Category Archives: Son of Stuck Funky

Textbook Case of the Smirks.

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There is barely any continuity of which people are in the tables in front of Nate, as pointed out yesterday by Gerard Plourde and Eldon of Galt. (Who, when mentioned together, sound like some kind of awesome adventuring duo from a fantasy novel.) Linda has become Klabichnik, and the tables have completely changed orientation between panels.

Also in the background, right under Nate’s nose, is a teacher I don’t think we’ve seen before: The Invisible Man. I know that Batiuk has toned down a lot of the more whimsical elements of his strip since the early days, but we are still in a universe with a sentient 1970’s era computer, so I guess a see-through man isn’t out of the realms of possibility. Must have been a diversity hire.

Final textbook tallies? Wat. I mean, I guess that the teachers would have to check to make sure all the students had turned in their textbooks by the end of the year, but Nate wants all of these tallies turned in to him directly? Is he going to stay up late into the night, pouring over the numbers, checking and rechecking to make sure every single battered tome has been returned to him? Does he have a name for each one, put it in it’s little nook for the summer, then sit on the floor then gaze up at them, whispering softly at his ‘friends’. That is very unlike the lassiez-faire attitude Nate has displayed previously.

But laughing about an art error, and trying to go off on some kind of wild tangent about a crazed Nate having a secret obsessive, possessive, text-book hoarding alter-ego that only comes out when he’s alone in the dark, are literally the only ways I can make this milquetoast strip amusing, even to myself.

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Bell Pepper Curve.

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First of all, there is an absolute horror show of a human in the background. A literal dickhead emerging from a shirt made of pubes. The guy is smug as shit too. No doubt having just eaten an entire plate of the grilled processed meat tubes that he has descended from in some kind of twisted Westviewian evolution.

Does Westview grade on the curve? That’s a horrific thought. Because while some teacher claim that pretending that the smartest kid’s 85% correct on the test is the new 100% is ‘grading on the curve’, what it really means is the draconian application of the bell curve to the entire class. Every student ranked, in direct competition with the other students for the limited number of A’s, 40% of students doomed to C’s regardless of what actual percentage of the material they got correct. All your A or B tells you is that in Mrs. McGiggins 2005 Fall semester of Pre-Calculus you did better than 15 other people.

My junior year of high school, the calculus teacher was gone the entire year on maternity leave. For the first semester, they gave the advanced math students taking precalc and calc a teacher they had previously relegated to teaching remedial general math because she was so inept, despite the fact she was technically qualified. Because of her I never learned the difference between cosine and cosign.

When the most gifted kids in the school started struggling and complaining to their parents, the principal had the audacity to come to the class, pull out a bell curve and try to explain to us that, really, most of us SHOULD be getting C’s in the class.

I shot my hand right up and explained to the class that ‘the bell curve’ was both old-fashioned and unfair. We were supposed to be graded on the percentage of the material we got right, not in competition with other students for limited number of A’s. The fact that most of us were getting C’s meant that, as a class, we were understanding barely half of what we were being tested on. He fumbled around for a bit, but didn’t really have a good response. He was talking to the smartest kids in the school, and our GPA’s, and thus our college prospects, were on the line.

They pulled an old math teacher out of retirement for the next semester.

I remember the impotent frustration, the despair, and the eventual fatalistic resignation that we, as a class, felt that semester. So many of us just gave up trying. There was no reason to attempt to succeed on our own, because that would only hurt our classmates by driving up expectations. So most of us sat through every day of math class that semester, silent, sullen, and unresponsive.

What I’m saying is, I’m guessing that Westview grades on a curve.

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Please, peas?

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So was Sunday a one-off as usual, or was Batiuk just really hungry so we’re going to get weeks of unrelated food strips? Or are we in for an entire week examining Les and Cayla’s weird aromantic relationship?

Yes, a black and white and sepia flashback, with old timey scrapbook corners, really takes me back to 2011. Makes me remember when Cayla didn’t look like someone dipped Cindy in chocolate.

Why is Bill Nye surprised someone is grilling hot dogs at a picnic? He is asking Les this, when the only possible alternative interpretation of the scene is that Les is about to skewer his wife with a hot poker. For a science teacher those are some top notch observation skills. I imagine he wanders about asking similar questions.

Enters his classroom. “So, you’re the students who are working on your science projects in my science class today?”

Standing in the lunch line. “So, you’re the the school cook, who cooks and serves the food to the students?”

Entering his bedroom. “So, you’re the man who’s been sleeping with my wife?”

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Spagettaboutit!

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Apologies for the late post. I decided to wait for the Sunday strip to drop, rather than blather on about something from earlier this week.

The last thing Funky needs is nutritional value. Given the weight he’s able to hold onto despite working out with a personal trainer, he must have the metabolism of a hibernating turtle.

Funky also seems to be suffering from a serious case of IMS. Irritable Male Syndrome. Spilling food on yourself often, as well as other issues with fine motor control, are probably a sign of some kind of tragic illness. Money on Parkinson’s.

Funky doesn’t take vitamins? They were paranoid enough about his health to take a trip to see a specialist together a couple years ago, but he doesn’t take a basic multivitamin? Way to go out on a limb for a non-joke.

Some really crisp linework in the strip today. No weird lobster hands, lots of detail, and weirdly dramatic shading. I mean, look at the detail out the window. And just an almost loving rendering of pasta noodles…mmmm….

Too bad the marinara looks like blood. Funky, you got red on you.

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Spring Swingers.

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I gleaned a few interesting tidbits from the dialogue today. Les’ statements about having to sell more books and the school being happy with a perpetual super-senior indicates that he is currently paying for some or all of her college. Summer’s scholarship must have run out and/or it was not a full ride. Kent State is a NCAA school and only allows students to compete in four seasons of a sport. Maybe she was a redshirt freshman and wasn’t on the team her first year? But it indicates that this will be her fifth, sixth, or even seventh year of college.

If Les’ is paying for Summer’s graduation, maybe from Lisa’s life insurance, then is Keisha’s college also being paid for? Wouldn’t that be super awkward if Keisha was having to take on a bunch of student loan debt while Summer gets to start clean? But, then again, Keisha seemed like a smart girl. She probably made sure she finished her degree before her athletic scholarship was gone.

Actually going to commend the artwork today, relatively speaking. The ruler did a lot of the work, but there is good attention to detail for once. In the background at least. Les is drawn as a sightless abomination talking out of his ass, but I’m guessing that’s Ayers subtle caricature of him. And putting up the porch swing in spring not only sets the season, it’s a subtle callback to the strips way back in June 2011 when Cayla and Les confessed their love on it. Batiuk may forget how many kids his characters have, but he seems to always remember that Les has a front porch swing.

Of course…it was TAN not BLUE. But then again, maybe it’s been painted.

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F.U. Frankly Unbearable.

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No Cayla. Just no. She’s not going to graduate totally unemployable. Totally unemployable is the 45 year old grandmother who comes into the gas station sometimes, dentures out, in the same shirt as yesterday, still tweaking, and complaining about getting fired from her part time waitress gig at the local greasy spoon because of her nasal fistula.

Summer is going to graduate having wasted either a ton of money, or a scholarship, on a price-inflated liberal arts degree, in a field already supersaturated with competent degree holders. In her most likely job prospects, some kind of office drone, her degree will entitle her to marginally better starting pay and position that in no way recoups the time and money spent teaching her how to read Finnegan’s Wake.

Basically her new degree choice marks her forever as a dreamer, taking what seems like the most obvious, immediate path to satisfying self-actualization. But in reality making her pay through the nose for the kind of deductive reasoning and knowledge she could just as easily pick up from You-Tube videos and $5 Amazon used books. All so she can write navel-gazing, passionless, modern novels filled with listless protagonists with SJW-edgelord identity labels going through a pointless bildungsroman only to reach some kind of epiphany of vaguely positive, yet nihilistic, existentialism. No one but other literary intelligentsia will ever read her books. She’ll be forever outsold by hacks like Stephanie Meyers, and hacks of hacks like E.L. James; people who make up for terrible writing and characters with things like escapism, wish-fulfillment, simple conflicts and emotional arcs, and palpable passion for their creation. You know. The things the masses want and like to read.

I told my best friend Creative Writing English Major about what was happening in Funky Winkerbean yesterday. The second I mentioned Creative Writing English Major she shouted through the phone, “No, it’s a trap!”

But Les sits there smirking, because his daughter is about to fall into the trap he’s in. Finally company. A little LisaLes Jr., both himself and his favorite emotional prop combined. They’ll be able to commiserate and complain about frustrated artistic ambition for the rest of his life.

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Patrimonial Penury

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“Dad, be serious, if I wanted a job that would pay me money I would have taken two months of Industrial Welding at Centerview Community College.”

Really rich coming from worthless English major magnate, Mr. Les ‘those who can’t, teach.’ Moore.

Also, if she’s interested in going into law, then majoring in sociology would have been fine. You can major in anything you want, as long as you keep your GPA up and pass you LSAT.

And don’t you dare disparage sociology! It’s a useless major alone but paired with a Master’s Degree she could become like my older sister, working at her state’s only inpatient mental health hospital for barely more than what an average desk drone makes. But she’s fulfilled.

Sociology made sense as Summer’s old major, what with her activism in high school. But I guess Batiuk has forgotten that, and decided to make her a tiny female clone of her father. I can’t wait for her first book about someone she knew who died.

Also, my best friend forever majored in English lit with a focus on creative writing, and her fanfictions of obscure video games have been very well reviewed! She leads the genre in likes!

She is also a desk drone. Not really using her degree to get paid. But still. Getting paid.

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