“N”, the bag

Today’s strip marks Summer’s first appearance since… oh wait, yeah, sorry, that’s (Marianne) Winters, not Summer.

Summer actually has appeared in this strip as recently as 7 weeks ago, which is not something you could often say since she graduated high school. Even so, it’s kind of remarkable that Les and Cayla have interacted more over the past few years with a now-Oscar-winning actress than they have with their own children, both of whom (still!) appear to go to Kent State… less than an hour away from where Westview is generally considered to be.

And by “remarkable” I mean 1/4 inch AU from reality. I think I would have found it more relatable and more entertaining had we focused instead on the adventure that must have been Marianne’s efforts to bring an Oscar stuffed in a small drawstring bag through a TSA checkpoint.

34 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

34 responses to ““N”, the bag

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This is just about as bad as FW gets right here. The implausible premise, the ridiculous dialog, the plodding pace…no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. And it’s only Tuesday and Marianne is already there, which means four days of moronic wry banter before Les selfishly accepts her Oscar trophy, despite having no reason to do so. God he makes me sick.

  2. William Thompson

    A cloth bag? Wouldn’t the Oscar come with a carrying case of some sort? Or is the idea to protect it from blood when Marianne bashes Les over the head with the trophy? Maybe that “N” stands for “Noggin,” in case she forgets what to hit.

  3. RudimentaryLathe?

    President Grant has appeared in the latest Lisa arc more than Lisa’s own children. Take a moment to let that sink in.
    And Marianne is carrying her Oscar around in a Crown Royal bag. Well that makes sense as you’d have to be drunk to believe this arc.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      As soon as I saw that bag I thought, at least she is a drinker.

      And what’s with those faces in panel 2? My goodness the artwork sucks.

    • billytheskink

      The nicest thing I can say about this strip is that the Crown Royal bag made me kind of nostalgic.

      When I was growing up, my dad had a relatively nice telescope… well, at least nice enough to see the moon’s larger craters and Saturn’s rings and do whatever astronomical activity Jack Horkheimer had talked about on TV the prior week. The telescope spent most of its time in the corner of the living room, though, something I wasn’t supposed to play near or with because it was fragile. Hanging off of its tripod was a Crown Royal bag… full of different eye pieces and lenses for the telescope. Neither of my parents drink, so I have no idea where or why my dad got the bag. I think I was 15-16 years old when I learned that Crown Royal made liquor, prior to that I thought they made telescope lenses.

  4. Sourbelly

    Gross, implausible wish-fulfillment.

    Les didn’t earn a damned thing. And how can ANYONE in this strip like him? What is it that makes folks (especially women) fall all over him? Is it his phlegmatic demeanor? His smirking snottiness? His self-pity? His utter lack of compassion for people who aren’t him? Maybe it’s the goatee.

    This is like Tom Brady winning another Super Bowl. Which….

    • Charles

      Nah, it’s not like Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl. It’s like the most blatant ring chaser in history signs to play backup, never actually plays, but they give him the Super Bowl MVP in spite of it all because he just deserves it so much.

      Or he’s an offensive backup who’s been kicking around the league for years who they decide just by default that he deserves Defensive Rookie of the Year.

      I’d say that since Batiuk decided to go full crazy on this, he should have just had Lisa’s Story win a Best Picture Oscar so Les gets his much-deserved award as one of the film’s producers. But then, I’m not sure that Batiuk realizes that Les was one of the film’s producers.

      And he could have avoided the whole awkward “Les would say something” by either having Mason hog all the limelight, (seems to be part of Batiuk’s intended characterization of him, despite never showing this side of him) or have Les start a speech only to be rushed to a commercial like the chump he’s always been.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    On top of everything else, the artwork is unbelievably awful today. It looks like a bare minimum of effort was expended (which, all things considered, matches the story line).

    • Bad wolf

      Shades of an old Simpsons quote: If you’re unhappy with your job you don’t quit (aka retire), you just go in there and half-ass it every day.

      • Hannibal’s Lectern

        From the “Sherry Bobbins” episode:
        If there’s a job that must be done,
        Don’t turn your tail and run.
        Don’t cry, don’t sob…
        Just do a half-assed job!

    • billytheskink

      TB’s classic “hatchet face” has seemingly given way to Ayers buck-toothed side profiles recently. Les in panel 2 and Marianne in panel 3 look like they could open beer bottles with their mouths…

  6. be ware of eve hill

    One thing that bothers me is how small the world of Funky Winkerbean is. Marianne mentions in her acceptance speech how she’s giving her Oscar “To the person who shared ‘Lisa’s Story’ with all of us, the writer Les Moore.” She announces this during a preeminent televised live event, watched by millions.

    The winner of the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar is giving away the trophy, and nobody in the news media cares to find out who the hell Les Moore is? Nobody wants to interview him? Nobody in the media, fans, friends, or family wants to ask Marianne if she has lost her mind?

    Marianne: I’m giving the Oscar I just received to an obscure person in Ohio.
    Les Moore: Sweet!
    Everybody else: (crickets)

    I guess if you’re not a Funky Winkerbean character, you might as well be one of those nameless people in the Oscars crowd. Just a poorly featured face in the background. Only there to take up space.

    The cardboard cutouts of fans MLB used a couple of years ago had a lot more personality.

    To use video game terminology, there sure aren’t very many non-player characters (NPCs) in Funky Winkerbean.

  7. Hitorque

    1. Yep… Marianne Winterse shows up with all the pomp and fanfare of a delivery from Domino’s Pizza… She might as well have saved the airfare and just sent it to him via UPS…

    2. Once again for the umpteenth time, a global celebrity roams around Westview completely unrecognized by the general public… Even in a town full of comics geeks who jerk off to Jupiter Moon posters every night… EVEN THOUGH SHE TOLD A NATIONAL TV AUDIENCE ON OSCAR NIGHT EXACTLY WHERE SHE WAS GOING AND WHEN SHE’D BE THERE…

    3. I see Marianne Winterse has reverted back to her just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-threw-some-shit-on style… Who the fuck is she, Cinderella for Oscar night and now she’s back to being some homely plain-jane 7-11 cashier working the graveyard shift?

    4. Oh and what a classy way to present the statuette… I’m surprised she didn’t just carry it in a plastic grocery store bag… Yeah, babe… Good fucking luck ever getting nominated for another for the rest of your career.

  8. Hitorque

    5. I cannot stress this enough: Think of any actress you can imagine past or present, ages 18-88, A-list through F-list and ask yourself if they would be caught dead being seen in public like this. Just take a look at this woman and I defy you to convince me that she isn’t there selling copies of the “Watchtower” and handing out Chick tracts…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Tom can draw pretty women if he wants to (Cindy), but how come he doesn’t? Why do they all have to be so ugly?

      • hitorque

        At this point I’m seriously wondering why Marianne even bothered to get her hair styled for Oscar night to the tune of $1200, sport a custom-made $150,000 Vera Wang gown and adorn herself with a half-million dollars worth of Bulgari jewelry when clearly “tomboyish ironic suburban thrift store chic” is much more reflective of her true persona.

        She could have just done her hair in a ponytail, slipped on some running shoes, some jeans and a knockoff L.A. Kings hockey jersey for the Academy Awards and just kept it real…

    • billytheskink

      Oh no, the Jehovah’s Witness ladies who come to my door trying to hand out copies of Watchtower are typically much much better dressed than this. They know they’re up against the Mormons and their suits…

      • hitorque

        Correction… Marianne looks like a Jehovah’s Witness who’s been going door-to-door all day in a drizzling rain with 40-mph winds and no umbrella, and Lester’s house is the last one on her route.

  9. Hannibal's Lectern

    Today’s premature anticlimax keeps me hoping that tomorrow we will see that consummation devoutly t’be wished, when the agents of the Academy swoop in to confiscate Marinara’s Oscar™ for violation of Regulation 10. Maybe I’m over-optimistic, but such a thing would fit the Battoxic theme of disappointment. Nothing good ever happens to anyone (except Harry Dinkle, of course), and if it appears something good has happened it’s just a set-up for a bigger disappointment. The first attempt to film “Dead St. Lisa’s Story” ended in disappointment for all (though Less walked away with a consolation prize of cold hard cash, of course). Remember that Masoné’s whole point in making this movie was to establish his chops as a “serious” actor… but the movie flopped and his co-star got the Oscar. It would make perfect sense for Less to get his undeserved award, only to have it snatched away by the Evil Hollywood Establishment (for which Batty has consistently shown his contempt). So I’m hangin’ in there. C’mon, Batty, give us the ending you know both you and all of us snarkers want…

    And if not, there’s still the hope that after everybody tells Less how great he is, he will suffer the fate of King Herod, who “was consumed by worms and died” (apparently in that order) after accepting too much praise from his subjects (Acts 12:21-23). Ahia is the center of the Bible belt, after all…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The Battoxic Theme of Disappointment has gone away over Act III, to be replaced by the more obnoxious Battoxic Theme of Wish Fulfillment. And the anticlimax is a big part of that. Whenever there’s any tension or uncertainty involving Les, he defuses it as quickly as possible, just so the audience never has to worry if Les is going to get what he wants. It’s like Batiuk thinks he’s giving the audience what it wants, when the audience hates Les and wants him to die in a fire.

      • Hannibal’s Lectern

        I’d prefer Less go the way of Bad King H. While looking up the chapter and verse, I learned that (according to ABC news) back in 2002 researchers determined that the “consumed by worms and died” line most likely meant he died from a combination of chronic kidney disease and maggot-infested gangrene of his naughty bits. Probably brought about by eating Montoni’s.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Well, if Lisaism is going to have a Herod figure, Les is good a candidate as any. His uselessness did more to kill her than anything else.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    “If you carry your million-dollar trophy in a five-cent bag, you might be a redneck.”

  11. billytheskink

    So is panel 2 Cayla supposed to be a Sneetch or is the the mom character Jan Hooks voiced in Frosty Returns?

  12. Maxine of Arc

    I’m just going to hope, because as I have revealed about myself way too many times in these comments, I am a tree-hugging glass-half-fuller, that Les plans to politely decline Marianne’s Oscar, the proof that she gave a stellar enough performance to make this straight-to-Netflix low-budget 1982 weepie watchable, as he had no part in her achievement and it is totally inappropriate. And he just didn’t bother to call this A-list Hollywood actress before she flew out to Ohio (judging from her appearance, hanging on to the wing of the plane the entire way) and tell her so.

    Not only that, but Marianne’s mother will KILL HER if she gives this thing to Les.

  13. I guess Netbusters was giving away Oscar bags at their afterparty. Nice of Marianne to snap one up.

    I guess now everybody is going to settle in the living room to watch Lisa’s “to be viewed when the actress who plays me in the movie gets an Oscar” tape.

  14. Jeff M.

    It’s the *Netbusters* (ugh) swag bag, of course. And Marianne looks like she was drawn by three different artists in those three panels. Based only on a vague description given by a five-year-old. Three different five year olds.

    Anyhow, I wouldn’t be absolutely surprised to see the Academy people swoop in and snag that Oscar back in exchange for $1. Would add to Les’s martyrdom, and confirm once and for all that those people who give out awards are monsters who don’t know anything.

    There’s a genuinely nice story line to be gotten here, I think. [ETA: this is way too long, but once I started I couldn’t quite stop; it was terribly fun to type though I can’t vouch for whether it’s fun to read]

    Marianne does her Oscars speech, plugs the legacy fund blah blah. Then she shows up at Les’s house, unannounced, in the next day’s strip/a few days later (wow, could this strip use some Mary Worth-style “The following Monday” text boxes). She explains that Oscar rules prohibit her from transferring the statuette to anyone else…but she wants him to have it anyway. It’ll be their secret. But over the next week, of course, Cayla goes incurably insane by knowing she has an Oscar (TM) at home but can’t show it to anyone. (Women be showin’ off, amirite!?) Once Cayla is safely in the booby hatch, Les pays a video production grad student at Kent State $10/hour to digitally insert the Oscar (TM) statuette into all of Dead St. Lisa’s videotapes. (He’s too ashamed to let Crazy Larry do this, of course, even though he would do it for free. It ultimately doesn’t matter, since Les pays the student with personal checks. These pieces of paper baffle the 22-year old for weeks until he figures out what they actually do – in this case, bounce.) Right around the time Les is “finished” with the DVDs, (as in, worn his penis down to something resembling a pencil eraser by constant Oscar/Lisa inspired masturbation), he is hit by a bus. (It is not Crankshaft’s bus. That would be too interesting.) While he recuperating is in the hospital, he is diagnosed with cancer. He asks the doctors, “Is it….can it be…..please tell me…..” Nope. He will not be dying of breast cancer in a beautiful moment of cosmic symmetry. (About 1% of breast cancer cases occur in men, and given all the cancer flying around this toxic waste dump, I wouldn’t rule it out.) He will die of some boring old cancer like pancreatic. He leaves Cayla a video will–on VHS–along with a photocopy of the Academy’s regulations about sale of an Oscar(TM). After paying Crazy Larry to make a DVD of the VHS, and then realizing, in a rage, that she doesn’t actually have a DVD player anymore, so she pays that grad student another $10/hour to make a QuickTime that she can actually watch. She watches Les’s video will and final testament for about two minutes in before she says, “shit on this,” (as the will refers only to “Lisa” and “Not-Lisa” – flies to Los Angeles with the Oscar (TM) in hand. Although she is delayed at CAK because the TSA officers all want to pose with the statuette, on arrival in Los Angeles she takes an Uber directly to Marianne’s house and beats her to death with it. However – before the LAPD arrive at the murder scene, the Oscar Cops pull up in an unmarked limo. One of them (we learn later that it was the General Counsel and CFO of the Academy Museum) yanks the bloodied statue from Cayla’s hand and replaces it with a crisp $1. He looks down at Marianne’s battered corpse and says “you’ll thank us later, ma’am.” The Oscar Cops disappear just as the sirens encroach. Cayla is acquitted because the murder weapon is never found. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, meanwhile, washes off Marianne’s statuette, and gives it to Elaine May as her lifetime achievement Oscar this year. Back in New York, puts it in her guest bathroom alongside her Grammy and Tony. She ponders the missing “E” in her EGOT. One night, propped up in bed in a negligee and smoking, she calls up Thomas Batton and with a gleam in her eye says, I’ve got an idea for a TV series… She has no idea where it came from, but there was something about the feel of that Oscar in my hands….

  15. Suicide Squirrel

    Geez, Marianne, when I stay out of town at a friends’ home, I usually just gift them a bottle of wine or liquor. You’re going way overboard here.

  16. hitorque

    6. I was wrong in my earlier prediction — Even as dumbassed and bullheaded as Masone Jarre is, he still has the basic sense to not be within 2000 miles of this self-serving stunt… But I was correct in that Summer and Darrin are nowhere to be seen because they can keep the memory of their departed biological mother in its proper perspective…

    6a. Nevermind the fact that if Marianne and Summer appear on the same panel, the Funkyverse would collapse into its own tiny singularity.

  17. Charles

    “It’s so good to see you again!”

    Why? What exactly made Marianne’s relationship with Les and Cayla such that she’s thrilled to see them? She barely knows Cayla, and as for her relationship with Les, he loathed her for months before he carried her out of a burning house, which appeared to be something he did not because he cared about her but because Mason put him in a situation where he had to do it. That led to him very reluctantly deciding to give Marianne access to Lisa’s tapes, which only underscored how little regard he had for her. Until that point, he was very deliberately depriving her of something he felt would be valuable to her, her career, and her contribution to his project.

    And then, when told that his book made Marianne self-examine for cancer, which she found and took care of without ever mentioning it to anyone up to that point, he had to be directed by his wife how he should react to this revelation. He had no natural reaction to hearing this news or what it meant.

    In fact, the only time he’s actually shown a pulse in her presence is when she reminds him of his dead wife, when he’s feeling contempt for her, and when she gives him the opportunity to whine.

    And again, Cayla’s nothing. She’s a nobody. She’s had no interactions with Marianne that weren’t her directing Les on how he should act around her.

    So again, why does Marianne think it’s great to see these two doofuses again?