Aaaaaand just like that, the teeter tooter pivots and suddenly I’m annoyed again. All the Holly relatability of the last three days evaporates in a puff of smoke because REALLY?
This drivel should be coming out of Les’ mouth. Not only is he a self-important sad-sack always eagerly searching for a way to inject pathos into the most mundane situations, but he also was actually bullied and teased in high school. And the fact that he took a job at the same school district so that he could constantly re-traumatize himself is perfectly in character for Les Moore. He’s just the kind of insufferable pseudo-intellectual that thinks pain is somehow more real than joy, and so seeks it out.
But Holly? Holly, you were a popular and well liked HOMECOMING QUEEN who seemed to take being regularly set on fire with carefree joy. You were so self-confident (and dumb) you didn’t even realize when you were being teased.
Maybe I’m missing a subtle turn in her characterization somewhere between where Vintage FW has gotten to on CK and the end of Act I. But while I’ll buy that a plump middle-aged Holly might be a little daunted tonight, wondering who she hasn’t seen in 40 years might have jetted to Westview to judge her weight gain and dough slinging husband, I don’t buy for A SECOND that she was nervous every day she showed up at High School in full majorette attire.
And, news alert Holly. THAT ISN’T THE SAME BUILDING.
Crazy Harry seemed to remember and reference it earlier this year, when he made sure to take a walk down to ‘the old high school’ during his off-gassing time travel adventure.
I think it’s symbolic of this strip as a whole that Batiuk tried to move on by tearing down the old building 15 years ago, and obviously regrets it now. He wishes he still had the thematic through line. My parents attended the same High School building I did. I remember at a brother’s wrestling meet my mom walking me down to her old locker and her combination still worked. Batiuk would fume in jealousy that such an opportunity is gone. He tried to ‘kill the past’ but somehow Palpatine returned.
He started Act III with big dreams of merging all three acts thematically together. You’ve got the old Act I crew being middle-aged adults, you’ve got the grown up Act II kids in Darin, Pete, and Jessica being the new young adults just starting out, and you’ve got the Muppet Babies kids to keep the High School hijinks flowing.
But now its a gerontocracy of the impossibly old taking over everything. Even poor Pete, Darin, and Mindy have been supplanted by octogenarians.
You’ve all said it below. This shouldn’t be the 50th class reunion. Their 30th class reunion was in 2008. This pretty much confirmed that the time skip from Act II to Act III moved their graduation date from 1988 back to 1978. Summer Moore was established as turning 16 a few months prior. So is she 36 now? Seriously?
I would be perfectly fine with Batiuk having his strip officially enter Comic Book Time. It didn’t bother me at all that it took Bernie Silver six years to graduate. In a medium where a single five minute conversation can take two weeks if a comic year equals a calendar year then you’re leaving a lot of these characters’ lives out. It’s a comic strip, we understand that Christmas comes in December, school starts in September, and it takes eight years for a toddler to turn four. It’s FINE.
But the sudden, inexplicable, fast-forwarding of random characters we’ve gotten recently is just baffling. Why is Crankshaft’s great-grandson suddenly eight, when he was born less than three years ago, but Emily and Amelia haven’t aged? Why is Funky suddenly over 65 and Skyler, born in 2013, is still sitting on Santa’s lap and baby talking?
The time pool reunion arc of 2015 DIDN’T have a date or year attached. And that was a much smarter take in my humble but correct opinion. Because it wasn’t clear an entire seven years had passed since the last one. (And a 37 year reunion seems really weird)
But Batiuk couldn’t resist slapping a big fat 50 on this one. Despite only MONTHS before presenting them as all in high school in 1980!
And you know what. I’m here for it. I’m here for all of it. I’m cracking open a cold one, kicking back, and watching this train wreck. Because I have such a great bunch of people to do it with. Because it genuinely brings me joy.
Don’t let Batty get you down guys. Just enjoy the screeching, burning, twisted mess. Are you ready for a 50th reunion of “Senior Discoveries” ? Are you ready for “exploring the honesty beneath such a gathering’s initial artifice”?
Are you ready?