Twenty Twenty One may be just getting blessedly underway, but Our Winter Band Banquet is drawing to a close. I’m praying for Covid to finally reach Westview, Ohio soon, so that all those dopey, knowing smirks will be obscured by masks. Continue reading
Author Archives: TFHackett
Banana Jr. 6000
December 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm
…The joke is so mild and so botched, and the reaction is so ridiculously oversold, that the strip should be funny for how misguided it is.
Tom Batiuk has frequently expressed, in his work and in interviews, that even though we call them “comics,” they don’t necessarily have to be “funny.” “I don’t see why a comic strip can’t carry the weight of substantial ideas,” he once said. But even a storyteller like Batiuk must cleanse the palate with the occasional standalone gag, or even a week’s worth of them. Everything about Pete’s “holiday joke” is lame, and the smugness with which he delivers it is just off the charts. Of course, the response is a hearty HA! HA! HA! from all but one of the Atomik staff. At first, it looked to me as if Chester was the one admonishing Pete to “stick to writing drama,” which would make sense as he’s Pete’s boss. Naturally, as his fiancé, Mindy must come to Pete’s defense. But nobody knows better that his real soulmate, Darin, that flighty, distractible Pete needs help with focus. And anyway, his jokes suck.
Something that does not suck is the way Beckoning Chasm goes to work on Funky Winkerbean with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, and his authoring stint begins with Monday’s comic. Stay safe and well and happy, people. –TFH
Tom Batiuk’s got a decade-plus on me, but I reckon my high school experience had more in common with his than with that of today’s high school student. In my days, the only “device” a student might carry would be some kind of orthodontic implement. Any phone calls a student made would have to be from the principal’s office or the corner malt shop. Logan Church and her peers are never without their cellphones, and thus, are never without access to all the world’s knowledge. No wonder the unpleasant Jim hates teaching a class. When Logan correctly answers a physics question, Jim’s initial surprised reaction immediately shifts to narrow-eyed suspicion. She couldn’t have known this answer without Googling it, because Jim believes, as does Les, that these students never even open their textbooks. The thought that he has actually taught a student something brings Jim to actual tears. Unless that teardrop in the corner of his eye is a prison tattoo.
So good to know that both Centerville twins are alive and well, after a rare solo appearance of Emily or Amelia in Tuesday’s comic. Over in the Crankiverse, these two are still interchangeable, not-too-bright tween girls. But by the time they transferred to Westview High, they had developed distinct persona: Emily, the goody-goody flautist, and Amelia, the shredder of guitars.
December 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm
Oh, so this is just a WHS garbage dump arc, a place to use up the one-off WHS gags he has laying around that studio of his.
Retirement clearly means different things to different teachers. Harry Dinkle comes to mind…how could he not, since nearly half the strips last month were about him? Harry’s busier now than he was before his retirement. When he’s not lurking around Becky’s band room, he oversees the Bedside Manorisms, conducts the July 4th concert in the gazebo, and hard-earns a buck or two giving piano lessons to rotten kids. Even in his sleep, he experiences nightly flashbacks to his days in uniform.
Les’ “work wife” Linda entered her lonely retirement sometime before Bull’s death. So the current, core faculty at WHS consists of Les (who’s rarely seen in the school, let alone teaching a class), Principal Nate, band director Becky, and the execrable Mr. Kablichnick.
Banana Jr. 6000
December 1, 2020 at 9:54 am
[Les is] the “cool” teacher that all the kids relate to…Batiuk thinks he’s invented the modern day Mr. Chips.
December 1, 2020 at 10:56 am
He’s invented the modern day Mr. Buffalo Chips. I’ll give him that.
That title really ought to go to Jim Kablichnick, the Science Schmuck. Despite his resemblance to Mark Twain, Jim’s corny, repetitive attempts at humor elicit only groans from his students. His climate mania is his least quirky character trait. I couldn’t find the strips, but can recall an arc where his coworkers shared their concerns that he was having a nervous breakdown. He’s a militant germaphobe, and a loner who on a class trip to Washington D.C., opted to drink alone in his room rather than join Linda, Les, and Cayla for dinner. OK, that last one’s understandable. At any rate, nobody hates his job more than Jim, for whom Wednesday, June 11, 2025 cannot come quickly enough. He memorializes his remaining days as a teacher on a whiteboard. Unless Jim’s creator plans to continue working after Funky’s 50th year, and barring another “time jump,” Batty will retire three years before Jim. Here’s hoping!
ICYMI: So yesterday Logan was summoned to the office, only to return today to The Bleat’s studio with the rest of her peers (the “freshmen” we met in 2016 and hence should have graduated last June), and they’re all just back from a field trip? Th’ hell? Is this happening like five minutes later, or have days passed? Les is still wearing the yellow shirt, but that’s not a clue, since he wears a yellow shirt at least 85% of the time. Logan’s wearing a jacket that she didn’t have on yesterday, but then again, yesterday her top went from a crew neck to a turtleneck in the space of one panel. And today she wears the same color top but now it’s a v-neck. Logan: “Yeah, I almost would rather have been here!” Girl, you were here! Maybe that’s not Logan Church, but rather her heretofore unseen identical twin? Les, of course, is unaffected by any of this, as long as he can take as a “compliment” that being in his class is almost–almost–preferable to some shitty, five minute field trip to the principal’s office.
Welcome back from what I hope for you was a wonderful, long holiday weekend. Also back at work this Monday is Les Moore, after a weekend in Hollywood that started back in June. Les’ harrowing experience during the wildfires there have left him a little bit on edge: so triggered is he by the loud PA announcement that the sheaf of blank paper he was holding flies from his tiny hands. Easy to see why Mason wants to make a movie about this hero. Even Logan, the one being summoned by this booming voice, is more calm. Harder to gauge the reaction of the anono-kid in the red shirt, who is likely high AF and whose stage direction for this scene is “(looks on).” Tuesday: Logan pauses in the doorway and, without even getting Les’ Spinal Tap reference, blankly inquires of Mr. Moore, “Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”
We haven’t had to say it in these parts for a while, but Sunday’s strip was not available for preview. With the band turkey arc having come mercifully to its conclusion, I’m betting that Sunday will be a one-off with the Winkerbeans, like the first Sunday in last December in which the Funkman behaved like a jackass while Holly attempted to shop for clothes.
Apparently Dinkle has suffered from these band turkey
dreams nightmares leading up to Thanksgiving every year, even unto a decade or more into his retirement. Harriet knows that, now that Thanksgiving’s behind them, Harry’s PTSD (Post Turkey Sale Dementia) will start to lessen. Unfortunately, her “sugarplums” reference has triggered in Harry’s dream consciousness a truly nightmarish scenario, in which the box he carries door to door is crawling with large spiders!