Guilt blip

As our sharp-minded posters have already noted, Oscar statuettes cannot be given away or sold without first allowing the Academy the right to buy them back for $1. As such, what Marianne gives to Les and what she keeps should rightly be flopped in today’s strip.

But we’re not in reality (we’re 1/4″ away from it), so what we are left with is a false modesty competition between Marianne and Les that offers nothing we did not already know yesterday. It’s a good example of Les showing his true colors though… If Les really and truly felt guilty about taking the Oscar that Marianne is stupidly and inexplicably giving up, then he wouldn’t wait until she flew across 70% of the country to tell her. I’ll bet he also excuses himself to go to the restroom just before the check comes at a restaurant and then returns to sheepishly offer to pay the bill just as his dining companion is handing their credit card to the waiter. Cue Ben Schwartz saying the thing



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

45 responses to “Guilt blip

  1. William Thompson

    Good move, Marianne! When legal and contractual problems ensue over giving away the statue, you will be left holding the bag!

  2. Banana Jr. 6000

    God, look at that smug, punchable face in Panel 3. That face just screams “yeah, I put on a perfect show of pretending to refuse it, now it’s all mine…” Sheesh, it’s almost like Les is insincere, or something.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    It almost reads like she OWES Les the Oscar and she’s begging for some tiny scrap of it she can hold on to as a memento.

    “Gee, Marianne, I almost feel a twinge of guilt over making you give me your Oscar.”

    “(Sniff) Mr. Moore, sir? May I please keep the bag as a small memento of my…sorry, I mean your…massive achievement?”

    “(Smirkingly) Why, I see no harm in that. Here, you may have the drawstring.”

    Les as a megalomaniacal credit-stealing tyrant would at least be interesting, in theory, and it’d definitely be better than this unbearable nonsense is. Any sane, rational person would have immediately said “no Marianne, I’m not taking your Oscar” and then maybe solicited her to make a donation to his dead wife’s cancer charity, assuming he had one. But not our Les. He’s such a dick.

  4. billytheskink

    I see your game, Marianne! That’s not a genuine Oscar, it’s a statue of the PBS logo.

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    “I feel guilty about taking this award” as he grabs it with both hands.
    And by all means talk smack about (sigh) “Netbusters”‘ cheap swag bag when getting picked up by their service was all that got you the award buzz in the first place.
    If Batiuk *wanted* us to hate these characters, I’d say he was laying it on too thick right now.

  6. Sourbelly

    It’s so heartwarming when some dick who doesn’t give a shit about a project is handsomely rewarded for doing nothing.

  7. Y. Knott

    AKRON, OHIO (AP) — In a surprising move, Arthur G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times, arrived in Akron today to present the 2021 Pulitzer for “distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper, magazine or news site” to local cartoonist Thomas Batiuk.

    The award had been given to The Times in recognition of what the Pulitzer committee characterized as their “courageous, prescient and sweeping coverage of the coronavirus pandemic that exposed racial and economic inequities, (and) government failures in the U.S. and beyond.” However, despite the feelings of the Pulitzer organization, Mr. Sulzberger felt that the award was worthy of another recipient.

    “I think it’s fair to say that no one deserves this award more than Mr. Batiuk,” said Mr. Sulzberger to no-one in particular, as no crowd had assembled at Mr. Batiuk’s home to witness the event. “We at the Times have always been influenced by — indeed, driven to emulate — the extraordinary work of this artist and visionary writer. Sure, we don’t carry his comic strip … but perhaps one day we will. When we are worthy of doing so.”

    The 2021 Pulitzer will now be on permanent display on a shelf at the Batiuk home. “It’s in a real place of honor,” explained Mr. Batiuk, “between a pencil sketch drawing of The Flash and a box of remaindered copies of Lisa’s Story translated into Spanish.”

    At press time, baseball star Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels was also considering giving his recent 2021 Most Valuable Player trophy to Mr. Batiuk. “You think I could possibly be an MVP without my daily dose of that crazy Crankshaft guy?” said Mr. Ohtani through a translator. “His lovable antics and irrepressible wit crack me up.”

    • ComicBookHarriet

      “Shohei Ohtani has learned how to smash the conventional wisdom that pitchers can’t hit from Batiuk, who smashed the conventional wisdom that comics have to entertain.”

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Great metaphor for what is going on here this week. At least Batty will get his golden t-square.

  8. Gerard Plourde

    At least in Panels 1 and 3 Les’ head is drawn appropriately swollen to match his insufferable ego.

  9. be ware of eve hill


    In panel #1, Les doesn’t feel guilty at all. His ego is making him say something that makes him look good in front of Marianne and Cayla. Liar!!!

    In panel #3, Les’s beyond smug puss is truly too much for me to bear. Punching is not good enough. Punching several times is not good enough. Kneeing in the groin is not good enough.

    My husband works part-time in a gun shop that has a range. I was just thinking that I haven’t been there in quite a while. I was imagining cropping Les in Panel #3, enlarging it and printing off a dozen copies and affixing it to the targets.

    • be ware of eve hill

      DH says I have to affix Les’s face to a regulation target because an 8″ x 11″ sheet of paper is illegal. It’s too small.

      I can save some Les heads for the dartboard in the garage.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    Holy cow BTS! You’ve got more tags than the women’s wear section of a department store.

  11. The Dreamer

    TomBat has never won the prestigious Reuben Award for Cartoonist of the Year and it drives him crazy that others like Patrick McDonnell (Mutts), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm), Scott Adams (Dilbert), Jerry Scott ( Zits), Stephen Pastis (Pearla Before Swine) and Ray Billingsley (Curtis) have their Reubens and he doesn’t

    So TomBat has awarded his character sin modeled on himself an Oscar

    • Charles

      That’s my thought as well. I’m increasingly coming around to the idea that Batiuk needs awards to feel validated, and he imparts that to his characters. Lisa’s Story: The Movie isn’t validated, isn’t to be held in high esteem unless it wins an Oscar. Les can’t be proud of what he accomplished unless it wins an Oscar. Cindy can’t put together a documentary that’s held in high esteem unless it wins an Emmy. Les and Darin’s Lisa comic book can’t be considered good unless it’s nominated for an Eisner.

      He really lacks the creativity to show that something’s good and worthy of celebration without it being validated by major awards. On more than one occasion during this dumb “Marianne is nominated for, wins an Oscar and gives it to Les because he deserves it” sequence is that Les should have gotten all the validation and credit he needs for Lisa’s Story: The Movie based simply on the fact that the film was made. In the real world that’s a hell of an accomplishment on its own, but of course, because Batiuk is Batiuk, that’s simply not enough for him.

      • Charles

        On more than one occasion during this dumb “Marianne is nominated for, wins an Oscar and gives it to Les because he deserves it” sequence is that

        That should be “On more than one occasion during this dumb sequence I’ve thought that”. I need an editor almost as badly as Batiuk does!

  12. hitorque

    I’m guessing we’re going to find out Marianne had a cheap replica made so she can show the Funkyverse she’s not quite as fucking stupid as she seems (Hey, there’s plenty of replica Super Bowl trophies, World Series trophies, Stanley Cups, etc. out there)… With a replica she could also sidestep disgracing the Academy and even get Lester’s name engraved on it…

    Extra credit if we see Cayla explaining to a long-faced Les “YOU DIDN’T ACTUALLY THINK SHE’D GIVE YOU THE **REAL** AWARD, DID YOU?!”

    • newagepalimpsest

      I’m going to pretend that this is what happened.

      I’m also going to pretend that it’s made out of chocolate, and that it’ll melt all over St. Lisa’s altar once the weather gets hot.

  13. Charles

    “I insist!”

    Seriously, my God. I’m still wondering why Marianne has such a high regard for Les.

    When she met Les, it was during a screen test because Les was so adamantly and vocally opposed to Marianne playing Lisa. The screen test itself was an obvious scam, done not to actually examine different actresses for the role, but to try to convince Les to accept Marianne in the role, by deliberately putting her up against actresses that Les would like even less.

    Marianne probably knew this, and at the very least knew that Les didn’t want her playing the role, the role for which she won the most prestigious award in the world. That she was still cast over his objections should have shown her exactly how little his opinion mattered to the people in charge; the people she would be working with and for. So at no point should she ever have concerned herself with Les and what he wanted, because neither he nor his preferences were important.

    But of course, Batiuk didn’t realize that that’s how he was presenting this story. She’s not her own woman. She’s just there to shower the praise on Les that Batiuk thinks is both overdue and deserved.

    And him agreeing to show Marianne the Lisa tapes wouldn’t change her attitude, since that just shows her that up until that point, Les was undermining the film by refusing it a resource he believed would be valuable. So not only is his opinion worthless to her, he’s actively working against what she and everyone else in the production is trying to accomplish.

    As for her crediting Les with her discovering her cancer in time to save her life, Marianne reading his book and getting checked wasn’t something he intended for her to do. Les “saving Marianne’s life” was as passive and as uninvolved an intervention as you can imagine. Les certainly didn’t seem to care about Marianne before she was diagnosed, and after he found out, he was so disinterested that he didn’t even have a reaction. (Actually, Batiuk is so terrible at dialogue that Les didn’t have a single line in the week’s worth of strips where she was telling him about her cancer, but I digress.)

    So again, why does she hold this putz in such high regard? Every single moment she’s had with him is either a bitter disappointment or actively insulting. She never had any reason to take him seriously or show him any consideration.

    • Hannibal's Lectern

      “…why does she hold this putz in such high regard?”

      You may have nailed the reason yourself a couple paragraphs above, when you observed that “Les was so adamantly and vocally opposed to Marianne playing Lisa.”

      Actors are motivated in odd ways. Perhaps Marinara knows that anger brings out the best in her, that she gives her best performances when she’s motivated by a desire to show some jerk who thought she wasn’t up to the role. Maybe she knows that she delivered an Oscar™ worthy performance only because of her hatred for Les Moore, so he really is, in a perverse and indirect way, deserving.

      Doesn’t hurt matters that she also stopped at an airport kiosk and had the plaque re-engraved: “AND YOU THOUGHT I COULDN’T PLAY YOUR DEAD WIFE, ASSHOLE!”

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Look at all the backstory you have to write to justify this drivelpuke. The story hasn’t given us any reason for any of these events, because it doesn’t care. All it cares about is giving Les awards he hasn’t earned, and couldn’t possibly earn because he didn’t even do anything for which Academy Awards are awarded. He was a useless hanger-on at best, and an active hindrance to the movie at worst. And he made no effort to hide his contempt for this movie and everyone involved in it, except the people who signed his check or stroked his ego.

      • billytheskink

        This makes sense. Anger is surely the only possible motivation Marianne could have taken from Les’ “pep talk” in this strip…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          This is the genius of Les Moore. “She knows her husband.” No shit, Dick Tracy. He doesn’t say what any of his secrets, lies and prayers are, of course, but those words are so powerful Marianne just “got it” after that. Almighty Thor, this is almost a self-parody of Tom Batiuk’s own lack of writing skills.

    • hitorque

      In fairness, Masone all but admitted that the decision to cast Marianne was already set in stone (no doubt she knew this too) and the “auditions” were a total sham to allow Lester to believe *HE* was the one who arrived at the decision to cast her… Remember the outrageous bombast and confidence Marianne had as she strutted into the auditions like a diva princess? Like she was an shiny new Aston Martin in a parking lot full of used junkers? Like she was some schoolgirl who secretly stole the answer key to a big test?? Like absolutely nothing that happened in the previous two days of auditions with dozens of actresses mattered because her being selected was already a foregone conclusion?

      Because a longtime veteran of big and small screen like Masone Jarre knows the #1 priority on set was patronizing Lester’s ego, keeping him happy, kissing his ass, and pretending that his input was an integral and essential part of the production… (“We’ll make Lester a co-producer with zero real responsibilities so he can sit in a big chair and stay the fuck out of the way of the grownup professionals trying to work!!”)

      And don’t forget, Masone remembered the first time when Lester had a tantrum and killed a Lisa Movie project just by saying the words “kill fee”; so the last thing he’d want to do is give him any reason to utter it again on a production budgeted at an estimated $100 million…

      • Mela

        So maybe Mason DOES deserve a Best Actor Oscar.

      • Charles

        And don’t forget, Masone remembered the first time when Lester had a tantrum and killed a Lisa Movie project just by saying the words “kill fee”;

        You’re misremembering. Les’s “kill fee” seemed to be nothing more than an option he had to withdraw from having any involvement with “Lust for Lisa” and still get paid. Once he got that, Batiuk no longer had any reason to care about “Lust for Lisa” and he seemed to desperately want get on the Starbuck-Jones-as-his-Avengers train ASAP. So when Les invoked his kill fee and was still inexplicably hanging around CME’s offices, he was informed that Mason had bailed on the project to go play Starbuck Jones so that “Lust for Lisa” was dead. Les, because he was a shithead, openly celebrated the TV movie’s failure. (Mason was also still on the film lot later, which was ridiculous, since what he did to the film would ensure that he would be immediately escorted out by security)

        Again, once Les got his kill fee, Batiuk felt no reason to continue with the Lust for Lisa plotline, and he wanted to get going with Starbuck Jones, so coincidentally it died roughly the same time Les left.

        I remember it because I was convinced that Clay was going to push Les too far with his whole appalling mien so that Les would end up revoking the film rights, which isn’t something that could have happened. But what happened was even stupider and less dramatic, which was and still is par for the course.

        • hitorque

          Batiuk didn’t hastily end the arc because he was in such a hurry to do Starbuch Jonse or whatever, he did it because he was QUICKLY writing himself into a corner of questionable taste since the producer or whoever all but admitted “Lust for Lisa” was going to be some kind of Cinemax softcore flick… How they were going to work the cancer angle into this was anybody’s guess.

          But the point was “kill fees” don’t work that way… And Lester already got paid big bucks up front just so CME could have the exclusive rights to his book…

          And Masone dropping out of a movie project that hadn’t even started shooting or had a finished script yet wouldn’t have been an issue. Studios replace actors that drop out early all the time… But once Les decided to pull out (inexplicably getting paid twice in the process) the CME studio execs decided to cut bait…

          • Charles

            The point was though that it’s not Les’s “kill fee” that killed the project. Mason shouldn’t be worried that Les is going to invoke his “kill fee” on Lisa’s Story: This Time We’re Doing It The RIGHT WAY, because all that would mean is that Mason would just have to give Les some money to go away. It doesn’t mean that Mason loses the rights to the project or that Les could just cancel the contract.

            Again, back in August 2014 when this was all going down, that’s what I THOUGHT was going to happen, despite the ludicrousness of the idea, but instead it was just this. Les took money to walk away. Mason left to be Starbuck Jones, and the “sizzle reel” sucked, which led to CME not wanting to continue. (Never mind the idea of a “sizzle reel” with a guy who’s not even going to be in the movie playing the main character)

            And I don’t think that hashing over timelines (to elucidate what happened with Mason) would make much difference because it’s abundantly clear that Batiuk has no idea how any of this works and didn’t bother learning.

    • Jeff M.

      Scrolled too fast and saw “why does she hold his putz?” Which we are about ¼” inch away from here.

  14. Dood

    I like the emotion lines radiating from the statue in panels one and three. Oscar’s reaction to being gifted to Les? “Fuck!”

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    Marinara wants to keep the bag “as a memento.” Yeah, right. She wants to keep it because it’s full of cocaine.

  16. Maxine of Arc

    Just going to say it again: Marianne’s mother is going to kill her.

    • Mela

      Yep. Especially if Marianne hopped directly on that plane to Westview and didn’t even let her mom see it first.

    • hitorque

      Have we even met her mother? I don’t recall…

      • batgirl

        We saw her watching Marianne on TV. I can’t remember whether she actually showed her face in the story where Marianne and Mason were paparazzi’d by Frankie on her mother’s doorstep.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Yes. We saw ‘Mrs. Winters’ face when Marianne and Mason were paparazzi’d by Frankie on her doorstep. She even gave Mason a big hug.

          Funky Winkerbean: Friday 11/18/2016 – Sunday 11/20/2016

  17. Since there is no possible universe in which a professional actress would give away the thing that signifies everything she’s been working towards for her entire career (and based on her memories with her mother, her entire life) to ANYONE, much less Les, I can only assume one of two things is happening – either we are seeing Les’ fever dream, and he will eventually wake up and we’ll see that none of this happened (including Netbusters, the nomination, or the award), or Marianne has gone certifiably insane (we have seen signs of her mental instability before in her suicide attempt).

    • Mela

      Careful, he might wake up and we find that the entire 3rd act was a nap in his therapist’s office. Or both time jumps were merely a high school English assignment.

      • Charles

        Or it’s Lisa’s Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge as she imagines, on the verge of death, such that she can’t even maintain consciousness, how the world goes on without her. That would actually help make some sense of her damn videotapes and the fact that she seems to be central to everyone’s world in Act III, from Les to Cayla to Funky to Darin and others. “Lisa would have liked that” indeed.

        Also, it would explain away all the dumb shit inconsistencies like Phil Holt dying and coming back to life in a way that’s not insulting.

        • Gerard Plourde

          I really wish that the strip was as imaginative and creative as your theory. Sadly, it appears that the plot holes and inconsistencies are the result of slipshod work.

  18. Anonymous Sparrow

    Amicus Breef’s new partner: Ambrose Batiuk!

    Can such things be? Let’s ask the monks and the hangmen’s daughters…