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Please, CBH, I beg of you — please dive into some Act I material when Batiuk actually wrote things that were mildly entertaining.Y. Knott
I’m sorry, Y. Knott, but I am bound and determined to see this Frankie thing through. Don’t worry, today is the last day of unfortunate implications, as the final Frankie arc is as anodyne as it is baffling.
But still, I hear your plea, so here’s a little Act I palate cleanser of some strips I pulled at random during my deep dives.
First, cream of the crop Political humor.
And the 1986 edition of Batiuk’s classic gag: Existential Leaves Week.
I feel like this gives a good sense of the overall quality of mid/late Act I. 10% Pretty Funny, 20% Okay, 50% Not Awful, 20% Cringe.
So, if someone is sick of talking about Frankie, Matt Miller, or stolen artwork, feel free to wax eloquent about mortality and lawn mulch.
AND NOW! The exciting conclusion of Frankie Gets Real! 2013!
And that’s all for 2013, the next day Les and Funky are in horrifying jogging clothes and Funky is fantasizing about alcohol.
What did valued, long time commenters have to say about this finale almost 10 years ago?
Frankie sees Darin and Jessica having a nice, loving relationship and he hates that, because he wanted that with Lisa.
Think of that: he wanted to be Les Moore.
Also, Darin and Jessica are horrible and no one should envy them, because, horrible.Beckoning Chasm
Beckoning: Wanting to be Les Moore. Envying Darin and Jessica. Geez, now I actually feel bad for the guy.Epicus Doomus
This installment doesn’t even pass the laughingstock test.oddnoc
They may tire of Montoni’s pizza, but with the income of a part time pizza-ap maker and an unemployed documentarian, what else can they afford?gleeb
I don’t mind Frankie’s little Ignored Epiphany At least I think the story is slightly better for having it. Like a plywood prop iceberg. It’s hollow but it at least gives the illusion of depth. There’s actually an interesting through line with Frankie that takes us to the very end of the arc, and that is his defiance when stymied. He’s a big toddler who hates the words, ‘no’ and ‘stop that’.
Frankie is passionate about what he wants and will fight for it. Of course, what he wants ranges from selfish to reprehensible. But it’s easy to see how in a crowd of limp noodle characters always ready to roll over and admit defeat, he has an allure.
Why is Frankie the way he is? Lenny suggests it’s just in his nature. That he’s got killer shark blood and Adonis DNA or something. We’re not given anything to suggest otherwise.
When I compared Frankie to Matt Miller yesterday, I neglected to mention that Matt was given a Freudian excuse for his behavior and an understated redemption arc.
Of course, it is the magical Gary Stu savior, Les Moore, who mentors and counsels Matt.
But even after Les’ tutoring, it’s Bull who takes the high ground and benches Matt from playing in the championship game. His moral stance costs him that year’s championship.
And, of course, he did it because he was really jealous of Les and his great relationship with his own father.
Which is a stupid retcon if I’ve ever seen one. Since it seems like the feelings Mr. Moore had for his son Les were the natural mix of resigned disdain expected of a man disappointed in his spawn.
Regardless, Matt Miller is allowed to become something more than a complete monster. And by the next year he is celebrating as LES MOORE coaches the Westview Scapegoats to victory against Big Walnut Tech in the championship game.
I read a great book in college. It’s buried somewhere in my giant raft of books I haven’t sorted yet, so I can’t get the title. But the gist was that it covered the portrayal of Nazis in pop culture through the decades. (Sorry, today we are breaking Godwin’s Law.) It was a fascinating read because it showed how the way evil and villains are conceptualized in the zeitgeist morphs over the decades.
Importantly, starting around the 80’s and gradually increasing to a peak somewhere in the late 90’s was a desire to give every villain a Freudian excuse. Something in their past that broke them. The examples in the book included giving Marvel’s The Red Skull and DC’s Captain Nazi abusive fathers.
A villain with a Freudian excuse is more sympathetic, more redeemable, more understandable, than a plain old bad egg. Matt can be forgiven, eventually, because we’ve been told what makes him tick, and so we can guess what it’ll take to make that bad tick a into a respectable tock.
With his little hatchet mouthed sad face in that last Sunday Strip, Frankie gave us the barest hint that maybe he had a Freudian excuse too.
But, then again, maybe he was just frowning at the horrifying memory of the Montoni’s pizza he’d eaten the night before.
NOW WHAT YOU’VE ALL BEEN SCROLLING FOR.
JOIN US TOMORROW. THE MOST PUNCHABLE LES AWAITS!!!