The Carpet Will Be Red With Fire

Oh yay, just what any story needs, Manic Pete. Of course it was just a matter of time before Pete, and then Darrin, and inevitable Harry and John are out in Hollywood involved in all this for some reason. How many imaginary movie titles do you think Batiuk has? I picture a sheet of paper in his studio with a “Batom Cinematic Universe” breakdown of 20+ titles, involving the Inedible Pulp, Rip Tide, Wayback Wendy, and heck, he’d probably have Lisa’s Story tie into it too. It still just baffles my mind how much time has been spent on Starbuck Jones, and how we’ve seen basically nothing of it beyond a few titles and covers Batiuk got someone else to draw.
I do love how weary Les looks in the first panel. Poor guy. Look at all he’s been through. Getting a vanity cameo in the movie he’s being paid no doubt way too much money to option.  And now he’s having to drink wine on a couch with the hot blonde girl from school he still has the hots for. Why can’t anything ever go his way?

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Les’s Inferno

Today’s strip was not available for preview. Please enjoy this brief period of time where you can think it might be a good one.

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Burn It All Down

Oh, so maybe this is going somewhere. Perhaps Les and all of Westview will be flown to Hollywood at the studio’s expense for the premiere of Lisa’s Story, only to be engulfed in a golf-club-sparked inferno. (For more information on where Batiuk most likely got the idea for this, click here).
Unfortunately for anyone who likes drama and entertainment, that is far far too much excitement for Act III. What will probably happen is Les will cough during the premier because of too much smoke and the movie will fail. Or there will be a Sunday single panel strip of the Hollywood Hills in flames while Les complains over the phone to Cayla about how the air quality in Ohio is so much better.

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Misery, Golf Style

Oh yay, the totally random unnamed golfers with no context or purpose are back today. He’s done two full strips of these guys without any hint as to why it’s even close to relevant, or supposed to be interesting.  Does he think he’s filling a void by making comic strips about golf?  Because that is totally not the case.  And is just me or do this three just look slightly off versions of Funky, Bull, and Les without his beard?  I don’t know if it’s the directions Batiuk gives the artists, but for a while now almost all the characters look far too similar.

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Neither can we, Marian… uh, I mean, Lisa

And we’re back to Les’s cameo in today’s strip. I dunno what that golf thing yesterday was about, but it will probably be awful and unsatisfying if it is ever revealed at all.

Having seen more of this scene, I really hope Les’ fear that his cameo will elicit knee-buckling laughter from his friends, family, and assorted other acquaintances comes true. What better time in Lisa’s Story to bust a gut than this maudlin bit where Les recaps a phone conversation Lisa had with her insensitive doctor? That’s the first and only thing about this Lisa’s Story flick that makes me want to watch it.

This strip is a nice reminder that Lisa’s second battle with cancer was full of bumbling and insensitive doctors: always mixing up important cancer charts and exhibiting awful bedside manner. What timing TB has… I cannot think of a time in my life when fewer Americans would be interested in fictional depictions of incompetent and unpleasant doctors.

And that’s it for me. I cannot say I envy spacemanspiff85, who takes over tomorrow. Good luck to you. You won’t have it, but it seems the right sentiment to express.

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Impending Dume

A sudden pivot to golf in today’s strip… huh? What is this, Gil Thorp? Not that I’m complaining about getting away from Les terrorizing the soundstage…

I’m guessing re-incarnated Bull, John Cleese, and Mr. No-Face here are playing golf at the Malibu Golf Club, which is closer to Thousand Oaks than it is to Point Dume. It is missed details like this that really drag Funky Winkerbean down, you know?

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Cut It On The Bias

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! After a week of setup for this cameo and its single, six word line, Les flubs it in today’s strip? Who could have possibly seen this coming?

At least the narrative has inched along despite wasting 14 panels on reusing the most cliche gag about acting in history. Mr. Director himself, Martin Johns, confirms what we all suspected since we first saw that laughable park bench set being put together… this film has next to no budget. Unless he’s just being dramatic about the tire fire that Les has turned this scene into, in which case we’ve gone no where on this story arc in a week and a half.

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Order Up-chuck

Today’s strip was done better some 36-and-a-half years ago by one Charles M. Schulz. Les is echoing the more-likable Sally Brown’s Hark! Hark! Hark! Hark! from Christmastime 1983…

Unlike Lisa’s Story, those strips were worked into an actual film, It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, which I got on videocassette for the price of a tank of gas in my parents’ Mazda at a Shell filling station back in 1993.

And frankly, “Les says things and bothers innocent bystander(s)” is not new ground even within the history of this strip either. Let’s move on.

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Waitersday, July 22

Today’s strip was not available for preview; I guess that’s a Wednesday thing now. Les is, presumably, still antagonizing over the terrible horrible no-good very bad fate of making a 6 word cameo in a major motion picture. ¡Qué mala suerte!

While we wait on that, why not take another trip in the WABATIUK machine with me and check out a particularly disgusting Act II scene with Les Moore, the Midwest’s greatest monster, and his legendarily thin skin.  Here, less than 3 months into their marriage, Lisa made the mistake of offering up some constructive criticism of Les’ in-progress and all-stupid John Darling book manuscript.  Les acts like Les and Lisa complains about it downstairs in a conversation with co-worker Funky (EVERYONE in Westview has worked at Montoni’s at one time or another, it’s like compulsory military service in countries that have that).  Lisa has Les pegged perfectly…

FW1-29-97

This rare moment of seeming self-awareness from TB about the monster that Les truly is proves fleeting, though. The very next strip, Lisa regrets not giving Les ten thousand words of well-reasoned adulation.  Funky and Tony convincer her to bring him a pizza, and for good measure she stops by Komix Korner on her way home as well.  Seriously,  Les’ oversensitivity is rewarded with pizza and comic books and… an “apology” from Lisa.

This man must be stopped! This film must be stopped! This strip must be stopped!

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Thought-Les

Les, the humorless shmuck, humorless shmucks around in today’s strip.

Nothing – not cancer, not Hollywood, not even the students he loathes so much – seems to disturb and anger Les more (oy, sorry) than people laughing at him over something utterly trivial. Funky and Crazy found this out the hard way 9 years ago, in the infamous “Children left behind” strip. Despite what they are doing in Les’ imagination, I doubt they would be bold enough to so much as chuckle anywhere within earshot of Les again.

Is this how TB’s family and friends reacted to his recurring role as “Art Professor” (I think that is both his name and his profession) in the ongoing live-action saga of The Cardinal, the greatest comic superhero around who dresses like the Iowa State University mascot?

Yeah it probably is. Also, Les himself exists in The Cardinal live-action universe. *shudder*

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