Naked and Famous

OK, three weeks until the actual Oscars ceremony, plenty of time to build suspense. Will Marianne beat out Gretchen Gold and Cordelia Rama for best actress? We won’t know for sure until…

The first panel of today’s strip?!

Uh, points for brevity, I guess, though in this case it is most certainly not the soul of wit… or any other word positively associated with writing. In the absence of anticipation as to whether or not Marianne will win the little golden man statuette, we have the ridiculousness of professional actress Marianne (and no stranger to public speaking and media attention) not having any remarks prepared despite having an apparent one-in-three chance of winning. This is compounded by the ridiculousness of her asking advice on accepting an award from a guy whose work outside of Lisa’s Story and Starbuck Jones consisted of Dino Deer, My Dog Pookie, and being incredibly nervous about simply doing a table read (!!!) for the unfinished masterpiece that was Lust For Lisa.

At least Cindy’s shtick is consistent.

56 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

56 responses to “Naked and Famous

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Wow, that was fast. It’s amusing how he’ll dawdle around for weeks and even months with day after day of inane banter, then wham, he puts the hammer down. I guess he thinks it’s more dramatic that way. Anyhow, Lisa 2.0 (Younger! Healthier! More naive and helpless!) has won Best Actress for her portrayal of Lisa Moore in “Lisa’s Story”, the story of Lisa Moore and whatever happened there. And, of course, the haplessly innocent Marianne was just honored to be there and never expected to win, as that’s just the kind of gal she is.

    Much has been made here re: BatJam’s bizarre issues with, uh, “writing for” female characters. This one is practically a clinic on why he should stop doing so, immediately. First you have Marianne. She’s dateless (very chaste), hapless and practically “awww shucks”-ing herself into low earth orbit, but fortunately she has an older male mentor (strictly platonic) to temper her gee whilikers-ness with glib, unoriginal and tired platitudes. And if that’s not regressive enough for you, there’s Cindy (“oh, that’s right, he’s married to her”), who uses her “friend’s” career-defining moment to cattily bitch about the roomful of scantily-clad Hollywood whores she’s being forced to judge herself against. Cindy’s annual line of dialog is always such a letdown.

    It’s all very disturbing, yet also cripplingly dull at the same time. I wish he’d just skip to the part where she gives Les a new plaque for Lisa’s park bench made from the Oscar she had melted down, as there’s just no other way for this story to end. I’m beginning to wonder if the anxiously-awaited 50th anniversary strip is just going to be a glorified ad for that cancer book, as he’s just never going to stop reminding everyone that he wrote it.

    • Mela

      Marianne has taken method acting to the extreme. Apparently if you play a Westview resident, you become one. And you’re spot on with your comments. Just once I’d like to see something positive happen to a female character in this strip based on her own ability and self-confidence without being punished for it (or in this case portrayed so naively that she didn’t even think to prepare thank you remarks).

      • Epicus Doomus

        When he first introduced Marianne, she was the Hollywood sexpot vixen with a bad reputation, but then we learned that she was actually very humble and homespun. Fair enough. But now she’s suddenly a complete hayseed, straight off the turnip truck, gazing with wide-eyed wonder at all the glitz and glamour like she just stepped off a Greyhound bus. He’s taken this whole naive hapless waif thing way too far, and now that’s all she is.

        • hitorque

          It’s just an odd reversal… There are countless stories of wholesome women raised in the church who became mega-famous sex vixen pop stars or actresses or adult film ‘performers’, etc… But I’ve NEVER seen the river flow the opposite direction with this trope.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        He wants to get back to comic books as quickly as possible. Who cares about these vapid Hollywood people who don’t read comic books.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          But they sure do make movies out of them, these hypocritical Philistines who don’t even know when Congo Bill first turned into Congorilla!

          (*Action* #248, for those who care. Congo Bill had his own movie serial in 1948. Zanzibar the Talking Murder Chimp did not make a cameo appearance.)

      • Margaret

        “Just once I’d like to see something positive happen to a female character in this strip based on her own ability and self-confidence without being punished for it.”

        I’m not sure that’s happened to any male characters since Act III, either. Certainly not Funky!

    • The Nelson Puppet

      That Oscar statue is going on Les Moore’s mantle above the fireplace.

  2. billytheskink

    Masone, channeling Mr. Game Show there in the first panel.

    I’ll let Mr. Dangerfield take it from here…

  3. spacemanspiff85

    It’s funny how Mason is putting his arm around Marianne and telling her to picture him naked and Cindy is only concerned with what the other women are wearing.
    Does Marianne not have an agent? How is Mason her only connection to the film industry? I really think if you’re in the position where you’ve won an Oscar, you’d have an agent who could help you with a speech.
    So, do you think that Marianne will get cancer and then Les will write a book about her, or Cindy will get cancer, die, and then Les will quickly marry Marianne? And then Les will require her to always dress like she did in the movie and only answer to “Lisa”.

    • hitorque

      Yeah, I’m really interested in knowing exactly when the hell Masone became some kind of career mentor/advisor for Marianne? It’s already bad enough she couldn’t find a date to come with…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Especially when Mason is constantly wrong about everything. Both with Les at the “pitch meetings” and with Marianne about “you have to play the game to win,” which she absolutely did not have to do.

    • When Mason and Marianne act like professionals on the set of a movie, Cindy flips her shit.

      When Mason and Marianne have spent the last month looking and behaving like lovers in an affair (which only we readers know is apparently supposed to be innocent), Cindy lets it roll off her back and just wants everyone in earshot to know that she’s a prudish old lady from Ohio.

      Is this… writing?

  4. Marianne is so shocked that her black fingernails flew off! Also, the ghost of Bull Bushka is here for some reason.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    What’s with the guy on the left side of panel 1? Is there a power failure in that part of the theater or is he supposed to be the ghost of someone from Marianne’s past?

    • Gerard Plourde

      I see TFH had the same thought.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I thought the same, but it could also simply be a mistake and they were too lazy to fix it. Batty: Ship it!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I think they’re supposed to be putting the spotlight on the winner. I don’t know why Mason and Cindy are spotlight, though.

  6. William Thompson

    “Why, yes, I have been picturing those ladies in the nude! Incessantly! I’ll use this occasion to come out of the closet, which if nothing else will cause me to vanish from this medieval strip faster than a Stonewall-costumed student at a Westview prom!”

  7. Sourbelly

    I see this and I wonder whether Batdick has ever read ANYTHING written by humans in his life. This is not how stories of any kind, even those drawn/scribbled on loose-leaf paper by six year olds, are written by people of Earth. Everything about this story is so nonhuman. The timing, the words, the deliberately horrible artwork (e.g., Masonne’s ventriloquist face), just…everything.
    Just kidding. He’s just some guy from Ohio.

  8. Jeff M.

    Well, I was wrong about the duration of this particular Academy Awards ceremony, and yet I have a hunch that we will not see an acceptance speech. Instead, tomorrow will be at the “Chateau” for the cool kids’ party. Or maybe Marianne will just quote the only truly great acceptance speech in Academy Awards history – Rita Moreno’s *first win for Best Supporting Actress in 1961, which was, its entirety: “I don’t believe it! Oh dear Lord! I leave you with that.” I mean, if we’re just taking quotes from Stan Lee why not? [*We all know she’s going to win her second this year….] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaOy0eb0Tbs

  9. be ware of eve hill

    Gah! Batty just hit me with a surprise left. The Best Actress award is decided? Already? I figured Marianne was going to win but expected Batty to drag it out over several days. Man, this kind of just blew me out of my chair.
    Mind blown 🤯

    The safe bet is the first person Marianne will thank is Les. (Magic Batiuk Ball: You may rely on it.).

    Will Marianne endlessly talk about Les during her allotted time? (Magic Batiuk Ball: It is decidedly so.).

    Will the show enforce the speech time limit on Marianne’s nonstop babbling about Les and the greatest book ever written? (Magic Batiuk Ball: Don’t count on it.)

    Will Marianne even mention her mother or Masone at all? (Magic Batiuk Ball: Outlook hazy. Try again later.)

    With the Best Actress award out of the way, I can only guess the next three weeks will consist of nonstop Les adulation and kiss-uppery. And of course, the obligatory Dead Saint Lisa worship. Les, the person Batty force-feeds us as the most amazing man in the Funkyverse, will humbly downplay everything. What a guy!

    Hopefully, my newly acquired facial tic will be gone when I wake up tomorrow. That is if I can sleep at all. Gah!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      She will of course thank Les and may even announce she got cancer from starring in the movie.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Given that Phil Holt “returned” from the dead, this might be preparing us for the reveal that Lisa faked her death too and is really Marianne Winters’ mother.

      • William Thompson

        She will inevitably thank Les and the movie for her miraculous, life-saving cancer diagnosis and treatment. We never saw any of her medical experiences, but so what? She’s just a girl, and all that matters is that she’ll bless The Apostle Les and the Gospel of Cancer.

      • be ware of eve hill

        The movie made a lot of the people who watched it sick.
        😧🥺😩😖🥴🤢🤮🚑

  10. J.J. O'Malley

    Just go up on stage and show the audience where the lump that the movie inspired you to search for was discovered, Marianne. That should be good for at least three minutes of cheap sympathy applause.

    Okay, now that Baituk immediately stomped on, suffocated, and bled out all the suspense in this week’s storyline, how will he pad out the next four or five days? Can’t hardly wait.

    • Smirks 'R Us

      Some other snarker coined this term, but I believe we are in for an extended week of “Less-turbation”

  11. The Dreamer

    So Marianne wins Best Actress and dedicates it to the memory of St. Lisa and it rekindles interest in Les’s book.. The book is put back into print and becomes a best seller. Les becomes rich

    • gleeb

      And decides to stay in Cancerdeathville and start another komix publishing company.

    • batgirl

      Has “Les’s Story” ever gone out of print? Les has never stopped doing book tours and readings for it. Maybe he does a book tour for every print run.

    • hitorque

      Lisa’s Story has not only never been out of print, but if my memory is correct Lester has done a *prequel* (presumably high school days and the early years), a *sequel* called “The Last Leaf” (presumably about getting remarried) **AND** a graphic novel adaptation of the original book illustrated and colored by Darrin himself (which let’s be honest was just a little subtle cross-promotion of Batiuk publishing a real-life hardcover collection of Lisa’s life in comic strips). And no, I don’t have the first fucking clue why any publisher would want a graphic novel adaptation of such a story…

      I think that’s the “official” anthology but someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

  12. batgirl

    And Cindy gets a line! Because slut-shaming is funny when it’s done by another woman.
    In the real world, someone tweets what they just heard Cindy say, it blows up over Twitter and Tik-Tok, and whatever media career she was trying for is shot.
    Oh, and some research into her work finds that her Butter Brinkle doc just erased the woman who was killed and exonerated the wealthy white guy whose negligence resulted in her death. Not cool.
    Probably would have some spillover effect on Mason’s career too.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Remember the August 4 strip, where Les told Cayla “act like you belong?”

    Could Marianne act any less like she belongs? Why the hell does Tom Batiuk think an Oscar nominee wouldn’t even prepare a speech, and would have a meltdown at the prospect of speaking in public? This isn’t Toastmasters, it’s a ceremony of the most accomplished professional actors in Hollywood. Why does every goddam person who wins anything in this world act like they just fell off a turnip truck? Everybody’s just so full of phony humility and cluelessness. Why does he think this is charming? It’s not. It’s like he doesn’t even understand what an actor does!

    And shouldn’t she be a little pissed at Mason here, for feeding her that bullshit about “you have to play the game to win” when this has just been disproven? He sure is wrong a lot.

    • hitorque

      I still maintain that Masone has been trying to low-key sabotage her all this time… He was probably the one who suggested she didn’t need to craft or practice an acceptance speech.

  14. Miskatonic Sophomore

    So the great author has awarded himself an Oscar, albeit an imaginary Oscar by proxy. I’m shocked.

    What next? A Nobel Prize in economics? The welterweight title of the world? A Michelin star or two for Montoni’s Pizza? Anything is possible!

  15. sgtsaunders

    This really makes conventional sense. It would take an Oscar-level performance to make “Lisa’s Story” even watchable.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      You remind me of Oscar Wilde’s comment on *The Old Curiosity Shop”: that it would take a heart of stone to read Charles Dickens’s account of the death of Little Nell and not cry…with laughter.

  16. RudimentaryLathe?

    Well happy International Women’s Day everybody. Once again Batiuk shows indescribable tone-deafness as his one true talent.

  17. hitorque

    1. Announcing the winner this early in the week only means Marianne is about to have a long-assed multi-day “THANK YOU” speech addressed specifically to one Lester O. Moore of Westview, Ohio…

    1a. He’s all smiles and laughs now, but you know deep down inside Masone Jarre is furious enough to shit bricks and he’s wishing he could burn down the OTHER half of Los Angeles at the moment because this was always supposed to be *HIS* Oscar.

    1b. Well, so much for that “Oscar winners aren’t the best actors; they’re just the ones who know how to kiss ass and play ball…” pearl of wisdom from Masone a few weeks back, huh?

    1c. Moldy cliche alert — Does “Just imagine everyone in the audience is nude” even work, and did it ever work? Because it sure as hell never worked for me. But then again I was in elementary school when I heard that ancient bit of wisdom.

    1d. I don’t know what’s worse: A young A-list Hollywood starlet being too nervous to address a crowd, or a veteran A-list actor giving her “professional advice” she could have gotten from a random third-grade kid?

    1e. Hey Marianne — You know a good way to beat the nervous jitters? BY HAVING SOME GODDAMNED REMARKS ALREADY PREPARED AND PRACTICED WELL IN ADVANCE!! FOR FUCK’S SAKE YOU’RE NOMINATED FOR THE HIGHEST AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN YOUR PROFESSION YET FOR REASONS UNKNOWN NOBODY EVER TAUGHT YOU WHAT A “REHEARSAL” IS!!

    2. God damn it… Am I *REALLY* supposed to believe nobody told her to prepare an acceptance speech? This bullshit naive “babe in the woods” act has to get called out as fraudulent on social media sooner or later, right??

    2a. Or is this hokey midwestern hick yokel act part of the “game” Masone told her she had to play in order to curry favor with the committee?

    3. Wow… Exactly when the hell did Cindye-Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre, aka Little Miss Show-Off-My-Twentysomething-Body-At-Every-Opportunity become so prudish and judgmental about what other women are wearing to the Oscars??

    3a. It’s funny because despite all her wealth, fame, achievements, and a trophy husband to make her the envy of every woman back in Ohio, Cindye is still so jealous and insecure and psychotic to the point where even when surrounded by the biggest stars in the entertainment world, she just can’t bear the idea of NOT being the center of attention so just to feel a little bit better about herself she’s got to smear the other women as sluts and whores or something…

    4. And somewhere back in Westview, Lester O. Moore is standing in his kitchen, looking out the window and patiently hoping to catch a glimpse of the ghost of his deceased first wife while she’s refilling the bird feeder…

    4a. And somewhere back in Suburban Cleveland, Darrin and his generic template blonde wifey are watching the Academy Awards on ABC and he’s silently thinking to himself “Yeah, I know who Marianne Winterse is, but what the hell is ‘Lisa’s Story’ and who was this ‘Lisa Moore’ all these announcers keep mentioning? She sounds like someone I should know, for some reason…”

  18. Banana Jr. 6000

    And you’ll never guess what’s on the Funkyblog today.

    Funky’s alcoholism.

    • Gerard Plourde

      And a truckload of self-congratulation from the introduction to the latest volume of The Complete Funky Winkerbean.

  19. Don

    I still think that Marianne is going to thank Lisa in her speech…and Ghost Lisa’s Head will make a cameo appearance. I also expect a name drop of Les’s book, which will suddenly jump immediately to the top of every best seller list – “Book Tour That Actually Means Something!”

    Also, unless that presenter is Tom Hanks (which I doubt – traditionally the previous year’s “Actor in a Lead Role” Oscar winner presents Actress), they’ll probably be put on the “banned from presenting Oscars” list, for not one, but two things – saying “Best Actress” (as of something like 1975, the only category with “Best” in its “official” name is “Best Picture”), and saying “the winner.”

  20. Echoing what others have said, tomorrow she will thank Les for the sunrise and writing about and suffering through Lisa’s ordeal and death. There will be shoutout to Lisa for making this life altering moment possible. There might even be a Sally Fields shoutout with “You like me…you really like me.” There will definitely be “renewed” interest in a movie currently on Netbusters and a sudden request for a theatrical re-release.

  21. If Marianne can look at Mason’s haunted, psychotic Nutcracker face without screaming in horror, she’s got to be the best actress alive.

  22. Charles

    The amount of disrespect Batiuk has for other people’s professions is just extraordinary, especially when it comes to women.

    This is the woman that Batiuk’s saying is the best actress in the world. For the past year, no actress on the planet turned in a better performance than Marianne did for her role of Lisa.

    And yet she’s a complete dismal idiot. Her preparation for this moment was done with the same haphazardness and lack of care as her preparation for the role of Lisa. There’s no indication in either case that she even thought for a minute about what she was doing or what she was trying to accomplish. She didn’t spend any more time getting into the character of Lisa than she did preparing her speech in the event she won. She exhibits no appreciation for what she’s done or what any of this means. According to Batiuk, she just rolled in one day, put on a wig, read some stupid lines Les wrote and then wins the most prestigious award in the world for it. It’s as if Batiuk thinks preparing to play a lead role in a major motion picture requires no more commitment or thought than kindergarteners learning lines for a school play.

    And he goes beyond his ignorance about how much work and what kind of work goes into something like this. He actively makes Marianne an idiot who doesn’t seem to know how anything works, and doesn’t seem to understand the significance of the circumstances she finds herself in. Christ, every step of the way here she needed Mason to tell her what’s going on and how she should feel about it. And fucking hell, she even got acting pointers from Les. She needed LES’S advice on how to do her job. She’s so incapable, incurious and incompetent that she needed someone who has no experience whatsoever in her profession to tell her how to do it.

    And yet he thinks this idiot cipher would actually win the Best Actress Oscar. The guy’s contempt for the actual work actresses do is extraordinary. And even if most of it is from his own ignorance rather that from deliberate contempt, that just shows how little regard he has for it. It’s so insignificant to him that he didn’t even feel the need to investigate how it works. This is fine, right?

    • Gerard Plourde

      The lack of research and of attention to character development certainly is indicative of the slipshod attitude he has for his own craft.

    • Epicus Doomus

      First she was the home wrecking vixen, then she was the humble starlet with a heart of gold, but now she’s a complete blithering hayseed, a hopelessly naive, hapless waif, a caricature so far over the top no one could possibly relate to or even like her. It’s embarrassing.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The amount of disrespect Batiuk has for other people’s professions is just extraordinary

      Especially when it’s juxtaposed with the ridiculous overweening hero worship he has for comic book creators and writers, and for his own talent in these areas. Even though he doesn’t exhibit a shred of skill in either, or even being able to understand them very well.

  23. be ware of eve hill

    I cracked up at the Batton Thomas quote at the top of the page. There is never a good time to look at, or even imagine, Mopey Pete without clothes.

    It’s a shame that I don’t always remember to look at that panel.