Operation Over-bored

Did you know Linda teaches history at Westview HS? No? Well, then you you’ll learn something from today’s strip. It is, apparently, more than any of Linda’s students can say they’ve learned in several years now.

Yeah, well, she was supposed to be retired by now and she’s only in it for the pension anyways… Plus, the last time I think we saw her actually teach anything she was teaching the “Family Living Course” back when we were still meeting the Owen&Cody generation of kids.

49 Comments

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49 responses to “Operation Over-bored

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Ah, Linda Bushka, just as charmless and world-weary as ever. Not so much as a glimmer of joy or hope can escape Linda’s dark orbit. It says a lot about Linda’s teaching skills that her students don’t remember a thing she said, not that Linda cares one way or the other, as she clearly doesn’t.

    What’s with all the excitement lately re: graduation? He didn’t care this much back when Summer graduated and Owen and Cody had their graduation folded into “Starbuck Jones”, but now, seemingly out of nowhere, it’s all about WHS graduation. He’s just so unpredictable and weird sometimes.

  2. William Thompson

    So how do comic books get invoked here? “Is it true Eisenhower kept Superman out of the army because he was an illegal immigrant?” “Why didn’t Aquaman sink all the nasty you-boats?” “Too bad Starbuck Jones wasn’t there to shoot down all those Zeroes over Omaha Beach! They really messed up the surfing!”

    • Epicus Doomus

      “What’s the matter, class?”

      “CME Studios is releasing “Starbuck Jones 3: Rise Of The Xaxian Chieftains on the SAME DAY as graduation!”

      “So? Why can’t you just see the movie the day after?”

      (Angry, confused, hurt stares. A single tear rolls down Bernie’s face)

      He can have that one if he likes it. I have hundreds of them.

      • erdmann

        I skipped my college graduation and took my girlfriend to a movie. We were almost late because three blocks from the theater the street was blocked by a line of cap-and-gown-wearing students on their way to the amphitheater for commencement.
        As I recall, the movie wasn’t so hot… but we still had a good afternoon.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      No, Superman was kept out of the Army because Clark Kent flunked the eye chart exam. (He was so excited at the possibility of becoming a soldier that he accidentally turned on his x-ray vision and read the eye chart in the next room.) Eisenhower had nothing to do with it!

      Clark would briefly wear a uniform in 1944 in a story called “I Sustain the Wings,” in which he underwent an Air Corps officer training course. A footnote in it suggested that the Man of Steel was more valuable to the war effort as a free agent.

      Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow to You All!

  3. bayoustu

    That is the recedingest hairline on a high school student I have most ever seen!

  4. Gerard Plourde

    How big an area does Westview High Schooldraw from? A quick look at the map shows that I-71 runs north from Medina (which is TomBa’s stomping ground and not far from Akron, home of Luigi’s/Montoni’s and also not far from Kent State). But I-480 is about twenty-five miles away.

    • Hitorque

      That was my question too — Everyone in that classroom should be from Westview.

      Unless of course some students had mommy and daddy rent out a special venue for their stupid graduation parties…

  5. The Dreamer

    But longtime FW readers will recall that Linda is the math teacher!. I think TomBat just forgot

    • Epicus Doomus

      Math, history, phys ed, it’s all pretty much the same to Linda. I mean after all, what’s the difference anyway?

    • billytheskink

      Linda, Les, and Kablichnick are the only non-band teachers we’ve seen in years, and Les in on a book tour half the time. Linda’s pulling double duty at a minimum… that or she did retire after Bull died (I mean, here’s Les acting like he’ll never see her again back in 2019) and just keep showing up at the school like Dinkle does.

  6. The Dreamer

    Linda is the *Math* teacher!

  7. billytheskink

    I actually like the little map of greater Cleveland up on Maris’ laptop screen. I’m not sure why, as the latest Cindy Summers-style stuck-up popular rich girl expy, Maris is talking about attending graduation parties instead of talking up the party to end all parties that she is hosting. C’mon TB, have you forgotten your shtick?

    • be ware of ever bill

      Isn’t it annoying when some twit posts a question when the answer has already been addressed in the discussion? Then they compound the oversight by investigating it for themselves? *sigh*

      The blonde is indeed Maris.

      Sorry, about that Billy.
      👩🔫

  8. So Bernie’s class is what, the fourth batch of teenagers? Funky and pals were Gen 1, which begat Darin and Pete’s class. The second time jump begat Summer and Cory’s generation, which overlapped by a few years the tenure of Cody and Owen. And those two passed the torch to the current batch of dorks, who are now (after only six years) about to graduate Westview High. Does this signal that the strip is dropping its last vestiges of wacky high school hijinks, in order to focus on stories about senior citizens? Or maybe Batty is finally ready to put down the Funky Felt Tip?

    • billytheskink

      You could argue four or six batches/generations. I would probably say six because this will be the sixth class to be shown graduating, but there’s definitely a little overlap between every one of the last 5 (though there were several minor characters that overlapped generations 2 and 3, like Matt Miller, Ally Roberts, and Mickey Lopez).

      Act I – G1 – The Act I gang
      Act II – G2 – Wally, Lefty, Monroe, Susan, Sadie Summers
      Act II – G3 – Pete, Durwood, Chien, Jessica, Mooch
      Act III – G4 – Summer, Cory, Keisha, Maddie, Jinx, Big Mac
      Act III – G5 – Owen, Cody, Alex, Wedgeman, Mallory Brooks, Jarod Posey
      Act III – G6 – Bernie, Emily, Amelia, Logan, Maris, Thatsnought, Connor

    • Charles

      Seriously, I can’t imagine that Batiuk’s going to bother to create more students, especially when he’s shown no interest in school-related stories for Les and Linda in years.

      And the one thing that’s struck me about what he’s done over the last year or so is that he’s moved two settings away from younger people onto settings involving senior citizens, who he finds hilarious by default for some reason. He took an excruciatingly long time to establish Dinkle taking over the church choir and the senior home band, which will probably end up merely reusing the jokes that he used previously in school settings, made even more hilarious because they’re senior citizens and they don’t make any sense. (“What do you mean you forgot your trombone at home, Mort?”)

      Plus, he’s replaced the Dopesy Twins at Atomik Comix with two elderly men playing identical roles to them. If he needs a chick to break the monotony, he’s got that covered too.

      He’s killed off any sports stories that he regularly would tell by deep-sixing Bull. The only “jokes” he regularly flogs that he doesn’t have covered are the “kids are so stupid these days” jokes, and he doesn’t need the school setting to tell those. The Komix Korner or kids being stupid at home cover those adequately.

      I’d be inclined to believe that he’s going to reboot the school with stuff like Summer as the new AD, Keisha and Jinx as new teachers, etc, but that’s way too ambitious for Batiuk now. He wouldn’t put up the effort, especially since he knows and has shown that he has no real interest in telling those stories anyway.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        In G5, who was the chubby Chien clone?

        Act I did kind of have a gradual shift in students featured, like Livinia and Roland and Mary Sue being put on a bus, and the later addition of Barry and Cindy and the like. But I don’t know if you could call them ‘generations’ since they never graduated.

        • be ware of eve hill

          In G5, who was the chubby Chien clone?

          The tatted goth girl with the skunk stripe in her hair? I believe her name was Alex

      • Bad wolf

        It would almost be fun to continue with G4 (at least they got character models) but as you say he has no interest in those stories (or really, the current strip at all) anyway. Since comic strip real estate is apparently the last career allocated to blood families to hold on to in perpetuity the only way we’d get something like this is if Batiuk’s son decided to join the family scam business and start belatedly apprenticing himself under the ‘master’ storyteller.

        Hey, it could happen, look at Greg Evan’s daughter and Luann. Could Batiuk Jr make a living off of being the ‘real life Les’? Only time can tell.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Batiuk’s mentioned his 40-something son on his blog, but there’s no evidence he has any interest in taking over his father’s work.

          • bad wolf

            Karen Evans had an independent career until one day she didn’t! Imagine having a gravy train all lined up for you, all you have to do to get a lifetime sinecure is sign your name to it.

  9. ComicBookHarriet

    Linda didn’t retire? Fine, we can infer that since she was planning to retire to care for Bull, now that is no longer necessary. And the idea she would rather continue teaching just to keep busy is fine. A strip explaining this back in the day would have been nice, but whatever.

    Linda suddenly teaching a different subject? Um yeah. Could we get an entire week on this? Maybe the school shrunk and she’s having to handle two subjects. Maybe the history position she ALWAYS wanted finally opened up after some ancient history crone died. I had a teacher switch from Math to Science and another switch from English to Social Studies during my high school tenure, it’s not unheard of. Some teachers have multiple subjects they’re qualified for.

    But, more likely, Batiuk just wanted a history joke, and realized that he doesn’t have an established history teacher, so figured Linda would be easier to futz than Kablichnik or Les.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard


      • The Duck of Death

        That was funnier than every post-Act I strip smushed together into a singularity and basted with Cosmic Funny Juice.

        Interestingly, what makes it funny is the extreme specificity of your words. “Bad breath” isn’t funny. “Breath that could knock a buzzard off a shit wagon” is.

        “Ugly goatee” is not funny. “Looks like it was trimmed by a blind chimp” is slightly amusing. “Looks like a blind baboon trimmed her pubes with a dull Bowie knife” is comedy GOLD. (Partly because “baboon” is inherently a funnier word than “chimp.”)

        The more specific, the funnier, is a golden rule. That’s why Tom Batiuk diligently removes anything specific from his strip, except when it refers to ancient comics or the exact layout of the Rexall drugstore where he used to buy those ancient comics in 1961. In other words, exacting, yet humdrum details that couldn’t possibly mean anything to his audience (in contrast with “blind baboon trimming her pubes” and “Bowie knife,” both of which are ludicrous and yet very easy, and funny, to visualize.

        This concludes my TED talk on Comedy 101: The Crashingly Obvious Rules.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I will add that there is also the outside chance that this is a study hall, since everyone seems to be working on something different, and she isn’t enraged that Maris is looking up maps in her laptop.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Which raises another issue: is “senioritis” not a thing in this world? It’s May 23! These kids can’t possibly have any important tests to prepare for. And even if they did, Linda’s the last teacher on earth who’d be keeping them focused on coursework.

        This strip almost would have been better with Les, because he’s a sanctimonious dickhead who at least pretends to cares about academics. But he’s been gone so long I doubt any members of the Class of 2022 even know who he is.

      • Hannibal’s Lectern

        In the district where I work, retired teachers can still work up to 90 days a year as substitutes while collecting their pensions. So there is the possibility that Linda, who has in the past been a math teacher, is subbing a history class and has the standard week-before-finals plan of “spend the hour preparing for the exam; look up the study guide on Google Classroom and/or Schoology” (I’ve done way too many such days myself).

        I realize I just put more thought into explaining this than Tom did while writing it.

  10. I don’t recall seeing any of these teachers ever give any actual words of encouragement to any of their students. All they can do is natter on about how hopelessly ignorant the students are about subjects that it was their job to teach them.

  11. J.J. O'Malley

    Funny, is it not, how Baituk can spend multiple weeks in the Fall, Winter, and Early Spring on arcs concerning a sixtysomething pizzeria owner giving grocery store tips to his AA meeting, comic book publishing with artists well into their dotage, a retired mailman time travelling thanks to a fume-emitting plastic helmet, and other sundry topics? Then, when he remembers one of the main settings of his “quarter-inch from reality” graphic saga is the high school where it all sprang from, he tries to shoehorn in anecdotes starring characters we know next to nothing about (other than the fact that today’s students are shallow, tech-obsessed, and ignorant of anything pre-One Direction) in late May.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    YaY! He’s back! It’s my chubby little cherub, Bernie! Don’t you just love the way he fills out that baseball shirt like a pillow in a pillowcase? Wouldn’t you just love to pinch those chubby little cheeks? Oh, Bernie. Take me!
    ♥️❤️🥰😘

    Oh, and it’s the blonde girl Owen (a.k.a. Chullo Boy) had the hots for. I haven’t seen her for about five or six years. Wasn’t she supposed to be smart? Does anybody even remember her name? Morgan?

    • be ware of eve hill

      D’oh! My synapses must be slowing down in my old age. The blonde’s name is Maris Rogers. Like Roger Maris, only backwards. Is she friends with Ruth Babe or Jordan Michael?

      I’d ask if Maris played softball but the only high school sports Batty ever shows are football and girl’s basketball.

      According to the SOSF search, Maris has appeared a handful of times. My bad.

    • billytheskink

      The blonde girl that Owen and Cody referred to as “the world’s perfect genome” was Mallory Brooks, by the way.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thanks, Billy. I had forgotten about the story arc with Mallory Brooks.

        I was referring to the strip where freshmen Maris Rogers, Bernie Silver and Logan Church were applying to work on ‘The Bleat’. Owen and Cody were helping Les select the new staff. Owen declared, “Maris is in!” before the interview even started. I assumed it was because Owen was attracted to Maris. Cody appeared to be attracted to Maris as well.

        I may have been wrong about Maris being smart. Her claim to fame at the time was a blog about make-up tips. Logan was supposedly the smart one. Her business blog was picked up by ABC News.

        https://v7.comicskingdom.net/comics/funky-winkerbean/2016-02-23/

    • William Thompson

      Maybe she was jerking Linda around by pretending to be a product of Linda’s non-existent teaching skills.

  13. be ware of eve hill

    I can’t see the tags on my phone.

    Has anybody mentioned Mopey Pete’s traveling green shirt in the background of panel #1?

  14. Hitorque

    1. She seriously doesn’t know anything about the Normandy Invasion? No wonder so many of these barely disguised Nazis are winning seats in Congress and in damn near every state legislature while their once abhorrent ideals become increasingly mainstream… How the hell are we supposed to fight Nazism when folks can’t even recognize it anymore??

    2. It’s funny because Linda’s students haven’t learned a damned thing in 9 months. And yet they’ll still get a passing grade and graduate because reasons.

  15. Rusty Shackleford

    Oh wow, I 71 and I480 are near my house! Never thought a comic strip in a newspaper would mention something from Northeast Ohio!!!!

  16. Don

    I think she realized that Bull’s life insurance didn’t pay off because he committed suicide.

    As for not retiring because of your pension, I for one intend to work until I turn 62 for pretty much no other reason than that’s when I get a 10% bonus to my pension…assuming Congress doesn’t decide, “Yeah, well, about that, we have better things we need to do with the money than to give you an extra $4000 per year for not working, 65 is the new 62 (three years later) 68 is the new 62 (two years after that) 70 is the new 62”

  17. robertodobbs

    Intended “message” of strip: Kids these days are dumb and in the thrall of screens. Actual message: Linda is a terrible teacher.

  18. Suicide Squirrel

    Cleveland Hopkins Airport is near the intersection of I-71 and I-480. Perhaps the kids are getting on a plane and beating it the hell out of Westview.

  19. Perfect Tommy

    I didn’t know that attending graduation parties involved getting on an interstate highway. How big is the Westview district?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Considering the insane amounts of alcohol that were available at my high school graduation parties, getting on the interstate was a downright bad idea.

  20. Goodbye Class of… Westview. You were perhaps the least developed members of the cast, but at least you pissed off all of your useless teachers each time you appeared.

  21. Cabbage Jack

    I call BS on anyone under the age of 60 using MapQuest to plan a route on a computer. You can add multiple stops to Waze, Google Maps, and even Apple Maps (if you want to end up in a swamp or worse…Westview) with ease on your phone.

    I guess add “how people use maps now” to the titanic list of “things Batty doesn’t bother to understand.”