Shmucks in a row

Today’s strip begs the classic 5 Ws (and an H) of writing. It also begins the Oscars story Variety promised last month. Yeah, I thought that maybe if I buried the lede it would stay in the ground, but alas.

Who is Mason talking to on the left? Wait, he calls her Marianne… that’s supposed to be Marianne Winters? The lady with the pentagon head and the pigtail-bun hairstyle my niece insisted on wearing when she was a toddler is Marianne Winters?

What is with TB’s willingness to use Hulu and HBO’s trademarked names but still insist on sticking to the eyeroll-inducing “Netbusters”?

When does TB think the Academy Awards ceremony takes place? We’re three weeks out from this year’s Oscars broadcast… Does that mean? Oh no, please no. I really hope TB just got the dates wrong.

Where is the “chateau” where this “real party” is happening? Chateau Marmont? Haha, really? I guess if you don’t know… then you don’t know. I’m in no hurry to find out, either.

Why are Cliff Anger and Vera Nash here? Neither one was involved in the Lisa’s Story movie at all… well, other than inexplicably being at the film’s wrap party.

How is this story going to end? Insufferably, no doubt. I don’t think any other outcome is possible.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

28 responses to “Shmucks in a row

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I’ve always hated how he breaks up these longer arcs by doing something else for a few weeks, then picking them back up. I guess he thinks it adds “suspense”, I suppose, but really it’s just more annoying than anything else. Anyhow, Mason (with wife) and Marianne (with new hair) are at the Oscars, hobnobbing with the hordes of shallow Hollywood phonies and so forth. I mean, either she’ll win or she’ll lose, and right now I don’t feel too strongly either way on that. But either way, “he” will somehow end up involved, this is virtually guaranteed. And it fills me with dread and loathing, too.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s one of Batiuk’s precious “rules of cartooning” that exist only in his head. One of them is “arcs should be no longer than three weeks.” He thinks that by breaking a 5-week arc into 2-week and 3-week segments, he’s adhering to this. He’s adhering to the letter of the law, while blatantly violating its intent. Which is “throw out shit you don’t need.” That entire two weeks of Marianne and Mason talking in circles should have been left on the cutting room floor.

    • Mela

      I wondered “where’s Les?” and was immediately filled with the same dread.

  2. William Thompson

    The “Chateau?” I’m guessing that this isn’t the Chateau Marmoset, but the Chateau Roissy from “The Story of O.” What could be more fitting for this story than a French S&M palace? This might be the first time we’d welcome Les Moore’s presence.

    • billytheskink

      “If you know… you know” indeed.

      A remarkable number of things related to Funky Winkerbean could qualify for the same designation, not a single one of them good in any way.

  3. Sourbelly

    Yeah, Batdick, listen: The whole “Hollywood people sure are shallow” thing was played out roughly 50 years ago. This obvious filler doesn’t add to the suspense, because as others here have noted, there is no suspense to be had. Nobody cares. NOBODY. Just cut to the part where the Oscars are interrupted by Les being awarded the Nobel Prize for Greatest Human Ever and Eat That High School Bullies award for awesomeness.

    And then move on to Funky introducing a midday-brunch pizza.

  4. Oh yeah, Tom Batiuk, like you “know.”

  5. J.J. O'Malley

    Okay, I have no idea who everyone is, but here goes:

    #1. Marianne Winters, veteran screen sexpot or naive, starstruck gamin? Batiuk’s sense of continuity never ceases to amaze. Also, an A-list actress couldn’t find a date or at least bring her mother a la Bradley Cooper?
    #2. We know the reason Marianne’s in attendance, but why is Mr. Jarre there? He apparently didn’t get a Best Actor nod, and he never mentioned that the film received any of the other nominations (Best Picture, Screenplay, Etc.) that would have led to his presence.
    #3. Nice of Cindy to stay home so that her and Masonne’s daughter could attend.
    #4. Oh, yeah, the director of “Dead St. Lisa: The Movie,” also a presumed non-nominee. At first I thought it was Frank Nelson, the wise-cracking desk clerk (“Yeeeessss!?”) from all those old Jack Benny episodes.
    #5. Wasn’t Cassidy Kerr a blonde?
    #6-7. I assume Cliff and Vera are working as TV broadcast “seat-fillers” for any nominees who have to go “visit the sandbox.” Right now Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are canoodling in the lobby while our nonagenarian lovebirds make the row look full for the cameras.
    #8-13. “In Memoriam” shout-outs to the late, great Divine in #10 and Isaac Hayes in #12.
    #14. Why is Woody Allen smirking?

    At least we’re getting this nonsense out of the way early, so on the night of the actual awards we can watch Sam Elliott haul out his six-shooters in disgust when “Power of the Dog” wins Best Picture.

  6. Mela

    Well, after the words “And the Oscar goes to”, you can figure on at least three days just to open the envelope.

  7. The Dreamer

    Why does Cindy, in her 60’s, still look like she’s in her 20’s? Also at the Oscars the nominees sit up front with their +1’s, they are never allowed to bring large entourages

  8. Hitorque

    1. Any time a Funkyverse strip starts with a character saying “I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M AT ____ !!!” you know it’s going to suck hard.

    1a. Okay Marianne, you learned about your nomination months ago — You can drop your “naive innocent wholesome girl from small town Middle America” act because it really has to be wearing thin for everyone around you…

    2. What the hell is Masone doing there? Didn’t he cynically declare that the Oscars were only about politics and kissing up to certain influential media gatekeepers and had absolutely nothing to do with merit??

    2a. I know Cliffe and Verae are only there to fill seats since Batiuk has no other “Hollywood-ish” characters he can put on display…

    2b. Wow, the current sexiest icon in Hollywood couldn’t find some superstar alternative rocker or pro athlete or YouTube influencer to be her date for the academy awards? What an empty life she must lead…

    3. I’ve never been to the Oscars before, but I’m willing to bet that conversation in the audience sounds absolutely nothing like this.

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    For what’s supposed to be the Hollywood elite, they all look and sound like a bunch of schlubs from Westview, don’t they? “Gosh, I can’t believe I’m here!” “I’m going to help myself to the free food!” “I’m going to collect branded marketing tchotchkes!” “I’m going to go to the one ‘famous’ place Tom Batiuk has ever heard of!”

    If the panel had continued, the next comments would have been “I’m going to Montoni’s!” “I’m going to read a comic book!” “I’m going to the marching band banquet!” and “Hang on, I have to send a quizlet link to my class.”

    • Charles

      Seriously. They KNOW they’re there, and they know where they’re going after the ceremony. And they know what’s going to be there. They’ve made plans. They don’t have to spend the time at the ceremony/show reminding each other of what they’re doing or will be doing.

      “And then, I’ll be going to bed! But I’m sure it will be after midnight!”

      I mean, damn, if you’re going to do something lifeless and desultory as this, put some spin on it.

      “Man, I hope Alain makes those Gougères again.”
      “I hope these assholes don’t ramble on too much this year. I’ve got some rails on a $11000 call girl’s ass calling me.”

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    YAY! Oscars Week! I haven’t anticipated a cringy nightmare of disastrous storytelling choices to mock relentlessly this much since I bought my ticket to Rise of Skywalker.

    It’s like a drone operated cargo train derailment.

  11. TimP

    What is with TB’s willingness to use Hulu and HBO’s trademarked names but still insist on sticking to the eyeroll-inducing “Netbusters”?

    It’s called writing. No, forget that. Writing is bullshit about plot and characters and things happening. What it is is solid gold inspiration. You don’t come up with a Netbusters and just leave it there. No, you nurture and cherish something like that. As with Lisa’s Story, PizzaBox man and the Indelible Pulp, by carefully laying these bricks of solid gold, he is building his path to that sweet, sweet award ceremony.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      My theory is that they imply which entities have sent Batiuk a cease and desist. They’re so over-the-top obvious and bitter that they’re kind of a jab at the real company. He might as well have called them Not Netflix, Not eBay, Not Wal-Mart, Not Target, Not McDonalds, Not Luigi’s, and Not The Ohio State University.

  12. spacemanspiff85

    I really do wonder if Batiuk thinks that by constantly writing about awards, someone will give him one.

  13. I’ve got a bad feeling about this week. I’m going to keep a barf bucket next to my desk.

  14. Jeff M.

    Marianne is a movie star. She has been to the Oscars before! And yes, we’re definitely going to be at the Oscars for three weeks. Come to think of it, that’s how long the typical Oscar ceremony feels, so perhaps Batiuk is on to something here…

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    “Why are Cliff Anger and Vera Nash here?”

    If it’s to fill the seats that had been reserved for Les and the Ghost of Dead St. Lisa, I’m okay with it.

  16. Perfect Tommy

    Judging by Marianne’s expression, her seat is going to need a thorough cleaning.

  17. Gerard Plourde

    Based on the number of variations that Marianne Winters’ appearance has gone through in just this story arc alone, I suspect that she’s a shape-shifter.

  18. be ware of eve hill

    And thus it begins.

    Our misery, that is. After reading today’s comic strip, I found myself slumped in my chair, my head lolling back.

    Ugh. This is so corny, it’s off the scale.
    Marianne: I can’t believe I’m here. Squee!
    Masone: You are here because you deserve it!

    Who are the people to the right of Vera? Gawd. What a dismal view of shallow people. Are they placed to contrast how remarkable everyone is to the left?

    Once again, Bats is compelled to show how wonderful his characters are supposed to be. Everybody else sucks. What a misanthrope.

  19. Charles

    And we see that Mason’s whole Poo-in-the-punch bowl line about how Marianne’s a loser no matter what happens had absolutely no effect whatsoever on this set of circumstances. Hell, Mason’s done his Turd-in-the-pool impression every time awards shows come up and yet no one seems to have paid any attention to what he’s said, Mason included.

    I suppose it’s not surprising to find out that everything Batiuk writes, every assertion he makes, is an empty pointless gesture. Marianne should have refused to come to the ceremony, because after all, whether she wins or not, it doesn’t matter. It just makes her a loser either way. There are better ways she could be spending her time.

    Actually, considering Marianne, probably not. She could scrapbook and read Seventeen until her mom tells her it’s time for bed. Or maybe Mason does, seeing as how her mother seems to be some inert object brought out once in a while to give Marianne some humanity cred and nothing else.