masks in one episode.

          • hitorque

            Thank you… I knew I wasn’t going crazy…

            And it’s not like I ever watched the show (even though I read the strip daily), I just remembered stumbling upon it once or twice while flipping channels…

  16. Don

    Maybe TB is psychic – didn’t “Don’t Look Up” get four Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, based pretty much on its Amazon Prime vieweings?

    Meanwhile, maybe we have been overthinking this, and in the Funkyverse, they haven’t actually announced the nominations yet – it’s just that there is “buzz” that Marianne is expected to get one, which is why everyone saying that she is “up for a nomination”? This would leave room for an Adapted Screenplay nomination as well, giving them a legitimate reason for Les to attend the ceremony.

    “And the Oscar for Best Picture goes to…’The Queen of Marksbury!’ “

  17. be ware of eve hill

    The wish-fulfillment self-congratulatory nature of this story arc made me ponder something. Batty claims to allegedly create this comic strip with a year lead time. What if he didn’t have such a long lead time creating Funky Winkerbean? What if Batty created the strip on a daily basis? Suppose Batty tore his rotator cuff while patting himself on the back over this story arc.

    What would he do? What would he do?
    1.) Run repeats. Funky Winkerbean’s Greatest Hits. 🤣😂🤣
    2.) Let a talented guest writer fill in for him. Ayers can ink and letter the strip by himself. On second thought, the writer doesn’t have to be talented.
    3.) Hand the keys completely over to Ayers and let him write it too.
    4.) Funky Winkerbean goes into hiatus until he heals. No comic.
    5.) Demand that the Comics Kingdom suspend operations until he heals.
    6.) Batty has written in his blog that his wife and son fill in for him at comic conventions when he can’t attend. Would Batty let Cathy and Brian fill in for him?

    While #4 is probably the most popular option, I’d love to see #3. Chuck Ayers can go nuts and work out what has to be years of frustration. Dinkle is murdered by an angry mob that can no longer tolerate him. He is bludgeoned to death with frozen band turkeys and buried under the fifty-yard line of his beloved football band practice field. Les develops cancer, dies and his ashes are flushed away in one of the men’s room toilets at Westview High (nobody writes a book but there is much jubilation, YaY). Montoni’s is destroyed by every character who had the misfortune of working there. Funky and Holly are exiled for years of poisoning their patrons. DSH John is convicted of being a child predator and gets the chair. Westview is destroyed in a series of riots led by the underutilized characters. Kevin the Dwarf is named king and makes high school choir director Natalie Mancuso his queen.

    (be ware of eve hill stares dreamily out the window and lets out a contented sigh)

    • Green Luthor

      If they were to go with option 1, how long would it take for anyone to even notice? I mean, I’m sure everyone would be thinking “oh, crap, not ANOTHER [Dinkle|Atomik Komix|Les|Funky AA|Montoni’s|whatever] story”, but how long until “wait, this is actually a rerun of an old strip”?

      • be ware of eve hill

        So true. There’s a limited number of plots available on Batty’s spinning story wheel.

        Are the plots selected randomly, or is there an order to Batty’s madness?

        • hitorque

          To be fair, ALL sports storylines died when TomBa killed Jerry Bushka without even giving him a dignified funeral or ever allowing Westview to hire a replacement…

          We don’t have “teenage high school silliness” stories anymore since Chullo Kid and his sidekick graduated… I know Batiuk created fat Bernie Bernstein to take their place, but aside from being a dumb nerdy comics geek (in a world already chock full of nerdy comics geeks), he doesn’t have much comedic or dramatic potential…

          Cindye was once a reliable catalyst for a lot of plots, but morphed into a one-note character obsessed with her vanity and aging beauty… And after she got hitched to Masone and moved to Malibu she’s been mostly retired as a character…

          As for the next generation, almost all of them are either married or about to get married so there’s nothing interesting there….

          Everything at Montoni’s/Komixxx Korner and Atomikkk Komixxx is always perfectly successful and flawless and everyone gets along and agrees with each other all the time so there’s no story here… KK does very brisk business but refuses to expand, and AK refuses to hire anyone under the age of 30…

          Morton Winkerbean, and Holly’s mom refuse to die…

          Harold LeRoy Dinkle refuses to fucking retire and move to Scottsdale or sail around the Caribbean or something, anything…

          Lester refuses to stop humping the corpse of his beloved St. Lisa and move on with life even what, 15-18 years later? He also refuses to admit he’s made more than enough fucking money from his book sales and movie rights to retire from teaching (which clearly bores him) and do something else… If nothing else, Cayla can definitely quit her job as school receptionist.

          Summer and her stepsister refuse to graduate from the University of Toledo. They used to be big-time basketball stars but TomBa doesn’t give a shit about that anymore.

          It’s all very incestuous, isn’t it? Legacy characters changing spouses or partners like trading cards, everybody works at the same 3-4 places with their lifelong friends/relatives/spouses (every last one of them a nepotism hire) and no outsiders or new characters are ever introduced.

          So what’s left??

  18. So, apparently Marianne is not only unaware that she’s up for an Oscar nomination, but she is also unaware that the film is being run on Netbusters, long enough to attract the attention of the Academy? Shouldn’t we expect that to be big news in itself in Westview, also? I would expect a viewing party at Montoni’s, or at least one at the Taj Moore-hall.

    • Hell, Mason and Cindy are probably going to fly into Westview to attend the Montoni’s Watch Party. (No, of course Mason won’t be duty-bound to attend in person, because of… a temporal anomaly caused by Lisa’s wrath.)

    • hitorque

      I’d wondered yesterday how something could get “must-watch” buzz on a mainstream streaming service yet absolutely nobody in the entire Northeast Ohio region had seen it… And if they had seen it, they sure as hell aren’t talking about it…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I would make a decent wager that Les being awarded the Oscar, and getting rapturous applause from the FW cast all gathered at Montoni’s, will be the 50th Anniversary strip.

      It’s six weeks away. That’s long enough for a “prestige arc.” So far it’s moving slowly enough for it to take that long. And TB is out-of-touch and arrogant enough to make hims– er, “Les” the centerpiece of it.

  19. Jeff M.

    There’s been discussion before here about cognitive decline and I am now thinking that may genuinely be the case, on both B’s and A’s part. This is the flat-out stupidest writing I think I’ve ever seen in this strip – not just bad, but genuinely idiotic. It’s not like he’s lacking some insider-y Hollywood knowledge that only someone in the industry would know. Feeble is the only word that comes to mind, no pun intended. And it’s not just Batiuk, is it? Did he write that on Monday they’re talking on the phone and today they’re on a video call (heaven forbid we get a name for that service – Shmoom maybe?) Or does A make that decision and B mindlessly inks it? Even comparing those terrible power-lunch strips with this, there’s a major decline. I’m about to start feeling sad about this. (Which I guess is the same as being up for an Oscar nomination…)

    • Y. Knott

      The decline happens very, very slowly, but steadily. Readers of Apartment 3-G will recognize the signs.

      And sadly, as cognitive decline is not a fate I would wish on anyone, the signs are beginning to appear here.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I think it’s nothing beyond Batiuk being lazy, and the complete atrophy of his writing skills from disuse. The strip doesn’t make any sense, but making sense hasn’t been a requirement since at least 2005. At least Apartment 3-G was still trying to tell a story; it just couldn’t anymore. Funky Winkerbean isn’t trying. And until somebody makes it, I’m loath to attribute its poor quality to anything else..

      • Charles

        Yeah, I feel the same way. The Phil Holt sequence didn’t happen because Batiuk forgot that he killed Phil Holt. It happened because he no longer gives enough of a shit to maintain continuity. If he wants something to happen in today’s strip that contradicts something he showed yesterday, four days ago, or especially six months ago, he’ll do it without even thinking twice. It’s too much effort to adjust.

        Same reason why he keeps coming back to Dinkle, Lisa’s Story and Atomik Komix “brainstorming”, because coming up with novel sequences is more effort than he’s willing to make.

        • The Phil Holt thing was indeed screwy. It’s like he went to all this trouble of killing him off, leaving his valuable artwork to Durwood, hobnobbing with Lisa’s ghost, and then BOOM, he decides he’s not through with him (he needs him for more interminable comics banter arcs) and just makes up some nonsense about him faking his death, like it’s something that an attorney can do by just filing a couple of forms. At least in this case he actually acknowledged that Phil was at one time really dead, unlike Papa Mort, who made the transition from suffering advanced dementia to being a dirty old man with zero explanation. Meanwhile, he’s practically abandoned all the characters in Westview that we care about – will Cory and Rocky ever get married? Will Summer and Keisha ever graduate? Will Adeela ever escape Montoni’s and get an actual job as an architect? Will any of the high school kids ever be seen again, except as straight men to Les and Kablichnik?

        • hitorque

          And oddly enough I’m mostly okay with that… Every franchise that lasts long enough sooner or later has to say “fuck canon and fuck continuity” just to get some wiggle room to work and create something interesting (SEE: “The Simpsons” or the Chris Pine “Star Trek” movies)…

          I’m just pissed off that Batiuk doesn’t just OWN THIS NEW FREEDOM AND RUN WITH IT!! If he wants a world where Les is 50 years old, Funkmeister is 60, Holly is 54 and Cindye is eternally 35 despite all graduating high school together, then fine… Likewise if Summer and her Stepsister are eternally 20 year old college juniors, or if Krankenschaaften is well over 100 with no plans to slow down. The Great SoCal Wildfire was a dream and never happened, fine… Find a way to make Westview fire Becky and re-hire The Big Dink, I don’t give a shit… Retcon or reboot whatever, just give us something interesting and god forbid entertaining for once!

          I don’t know if “Gasoline Alley” is still running, but I remember the author’s claim to fame a long time ago was that this was the only strip where the characters aged in real time… If that’s really still the case, then that strip must be all kinds of fucked up today…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          “Gasoline Alley” ages people realistically, and then never lets anyone die. I think Skeezix is 114 now. And his father Walt is still alive.

  20. From the Batty Blog:

    A year after the strips ran in the papers, they were collected into a book called Lisa’s Story. This book is now hard to find and kind of pricey on the internet as I found out when I needed a copy upon returning to Lisa’s Story.

    eBay:

  21. At last! I finally know how Oscar noms work! Thanks, Tom Batiuk!