Today’s strip recalls one of the very last things that ever appeared in Act I… and uses it to mourn the death of print media? Look, I dunno what’s going on in the last panel, but I can tell you what happened in flashback panels.
After bumming everyone out with his awful valedictorian speech, Les just… hung out in the auditorium until everyone left, sulking in the unfulfillment of getting a high school diploma.
Then he headed out to the “Student Council Graduation Party” in the middle school gym, as seen in today’s flashback, finding the place deserted aside from Coach Stropp.
Why was the Student Council Graduation Party a dumb idea? Why was the party deserted?
Yep, Cindy held a huge graduation party at the mall that everybody attended… including MTV VJ Karen “Duff” Duffy and some poor souls who entered an MTV contest to win a free trip to Westview.
Les, however, sat in the middle school gym with his free copy of the yearbook, reminiscing about the good times he had with his friends in high school rather than going and actually spending time with him. After a week’s worth of strips of this, Act II began…
I do not know if next week will time warp us into Act IV or not, but I do know I will be leaving this site in the skilled hands (and mind) of ComicBookHarriet. Godspeed.
48 responses to “Stropp me if you’ve heard this one before”
I’ve searched for a faint, vague, glimmer of a trace of hope in today’s strip, and the best I can manage is “Funky Winkerbean will no longer appear in printed newspapers.”
I still remember my graduation pretty well. It rained, so we had to have the ceremony in the gym instead of outside on the football field. That gym was like a sauna. Earlier that day, we had a “practice” ceremony, where the principal explained how it’d all go. When the class valedictorian got up to do his practice speech, we just mercilessly booed and heckled him, threw stuff at him, it was brutal. The principal flipped out and threatened us and so forth. So during the real ceremony they introduce the valedictorian and he is absolutely shitting his pants in terror. Everyone just kind of glances at one another, then we exploded into a lengthy standing ovation, chanting his name and etc. His face was just crimson. Greatest prank I’ve ever been a part of.
Then when it was over they herded us down a few hallways to the cafeteria, where we had to turn in the caps and gowns (back then they were rentals). At that point we began to riot, kicking in locker doors, punching ceiling tiles and exit signs, spraying fire extinguishers. Easily my fondest high school memory, by far. School spirit was, uh, different in those days.
Do you get the feeling Batiuk got some negative feedback about Les before he wrote this week? “Les is unlikeable? I’ll show you who’s unlikeable… he’s the only teacher who got invited to the kids’ graduation party! And look how self-deprecating he is!”
Les: Sitting here alone seems oddly familiar.
Notlisa: I’m right here, you asshat.
Cayla’s response would be “Les, you’re never alone as long as the spirit of Lisa is with you.”
And then she’d watch Lisa’s “What to Say When Les is Sad at a Teenage Pool Party” tape again to make sure she got everything exactly right.
“Sitting here alone…”
You’re not alone, you miserable, self-absorbed sack of rat crap. You’re wife is sitting right next to you!
That’s sad enough, but what’s even sadder is the fact that Cayla just takes that remark in stride. Like she’s accustomed to his bullshit and just accepts the fact that she’s barely noticeable baggage as far as Voldemoore is concerned.
They may be married, but Cayla isn’t Lisa…
Not just any copy of the yearbook, Act I Les… a copy of the 1992 yearbook. A yearbook from the FUTURE!
I gave up on the ever-shifting timeline years ago. There’s just no sense to be made of it. At this point, I think he just does it on purpose, just to bother us.
The thing that gets me–along with that rather odd date choice–is that Wife Who Isn’t Dead St. Lisa talks as though she’s paging through a copy of the 2022 yearbook, but the cover appears to be identical to the “1992” edition in Lester’s flashback. Are the WHS yearbook squads really that unoriginal, or is Batiuk?
Still, I have to give a point for consistency: no one wanted to be at a graduation party with Lester all those years ago, and the only person who does now is probably only doing it because he’s her ride home. Seriously, would it have killed TV to show a single panel of his newsprint avatar spending time with the young adults he spent the last four years “educating”?
I can imagine that the yearbook squads would use the same color and imagery on each edition. That would give a graduate’s collection of yearbooks the sort of gravitas you see in a set of encyclopedias. It would be especially impressive for those students who took seven years to graduate.
“… yes, this flashback is completely pertinent to the last panel, both visually and in dialogue, yes yes, very good.
… oh, and I’ll put 1992 on that yearbook. Yes. Yes, that makes sense. Everyone will recall that this strip began in 1972. Oh, but hm, wait, people born in 1972 graduate from highschool in 1992, right? If not earlier? And my characters were already in highschool in 1972, right?
… oh, who cares. Fuck it. I’ll put in these little details that the readers will need to simultaneously acknowledge and ignore for anything to make any kind of sense. That’s just how I roll.”
If “the gang” was supposed to have graduated in 1992 and the current strip’s set in 2022, that means that Funky graduated from high school at the age of 37+.
He really, really ought to avoid including details like these. If he wants Les and Funky and the rest of the Act I high schoolers experiencing life the way he does, they shouldn’t be 25 years younger than him.
All I’m saying is this: The last official “class reunion” I’m pretty sure was celebrating their 40th anniversary for the class of 1978… Because Lester had a minor heart attack or something and he famously went back in time…
To say nothing of the fact that Harold literally just met his high school self in April, 1980 a few weeks ago…
And look, I get it. I’ve been watching the Simpsons since day one (Homer and Marge were originally class of 1974) and out of necessity the writers have had to be very flexible and adaptive with the timelines and character ages… I realize the Simpsons stay the same age while the Funkyverse ages (slowly) but just to be expedient Batiuk has got to find some consistency even if he has to adjust timelines
Yes but when it is done in The Simpsons it is in service of a funny storyline and so the viewers can easily suspend their disbelief.
When Batty does it is because he is desperate to shoehorn in some stupid idea and the result is a hide- podge of crappiness.
If we’re going off of Simpsons logic, then the year is always current year, and the ‘past’ of the current episode is what you can extrapolate from that. So if the Les of the present graduated in 1992 that makes him younger than fifty. Which doesn’t gel with anything we’re seeing. Saying Crazy time travelled back to 1980 made more sense.
The ONLY thing I can think of to explain is that Batiuk realized he hadn’t let Summer graduate college yet and has been implying that the last 10 years took place over about 5 years, and so realized that Summer would be only about 23, and didn’t want to imply that Les was in his 40’s when she was born.
I don’t know, it’s a mess. I like Epicus explanation that he does this just to annoy US.
Summer is taking a gap year prior to each new academic year of college.
We can also add a couple of years because it has been mentioned in the
strip that Summer has changed her major several times.
To me, the coolest celebrities did a voice on The Simpsons. After seeing Karen Duffy get three panels (it is the same drawing three times) drawn by TB and name checked, this might is new pinnacle for celebrity.
“Yeah, but has Tom Batiuk done your portrait in Funky Winkerbean? I thought not.”
It’s not even a good likeness of Karen Duffy. Her forehead looks like it’s about ready to burst open like Jiffy-Pop. Stand back! She’s going to blow!
Cindy Summers: Ew… gross.
Poor Karen Duffy has a bigger forehead than modern-day Les.
I believe you mentioned Magic the Gathering, boweh. My favorite bar is Annabell’s, they are about halfway to Luigi’s, and they have a group that plays MtG every Thursday.
They have also added pinball machines and video games in place of their pool table. If you old school gamers can beat these high scores, come to Akron.
They had three bands for $5 tonight.
I hope these OT posts are not out of place.
Wow, I’ve been there many times. My brother in law still lives in the Highland Square neighborhood.
Back in my college days we would hang out over there. My roommate was a bartender at the old trolley stop bar.
Yeah, there was a Sunday Funky Winkerbean earlier this year that featured some Magic the Gathering gameplay at the Komix Korner.
Thank you for sharing the photos, idb. Seeing the Defender cabinet brings back some painful memories, though. I normally received 30 seconds of gameplay for a quarter on that machine. Any Centipede or Joust coin ops? Those were my favorites.
I might be able to get on that Galaga board. I think I can beat zero points.
Three bands for $5? That seems incredibly low. Is there a
twofive drink minimum?
Good old days… I forgot to mention during the Harold’s Magic Helmet arc that one of the things that gave Defender such a high degree of skill was the layout and placement of the buttons/flight controls, which was counter-intuitive and nonsensical… Granted, a whole lot of early arcade machines were like this…
Annabell’s looks awesome. Thank you for sharing!
I really liked today’s strip. The flashback was a big FU to Less, and I loved the debauchery in today’s last panel. The tipped over chair, the discarded cup, the squiggles and lumps that appear to be discarded swimwear, and several people plunging into the pool at the same time (which is hugely unsafe practice, right lifeguards?), shows that this is becoming an awesome party.
Thanks BTS, for your cogent commentary and hilarious titles!
Notice how happy the students are in the background without Les interacting with them.
Scenes I’d like to see: The kids grab Les’s whiny ass and throw him into the pool. Les is wet, whiny and miserable to the point of crying. Cayla laughs herself silly at the prank.
1. Wait, Westview has an actual shopping mall? Then why is Komixxx Korner the only place to buy comics within 50 miles? Why is Montoni’s the only place to eat pizza within 50 miles? Why did all of Northeast Ohio flock to Montoni’s just to play “Defender”?
2. Wait, Cindye Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre rented out AN ENTIRE FUCKING SHOPPING MALL FOR HER PARTY? How does that even work? How much money did her parents have to burn? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to rent out an amusement park or a water park or a private island in the Caymans or the entire State of Hawaii?
2a. God, I forget how over the top insufferable high school Cindye used to be…
2b. I have not heard the name “Duff” in a long, long time… I do remember as a teenager rubbing my crotch up against the TV screen whenever she was on it…
3. Wait, why would the student council have a separate graduation party? And even then, why in the hell would they host it at the MIDDLE school?!
3a. It’s funny because all Coach Stropp is thinking about is rushing down to the mall and getting his drink on and getting balls deep in some teenage snatch… Hey, since they’re technically not Westview students anymore, those girls are technically fair game, right??
4. It’s so difficult to read downtrodden sad sack high school Lester now that we know his adult life has literally been a nonstop series of totally undeserved winning lottery tickets and even with all these blessings he’s still so hopelessly cynical, bitter and resentful…
High School Cindy at least made for a funny strip. It reminds me of the Brat-mitzvah episode of Bob’s Burgers. I’ve been to both of those parties in real life.
Cindy renting an entire shopping mall for a graduation party actually works in the context of Act I, because TB had no pretentions about sticking to reality.
Good point. This is also why Dinkle worked in Act I, and why he doesn’t work now.
Act 1 was light, funny, and over the top. No preaching or political posturing. Just some silliness—which I would argue the world needs more of these days.
Regarding item 3: I believe the Middle School detail is there to imply that the student council was so low on the totem pole that they got bumped— by the Bull Bushka graduation banquet extravaganza. Rumor has it Tony Montoni catered the event and made Timpano using a secret recipe brought back from his hometown in Italy.
As Hitorque mentioned, Crazy Harry in specific date 1980? Now graduated 1992? That means CH was 6? years old playing Defender alone in Montoni’s? No adult supervision on a school day?
Also thank you, ian’sdrunkenbeard for the pictures.
This is Les at his worst. He’s whining about how doesn’t get included in parties, after he spent Thursday and Friday bragging about how many parties he gets invited to. To his wife, who has no less right to be invited to the same functions, and would already know everything he had to say. And he’s making no effort to be involved on the party, if that’s what he wants.
Les is doing what he always does: making everything about himself. It’s a high school graduation party and you’re in your 50s, Les, what are you expecting to happen here? Either go jump in the pool to amuse the teenagers, or fulfill your social obligations and leave. There’s nothing for you to get your feelings hurt about. You have a daughter who’s older than these kids!
And worst of all, he tries to mask this as self-deprecation. Bullshit. Self-deprecation only works when you honestly deprecate yourself, which Les Moore and Tom Batiuk are completely incapable of doing. There’s nothing worse than phony self-deprecation, where someone thinks they’re being magnanimous but they’re really just patting themselves on the back. Les manages to combine this with the manipulator’s game of acting hurt until the proceedings stop and everybody gives him what he wants. Whatever the hell that is.
To say nothing of how inappropriate Les’ presence at this party is. You’ll notice that no other teachers appear to be there. And the Susan Smith incident should have ended with a requirement that he stay away from any unofficial student events.
Big shout-out to Winkerverse Historian Emeritus Billy the Skink for bringing context and meaning to this flat arc of current strip.
Is there an ID on the girl talking to Cindy at the mall party? That single panel of her face is horrifying. She’s got more of the Innsmouth Look than even Harriet Dinkle. And yet I must assume she’s meant to be one of the Hot Girls.
I believe the girl talking to Cindy at the mall party is her Act I BFF Carrie, who was usually depicted with a massive hill of frizzy brunette hair.
Seriously. Act 1/2 facial art is generally bad but that one is just exceptional. The wide chasm of space between the nose and mouth on that blob of a face is nightmare fuel.
I realize that the timeline has been discussed to death today and many, many times in the past, in relation to virtually all the different characters.
Yet I STILL can’t get over the fact that Batiuk/Ayers purposefully put the date of the yearbook on the cover. It would have been just as easy to have the date obscured, or covered by Stropp’s hand, but it was deliberately put front and center.
This makes Les and Funky and the whole gang about 46-47 years old. At least it goes a long way toward explaining why Cindye Sommerse-Jarr looks about 23. However, it makes one wonder about Harry’s recent confession that he “used to be a hippie.” And his taste being stuck somewhere between Alvin and the Chipmunks (late 50s) and early Springsteen (early 70s).
Kids who really cared about music and graduated in ’92 were most likely into grunge or “Riot Grrl” music. “Nevermind” was released in late ’91 and by the following summer would have gripped the brains of these Midwestern teenage boys, class of ’92.
Alvin and the Chipmunks. Jesus. That strip was only 2 weeks ago! What the hell. Just what. the. hell.
I wonder how things are in the Batiuk household with Tom’s poor grasp of time.
Cathy: Tom, it’s trash and recycling pick up tomorrow. Don’t forget to take it out to the curb.
Tom: Sure. I’ll take it out in a few minutes.
The following morning:
Cathy: Tom, why didn’t you take out the trash when I asked? We missed the garbage men again.
Tom: I said I’ll take it out in a few minutes!!!
Tom: “Remember our first date? I’ll never forget — it was the day of the first Trump-Clinton debate. Certainly a memorable day!”
Cathy: “Tom, I’m not quite sure you have that date right….”
Tom: “And then after dinner we went to see that new movie you wanted to watch, ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ What fun we had!”
Cathy: “Tom, I –”
Tom: “And I kissed you goodnight on the porch. How well I remember. The wireless inside was playing one of President Roosevelt’s fireside chats…”
Was this put in for moderation because I mentioned a certain president? If so, I heartily applaud this decision and lesson learned. Better an auto-modded comment than a political-bickering filled comments section.
And don’t forget that Harry just time traveled back to 1980, which by the 1992 date would mean he should have been only, like, 5 or 6 years old. (And Harry’s about five years older than his wife, which means when he ran into The Eliminator, she should have been a toddler.)
It really is astounding how Batiuk can do so much work to reference older strips, yet still completely ignore the actual details of those strips. Truly astounding.
Shoutout to Principal Nate, whose Faculty and Staff party is going absolutely great, since Les and Cayla aren’t there to ruin it.
“Bernie, I’ll give you $500 if you invite Mr. and Mrs. Moore to your party.”
“No way! The theme of my party is that everyone has to bring a dish that is completely bizarre to eat at the pool, and Mr. Moore is a cheap bastard.”
“Then I’ll also give you some sausage rolls and gas station hand pies.”
“I’ll give you $500 to invite Les to your pool party. If he drowns, I’ll make it $5,000.”
I hope act IV swoops in and it’s a prequel when everyone is in grade school or Jr. High and a return to zaniness. He’s got to lose the old people and existential dread. The world these days is too sad for this downer comic strip every day.