Author Archives: beckoningchasm

It’s All in the Brochure

Link to today’s strip.

So, Dinkle enjoys name-dropping, but mirabile visu, refrains from talking about his own OMEA triumphs. Somehow that panel must have been edited out by mistake. Or maybe Batiuk thought, “You know, I think I’ll give Becky a fourth line in this week-long story.” Wotta gentleman.

Of course, Dinkle loves to blow his own…horn, so I’m sure Becky has heard all of this multiple, multiple times. Funny how the actual band director rarely gets woven into these OMEA strips, except to purr how awesome Dinkle is. Ah, the woman’s lot in the Funkyverse: shoring up the menfolk.

Gad, a week of Les then a week of Dinkle. This has been quite a spell in the command chair. But at last we’re out, and Epicus Doomus takes over filling the bird feeder tomorrow. Imperious Rex!

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Split the Dimwits

Link to today’s strip.

I really hate those smiles that split the characters’ faces. It’s supposed to imply that these people are just enjoying the heck out of Dinkle’s, uh, witticisms. But to me, it means these are people with severe brain damage. Even Larry Fine, there in the middle. They would smile this way no matter what they were looking at. But don’t worry, I’m sure their handler will be along presently to herd them back on to the correct bus. Huh, would that be “on to” or “onto”?

Their presence does have one advantage: it kept this episode from being a vertical sideways strip. The only thing that could make a Dinkle strip even more irritating.

And of course, with two days of him farting out only a word or two, the rising tide can no longer be contained, and we get an entire strip of logorrhea. Funny, I thought people excreted out the other end, but I guess Harry’s unique that way.

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Candy and a Current Bun

Link to today’s strip.

More terribly-constructed writing. Let’s improve panel one.

I suppose Batiuk’s thought process was “Readers will want to know where the candy is. That’s vitally important for the strip to work.” Well, Tom, no it isn’t. People might wonder about the bowl of radioactive isotopes on the piano, but they’ll probably put it down to one of those things that Bizarro puts in his strip. (Looks like the isotopes have been hard at work, judging from the cactus-thing on the right.)

Also, does that mean that candy in other locations is fair game at any time? Although I bet they’re all those Circus Peanut things. Or mints that have been in a bowl so long they’ve become part of it.

I’m not sure how the system in panel two would work–the iPad doesn’t seem to be connected to the piano, and…ultimately, I don’t care. I bet Tom Batiuk doesn’t know how it works either. But we do get another sad Dinkle! Yeah!

And hey, someone remembered the photo corners this time.

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Eats, Shoots, Leaves

Link to today’s strip.

Oh good grief, Batiuk, learn to write. That sentence in panel two is atrocious. Any teacher would mark that like crazy, with a note, “Don’t see me after class, you should just drop out of school.”

Let’s give it a second chance.

Far better than the original. (Can’t really do much about the berserk expression on the guy’s face, though.)

And don’t get me started on Dinkle’s dialogue. “Repeating the sign in front of me, with a question mark added? I really do think my readers are a highly polished set of dimbulbs, don’t I!”

There is one bright spot in today’s episode: Dinkle’s usual skull-grin is missing, replaced by a face full of melting sorrow. Then it gets ruined with what looks like his most smug expression ever in the last panel.

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Forward, into the Past

Link to today’s strip.

Funny how we never saw Holly working on her book, but here it is, all published and printed and–for some reason–for sale at OMEA. I wouldn’t think cheerleading would have much of an audience there, as cheerleading is typically an athletic activity.

Anyway, here she is. And does this mean we can look forward to strips where Funky complains about Holly going on another book tour? “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Funky, there are plenty of peas and hot dogs in the fridge.” Yikes. And now that she’s a published author, will she be given the same respect as Lillian?

Oh, and what are our characters talking about today? Things that happened long ago…which seems to be the main topic of conversation in Funky Winkerbean. Things that readers actually enjoyed, back when Batiuk’s objective was to entertain, and back when the strip had readers.

For a strip known for its ham-handed dialogue, today really stands out. Two people yelling things that they both already know at each other. And which has no relevance to what we’re seeing. “At least I never bought bread from the auto parts store!” “That’s because their bread was made from oil filters!”

It’s like an Abbott and Costello movie where they’re talking about how funny their early movies were. Not doing the routines, mind you, just chatting about them. This strip would be baffling if you were someone who knew nothing about Funky Winkerbean. On the plus side, I envy you.

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Atrophy

Link to today’s strip.

Yeah, what’s the point of doing anything unless you’re going to get an award for it?

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Keeping Score

Link to today’s strip.

(Sorry about the preview earlier, folks, WordPress’ scheduling system is as bad as Funky Winkerbean.)

Ahem–as I was saying earlier…

Just so you know, Tom Batiuk, having your characters acknowledge that your jokes are terrible doesn’t make them not-terrible. Are we supposed to identify with the people in the last panel, who are thrown into a panic by these mal mots? No–we’re not. Because these puns aren’t terrible enough to elicit that kind of response. Mostly these stupid, underthought puns would just make people grimace sourly, hoping that they might get a sale, but otherwise waiting until the “punster” moved on to the next booth.

Now, the actual presence of Dinkle would make people scream for mercy before he could even open his mouth. Because he’s damned terrible. Plus, he’s the worst.

So, we look forward to another week of Dinkle defecating witticisms, and telling everyone how awesome he is. What a charming character. Let’s introduce him to Wilbur Weston.

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OMEA, Oh My

Link to today’s strip.

Oh…great. More “Permanent Hatchet Face” Dinkle dispensing “witticisms” at the OMEA. Strap yourselves in for a week of terrible word-play…wait, that’s no different from any other week.

Strap yourself in for another week of Dinkle being where he has no business being. Seriously, why does he come here every year? He’s not a band director anymore. What he is (other than loathsome) is Tom Batiuk’s most recognizable character (especially in band director circles). And by shoving him to the OMEA meetings, Batiuk is guaranteed a table to hawk his wares.

Nice to see the drummer from the Bedside Manor group there in panel two. Those old coots are really getting around these days, huh?

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Your Ignorance Makes Me Ill and Angry

Link to today’s strip.

In any other strip–Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, even Mary Worth (prior to its Wilburization)–this would be a sweet moment. Imagine if Linus found out that Peppermint Patty had deliberately thrown a game so that Chuck could have a win. That would be great, and Linus’s response to Patty’s question would be the same as here.

But this isn’t a strip where sweet things happen. Mawkish things, treacly things, things filled with bathos, sure, those happen all the time. But genuine nice moments are as rare as Becky’s mom.

Here, Summer’s sly face in panel three suggests not so much a sentimental secret, but the desire to make Les keep thinking he’s been losing his mind. I kinda like that she has that ambition, honestly.

Source of today’s title.

PS: We know why this entire week is here, right? It was a recent commentor (I can’t remember who, sorry) who pointed out that the nominees for the Academy Awards are going to be announced very soon. Who wants to bet that “Lisa’s Story” will have a few entries? So, a week of Lisa-a-Go-Go. Gotta keep Lisa in the public eye, even if she’s poking that eye with a stick!

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The Needs of the Ninny Outweigh the Needs of the Fool

Link to today’s strip.

It’s pathetic to call this week’s story a “mystery” because a mystery generally yields important information when solved. Here, Ghost Lisa was portrayed by someone we’ve never seen before and, no doubt, will never see again. And this is called “writing”?

What this episode seems to say is this: Les never filled the bird feeder. This newly minted character did, and continued to do so for (I guess) decades, because oh god, everyone was so affected by Lisa Les’ suffering that they had to do everything in their power to make sure his illusions were catered to.

And–get this–this is supposed to make Les a sympathetic character. One we’re supposed to stand behind and cheer, as he confronts his Lisa-less future alone.

And now that Summer is filling the bird feeder, Purple Hat Lady can finally rest. I’ve done my duty for Les, by God, and finally I can see the sunset. Thank the lord above I was able to help Les Moore cope for these twenty-some years.

Here’s what I think we’re seeing. Mrs. Ewing is actually Lisa, who never died but faked her death to be rid of Les. Les was always so cloying, and so clingy, that she felt she couldn’t breathe–she had to get out. And what would Lisa look like if she’d remained alive? Another fat, doughy blonde. She moved into the house next door just so she could enjoy watching Les moan and agonize over how much he suffers.

Summer wouldn’t recognize her, and Les…he only has eyes for himself.

According to Phil Holt, it’s the easiest thing in the world to fake your own death. All you need is a sympathetic lawyer. And what was Lisa’s profession again?

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