(link to today’s real strip).
So today’s what, Thursday? So two more days for this dramatic, life-and-death setup to take an appealing, wacky twist! Did you really think she was about to kill herself over Les Moore, old man? That douchey English teacher over at Westview? You’ve had him on your bus at some point, I’m sure. Yeah, that guy.
45 responses to “I Thought Of Quittin’ Baby, but My Heart Just Ain’t Gonna Buy It”
“Life’s too short to waste any of it”: Funky Winkerbean readers feel humiliatingly called out for spending time reading Funky Winkerbean.
Reading it…running a blog about it…discussing it…what the hell is wrong with us?
Until they can find a treatment, containment in a safe environment such as this blog is probably the best option. Not many people are susceptible to the disease, but carriers have a way of attempting to infect others: spouses, friends, bank-tellers, clergy….
OK, that hurt.
Which is why I read (and occasionally snark upon) “FW” whilst on the Porcelain Throne. It assures the time will be profitably spent.
Doing a Susan Smith suicide fake-out arc is like doing an arc where Cayla gets a pebble stuck in her bra and thinks it’s a tumor. It’s just really, really tasteless. I still can’t even imagine what the freaking point here is.
I’m getting the impression from this that Batiuk might be trying to tie up the loose end of that story for some reason. He may have read some criticism that Susan’s departure in 2011 absolutely looked as if she was going off to kill herself, made only worse because Batiuk had her try to commit suicide earlier in the strip. So he’s going to fix that impression by bringing her back in this weird, orphaned, flashback story that will only last a week and have no effect on the rest of the strip whatsoever.
And he fucks that up immediately by having this woman whose big earlier sequences were a suicide attempt and getting beaten up by her boyfriend multiple times declare that today is “the worst day of [her] life”. He just can’t write a single Susan sequence without fucking it up constantly. The 2011 sequence where we last left her was remarkably callous. Once Les no longer had any use for Susan, it was obvious that Batiuk didn’t give the slightest shit about her.
You raise a good point : there are a lot of candidates for worst day of Susan Smith’s life. So which day is today? The abuse day, the suicide attempt day, the I kissed Les day, or something else? That the story doesn’t even care which day this is a monument to its meaninglessness.
Susan Smith was a longtime Batiuk punching bag character, and when he banished her he did indeed toss her away like trash. In Act III she was always on the periphery, sniffing around Les, just to let him know she was always available. It was totally repellent.
And Batiuk would have Les be completely oblivious to Susan’s intentions, which, considering their past, is utterly unbelievable. It’s as if Les had been lobotomized to forget about every prior interaction he had with her. Hell, she tried to commit suicide because she was in love with him and he was committed to Lisa instead. And then she comes back and immediately moves on him
Because Les’s response to her was so unbelievable, instead of him seeming unaware of her intentions, he was a piece of shit who seemed to revel in the idea of this crazy woman wanting him more than anything else in the world, despite his unwillingness to reciprocate; just keep her dangling for the ego boost it gives him. Batiuk wanted this perverse subplot, but he didn’t realize that there was no way to have it without Les becoming a monster.
I mean, if there was a woman who loved me so much that she tried to kill herself after I rejected her, that incident would be foremost on my mind in every subsequent interaction I had with her, and it wouldn’t even be close. (Unless and until she tried to kill me, but imagine how THAT would affect my response to her) But that obvious reality never occurred to Batiuk for even a moment. It’s like a suicide attempt has no larger significance in his characters’ lives than what they had for breakfast this morning. If they forget it happened, no big deal, right?
Is this supposed to cure Susan Smith of her (unmentioned) suicidal impulse? Why not at least try to be clever, like “Stay alive! What have you got to lose?” or “If you die, you’ll never live it down!” or “Nobody ever died and lived to tell the tale” or even a riff on the movie version of M*A*S*H, “Suicide is certain death!”
What this arc needs is Les to arrive, pick Susan up and say “No! I CAN GET HER TO HER THERAPIST FASTER MYSELF!”. Then it’d all come full circle.
I might be wrong here, but I’m pretty sure the last panel of the 2011 Susan’s Banishment arc was Susan leaving WHS, with a janitor’s garbage can in the foreground. With the implication being that WHS, Les, FW, Batiuk and the readers were throwing her away like she was trash. It was real subtle, but it was there.
🎶suicide is painless, it brings on many changes 🎶
For the record I do not encourage suicide, I’ve struggled with life-unsubscribing thoughts myself, that’s why this current shallow story is so aggravating😑
Same here, except one night I almost lost the struggle. It was a close shave but I made it. The only way Batiuk could make this worse is to have Crank tell Susan Smith “Don’t do it! It’s selfish!
It hurts the people you love!”
I’m glad you’re still here, WT. I would miss your clever, well-crafted snark.
Thank you! Snarking at Funky Winkerbean (and seeing all the great snark here) helps a lot. It’s like Batiuk has created a therapeutic punching bag.
FFS Norm MacDonald treated suicidal thoughts with more empathy
I miss Norm so bloody much!
I miss him too 😔
This guy, Crankshaft, sounds like a real jerk…
That Lisa was a real battle-axe…
That assessment may be a bit off.
I guess Susan’s “Oh!” response is going to lead to something. Or, more likely, not.
I’m still confused as to when/where this is taking/has taken place.
“You spent YEARS pursuing Les Moore?! Yeah, life is WAY too short to waste any of it…”
‘Shaft, going for the jugular.
What would be great, according to my cat’s litter box, would be a “Crankshaft” strip where someone said, “Yeah, except for that assinine English teacher in Westview…what was his name? You know, that jerk who thought everything revolved around him…damn, ‘Moron’ something?” It would reflect nicely against that “whacky bus driver” crap that shows up over here.
At least, according to my cat’s litter box. Your cat’s litter box may differ.
A slight pause in snark:
1. If you have loved ones suffering from low self esteem and depression, tell them often that you love them.
2. Get them appointments with counselors, social workers, and psychiatrists.
3. In some way let them know that suicidal thoughts are very treatable. It responds to numerous types of therapy.
4. If on medication, encourage them to keep taking until the doctor stops it.
5. Warn them that suicide is very contagious.
6. Get them to make a list of steps they follow that gets them down to rock bottom. If they can recognize the steps soon enough, maybe they can stop the depression sooner from becoming suicidal.
7. Again, tell them often that you love them.
Return to snark!
As someone who lost two family members to suicide, I can tell you from experience that those are wise words. But I would add “return to snark” as item 8. Laughter is good medicine and helps fight off depression!
Rusty, I am sorry for your loss. They are loved and not forgotten. In memory of them, I will tell one more person that they are loved. I will start with you.
Rusty, you are loved and appreciated.
Thank you so much. I will pass this love on to my nieces and nephews who are growing up without knowing their father.
I struggled with depression for awhile but I am much better these days. The key is force yourself to make time to do the things you like. For my wife and I this involves travel to other countries.
Sorry for your losses. And you’re right; laughter is a good medicine. Let us thank Batiuk for spreading Funkyitis so we can all self-medicate to our hearts’ content.
How would anyone… any person. Any person who’s prior knowledge of this strip is 5 seconds or 50 years. How would any single person look at today’s strip and feel compelled to want to see more of this conversation. Who is the person who is looking at today’s strip and is engaged with it on any level.
I don’t get this at all. This is not intriguing, this is far beyond vague… this is just nothing. It’s nothing. It says nothing. It fosters nothing. Why does this strip even exist?
Susan’s abrupt “Oh!” interjection at first struck me as an odd reaction to the Crankcase’s life-affirming aphorisms, but I just had a bizarre thought (and if someone else said this earlier in the week, I apologize). Is tomorrow’s strip going to feature Ms. Smith saying to her would-be Clarence the Angel (Second Class), “Oh! You thought I was going to jump? No, I just stopped here because I have a flat tire!”?
This out-of-left-field swerve would explain why she pulls over and says “Perfect ending to the worst day…” on Monday, since we never see the passenger side tires on her car, and her reaction to Ed’s comment in today’s strip. Also, it would be a clumsy and totally nonsensical attempt at a Shyamalan-like twist, which is why it would be right in Batiuk’s wheelhouse. I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
So…….we’re meant to believe that she’s too stoooooooooooooooooopid to realize where she is and what it looks like? Typical bloody Batiuk, isn’t it?
She couldn’t figure it out until Thursday, because then the arc wouldn’t be exactly a week long. Batiuk has his priorities, you know.
What would improve this arc is having a third person pull over, thinking that both Crankshaft and Susan are about to jump. Funky leans on the rail next to Ed and begins droning on, “When I was still drinking heavily, I drove drunk and thought I’d hit and killed a pedestrian. But when I realized I hadn’t, I knew that life has meaning, (etc.)”
Then Lillian, driving past, thinking it’s a polyamorous trio about to end it all, pulls over, joins the group, and starts in: “When I ruined my sister’s life and made her insane, I thought I would never get over the guilt. But finally I realized…(etc.)”
Rolanda, passing by, assumes it’s some kind of suicide cult, so she pulls over and runs out, saying, “When I realized that my macho façade was a pathetic attempt to hide the woman I truly was inside, I wanted to end it all. But I knew that even when life doesn’t go your way, it’s worthwhile (etc.)”
Les, on his way to his daily Lisa Bench Visit, spots the five morosely staring at the water, so he pulls over and strides out of his car, intoning, “You know, when Lisa died, I –” All five simultaneously clamber over the rail, and one by one they fall into the trees below.
Or…grab Les and throw him overboard!
What a fantastic premise. If Crankshaft stopped because he mistakenly thought Susan was a jumper, then other people could stop for the same reason. A group of strangers, all mistakenly thinking someone in the group is about to jump, get into a very honest conversation about suicide and their own inner demons. What’s great about it is how natural it is.
There’s a book/movie A Long Way Down which has a similar premise.
Counting the cars on the Ohio turnpike, they’ve all come to look for potential jumpers…
(And blah, blah, blah to you, Officer McDougall.)
Crankshaft: Looks like Mitch is back to being toddler. I’m not sure Batty even understands what he is doing at this point.
By the way, Batiuk confirmed on his blog that this character is Susan Smith, and re-tells her past story:
These past strips are actually pretty good. Each advances the story, and has a strong punchline. Two of them are visual gags that work. The larger story is ridiculous – even 15 years ago, you should know not to just a smooch a coworker on the lips out of the blue. But despite all the story’s flaws, it’s a sharp contrast to the absolute dreck he’s doing now.
I agree with you. Compared to the past strips, his work has really degraded. At least back then there was a sort of theme you could follow. Now, it’s just random words thrown about.
True. As glacially paced as it was in 2011, WAY more actually happened on a weekly basis, as hard as that may be to believe. The Susan’s Banishment arc was merely a sub arc, taking place within the book movie option arc, which was a real adventure.
Ed Crankshaft, who played ball for the Toledo Mudhens in the 1940s and is still driving a school bus 80 years later (!), is talking about a short life. Hmmm…
I’m beginning to think he’s a highlander. But unfortunately for him, immortality did not come until he was already at advanced age, making him the most crotchety immortal.
So Crankshaft is a spiritual cousin to Tithonus, who gained immortality without eternal youth?
As Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote:
After many a summer dies the ‘Shaft…er, I mean, swan…
If the good die young, Crankshaft is immortal.