Funky Awards 2022 Coming Soon!
Today! The latest installment of the Funkyverse’s most exciting new game show, brought to you by Crankshaft!
Find! That! Line Art!
DING DING DING!
Tell our valiant players what they’ve won!
Why! They’ve won a flashback trip down Lover’s Lane (Barres Lane) in Westview (Elyria), Ohio!
And you might be thinking, ComicBookHarriet! How do you know that all this took place in Westview? Lisa and Frankie were going to Big Walnut Tech, which may or may not be in the same town?
Well I have an answer. The apartment was just down the road from Bedside Manor, which exists within the Westview Time Bubble.
At the start of June in 2013, there was the faintest hint of a Funky/Cranky crossover. The week before Fred utters his immortal “Pm nd Jffff” in Funky Winkerbean, in Crankshaft, Pam and Jeff Murdoch look at an old photo album and reminisce.
Ann and Fred have a brief cameo at the end of the week. With Fred looking considerably younger than his Act I days,
Of course, before Jffff or Pm could show up in Funky Winkerbean proper, the story needed to take a quick detour to pick up Summer, so she wouldn’t miss having her sister-in-law’s uncle tell her all about the night he stopped her mom from getting beat up.
They caught Summer up as efficiently as possible, with two days of word zeppelins full of incestuous plotting.
Enter Jeff Murdoch for, I think, the first time in Act III. (Billy, feel free to correct me.)
Notice how it’s only Jeff? You think this was just a cute (and by cute I mean infuriating) way to reference Ed Crankshaft without mentioning him by name?
Nope, Ann Fairgood is in attendance so showing Pam Murdoch in the same room would be too confusing. I joked yesterday about Pam and Ann being dopplegangers. Well.
Here’s Ann in 2013.
Here’s Pam in her first Act III appearance. in 2014.
There’s some effort to give Act III Pam a weaker chin, and a little turkey neck…but all that hits home is that Ann Fairgood is a more believable aged up Pam, than the Pam we’re actually seeing.
Remember these are different people.
No they’re not.
They’re Tom’s wife, Cathy.
And you know what? That’s fine.
Or maybe it’s not fine, but I don’t really have it in me to get mad about it. We all rightfully rib on Batiuk for the idiosyncrasies of his work, for a million little and massive flaws in execution. We all notice things in his public statements, in his writing, that don’t just rub us the wrong way, but rub us the wrong way with jalapeno sandpaper.
But one thing I find endearing, (maybe it’s just me,) is that Batiuk seems genuinely enamored with his wife. He is like Tolkien in these two ways, and only these two ways. One, that he spent his whole life creating a complex world with hundreds of characters (no matter the relative quality.) And two, he wrote his wife into his work multiple times with multiple characters. Tolkien did it with more art and grace (Duh). Batiuk mindlessly overdoes it until he’s peopled his world with clones. But of all his many sins, CopyCathy is one I smile at.
I think Pam in Crankshaft is actually written pretty well, by Batiukian standards. There’s something a little more solid inside her compared to the empty shells of Cayla, Jess, Mindy, Holly or Donna. Maybe it’s the added focus of the smaller cast? Or maybe her Cathyness is purer? In any case an instance where drawing the from the personal has worked.
Jeff on the other hand? What a downer.
And that is it. The only point of dragging the Murdochs into this is so Jeff can mention a journal. There would be a million more plausible ways to get from Frankie threatening a Reality Show to someone remembering that Lisa kept a high school journal. But on the other hand a squiggly line connecting a stupid point A to a stupid point B is a little more interesting to look at than a straight line.
And so we end today on an UNSETTLING Cayla closeup.
Join us tomorrow, as we get Lisa’s story and discover the SHOCKING TRUTH of THE NIGHT AT LOVER’S LANE.