Who Will Be the Next to Whine?

Funky See, Funky Do.

Quick! The most popular and objectively successful member of the class has admitted they never felt like they fit in! Everyone must fall in line behind her and parrot her sentiments! This will prove how alienated and apart from things they all were!

This would almost be a joke. If the idea that “Les was a dork in school” hadn’t been hammered home so many times the nail is halfway to China, and they’re using a percussive drilling machine with 2000 feet of rod to reach the punchline.

Keep digging, Boys! We’ll reach that sweet black comedy!
I know it!

What even does ‘In-Crowd’ mean? In my experience, you want your circle of friends to share your interests and enjoy the same things. A chess club nerd is going to be lost and bored at a football kegger. The kids I knew in high school that were miserable were either the ones that faked their way into a clique that didn’t really suit them, or the poor kids who never found a niche no matter how small.

But Funky was considered perfectly acceptable in High School. Neither the most popular, nor the least.

‘Average’ is the first bit of characterization Funky was given, and as far as I can see it held true through 20 years of high school. You’ve got to give him some credit for keeping Les as his best friend, since nothing probably dragged him down Cindy’s popularity rankings more than having human tumor Les Moore clinging to his side.

I would say that Funky should let Les speak on what it really felt like to be excluded in high school. Since if anyone has a right to speak on the topic it is him.

But I bet Funky and crew remember Les’ self-righteous downer of a commencement speech and rightfully figured the less he said on the topic the better.

Wanda has been smart enough to NEVER attend a reunion following the 2008 fiasco. But really she should have known what she was in for, since Cindy showed up at her door in 2004 to for an entire week of groveling. Something I only found after my Wanda retrospective back in March.

Thank you, Cindy, for coming to my house and talking about your own feelings for five minutes and then walking away without waiting to see if I had anything I needed to get off my own chest.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

46 responses to “Who Will Be the Next to Whine?

  1. William Thompson

    They all saw themselves as outsiders? Wow. Fifty years on, they’re still defining themselves by their high school days. “I was too special to fit in with you losers! You didn’t have what it took to accept me!” It would be an awkward moment if any of them realized how pathetic it sounded.

  2. I for one am looking forward to all the characters agreeing they never liked high school and have spent too much time talking about and thinking about high school and are never going to bring the subject up ever again! At least until their 60th Reunion, to be held when they’ve been out of school 43 years and five months!

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    I wonder how Derek, Junebag, and Rolanda feel that they’re NOT being asked this question. For once, a panel full of wordless smirks is an appropriate response to something.

  4. billytheskink

    I was actually going to encourage Funky to overtly offend Les… but that would leave the door wide open for Les’ righteous indignation and nobody needs any of that.

    I guess the “in crowd” at Westview consisted of Bull, Lisa, Livinia, and Mary Sue Sweetwater. What a coincidence!

    • Epicus Doomus

      You know how that would go. We’d never hear the end of it. Les sitting there all indignantly on that stupid porch swing, saying things like “yes…yes you did” and forcing poor, downtrodden Funky to grovel for his forgiveness…never again, as they say.

  5. RudimentaryLathe?

    Welp, Wanda is officially my favorite FW character.

    At last we’ve reached the “oh Les you were so mistreated but look at you now” portion of this sad story. Y’know, I don’t look back fondly on my high school days. I was very awkward, introverted and didn’t share the same interests as most of my classmates. I kind of went through it thinking most of them were stuck up; but a few years after high school I ran into one of the more popular girls from my class; we chatted a little and at one point she admitted she didn’t make more of an effort to get to know me because *I* seemed stuck up. So yeah.
    Honestly 99.9% of us are not the best versions of ourselves in high school. And those that are, God help them.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Right, it takes time and experience to properly grow up so why be so hard on people that are still learning?

      I ended up going out with one of the more popular girls from my high school. We went to university together and I asked her to one of the dances, she said yes. We started going out a bit and I told her I would never have had the courage to ask her out in high school. She told me I should have because she would have said yes! This is when I learned I needed to have confidence in myself.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I think a lot of people have that experience after they leave high school. Between 18 and 21 you learn that you’re a lot better than you thought you were. A lot of my friends told me of similar experiences, where they learned some unattainable girl would have actually been quite receptive to an approach from them, if they ever made one. I didn’t quite have that experience, but I could have done a lot better than I did.

        It is a confidence booster, but I think it’s more of a relative thing. If I could tell my high school self one thing, it would be “you will never hate yourself as much as you do now.” High school is an endless race of standards you never measure up to. You’re not smart enough, you’re not attractive enough, you’re not popular enough, you’re not invited to the cool enough party, you’re not stylish enough, your test scores aren’t high enough, you’re not working hard enough, your talent isn’t good enough, you’re not going to get in to the good enough college, you’re a pervert for having hormonal urges that are perfectly normal for your age, and every other kid is going to succeed in life while do you some burger-flipping job.

        And that’s if you don’t have some asshole like Harry Dinkle demanding every single minute of your time to feed his own ego. And some self-appointed queen bee isn’t imposing ridiculous standards on you like “thigh gap.” And you’re not in a religious school, where you get constant lectures about how you somehow offend God by existing. And your home life isn’t a Lifetime Original Movie full of stress and instability that has almost nothing to do with you. And you’re not a girl, who has to learn how to manage everything your adult body does naturally, while also being trained to be ashamed of it. And there isn’t some 38-year-old grooming you for sex. And some butthurt kid doesn’t decide to shoot up the place.

        My God, it’s a wonder the teen suicide rate is as low as it is! High school is a marathon of self-loathing. It seems almost designed to break you down, so you can build yourself back stronger.

        So I can totally believe that the uber-popular Cindy Summers felt inadequate in high school, despite everything she had going for her. And if she’d said that, instead of some empty bullshit about “not fitting in”, this arc would have a valid point.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Watch out there, Funky, because the last time you poked fun at high school-era Les, you ended up having to grovel for forgiveness. Remember that?

    Funky never really fit in, but he wasn’t excluded from anything either. Solid B-minus student, OK at most sports, considered non-objectionable by the girls, average height, average weight, yep. He was Mr. Average, all right. Funky had a decent time of it back in high school, albeit a fairly nondescript and uneventful time, which makes it even stranger how he feels compelled to reflect upon it all the time.

    Now his post-high school life? That was anything BUT nondescript and uneventful. He married the hottest girl in school, bought the town’s only profitable business, became a suicidally depressed drunk, got divorced, married the second hottest girl in his class, became president of the local chamber of commerce, got in a major car wreck where he traveled back in time, and some other stuff I’m forgetting. Perhaps thinking about high school is just an escape for Funky, a time well before his sad-sack litany of woe was written. Sigh. Way to bum everyone out, Batiuk.

    • Don’t forget, the all-time record holder for the longest AA speech ever.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s all so random, isn’t it? Nobody’s reaction here fits their personality. Cindy should cling to high school like a drowning rat to a board, or have long since left it behind because she did have some accomplishments in adult life. Les should be bitter about high school, or smug about how successful he is now. Funky should be indifferent, just like he was at the time. Crazy should be crazy, just like he was at the time. Rolanda, Derek and Junebag* should have interesting perspectives on high school shaped by their transsexualism and race, but they don’t even get to speak. Never mind that life is an endless high school reunion for most of these people. There’s absolutely nothing left to discover or discuss about it.

      It’s not exactly The Breakfast Club, is it? Those were different characters who each, in their own way, learned that they had some things in common. This is like watching Twelve Angry Men, if they all agreed he’s guilty in the first minute and spend two hours telling each other how right they all are.

      * – this was an honest-to-God typo, but I’m going to keep calling her that, just because it’s funny

  7. Y. Knott

    Thanks, CBH — it’s nice to see the Wanda arc from 2004, and the material from early Act I. It confirms that Batiuk once had a mild, but detectable, talent to amuse — which he lost completely when he switched over to writing, uh, to writing … whatever the hell it is he thinks he’s writing now.

    I mean, what IS he trying to accomplish here? As far as I can determine, Batiuk’s strategy now for each arc is to start squarely on the wrong foot; find an especially dull way to make subsequent installments worse; and leave when the audience is thoroughly bored or the plot has congealed … whichever comes SECOND.

    Which means …(shudder) … we’ve still got at least three days of reunion hijinx to go!

  8. erdmann

    Again the older strips steal the show from today’s twaddle.
    I can’t help but notice that Wanda’s significant other is hidden in a way similar to how the student who came out in the “gay prom” arc was. Very curious.

    Also, the Act I Les at the drive-in strip is actually funny.

    • be ware of eve hill

      A couple takeaways from the Act I Les at the drive-in strip.

      1). Love those bell-bottoms Les is wearing. ‘Member those?
      2.) Batiuk draws better cars than Ayers.

      • billytheskink

        Ayers can draw cars when he tries, and TB’s cars all devolved into Batiukmobiles years before he turned the drawing over to Ayers. Here’s a very nicely drawn 1961 Rambler Classic from Ayers’ last few years drawing Crankshaft.

        • be ware of eve hill

          You folks crack me up. Every time I pay Batiuk a compliment, one of you will swat it away into the bleachers and wag your finger at me like Dikembe Mutombo in that Geico commercial.

          “Not in My House, No, no, no. Not today.”

          Coincidentally, my paternal grandmother drove a 1965 Rambler Ambassador sedan in a color similar to Lillian’s car. I mainly remember how hot those vinyl seats and metal seatbelt buckles got when they sat out in the sun for a long time. You got stuck to the seat and the seatbelt buckles literally burned your hands. Ouch.

          The first car I remember Dad driving was a Rambler station wagon. It wasn’t a very big car. I remember Dad complaining about how hard it was to tow a camper through the mountains and how much the car was buffeted by strong winds. He overcompensated by trading the Rambler in for a 1967 Pontiac Executive sedan. The thing was a battleship. The Executive was so long, Dad had trouble fitting it in the garage. He damaged the drywall in the garage, and you could see a curve in the family room wall. To handle the difficulty, he suspended a tennis ball from the ceiling. Dad stopped advancing when the tennis ball touched the windshield.

          Dad was always an AMC fan. According to my older brother, there was another Rambler station wagon before the one I remember. The last AMC he bought was a 1976 Hornet two-door three-speed manual hatchback. My older brother was the main driver and loved that car. He never forgave Lee Iaccoca for “what he did to AMC.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I actually liked that choice. Whoever’s in Wanda’s house isn’t relevant to the story, so it’s fine that Batiuk kept them in the shadows. The gay prom kids were relevant to the story, though, so hiding them was pure cowardice.

      I also think “unfeminine girl character became a lesbian as an adult” is just a tired, cheap, unfunny joke, like when it’s applied to Peppermint Patty and Marcie. It’s up there with “Shaggy and Scooby Doo are potheads” in the pantheon of hack pop culture observations. Gay people and potheads come in all shapes, sizes, personalities and backgrounds, and some of them would surprise you.

    • billytheskink

      Wanda’s presumed significant other did finally appear (silently) at the 2008 reunion.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And we see Mr. Sensitivity doing what he does best: missing (or ignoring) an obvious social cue. She didn’t appreciate your “help”, Les.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Batty loves to preach about tolerance, respect, and understanding, but I bet he has no tolerance for those who have different political views.

        Les’ commencement speech is classic Batty BS.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Different political views? He has no respect for anyone who’s ever enjoyed Adam West’s Batman TV show.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            True! It was just a TV show. And it probably got more people interested in comics than anything BatBoy did.

  9. The Dreamer

    You will notice how everyone is drinking but Funky has his big water bottle He didn’t tell Holly that it’s vodka he has in the bottle not water

    Everyone is dressed impeccably except Crazy who must not own any suits and Funky who forgot to wear a tie

    • robertodobbs

      I don’t drink but when attending receptions/cocktail events I just pour some Sprite into a glass. Carrying around a big water bottle would just call weird attention to yourself.

  10. ComicTrek

    This is what eats at me. Les, Funky, and the rest (except Cindy) were such nice kids, and here comes Act III to cement them as horrible people. Mr. Batiuk wants us to think “they changed because they’re older”. Okay, fine.

    But here’s the extra weird thing: it always feels like these guys are portrayed as being wiser, smarter, and better people because they’re older, and their younger selves are implied to be silly, foolish, and irrelevant just because they’re young.

    Is it because the strip took such dramatic turns and therefore we’re not supposed to find the old days likable anymore? Is this how TB feels about himself? It’s as if we’re *not* supposed to be rooting for or liking their former selves…even though we’re constantly reminded of them through retcons and flashbacks. It’s totally ironic and very confusing!

  11. be ware of eve hill

    Thank you, Cindy, for coming to my house and talking about your own feelings for five minutes and then walking away without waiting to see if I had anything I needed to get off my own chest.

    I love this.

    Cindy believes she is doing the right thing, but it is still all about her. She gets her warm fuzzy feeling for apologizing, but the intended recipient, Wanda, is left wondering, “What the hell was that all about?”

    Why not wait to hear Wanda’s side? Cindy delivers her spiel and skedaddles. Mission accomplished. Cindy arrives empty-handed. How about bringing a peace offering? Some people just don’t realize how actions can mean more than words.

    Cindy, you may have grown a little since high school, but you still have a long way to go.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It could also just be re-aggravating an old hurt. I don’t want to be apologized to for something that happened when I was 15, just because I don’t want to be reminded of it. I’ve long since moved on. And I realize that if I tried to apologize for anyone whose feelings I hurt when I was 15 (I had my moments) they’d tell me to get lost. Or that the payback they gave me at the time was retribution enough. Besides, Cindy couldn’t wait for the next reunion to do this, when it would have been slightly appropriate? And doesn’t she see these people often enough anyway?

      It’s eerie how similar Cindy and Les are in this regard. They both think they’re doing good deeds for poor little waifs when they’re really just aggrandizing themselves. Cindy’s actually the worse one in this regard, since she’s the one who victimized them in the first place (barring certain interpretations of Les’ role in Lisa’s death). It’s another form of the “toxic nice guy” syndrome that permeates the Funkyverse.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The more I look at that sequence, the more vile it is. “All I ever cared about was being the most popular girl in high school, but I did it at the expense of others…” Well, that’s what popularity is. It means you get more admiration and other people get less. It’s acquired at the expense of others. It’s a zero-sum game.

        There’s also the question of Cindy even needed to bother with an obvious loser like Wanda, when Cindy was so popular she had MTV News eating out of her hand.

        She also throws around “I just wanted to be popular” as if it were a childish need she’s outgrown. But every word that
        comes out of her mouth proves she hasn’t changed a bit. She’s obsessed with remaining young, attractive, successful, the center of attention, and in control of everything at all times. Including other peoples’ feelings about her, which is what this is all about. And if you are going to outgrow your childish ways, isn’t age 50 a little late for that?

        “I know who you are..” “Oh…” You’re a national TV news anchor, you idiot. Everybody in America knows who you are, especially in your own hometown. Notice Cindy doesn’t even bother clarifying what Wanda meant by that before she launched into her apology performance. What she heard was good enough to move forward, apparently.

        “We bullied you about everything from your clothes to your hairstyle…” Funny, I don’t remember being bullied for my hairstyle. Thanks for reminding me of that, you insensitive prick. Cindy’s apology has all the sincerity of a court-mandated “cigarettes are harmful” commercial.

        “Thanks for hearing me out, Wanda…” This one is a pet peeve, but I hate when people use my name at me like that. It isn’t appropriate. You’re not talking me off the Golden Gate Bridge railing. You probably barely know my name at all. I don’t even like fast food restaurants that do this. Just call order #85, I won’t think any less of you. Whatever your name is.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          “Well, that’s what popularity is. It means you get more admiration and other people get less. It’s acquired at the expense of others. It’s a zero-sum game.”

          I am going to push back on this juuuuust a little. Popularity simply means that you are liked, and that people want to spend time with you. Yeah, an extremely popular person may draw attention away from someone else, but that is not the same as that person being teased, harassed, or excluded from the group.

          Time may be a finite resource, but esteem is not. You could hypothetically have a school where there is a ‘ranking’ of popularity and yet no one is disliked.

          The idea of the most popular person anywhere being a catty, backbiting, bitch has never been my personal experience. It’s a useful and amusing trope, yes. In real life, the popular people I’ve seen are trendy, attractive, and charismatic, but they’re usually also nice. Maybe I grew up sheltered.

          Mary Sue Sweetwater was a more realistic “Most Popular Girl” than Cindy. But she was also bland as dishwater.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Yeah, I could have argued that a lot better. Cindy was never really after “popularity. ” Popularity doesn’t require you to denigrate others; if anything, it’s counterproductive, because you need those people and their friends to like you too.

            In high school, “popularity” is just a code word for prestige, power, or clout. And you figure out that the most “popular” people aren’t the ones who were the most liked. It’s what high school really teaches you: how to interact with peers when most of them are just the worst, and work for superiors who aren’t much better.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            I think charisma is the biggest factor, plus an ability to listen. My popularity has gone up because I talk less and listen more, and when I do talk I try to talk about interesting things.

            Good looks always help, but they can only take you so far, especially if you treat others like crap.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    A question for the Funky Winkerbean historians. Did Les go to the prom with Melissa?

  13. anneki

    Veering pretty far from the topic of Funky snark… I want to encourage people to think about apologizing to their classmates. Not in a jerky way of course. At my 25th reunion, I apologized to three people and it could not have gone better.
    I wasn’t a bully, but I was very opinionated and sure of myself, so I cringed to think of times when I had been witheringly judgmental to my classmates, or even less supportive than I wished I had been. I got three different responses. (It was almost like a fable.)

    One person said “What do you mean, you weren’t supportive enough when I told you I thought I was gay? You were the most supportive person by far! I really appreciated that!” The second person said, “I’m so glad you brought that up. It has bothered me for years that you said I should give up writing fiction because I had no talent. It means a lot to me that you thought that was important enough to apologize for.” (That person, btw, later became a National Book Award short lister.) And the third person said, “Oh, I knew you were wrong. That rolled right off my back. But it’s good that you’re embarrassed about it! That means you’ve learned something!”

  14. Anonymous Sparrow

    To get something of what might have been Wanda’s side, watch the “Sex and the City” episode (“What Goes Around Comes Around”) in which Carrie confronts Natasha at a restaurant. Carrie means to be apologetic, but comes off as egotistical, and Natasha deftly puts her in her place:

    Yes, I’m sorry about it all. I’m sorry that he moved to Paris and fell in love with me. I’m sorry we ever got married. I’m sorry he cheated on me with you, and I’m sorry that I pretended to ignore it for as long as I did. I’m sorry I found you in my apartment, fell down the stairs, and broke my tooth. I’m very sorry that after much painful dental surgery, this tooth is still a different color than this tooth. Finally, I’m very sorry that you felt the need to come down here. Now not only have you ruined my marriage, you’ve ruined my lunch.

  15. Hitorque

    1. Yeah, Cindye’s 45-second “apology” to Wanda was peak Cindye… It’s funny because even all those years ago neither Cindye nor Batiuk could wrap their heads around the idea THAT SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY GROW THE HELL UP AND LEAVE THEIR HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCES BEHIND!! It’s a 100 percent alien concept to them…

    2. It’s funny because you’d think the Westview High Class of 1970-something would spend their reunion talking to people they lost track with over then years and not the same classmates they talk to literally 350 days out of the year…

    3. It’s funny because Jerome Bushka’s death hasn’t been mentioned even though he’s done more for Westview High than any of these other clowns…

    4. It’s funny because Lester Moore finally got his stupid St. Lisa movie made with an all-star cast, the woman playing St. Lisa HAND-DELIVERED her Best Actress Academy Award to his doorstep and not one person has asked him about it tonight…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah notice there is no smirking fat lady putting Bull’s helmet on the sign-in table for the reunion. And as a football player Bull would have been hanging in Cindy’s social circles.