Wash Me and I Will be Pure

Has the purported privilege of your race, your culture, your gender, your sexual orientation, your socioeconomic status, or your occupation got you feeling the stain of social guilt? Does the comfort of your upper middle class existence leave your conscience dirty when confronted with bad news on the TV?

Well! Wash those feelings away in just a few minutes! Pull out your laziest soapbox, and purge your conscience. You’ll feel fresh, radiant, clean, and righteous, when you’ve washed yourself in the fountain of virtue!

White Rain! Cheap! Affordable! Easy! The preferred soapbox of old, white, middle-class, heterosexual men everywhere!

Yes, this year, we are proud to announce we have a sponsor! (ed. This is a joke. We do not have a sponsor. We are in no way affiliated with International Wholesale, High Ridge Brands, LLC, or any of their associates or subsidiaries. Not even they can wash the stink out of these strips.)

Here are your nominees for:

The Award for Cheapest Soapbox, Brought to You by White Rain

1.) Gun Violence

2.) Tackling Racism

3.) Serious Issues Issues

4.) Gender Reveal Party

5.) Environmental Recycling

6.) A Reason to Hope

7.) Injecting the Estrogen

And your winner for The Cheapest Soapbox, Brought to you by White Rain, (Ed. No, not really.)

Gun Violence

I was shocked to see that this beat even Racism and Transgenderism, or the multiple WEEKS we suffered through climate damage nonsense. But the commenters have spoken.

Lisa’s Tomorrow.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

56 responses to “Wash Me and I Will be Pure

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I didn’t vote for this one, but it’s certainly a worthy winner. Man, that was a really, really, f*cked up arc, even by FW standards. If the strip had kept going, I wonder how long it’d have taken for them to actually exhume Jessica’s father John Darling’s corpse.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      A decade earlier they would have dug up the coffin, but it would have been EMPTY. Cue a monthlong storyline that starts supernatural but ends with fairly pedestrian burial plot/funeral home corruption.

    • Charles

      I voted for it because it was so weird and off. The other sequences can easily be explained with “I should say something about this”, but the John Darling sequence was just bonkers. The others were rote and by-the-numbers, but Batiuk turning a murder weapon into a toy for the grandchild of the murder victim is something I could see him considering a revelation or something. It’s just so twisted and yet he played it straight.

  2. Man, all 7 of these nominees were violently award-worthy. And the award for each should include a sharp Backpfeifengesicht, followed by face-spitting and hair-pulling. Seriously, I want to hurt each of these!

  3. billytheskink

    I expected anything and everything connected to the John Darling murder weapon to perform well in the polls. Most of what we are voting on here and in the other categories is stuff that is self-aggrandizing, un-researched, just plain bad, or a combination of all three…

    But the journey from Jess and Durwood seeking a small souvenir of the John Darling show (which truly started with the inane ransomware attack on Channel 1 plot in Crankshaft) to the casually illegal acquisition of a murder weapon by the daughter of the man who was murdered by said weapon to the transformation of the weapon into a baffling-looking TOY for the grandson of the murdered man. None of the decisions in that story made sense, it was the most ludicrous thing we’ve seen in this strip since Zanzibar opened his mouth. It was always going to draw votes. It drew a lot of mine.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I remember seeing it for the first time and being completely dumbfounded. Of all the possible John Darling-related trinkets he could have used (his microphone, his chair, his glasses, his notes, his cocaine spoon and etc.) Batiuk chose to build the story around a handgun used to murder him, which some weirdo had carelessly lying around. And not only did Jessica and Boy Lisa accept the gun, they took it home and mulled it over briefly before having it melted down and turned into a pointy spaceship made from gun metal, which they then gave to their somewhat doltish young son. And it ended with an excited Skyler playing with a pointy retro spaceship made from the gun used to murder his grandfather, like it was a happy, upbeat ending and not the weirdest f*cking thing ever. At no point in the story did any of the characters even once act like even a reasonable facsimile of a normal human being.

      I really miss FW already. You just don’t see storytelling like that anyplace else.

      • Y. Knott

        You just don’t see storytelling like that anyplace else.

        I’ve heard tell there’s this thing called Crankshaft….

    • I keep thinking, “What if I were a metallurgist and some random guy came in with a handgun and asked me to melt it down?” I think my first call would be to the police.

      • billytheskink

        Indeed, that or think of just how out of place Durwood would be at a place that would melt down the gun no questions asked, surely a den of rough and sketchy underworld figures. Of course, that could have been entertaining, so naturally TB didn’t consider it at all.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I say this all the time, but… the conflict between Holly and her mother over that stupid majorette show, the one which she got severely injured, was a great story angle. Batiuk just…. dropped it. To do stupid jokes about getting free ice cream instead of pain meds. He is amazingly oblivious to, or actively avoids, anything with potential to be a story anyone would want to hear.

        • Epicus Doomus

          I’d be TERRIFIED to be driving around with some random handgun some weirdo gave me. They had no idea where that gun came from or what it was really used for. And yeah, what kind of foundry just melts guns down, no questions asked? A mob foundry, no doubt. The whole thing was just freaky.

  4. I want to qualify my opening remarks from yesterday. A lot of folks seemed to take my BatiukWorld art critique as a dis of Ayers and Davis. I meant nothing of the sort.

    Ayers, Davis, Burchett and even Batiuk early on were fine craftsmen who produced work appropriate to the strips they worked on. They made art detailed and properly rendered to make the stories “work.” We can all point to art that they provided (even the much maligned Burchett) that resonates.

    I maintain, though, that however detailed and well-wrought their work on BatiukWorld properties, no one in years hence will ever talk about how great the art was in any of the BatiukWorld properties. It did the job and punched out.

    I maintain that the art did what it was supposed to do. And despite the many examples provided, I maintain that it never rose above that.

    Ayers clearly has fans, and he clearly could produce work that was appropriate.

    But there’s a reason that Watterson, Addams, Bushmiller et al are still celebrated for their art decades after they ceased producing.

    Go ahead and hate on me for my standards, but you’ll never convince me that a single frame of Funky Winkerbean or Crankshaft, by any artist, should be celebrated as something more than utilitarian.


    • erdmann

      No Roy Lichtenstein print of Young DSH John finding “Spider-Man” #1, then? Darn. I would’ve paid 12, maybe even 15 cents for it.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I could never hate you for an opinion so well reasoned and reasonably defended. Even if I disagree. You want people to hate you for your opinions? You need to get on Twitter.

      I agree that Batiuk’s stuff won’t be remembered like Schultz, Watterson, ect. I do not believe that is due to any deficiency of talent on Ayers part, but instead a deficiency in the writing.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I concur. The fatal defect of FW is the writing.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          There’s no great art in the Funkyverse for a simple reason: there’s nothing to draw! All the characters ever do is stand around and smirk at each other. The strip is as devoid of action as it is of conflict or emotion. If anything, the Funkyverse lends itself to re-using art more than most comic strips, because the characters are always in the same places doing the same things, all as blandly as possible.

          • William Thompson

            “Crankshaft Discovers Fire.” The stories don’t just write themselves, they draw themselves, too!

      • The Duck of Death

        Two of the most acclaimed, and IMO best, comics of the 21st century feature downright objectively “bad” art:

        “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh and “Achewood” by Chris Onstad.

        Brosh’s art is basically pen scribbles that remind me of the later years of James Thurber, when he was almost totally blind. Onstad’s art is simple, almost background-free line drawings, done digitally, and liberally reused.

        What the two comics have in common:

        — They’re webcomics, not newspaper comics, so they don’t have daily deadlines.

        — The writing is brilliant and personal. Brosh’s work focuses a lot on her childhood memories and adult depression. Onstad’s also explores paralyzing depression through one of his characters, but he’s created an entire town populated by very distinct personalities, each with a unique style and voice.

        — And finally, both comics seem to be on an indefinite, perhaps permanent, hiatus. The artists had said all they had to say, I guess. Or perhaps they were just burned out. I miss Achewood terribly but I’d rather Onstad quit while he’s ahead and preserve some mojo for another day than just keep grinding out work until his beloved characters become flat and dead.

        TL;DR: Primitive or even terrible art is no barrier to making a brilliant comic strip. Bad writing is.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      No worries. I can agree that Batty/Ayers, et al will not be celebrated as famous cartoonists. I just wanted to add that I have enjoyed some of the art they have produced over the years.

      Hell FW hasn’t even been gone for a month and it is already forgotten.

    • Green Luthor

      How relevant is Funky Winkerbean? I tried to look up any fanfics for it on AO3.

      Zero results.

      There’s a fanfic about “Brad” from the Sailor Moon dub, but there’s nothing for Funky.

      How irrelevant do you have to be for NO ONE to want to write fanfics about you?

      • The Duck of Death

        I guess DSSS’s Batiuk/Ayers slashfic doesn’t count?

      • ComicBookHarriet

        No see. You’re looking in the wrong place. Funky Winkerbean is an OLD property. You gotta look on ff.net or LiveJournal.

        I looked for Funky Winkerbean fanart at one point for a laugh. Apart from a few parody comics, (IE Walky’s Funky CancerCancer) all I could find was an amputee fetishist on Deviantart who had drawn Becky circa Act II in her underwear.

        No, seriously.

  5. Mela

    I didn’t vote for the transgender soapbox because bad jokes aside, Funky asked Rolanda if she was happy and seemed to genuinely care that she was, so I felt there were a couple of nice bits to that revelation even if the big reveal fell a little flat. On the other hand, the gun story veered off so far into WTF??? territory that in my mind it deserves its own award. I understand what TB was going for, but boy, his message of turning something evil into good was illustrated in the most warped, twisted way possible.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I voted for this one because it represented the ultimate in laziness in Batty’s attempt to earn Pokémon points for discussing current events.

      I’m surprised there weren’t any puff pieces generated where Batty could brag about how he handles topics like this with sensitivity and artistic boldness.

  6. Paul Jones

    What really sold how stupid and wrongheaded the “melt the gun into a toy” arc was has to be why Plantman shot Darling in the first place. He didn’t do it because he’d felt mistreated. He did it because Darling said something ambiguous that he catastrophically misinterpreted….and Jessica never bothered correcting him because she wanted the idiot to feel important.

  7. Bill the Splut

    It’s not until you see these ideas in order, as here, before you say “This strip was kinda fucked in the head.”
    Blondie could put a bullet in Dithers’ face, and 9 more into Dagwood’s stomach, screaming “A BULLET FOR EACH OF YOUR TAPEWORMS!!” and I’d just nod “Yeah,sure,makes sense.”
    But these…I’m “WTF is with this stuff?” Don’t forget–Tommy sat on these for 11 months! Just nodding and saying to himself “Pulitzer time!”

  8. gleeb

    Huh. And it’s not even because the environmental vote was split. Put together, the two only equal 18.8%. I voted for “Serious Issues” because it was clear that Batiuk had given it long thought, and yet never got beyond how anything affected anything except his precious komix.

  9. Miskatonic Sophomore

    The more I think about it, the more this seems like a fitting winner. The whole murder-gun-toy storyline was a “winner.” Cloyingly sentimental, tone-deaf, self-referential to the point of opacity, morbid, illogical, lazy, and ultimately forgettable. Perfect terminal-stage Funky Winkerbean!

  10. The Duck of Death

    I don’t even remember which of these I voted for, I hated them all so much. Maybe “Tackling Racism”? That one was so enraging I actually took about a month off from all FW-related reading till I was able to tolerate it again. Everyone involved was a hateful asshole, so I guess the point was… hateful assholes should be more tolerant of other hateful assholes? Kumbaya, my lord, kumbaya… Let the healing begin…

    Soapboxing is my least favorite of Batiuk’s many dreary tendencies. I hate it in all its self-satisfied shapes and sizes, and especially when it’s done this ineptly and smirkingly. I could have flipped a coin for the winner.

    The gun arc really stands out, though, amidst a field of general mopey, yet smug, bloviating. Let me count the ways.

    1. This obsessive collector owns the autopsy report and can barely stand to part with a cracked mug, yet somehow cavalierly gives away the murder weapon (and how he acquired it would have been a much more interesting story than the one we had to sit through).

    2. A local smelter said, “Sure, we’ll use a dedicated crucible to melt down this murder weapon which has no paperwork or registration, then cast it into a toy! Just another day’s work here at Mafia Guy’s Don’t-Ask-No-Questions Forge!”

    3. How much does a melted-down handgun weigh? Maybe 2-1/2, 3 pounds? That’s a heavy-ass toy for a toddler. In fact, that’s a potential murder weapon in itself.

    4. The pure Batiukian coup de grâce: This stupid toy, sketched by Durwood and executed in solid steel, became the basis for the design of hovercraft in the beautiful utopian future where all books were burned except the contraband, yet easily purchased Lisa’s Story.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Don’t tell them about the autopsy photos” would have been a better story also.

    • billytheskink

      The last laugh that FW got out of me was when I first saw that the Batiukmobile of the future was based on the John Darling murder weapon toy. It was a laugh of shock, of course, but still… a milestone for Tom Batiuk to be proud of.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I didn’t even notice the Skyler-mobile, and I still genuinely laughed at that strip. Just from how ridiculous and out-of-nowhere it was. The early 60s furniture, technology, and space outfits were too silly for an Austin Powers movie, but the strip was deadly serious.

        The best comedians in the world could never intentionally write anything that funny. It had to come from a place of misguided sincerity and incompetently-executed drama, like The Room did.

    • Green Luthor

      Mitchell did explain how he got the gun, sort of, but it really doesn’t answer the pertinent questions.

      Basically, he said he bought a box of miscellaneous John Darling memorabilia, and the box happened to have The Gun That Murdered John Darling in it. Yep, that’s it. That’s the explanation.

      Why was it in there? Did the seller realize it was in there? Were they trying to give it away surreptitiously? Who even was the seller, and how did they get the gun themselves? Was Jack the Ripper, in fact, a sixty-foot sea serpent from Scotland? And why was Mitchell’s life story based on Jim Shooter’s, and what role did John Byrne play in that?

      But, of course, none of those answers will be forthcoming, because, hey, Batiuk explained how Mitchell got the gun, what more do you want?

      • The Duck of Death

        And where did the seller get the gun? Why, in a lot of miscellaneous memorabilia he bought from another collector, who had acquired it from a different collector, who had purchased it from still another collector!

        It’s collectors all the way down!

  11. The Duck of Death

    Looks like another day of punchline-free plot-stretching in Crankshaft. Plus more plundered art, I’m pretty sure. I’ll bet there’s a folder right on Davis’ desktop labeled “ED DANGLING.”

    More coloring trouble too. Something about Ed’s flat red jacket just defeats this colorist, whoever it is.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I don’t know where to begin with today’s shitshow. “I’m not sure how to describe it!” Lillian doesn’t know the word “fire”? That’s generally enough to make the point to 911 dispatch. Also, she’s an award-winning author. For a world full of literateurs, these people sure are bad at putting words together.

      Also, Ed switches his grip hand between panels. Again, this is a 103-year-old man.

      Tomorrow’s joke is probably going to be Lillian saying the word “Crankshaft”, and the operator saying “that’s all we needed to know, we’re on our way.” Which doesn’t even work, because they still need to know what kind of emergency crew they need to send. But it’s exactly the joke Batiuk would write.

    • be ware of eve hill

      The recycled jokes folder as well. I’m 99% certain I’ve seen that “checked all the boxes” joke in Crankshaft before.

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    “Tackling Racism” was my choice, because it showed how little Tom Batiuk has to say about any of these Serious Issues he loves to write about. And his complete inability to give his characters their own perspective.

    Cayla is in an interracial marriage, her father was one of the first black baseball stars, and she’s one of very few black people in a rural town. She’d have a lot of experience with racism, and a lot to say about it. But all she can do is throw up her hands and say “I dunno.” In the 2020s, an era that provided plenty to talk about on the topic.

    Hell, the kids should be more adept than this. They were on the high school journalism staff, and one of them supposedly sold her blog to ABC News (because even ninth-tier characters in Westview are instant media stars). They didn’t even react to Cayla’s uselessness. What kind of message is this supposed to send? “If someone is being racist towards you, and you pull some dumb stunt to justify it, go have some ice cream because you can’t do anything about it”?

    Again, though, there was no wrong answer. All seven nominated strips are horrible.

    • The Duck of Death

      There was just SO much to hate about “Whitey is racist, but not me! Not Tom Batiuk! I’m One of the Good Ones! I should probably get some kind of award for how not-racist I am, unlike those other white folks, just sayin’. Any old award. Like, I dunno, a Pulitzer? For not being racist. ‘Cause I’m not.”

      The hateable-est part, I think, was that there was nothing whatsoever to suggest that the clerk was being racist. We have no idea why she’s acting hostile, and no way of knowing because the writer and artist don’t tell us.

      My own white ass has been treated with unearned hostility and sometimes downright viciousness by clerks and such plenty of times. Some of the hateful treatment came from white people, some from people of other races. Racism? Maybe, but I’m more inclined to say some people are just hateful and most likely are hateful to everyone they encounter, regardless of gender or race. They probably go home and hit their kids, swat the dog, and kick the cat, because they’re just an angry fucked-up mess who can’t even keep a lid on it in public.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The accusation “virtue signaling” gets thrown around a lot, but it really applies to Funky Winkerbean. It says “racism bad” and absolutely nothing else. It doesn’t tell a coherent story about racism, or even define the problem clearly. Even the characters are insulated from facing any repercussions or taking any actual stands. Not even the safest, most banal steps, like filing a complaint with the store or the mall.

        Same with transgenderism. Same with gun violence. Same with “climate damage.” It’s all such transparent fishing for awards.

        • The Duck of Death

          If you’re trying to change minds, portraying a cartoon version of the bad guy, who’s telegraphed as the bad guy so clearly it can be seen from space, won’t do it. Because no one is gonna identify with the bad guy.

          It works much better if you show the “bad guy” as someone who doesn’t have evil intentions, but has a huge moral or ethical blind spot. Think Archie Bunker.

          But that’s an awful lot of work, isn’t it? You know, creating a believable character with good sides, bad sides, believable motivations and all. Why challenge beliefs or try to change minds when you can be gunning for awards? Did I mention that I, Tom Batiuk, am not racist?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Just to clarify. For BATIUK HIMSELF, because he seems to have forgotten. Cayla’s dad, Smokey Williams, was an ace Cleveland Indians closer who pitched the Indians to a World Series win.

      Jefferson Jacks was a black minor league player during the integration era.

      • Gerard Plourde


        If only Batiuk had the humility of the Psalm 51 author which you reference in the title.

        I think it’s safe to say that SOSF could have years worth of material just tracking down the number of inconsistencies he has perpetrated in this strip due to his sloppy work.

  13. hitorque

    You know, all Lillian had to say to 9-1-1 was “Edd Krankenschaaften is at it again…” and they would have instantly understood.

    But then I remind myself that everyone in the extended Funkyverse is a sociopath so Lillian has no problem letting Edd squirm in terror and agony a little while longer while his home burns down…

    And either Edd has some “Mr. Olympia” worthy upper body and hand grip strength, or those are the highest quality ice-climber gloves money can buy, or those are the strongest rain gutters known to man… Or maybe it’s all three?

  14. The Duck of Death

    I’ve had this song running through my head since Awards Season started, and hell, I’ll take any opportunity to post 70s funk, so may I propose this as our Funky Awards Theme Song?

  15. The Duck of Death

    I noted a few years ago on CK that we would probably see a transgender storyline within a year or two, since Tom likes to hit current issues about a year after they become hot topics, and then add his lead time and you’ve got a two year wait for the hot-button issues to show up in their infuriating watered-down, self-congratulatory way.

    I calculate that we have about… [checks watch]… a year before Ed befriends an orphaned Ukrainian refugee.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Batiuk is always trying to give Crankshaft ill-fitting “Pet The Dog” moments. They simply don’t work, because they contradict his established personality too much.

      I didn’t mind the “Rough Riders” plot, because it fit well with his backstory of being illiterate. I could believe him wanting to help the kids go to college, because he knows what being uneducated is like and wouldn’t want people he cared about to go through it. But stopping to talk Susan Smith out of jumping (even though she wasn’t actually doing that) when he’s already late to get home? Rebuilding Keesterman’s mailbox? Give me a break.

  16. The Duck of Death

    LEROY! Bring the mop!

    I posted a YouTube link and HAL the censorbot says, “I’m sorry. I can’t let you do that.”

    • be ware of eve hill

      There was a YouTube video I couldn’t post on the CK. Turns out it was because the f-word was in the character string of the link.

  17. Green Luthor

    Looking at all these strips, it’s astounding how Batiuk can spend so much time saying so very little.

    “Gun Violence” was Batiuk’s demented masterpiece, but… what, exactly, was he actually SAYING? For all they talk about The Gun being “something terrible”… what’s terrible about it? Is it that it’s a gun, and guns are terrible, or are guns normally okay, but this is The Gun That Murdered John Darling Who Was Murdered, and is terrible because of that?

    “Tackling Racism”, of course, never actually gets around to showing any actual racism. I mean, I can tell we’re supposed to conclude the clerk was giving Whatshername and Thatsnot the stink eye because they’re black, but… there’s really nothing to suggest she’s not just a generally unpleasant person. Her accosting them might have sufficed, except for Thatsnot deliberately provoking her. The store is more likely to discipline her for actually confronting them and opening the store to a lawsuit rather than the supposed racism, but Thatsnot gave her a reason to think they really were shoplifting. And Cayla’s “oh well, what can you do” speech didn’t do Batiuk any favors. (The phrase “a huge slap in the face to the African-American community” was probably the most fitting description for this story.)

    The various “climate damage” stories had that one glaring omission: Batiuk never bothered to say if he was for it or against it. They were doing comics (or covers, depending on the strip) “about” the environment, and I can’t think of anyone writing stories that were deliberately anti-environment, but… he’s trying to show the characters boldly taking a stand, without ever defining what stand they’re taking. (The Subterrarium cover had a huge fire raging behind him, but never made it clear if he was trying to STOP the fire, or if he CAUSED the fire, like he was trying to recreate the climax to Steven Seagal’s On Deadly Ground.)

    (And “Environmental Recycling” was a truly special case. “Hey, here’s something you once wrote! Where you… quoted someone else. Flash, you’re so awesome for not writing your own thoughts! By the way, what’s your last name, Flash? Wait, what’s MY last name? Wasn’t that guy dead? What is going on? Since when did we have a janitor?” Hmm, I may have lost the plot somewhere…)

    Rolanda, of course, was Batiuk being self-congratulatory by having a transgender character. Who at least was an established character (unlike, say, the Gay Prom Guys), but it was a character who had barely appeared in the strip for… what, 40 years? Wow, what a brave stand you’re taking, Tom! Bravo! Here’s your GLAAD Media Award!

    • The Duck of Death

      In an episode of The Office, Michael Scott famously wrote on a whiteboard,

      “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky
      — Michael Scott

      Viewers found this so funny that now you can buy T-shirts, fake “motivational” posters, etc, with this emblazoned on them.

      Puffy, embarrassingly, takes this concept even further, and with the same dead-serious self-regard. He has one of his author avatars kiss the ass of another author avatar for quoting Stan Lee in a fictional “Stan Lee’s Soapbox” imitation.

      Puff Batty reminds me a lot of Michael Scott, actually. Especially when he writes about NYC. Not because he’s a tourist. We’re all tourists when we travel and there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with that. No, it’s because he’s a tourist and somehow thinks that because he’s hit a few tourist traps he’s this worldly, sophisticated New Yorker (a dumb stereotype in itself, but clearly one he aspires to). It reminds me of Michael Scott touting his local knowledge by mentioning this great local pizzeria he knows, which turns out to be Sbarro’s.

  18. I’m surprised Environmental Recycling didn’t even crack the top three. It’s legit just a massive text wall over a black background, and it’s not even a quote from a philosopher or even Batiuk’s pseudo-profound musings, it’s freaking Marvel wank. Easily one of the worst strips in all of FW, and certainly the laziest.

    • The Duck of Death

      It was a tempting choice, FFF. See right above your comment for my thoughts on this steaming pile of dung.

  19. Andrew

    I was never mad at Rolanda’s coming out, it at least was a clever use of an old character and by Batiuk’s standards she was presented in her new identity fairly well. The main failing (besides being Batiuk handling a non-cancer issue) was how it was shrugged off without much care (which is admittedly fair in just casually including trans people without issue, as would be ideal, but was missed opportunity for drama that at least would’ve been worth an amusing attempt) and let down by the late Act-3 insistence on turning every Act-1 character who isn’t Les, Cindy or Harry into fat geezers who you barely recognize, especially when Roberta did have something of an Act 3 basis to work with pre-transition. Still, she got off better off than the no-name gay couple or scenery-hidden kids in the prom arc. No matter how you frame it they were shit representation.