Picture…This???

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Well, if Batiuk was aiming for “complete insanity” re: Mitchell, he certainly nailed it. One minute he’s a snarling, angry psycho, the next he’s a star-struck fanboy. In any event, Mitchell is probably one of the, uh, more “interesting” Act III “new” characters. There’s not a lot of competition there, of course, but still, he beats the snot out of Buck, Cliff, Flash, Phil and the rest of that sad-sack sorry lot. Although I was really hoping he’d hold them hostage or kill them or something. Oh well, maybe the next John Darling arc will be better.

36 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

36 responses to “Picture…This???

  1. William Thompson

    Please, please, please, Bats lord of cats, do not let tomorrow’s offering be a Sideways Sunday image of Messica sitting on Knox’s lap!

  2. Tonally, this arc has been hot garbage. For example, today in the first two panels, it looks like Mitchell is going to physically assault Messica’s face. And then in panel 3 he becomes a lascivious creep, wooing her into taking a picture with him. This bipolar whiplash effect has been in play throughout this arc. But…why? It makes no sense in the context of what’s going on. And nothing in this strip makes me care about this character. I just want him to stop existing.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Mitchell has varied between angry, wistful, sneering, nostalgic, apathetic, proud, paranoid, dismissive and lascivious over the last two weeks. To say he’s “all over the place” doesn’t nearly do him justice. He’s totally unmoored. It really is one of the more spectacularly bizarre arcs in recent memory.

      • Y. Knott

        Wasn’t it everyone’s wish that this strip become UnMoored?

        However, I think — I think — unmoored and bizarre was actually what Batiuk was going for in terms of this particular character. Assisted to a spectacular degree by Ayers, whose exaggerated drawings deliberately pushed Mitchell over the top.

        • none

          Yeah, I at least would be a person that would want that if I didn’t explicitly say so before.

          I agree that Knox is truthfully one of the best characters seen in this strip in ages. He was billed as a weirdo, and he’s a weirdo. The initial bipolar mood swings have been consistent. His course was plotted out and they actually managed to keep it on the path. Good. Well done. They’re strongly leaning into it and the content is better for it.

          Jessica’s actions and responses have actually been fairly reasonable as well.

          The failures in this arc have been Darrin’s actions throughout (rooting around in drawers, today’s supporting the picture without protest) and the actual logic used to justify what happens from one day to the next, but the latter failing being a side effect of the strip being plot driven to the point that any kind of continuity and consistency is handwaved at a blink of an eye has been a failing of this strip for more than thirty years.

          So much of the snark and criticism which the strip duly deserves would not exist if the author chose this tone and stuck with it the entire time. Don’t get all sappy and sanctimonious, and don’t get puff pieces to tell us how this is all so artfully and deftly crafted. Can that crap. Just be weird and stay weird. This isn’t hard.

          • Yeah, agreed. However much this week has left me asking what the flipping heck is wrong with Tom Batiuk, it has had a compelling intensity unmatched since whenever Mary Worth last went on a CRUISE SHIP.

            If Sunday’s strip continues with Mitchell Knox there is no guessing what he will do. He might offer to copy his VHS tapes of My Father John Darling’s shows for Jessica. He might demand Jessica’s driver’s license to prove her identity. He might share inspirational words from the time My Father John Darling spoke at his elementary school. He might lick Jessica and Boy Lisa’s foreheads, twice, and then without another word hold up a potato. He could declare his time has now ended and Boy Lisa should become keeper of the flame, and then become one with the VHF waves, transcending mere matter. He could climb up a rope ladder and moo. Anything is possible and I want to know what happens.

  3. Mela

    Has there been any conversation actually about John Darling? They’ve talked about the gun & the memorabilia, but Mitchell hasn’t asked her anything about him. No “I know you were young when he passed, but what do you remember about him?” Nor is Jess asking him anything about his take on her father’s show or if had any fond memories of it besides it being a local program.
    The only hint of warmth we’ve seen in this arc has been Jess’s mom’s tear when she was watching an episode.

  4. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Sweat pants with pockets – this guy’s living the dream.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Are we sure that cellphone came from a pocket? Mitch might have had it tucked between his waistband and his avoirdupois…or it may have been hidden within the folds of his midsection, a la “Dick Tracy” villain Pouch (Hey, since it’s been established that FW and DT exist in the same universe, maybe we’ll find out that Mr. Knox is Pouch’s long-lost son!).

  5. Hitorque

    1. Might as well get a little grope in, Mitch — We all know this is the only time you’ll get to touch a real live human female…

    1a. Well Jess, you just had to meet this weirdo freakazoid and now you can sleep soundly at night knowing Mitchell Fuckin’ Knox is furiously stroking his two-inch boner to your picture twice nightly…

    2. Not getting her to pose on the talk show set? You disappoint me, Mitch…

    3. Not getting her to pose seductively with the murder weapon?? You disappoint me, Mitch…

    4. You didn’t even ask Jess to autograph your special collector’s edition DVD of Jessica Darling’s award-winning documentary about her father’s murder, complete with 54 minutes of extra footage plus a full director’s commentary plus a blooper reel?? Wait, you mean to say you don’t have the DVD?? And all this time I thought you were a *hardcore* collector geek FFS maybe you should get that “Keeper of the John Darling flame” title revoked, kid…

  6. The Dreamer

    Mitchell gets Jessica to pose for the pic and as it’s being taken, he kisses her on the lips. Darrin is too much of a wimp to defend his wife’s honor, but Jessica takes the gun and shoots Mitchell!

    Jessica becomes the second person to commit murder on the John Darling Show set.

  7. sorialpromise

    Apparently, we are hitting the 3 week arc limit. I suffer from acute Batiuk-itus. He introduces ideas such as Mitchell is odd, he is a JD collector, he brings out the gun, he mentions the autopsy photos. He even diverts us with local Ohio kids television. At least we got: if CBH calls, tell her that SP SAYS HELLO. But tell her that YOU are the nicest person. Just you.
    But you add it up, and what do you get? Wasted opportunities to make this arc really good. Any suggestions from any of us at SOSF, even the morbid ones (you know who you are!) would make the next 2 weeks mandatory reading. Instead, we will get Atomik Comix, or Les, or worse, Dinkle. To quote someone from yesterday, Batiuk needs to get a real job. Maybe teaching French swear words. (f**k me!)

    • be ware of eve hill

      I am in the pit area with LaDonna and generally in the way. My brother in law loves that.
      sorialpromise
      September 23, 2022 at 7:34 pm

      So what happened? Did your brother-in-law do well? Did Team LaDonna win?

      Were you continually in the way? Did they throw you out of the pits?
      sorialpromise: …and then they threw me out of the pits and I said, “f**k me!”
      🤣😂🤣

      • sorialpromise

        Her brother Paul mentors a 17 year old kid. They raced nose to nose on the dirt track. Then in a turn the kid came down too close to Paul. Paul hit him and the kid did several spins. Fortunately only the cars were ruined. I told the kid: After those spins, he has a career in ballet or ice skating!

        • be ware of eve hill

          Mentors the 17-year-old, huh? That seems like a lesson. Don’t come down on me, kid.

          ———————-

          We used to attend a track just south of Cleveland back in the 1980s named Cloverleaf Speedway. It was a 1/4-mile paved oval. There were three classes. A-Class was the highest class, the most skilled drivers with money to spend. B-Class was experienced drivers who didn’t have the money for A-Class. C-Class was the “learner” class, strictly amateur hour. We loved the C-Class maniacs. At the start of most races, they’d round turn four all over the place, tires screeching. A wreck was almost certain. Nobody ever got hurt. Only the cars.
          True Cloverleaf Fan: Who you all rooting for?
          Mr. bwoeh: Wrecks.
          True Cloverleaf Fan: Rex? What car number is he?

          Occasionally they had something called “Parking Lot Drags”. People in the crowd could race each other on the track, two at a time. Naturally, they had to sign a liability waiver.

          We attended a race there shortly after our son was born. We usually sat along the backstretch close to the fence in lawn chairs rather than the bleachers on the west side. The cars were so loud, sometimes we failed to notice our son was crying. You could see his face all scrunched up, his little arms flailing, but you couldn’t hear a thing. We’d go home all covered in rubber bits, baby included.

          Cloverleaf closed shortly after we left Ohio. We heard they created a man-made lake in the infield for a boat demolition derby. A driver in a subsequent race had a heart attack, drove into the lake and drowned. I doubt that was the main reason, most likely financial.

          A couple of times we went to Painesville Speedway, a 1/5 mile paved oval. Painesville had the same three classes as Cloverleaf, but with one big difference. The final race was always a Figure Eight Race. Cars raced on a wetted track that purposely intersected itself, increasing the risk of collisions.

          When we lived in KC, we attended a few races at Kansas Speedway. We always talked about going to Daytona, but we have yet to make it.

          Cheers

          • sorialpromise

            True. Tracks are loud. Last night, we walked from the pits to the fence to watch Paul race. Loud as can be. LaDonna has temporary foot trouble and has to wear an orthopedic boot. I see up ahead a bunch of men on the sidewalk. Bear in mind that LaDonna has been here all season. So the men are standing up ahead with their backs to us. I start shouting: (I am not making this up!) “Make way for the Queen! Make way for the Queen!” The sea of men parts. LaDonna gives me the dirtiest look. She turns to me and shouts, “You are screaming through the track prayer!” The track was so loud I heard nothing. In another moment, she said, “Don’t say anything. They are playing the national anthem. 🇺🇸 Now I am as patriotic as anyone, but could not hear a note. I only took my hat off, and did not put it back on until I saw the men do it in the crowd. (For SOSF readers, LaDonna is my wife!)
            Is it this weekend or next that is Grandma call weekend?
            (This next part might have a fib in it: At the beginning of the night, I asked the track announcer to broadcast, “Will the the man and wife making bullets please come forward for their free tickets!”)

      • Hitorque

        Who the hell is LaDonna?

        • sorialpromise

          Technically, for 47 years she claims to be Mrs. sorialpromise. She also claims to have papers to prove it. I don’t argue, or she might receive autopsy pictures and the murder weapon.

  8. billytheskink

    If I was Durwood, I would wash my hands after handling that phone. I would wash them many many times.

    When I was home from college, in the summers and over Christmastime, I had a job at a print shop where I operated and maintained these big inkjet plotters. They drank ink, which I had to pour into reservoirs (not installed in clean, swappable cartridges like today) multiple times every day. They constantly got air in the ink supply lines or obstructions on the jets, both things that I had to vacuum out. It was a mess and I would come home every day with my hands stained through with ink. It would take days and dozens of washings to get them completely free of those ink stains (getting ink on my skin became one of greatest pet peeves as a result).

    Yeah, if I was Durwood, I would wash my hands more than I did after that job…

  9. batgirl

    Has anyone floated the idea that Mitchell is Plantman’s son? I know the timeline wouldn’t work, but that ship sank long ago.

    • The Duck of Death

      I prefer my alternate theory, which is that Jessica Darling Whosefatherjohndarlingwasmurdered is actually Mitchell’s daughter. It would explain his bizarre and otherwise inexplicable obsession.

  10. Paul Jones

    Well, with Bull dead, we can’t very well fixate on the crappy football team so I’m guessing that what’s next is more nonsense with the cornball band director.

    • The Duck of Death

      Most likely. But aren’t we also overdue for a school levy arc? And a doom-filled scolding from Kablichnik? And two weeks of unrelenting bloviation from Funky at his AA meeting? And more mopey wet-blanketing from Les?

      And dreary ruminations from all about the impending winter, to be quickly followed by six months of the Northeastern Ohio Snow Season, during which it snows every day until spring?

  11. be ware of eve hill

    What happened to the revolver?

    Next, have Jessie sit in the set with the cracked mug in one hand and the gun dangling from a finger on her other hand. All with that confounded look on her face. Mitchell sits in the guest chair, grinning at the camera. Mwah. Chef’s kiss. 😘

    After all this effort to find a memento of her father, Jessica goes home with a cracked mug her father may or may not have used. Didn’t exactly pay to come, did it?

    • Hitorque

      Nevermind the fact that as I mentioned last week, Jess should ALREADY have plenty of mementos from her father…Am I to believe John never once bought toys or clothes or a bicycle for his daughter as a toddler?!

      • The Duck of Death

        Never mind that her mother has not one single memento, not even a yearbook forgotten in an attic, or a tie worn on the air.

        These people are damn weird. I still think there was some real nasty, kink-AY stuff going on between Mitchell, Plantman, John Darling Whowasmurdered, and Mrs. Whowasmurdered. And if Jessica ever sends in for 23andme, she better sit down before she opens the envelope with the results.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Really. What the hell is Jessica looking for? What could be a better memento of her father and his show than eleven years worth of video? It shouldn’t be too difficult for Jessica to find someone to make copies of the Channel One tapes. Crazy Harry?

        These characters want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Sometimes you need to put time and money into obtaining the things you want.

      • batgirl

        I seem to recall that from the documentary arc, Jessica was shown to still have the Barbie dolls and sets that her father who was murdered would join in playing with, hence his dying words being “I love Barbie forever” which is what he would say to her before leaving for work(?).
        That arc also showed that Jessica’s mother who was widowed had videotapes of John Darling who was murdered playing Barbies with his daughter who has not yet been murdered.
        Of course videotapes.

        Also, the recently posted strip of John Darling who was murdered’s funeral shows Jessica carried in her mother’s arms looking no more than 2 years old, tops. But the videos in the documentary arc made her look at least 4 before her father who was murdered was murdered.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Here’s hoping Mitchell Knox shows up in the character line at the next Dinkle family Thanksgiving.

    Maybe this time he could put on a nice dress shirt and some khakis.

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, as before he’ll have a store of a dozen frozen turkeys in the basement, which he will begin defrosting as the guests are arriving.

      And as before, everyone in the Centerville/Westview metro area will be invited at the last second, and all will eagerly accept, abandoning all plans for dinner with family and loved ones, even those who have traveled a great distance for the occasion.

      Oh, and as before, only one person is not invited: The Widder Bushka. Apparently she’s persona non grata chez Dinkle.

      She can just eat her microwaved mac & cheese all alone, sitting across the table from Bull’s Death Helmet, as the muffled Jeopardy theme drifts in from the living room.

      • be ware of eve hill

        The wife of a sporto at the Dinkle table? Bite your tongue.
        Dinkle: This dinner is for band people!

        I wonder what became of the meatloaf Linda was baking for dinner the night Bull died? Perhaps Linda thaws a slice of meatloaf for special occasions? Goes great with microwaved mac & cheese.

        It’s hard to believe almost three years have passed since the Bull Bushka CTE death arc (the “accident” occurred on 09/29/2019).

  13. Sunday: Darrin swipes right on the phone and- OH NO THE AUTOPSY PHOTOS

  14. Epicus Doomus

    No spoilers, but you’re all way, way, way off.

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