All of My Friends Were There

Cindy’s Popularity Was Just a Cover for Insecurity? Whoddathunk?!

Cindy was the most popular, so she gets to talk about getting left out TWICE. Or we’re supposed to interpret the start of this interminable pity party on Tuesday as a private conversation between Funky and Cindy, and thus she warrants a second confession to the entire group.

I guess everyone else we saw at the reunion: ugly Les clone, baldman who may have been Barry, black haired white woman, Cayla, Masonne, Scribbles and Jan, just snuck out. Can’t say I blame them.

Cindy’s revelation would have had much more impact if we hadn’t been served the same warmed over explanation during the Time Pool 2015 reunion.

Of course, this being a terrible Funkyverse time travel sequence, it ends up that it was ‘All A Dream’ Les had after hitting his head. Meaning that Les imagined this conversation where an older Cindy tells a younger Cindy that she’s mean because she hates herself. Perfectly in character for Les.

I remember that Time Pool arc as pretty insufferable to read at the time. Especially when young Les decides to kill Lisa by maintaining her ignorance. But to be sure I went back in our nifty little archives feature to read the comments from SEVEN YEARS AGO. Look how many of you silly nitpickers keep coming back to this weird ‘hole in the web’ of a site!

Wow…just wow. So much potential. So little execution…

Bill, August 8, 2015

It’s one thing to retcon things that happened 30 years ago, but it’s another thing to retcon something that happened last week.

bobanero, August 8, 2015

Oh well, at least Batiuk can now attempt to write off the half-assedness of this arc as Les being a simple-minded dunderhead.

It won’t work, but he can argue it at least.

Charles, August 8, 2015

At a certain age, if someone faints, you call in some medical pros because you are concerned the person is suffering s stroke and/or heart attack.

I am pleased no one bothered to seek medical attention for Les.

Jimmy, August 8, 2015.

The only way this could be worse is—I got nothin’.

oddnoc, August 7, 2015

If L’Auteur Glorieux had the balls to pull off something bold here, that would have been Lisa leaning over Les.

Jim in Wisc. August 7, 2015

Tom Batiuk is using this Funky comic strip as a giant “selfie stick”.

The Merry Pookster, August 8, 2015

My guess now is that the whole time pool story is a figment of Les’ fevered mind. But really, if anyone should know from pools-in-lockers, it’s Les.

sgtsaunders August 7, 2015

“You Know What I Mean” No. No, Tom. We honestly have no fucking clue what you ever meant. We have no frigging idea what the point was of this plotline. Tom, If you ever want to know if your audience understands your work, read Son of Stuck Funky. That’s where all your readers are and we don’t understand you!!

Westview Oncology, August 8, 2015

That this whole month was a dream, is reasonable — as an explanation, not as acceptable writing.

That there was a dream sequence without something leading into it, or in any way suggesting it, is weak.

That this whole thing was Les’ dream, not Crazy’s, is where it goes completely off the ramp.

bad wolf, August 7 2015

Godawful even by the standards of the strip – even if ‘it was all a dream’ was going to be the end at least some effort could have been made to have something happen, anything. But no it was simply a series of pointless incidents with a comment on comic books. If this was a glimpse into the subconscious of Les More one is reminded a Dizzy Dean Quote after a baseball hit his head “they examined my head and found nothing” (may not be an exact quote.)

Professor Fate, August 8, 2015

I’m going to be honest, I had hoped all of these two weeks that SOMETHING was going to happen and maybe the arc would end on a relatively high note. I don’t know whether Batiuk does this on purpose to make a stupid point or whatever, but at the the risk of karma–y’know, in case I ever become an author–I will say that his so-called “writing” is an embarrassment and an insult to himself, to us, and ultimately to his “funkyfan” readers that actually like this crap!

Besides that, I really don’t know what else to say. I don’t even know if any of us should continue to read FW at this point.

Comic Trek, August 8, 2015

How heartwarming was it for me to see names like batgirl, Rusty Shackleford, Smirks ‘R Us, Andrew, bigd1992 and The Dreamer? Picking nits and posting snark at a time when I was a little baby lurker who hadn’t even posted her first comment yet.

How pathetic is it to compare this reunion to the Time Pool of 2015? That thing had a couple mini-arcs in the lead-up, birthing the tag ‘the coming/looming reunion’. It had minor amounts of #conflict when they forgot to book a venue, when the DJ bailed, and when they had to cover for dead Lisa being dead. It wasn’t good, but at least it had ambition.

The 50th Reunion was more in the spirit of the 2008 reunion, which only lasted a single week. But 2008 was at least VARIED. An even mix of who had been lost, (Lisa, Livinia,) and what people were doing now. The only strip looking back on high school itself was the AWFUL Wanda strip.

This time around, we don’t even get a nice posed picture. This is it. Holly realizes she wasted her life feeling sorry for herself. Everyone felt like ‘an outsider’, meaning being ‘an insider’ was just a mirage, an arbitrary state of mind they all failed to achieve. That was the Aesop of this tale.

Like so much of Batiuk’s work, if you squint you can almost see what he’s going for. The lesson that almost everyone around you wrestles with insecurity and hungers for belonging, the realization that your feelings are not an accurate reflection of reality…that is a valuable lesson. One that’s better learned young, but still worthwhile if learned late.

But it’s not a good story. It’s not even a story at all.

What makes a story Mr. Moore?

Who changed in the last two weeks? No one. Yeah some of them learned things. A few of them learned that they didn’t really understand some of their old high school friends back in the day. A lot of what was said, like Cindy’s insecurity, Crazy’s feeling excluded, or Roland/Rolanda’s anger, was already known to most of them.

Half of these people see each other constantly and have been there for each other through decades of life’s ups and downs. Half of these characters are barely acquaintances, only seen at reunions. Will what they’ve fond out about each other tonight significantly change their relationships? No.

Nothing they learned will change them internally either. These characters are stagnant and unable to change. Batiuk has created a strip where characters age and age, faster and faster, and yet never grow. Sliding toward death, trailing their loose ends behind them.

Holly will wake up tomorrow morning. And she’ll step on her bathroom scale. And then she’ll frown.

And I guess maybe we won’t change either. Many of us will still be here, beady-eyed and ready.

But we’re not trying to be a story.

I went to that old gym,
Where I had been much happier then,
And all of my friends were there,
And no one cared.
Say what they may, all of my friends were there.
Not just my friends, but Funky’s friends too.
All of my friends were there,
Now I don’t care.

37 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

37 responses to “All of My Friends Were There

  1. William Thompson

    Wow. Any one of those egos could have given the Hindenburg an inferiority complex.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    It’s like he had an idea for this, then forgot what it was, so he just filled in the word balloons with some generic drivel and called it a wrap. So the “popular girl” was wracked with all kinds of secret insecurities, eh? Wow, there’s a premise you rarely see. Sigh

  3. billytheskink

    Funky, Cindy, oh no.

    Oh no no no no no no no no no

    No

    This… this is how insufferably bad shoegaze bands get started at overpriced liberal arts colleges. No. Just no.

  4. Sourbelly

    “I wasted all of that time feeling sorry for myself.”

    No, Holly. Feeling sorry for yourself has been the one and only point of this reunion. As long as you’re miserable, you get it.

  5. Y. Knott

    While I really enjoy CBH’s commentary, I’m glad — for her sake — that the end is in sight concerning this two-week run. At first, I thought it was kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing that SoSF would switch posters every two weeks in order to protect them from toxic levels of Funkyosity — but now I see that prolonged exposure to this strip really *could* warp your understanding of real human interaction.

    Anyway, cheers to CBH and to everyone on this site who’s been making it work so well for 50 straight years! (Time is fluid in the Batiukverse … SoSF can celebrate it’s 50th anniversary every week, if it so chooses.)

    • Epicus Doomus

      Oh no, the two week thing is very, very real, and time-tested. I’ve done several three-week runs and even tried four in a row way back when, and I always immediately regretted it. By day fifteen or sixteen, your morale just disappears, and you begin to dread the next post. You struggle for post titles, your interest wanes, and the posts get shorter as you stop caring. It’s a real phenomenon.

      Bear in mind that in the early days, TFH hosted solo for months and months on end. And it nearly destroyed him. It was like Lou Gehrig’s streak, only far more impressive and way more difficult.

      • billytheskink

        I always image that TFH’s original long stint blogging this strip risked aging him like those before-and-after their term photos of US Presidents.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Oh, those were difficult times, fraught with peril all right. Then along came global warming, which made everything much worse. But TFH persevered and delegated, and here we are in 2022, still giving FW the business.

          Seriously though, every SoSF guest host will tell you they always feel a twinge of genuine relief after they wrap up that second Sunday strip. FW has a mind-draining quality to it, it sort of numbs your creativity after a while. And that “while” is exactly two weeks. I’ve been jabbering about FW for a long, long time, and I’ve seen it all and then some. But nevertheless, after fourteen posts I’m just sapped. And then Monday rolls around and it’s a Dinkle/Claude Barlow arc and you’re just like “whew, thank God, better him/her than me”.

          And only TFH ever gets to hand-pick a particular arc, a privilege he has very rarely exercised. It’s all luck of the draw. I feel terrible when one of our esteemed guest hosts manages to draw Dinkle three times in a row, but it’s never planned that way. Everyone wants the really weird ones, like when Fred Fairgood was exposed as a philanderer or when a drunken murder chimp was on the loose or when Marianne took “method acting” way too far, but sometimes you get “Funky at the gym” or “Les sees a squirrel”.

          • sorialpromise

            Wow! “A drunken murder chimp on the loose!” I am literally getting tingles down my leg. Whoever did those 2 weeks were in hog heaven. I haven’t read them. I am hoping it was quite a murder spree. Was there a lottery anticipating the next victim? One can dream.
            I have only 3 goals this weekend. 1) Follow SOSF. 2) GOT Dance of the Dragons.
            3) LOTR Rings of Power.
            So far, plenty of top notch fantasy. Both are so different, there is no overlap, so no comparison. I put off ROP Ep2, just so I could read my favorite writer CBH. I hope her friend had an enjoyable time visiting.
            Light and Life to you all.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Thanks Y. Knott!

      It’s probably because I’m juggling a house guest on vacation at the same time I’m in the middle of this, but I am so relieved my shift is almost up. Even when I’m not playing try-hard, by the end the sardonicism has ground you down. Exhausting!

  6. be ware of eve hill

    JFC, STFU. Man, this strip is full of sad-sack whiners!

    Cindy: I felt like an outsider. High school sucked.
    Funky: I felt like an outsider. High school sucked.
    Rolanda: I felt like an outsider. High school sucked.
    Harry: I felt like an outsider. High school sucked.
    Cindy (a.k.a. Topper): In case anybody missed it earlier, I said I felt like an outsider. High school sucked.

    This reunion arc is beyond sucktacular. Like the dream time pool arc, I hope this is only a dream sequence. How many times have we all woken up from a dreadful dream/nightmare and declared, “Thank God it was only a dream!” That’s how I feel about this story arc.

    As I said the other day, the only class reunion I ever attended was when I crashed my five-year reunion when it was close to ending. Are real life class reunions anything like this? I can’t imagine paying hundreds of dollars for a flight, a hotel room and a reunion ticket only to listen to a bunch of people piss and moan about how awful high school was. If I was ever in a conversation like this, I’d do an about-face PDQ.

    Why spend all that money when you could just pour a drink, fire up the class reunion page on Facebook, and flip the bird.

    What the hell happened, Tom Batiuk? Why all the sad high school reunion arcs? Did you attend a class reunion and your classmates didn’t genuflect at the mighty comic strip artist? Did somebody poop in your punch bowl by mentioning how much more they enjoyed the early days of the strip?

    BTW, thanks for sharing, Derek. I wish Batiuk gave you more than one line word, but you’re a token fringe character, so sucks to be you.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Your comment is awaiting moderation again. *sigh*

      I may have used the word “sucked” too many times, but give me a break. I’m talking about Funky Winkerbean. 🤣

      • Rusty Shackleford

        You can never use that word too much when talking about this strip.

        What are we back in the 90’s when people flocked to afternoon tv talk shows to whine and cry and put their emotions on display?

        Batty should be a lot wiser for his age, but maybe it’s because he only listens to himself and thus his views, opinions, thoughts are never challenged. Therefore he learns nothing.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          If anything, he’s regressed. It’s almost shocking how little Tom Batiuk seems to know about anything in life. Decades of writing about high school, cancer, death, and small-town life have taught him nothing. And he doesn’t want to learn, either. So all he can do is repeat himself.

          I’m actually more put off by Crankshaft this week. All this stupid narrative, so just the world can watch more video tapes of a dead person. It’s like he doesn’t know any other way to involve a deceased character in a story. Or that he shouldn’t.

          • Mela

            The premise is ridiculous. A tv station with absolutely no backup plan, no satellite feeds to switch to, & no assistance from the parent company, but there are still video libraries and players at the station in 2022.

            Are we in for a run of old John Darling strips in Crankshaft?

        • be ware of eve hill

          How about some action Jerry Springer Show style? Who wants to see Les getting belted over the head with a chair? I do! 🙋‍♀️

          No editorial oversight makes Batty a dull read.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Thank you, Mr. Administrator!

    • Charles

      BTW, thanks for sharing, Derek. I wish Batiuk gave you more than one line word, but you’re a token fringe character, so sucks to be you.

      The points he doesn’t intend on making tend to be his best points. He shows how marginalized the minority characters were by having all his other characters marginalize them. He did this with more subtlety than any of his actual points this week.

      What I also find remarkable is that he’s going to have all of these people agree that they all felt excluded not because it’s a part of everyone’s teenage years as they’re adjusting from childhood to adulthood, but because they all had terrible tormentors around them who made them feel excluded. Their lives would have been wonderful were it not for the faceless, heartless mass of “others” who cruelly mistreated them.

      Shows up a lot in Batiuk’s writing, and it’s terrible both as a scenario and a worldview.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Especially when Cindy was 99% of the reason anyone felt was left out of anything. Someone should tell her take her insecurity and blow it out her ass.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I was looking forward to seeing what Derek had to say. Too bad he took a breath. That gave Cindy a chance to redirect the conversation back to herself.

  7. KMD

    Well tHe insights we garnered from these two weeks were worth blowing up the entire back story and having them graduate in 1972 and place Funky and the gang in their late 60s.

  8. Smirks’R Us

    Wow Tom, you solved teenage angst. The world owes you a debt of gratitude.

    I am sure we will see a drop in bullying, mental health issues, and an increase in school safety.

    Cue the Less circling the bases graphic.

    What an insufferable windbag.

  9. Professor Fate

    So nobody was content and nobody was happy in high school and this is different from the rest of their lives how? Feeling sorry for themselves is what everybody in Westville does – ALL TEH TIME. Well that and an absolute refusal to grow up and perhaps have a salad once in a while

  10. sorialpromise

    I suggest Mr. TF Hackett hire our own ComicBookHarriet to write a history and review of Funky Winkerbean from beginning to sad sorry ending.
    She could title it, “Rise and Horrible Boring Decline of a Comic Strip.”
    Mr. Batiuk is already 75. There are few years remaining. Once he is gone, the social media puff pieces are over. Someone will publish a true view of his work. So why not SOSF? Who has already done the years of research like CBH? She would be honest, accurate, and considerate of the great author. She has written most of the chapters already through her 2 week stints. She just needs time to polish them into a book.
    I would buy a copy.

    Does bwoeh ever sleep? You check this website for the past 2 months and she has posts for every time of the night! And each one of them readable and thought provoking.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Really? So much for my resolution not to use blue screen electronics between 10 PM and 6:00 AM. 😁

  11. Bad wolf

    Man, you pick one little nom de plume to make a comment or two on the internet, seven years later it’s still there in the auto fill box and you just go with it. A few months ago a blog quoted a message board convo i was part of a decade ago as well. Where did the time go? Oh yeah, sitting in front of my computer.

    Sounds like the one person who’s changed in this time is CBH! Glad to see you’ve grown as a snarker even if i just tread water, never really putting the effort in. Thanks for a fun couple of weeks.

    There’s been a couple of good times and places for comic strip snark, but this one has probably held up the longest and best for me. Who next to join the ranks of weekly blogger? Beware of Eve Hill? Sorialpromise?

    • sorialpromise

      I would read Be Ware of Eve Hill just saying “suck” 50,000?times!
      Thank you Bad Wolf for your endorsement.
      It’s funny. Last week I did 7 days of parody strips. It was over by Monday. I felt drained. I read CBH, but felt little need to comment.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Weekly blogger? Me? No way, I’ve been posting here for only a year.

      Say, you’ve been posting here a long time. 😉

      • sorialpromise

        Not me. Maybe I started late 2020 or during 2021. I lost my posting virginity to CBH during one of her 2 week stints. You might even predate me. I always thought you were a regular poster. I always look for your comments. Since you talked about Mr. bwoeh making his own ammo, I am always polite. :-P!

  12. Perfect Tommy

    If everyone is an outsider, then who is an insider? Shouldn’t there be some central core to orbit around?
    Maybe it’s the background characters. Those hazy, slightly out of focus figures that exist in a gauze-like non-permanent reality.
    Their very existence based on the whims of The Creator and brought to tenuous life by his faithful minion, The Artist.
    Imagine an alternate universe where these non-corporeal people have substance and agency over their own lives. Where even now, enjoying their reunion and conversing about their rich and varied lives, they glance over at the main cast.
    “God I hated those insufferable jerks in high school”.

    • Mela

      It’s probably not even an alternate universe. The classmates who matured and are conversing about their rich and varied lives are probably already doing that elsewhere. They just skipped the reunion.

      I keep having the same thought throughout this arc-“You know, folks, if moping over not fitting in during high school is all you’ve got to talk about after 50 years of spouses, kids, jobs and hopefully some fun along the way, then perhaps the problem lies with you.”

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    I was commenting back in 2015? Wow, time flies!

  14. Hitorque

    I give up

  15. Boy, was I terse in 2015!