Will ya get a load of Dinkle’s friend’s wife? Talk about “hair in a color that only yarn comes in“! “Busy Harry” Dinkle has taken a break from writing books that no one reads, and has squeezed into his old uniform to conduct the annual July 4 concert. Sadly, the music ensemble from Bedside Manor has been decimated by Covid-19, leaving only Mort Winkerbean on trombone and some new guy on sousaphone who, judging from all the notes above him, is really wailing. It is here in the park that this guy casually informs his wife of his decision not to retire.
Miscellany: Does anyone else see Act I Les and Lisa in the audience? Has the time pool opened up again?
In a universe where a book (graphic novel, whatever) by a teacher from Ohio about his wife’s breast cancer battle has ’em lining up in bookstores from coast to coast…what’s not to believe about an Ohio high school band director publishing a 17-volume autobiography? “Keeping busy these days” indeed: between his “Dinkle Diaries” and the epic Claude Barlow bio, where does Harry find the time to go down to the school and pester the living shit out of Becky?
On Wednesday I Photoshopped a gag panel of Dinkle talking about “reading a book in the morning” and holding up a copy of Lisa’s Story. But Batuik doesn’t need me to cross-promote his books…there’s another publishing franchise that just this year published its ninth volume: The Complete Funky Winkerbean. Each volume contains three years of strips, and we’re up to 1996-1998. At this rate, “only eight more” volumes would take us through 2022. Perhaps Dinkle’s friend—dammit, we still don’t know his name—isn’t the only one contemplating retirement? Don’t let us down, Tom.
If their mutual friend is now “selling band candy full time” then he’s not really retired, is he? But to Dinkle, this sounds like “living the dream.” Maybe John Thompson will be flown out to Belgium, or get a candy bar named after him, too. Someone who’s not living the dream is Adeela. When H-1B issues prevented her from leveraging her architecture degree, her fellow grad Wally installed her as Montoni’s day manager. This, of course, was merely a ploy to get the services of an architect at slightly above minimum wage. Only a matter of time before Adeels, like Khan before her, decides that life in war-torn Iraquistan beats being a Westview lifer.
Just three days into my turn to “make the donuts” around here and I’m ready to throw up my hands…or just throw up. What the hell is today’s strip about, aside from padding this pointless arc out to six, maybe seven days? “Read a book in the morning”? Please tell me he’s not talking about taking a dump. I suppose a retired person has opportunity to read just about whenever they feel like it. What about “in the morning” makes Harry cock his head like that and raise his eyebrows? Where is joke?
Nice to see Adeela again, wearing Montoni’s Red Apron of Shame and carrying what’s either a server book or that architect diploma she got from Westview Community College. Dinkle’s unnamed friend continues his musing about retirement. “Long days, short years” does work pretty well as a wry comeback, and we’ll start taking bets now whether Tom Batiuk uses that very same aphorism when and if he ever chooses to retire.
The part of the tablecloth is being played today by Pete’s shirt.
Big ups to Epicus Doomus for the last two weeks of posts. In addition to crafting great posts and post titles, Epicus manages the guest author rotation and is my right hand man around here. Without him, there would be no SoSF.
In a rare bit of Funky fortuitousness, today’s strip involves alfresco dining, an activity that’s more popular right now than it’s ever been. What at first appears to be an old married couple in panel 1’s aerial perspective turns out to be Harry Dinkle and a friend. Judging from how non-generically the other gent is rendered here, he must also be a real-life friend of Batiuk and/or Ayers.
I donned my PPE and took a deep dive into the Act II archives for a refresher about the circumstances surrounding Dinkle’s “retirement.” Near the end of Act II, Becky Winkerbean, as she was known then, took over as band director when Dinkle was promoted to WHS’ music supervisor. His actual retirement happened “offscreen,” during the second 10 year time jump. Shortly thereafter, his beleaguered wife Harriet pleaded with, and possibly bribed, the school board president to install Harry as director of the performing arts center that bore his name, just to get him out of the house. It’s doubtful whether that director role entails hanging around the high school and basically serving as Becky’s co-band director. Look at him smirk in panel 3 at his friend’s quip. Harry Dinkle doesn’t know the meaning of retirement. No, seriously…he doesn’t know the meaning of retirement.
If nothing else, today’s strip sheds a little light on why Mason struck out with those guys at Mixmaster: it was their “practice pitch.” Because there are no other ways to rehearse and refine an important presentation that don’t involve humiliating yourself and wasting other people’s time. Mason compounds his folly by daring to smirk at the mention of St. Lisa, and draws a withering rebuke from Les. A cancer superhero? How dare you, sir! What twisted mind would ever even conceive of such a thing?
March 4, 2007:
July 1, 2007:
This week has been has consisted of nothing but these two poorly drawn, hipster jerkoffs disrespecting Les and his cancer saga. Les and Mason meekly just sit there and take it, and in the process demonstrate that the Clone Brothers are absolutely correct that nobody needs this kind of “entertainment,” especially right now. Way to “pitch,” fellas. Tom Batiuk and the formerly capable, now indifferent draughtsman Chuck Ayers somehow get paid for dragging this crap out, but I do not…I’ve spent all the disdain I can muster for this horrible week of strips. Hopefully Sunday will be a one-off that will be worth getting into a froth about. In the meantime, dear readers, please have at it. Thank you for reading and commenting and for sharing the pain.
Again: why is this meeting even taking place? Aaron and Marc, the Clone Brothers, knew that Mason wanted to make “a depressing film about a woman dying of cancer,” yet saw fit to waste their time and their sparkling water in order to tell Les to his face that this project was a no go. This whole sequence harkens back to that time that Les and Susan Smith had to face a bunch of angry Westview parents over Susan’s choice of Wit for the school play:
Even more disconcerting than their hoodies is Marc and Aaron’s penchant for completing each other’s sentences. So much to pick at in today’s strip. Has anyone else ever encountered this usage of “bank” as a verb meaning “to make money”? Must be some new lingo. Unlike “gangbusters,” a word that dates back to the Prohibition Era. And the SJ sequel Rise of the Zeton Warriors hasn’t come out yet? It was filmed concurrently with the first Starbuck Jones movie, which had its premiere over two years ago.
April 29, 2020 at 3:31 am
If Les is so hell-bent on “telling his story properly” and staying pure to his vision regardless of box office gross, why isn’t he seeking out the indie arthouse filmmakers…??
Right! If “everyone knows that China is where the money is, why is Mr. “I’ve Been To So Many Pitch Meetings I Can Predict What People Say” (h/t Banana Jr. 6000) wasting his time and everyone else’s with this pitch? I thought this was about making this movie “the right way“, not about making “bank.” Finally, somebody help me parse the punctuation in the second panel: “And that’s the problem…!” Ellipsis, exclamation point. I’m reading it as “And that’s the problemmmmmMMMMMM!“