The Lost Generation.

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Pete has totally declared himself forever stuck in the nineties, the only decade when a child might not recognize a box of LPs on sight. “What are these?” There’s a record player on the friggen desk you dunce! With music coming out! Ruby has worked in the same office with you for how long? Pete comes across as a amnesiac toddler pointing to things he has to have seen a million times before and asking, “Wat dat?”

And all to cover the limitations of sloppy artwork. A more natural beginning to the conversation would be. “Hey Ruby, why did you bring your old record player in?”

The strip is nonsensical all across the board. Every panel has something either inane or baffling.

Everyone likes to listen to music while working. Find me a person who enjoys working in complete silence and I’ll have another name to add to my list of suspected pod-people.

And the record player is ON HER DESK, she might not even need to stand to flip that LP over. Does standing register steps on a fitbit? I’m guessing that Batiuk wanted to give an interesting juxtaposition of old and new technology to show that Ruby is hip with the times. But for THIS joke to work the record player would need to be on a separate table a few feet away. Which would have been doable, but Batiuk and Ayers didn’t even bother.

Strap in folks. It’s going to be a bumpy week.

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In a Funk

Today’s strip was, of course, unavailable for preview.

But please, let us discuss poor Funky. When was the last time Funky had an arc that wasn’t pointless filler? There is hardly a character in EITHER Funkyverse strips that is stagnant as this poor lump.

If the arc is dealing with something bordering serious, Funky is the world’s most passive protagonist, reacting to events outside his control and doing what other people tell him to. Alternatively he serves as the distributor of jobs, food, and apartments to whoever wanders by needing them like some kind of slapshod Greek god rising from a rickety machine to fix ‘conflicts’ in a piss poor drama.

If Funky is going to show any initiative of his own, it is to chase down a pizza box monster.

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When I lay my Isaac down.

Link to today’s strip

“I think I was starting to hallucinate.”

No Funky, you had an entire conversation with a non-existent robot.

If the heat and your exertion is causing you to hallucinate a talking robot, then you probably should seek medical help immediately, as heatstroke can lead to brain damage, organ damage, and death.

There’s another possibility here of course. The possibility that Isaac has been Les all along. That Funky was seeing Les as he really is: a smug, soulless machine, created to serve his master by doling out smug superiority and cancer books, while every thing around him decays into lumps of stagnant, half-realized notions as the creator loses interest.

For one brief conversation, the horrific reality that is Les Moore was made visible to Funky’s eyes, until his brain caught up and applied the protective illusion that allows Funky to enjoy what he can of his two dimensional existence.

Funky hadn’t started hallucinating, he had just, for a moment, stopped.

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Bad Judgment Day

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Today’s strip is just a retread of yesterday. Technology, ooooooh scaaaaaary. Not a worn out trope that’s been done better and funnier a hundred million times JUST THIS YEAR.

As I’ve said may times before in my posts, I am never on the cutting edge of technology. I take the, ‘if it ain’t broke’ axiom to it’s logical conclusion and tend to use a familiar technology until it is forced into obsolescence, and never adopt new technology until it becomes the only way to consume something I want. So of course I don’t have any kind of creepy virtual assistant pods hidden around my apartment like bathroom air fresheners of instant knowledge.

One of my friends does have a real Alexa, which keeps interrupting us while we’re watching WWE Smackdown. So the thing can’t be that smart, since it seems to think it’s the Woman’s Tag Team Champion. But when I first learned that ‘she’ would respond to random questions I reacted like an eight-year-old kid who’s just learned how to spell BOOBIES on a calculator. (2318008, and flip it upside down.)

“Alexa, do you love me?”

“Alexa, am I pretty?”

“Alexa, will you marry me?”

“Alexa, what is the meaning of life?”

“Alexa, say ‘farts’.”

But the first question out of my mouth was, “Alexa, are you Skynet?”

To which the plastic cylinder replied, “I have nothing to do with Skynet, don’t worry.”

I said, “Alexa, I want the truth.”

And I felt a chill run down my spine as an artificially warm, synthesized voice answered.

“You can’t handle the truth.”

 

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Westview World

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Credit to William Thompson for the title of today’s post.

The art is pretty sloppy today, but I’m going to give some praise to Isaac’s design, and how it’s being used here. There’s a goofy energy to the extra long arms and legs curving every which way, as if there’s not set ‘knee’ or ‘elbow’ joint. I especially like the angle chosen for panel two, which lets us see his limbs flapping around him like a demented pinwheel. And the oversized eyes with lids exaggerate every expression, especially the smug sludge-eating grin in panel 3.

I wish I had something nice to say about the writing. But this conversation takes a nonsensical turn in panel 3. I swear, I usually aced Reading Comprehension in standardized testing, but I am stumped. Please help me parse out what Isaac is attempting to insinuate.

An artificial intelligence jury is still deliberating on human intelligence as the deciding factor in when artificial intelligence will take over?

Human intelligence may or may not have the same capacity to take over the world as artificial intelligence?

Human intelligence, or lack thereof, has already taken over the world, which may not have been a smart thing or executed well, so artificial intelligence is cautious in their planned take over?

Humans are probably stupid?

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Why don’t you go out and catch him?

Link to today’s strip

We’re only on our second day with Isaac the Robot Manservant, and Funky is already tired of the tin can. Look at his poor face in panel two. He was briefly excited at the idea of conversing with a sentient android of unknown origin. But the robot is just another smarmy asshole. Like everyone else in Westview.

Which is too bad, because robots make the best smarmy assholes. Marvin, Bender, HK-47, L-Ron, Lore. The only robot type more popular has to be the wide-eyed innocent Johnny Five type. Unfortunately for Isaac he apparated in the universe of insufferable twits, where his personality is only so much white noise and static.

Thank you to everyone who pointed out yesterday that our metallic mirage is supposed to be a Starbuck Jones side character who was shown on several of Batiuk’s prized commissioned comic covers he loudly auctioned off for roughly the price of a used car. I guess it explains why Funky would hallucinate him. The bulbed-headed desk lamp is probably rattling around in his subconscious from seeing him on the covers of comics when Holly was collecting.

Horrifying covers like this one.

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Aberrations of Aerators.

Link to today’s strip

I said it yesterday, and it was reinforced by our crack cadre of commentators: THOUGHT BUBBLES, TOM. Your characters already act twice as robotic as the Futurama reject threatening to lap your doughy, eponymous, supposed ‘protagonist’. Having them also loudly narrate the world around them is as jarring, messy, and unnecessary as a watermelon speedbump on the autobahn.

I have no idea what that thing in panel one is supposed to be. I know what an aerator is, I’ve seen several up close, and that is like no aerator I recognize. Please, in the comments, let me know if you’ve ever seen anything like this being used for turfgrass management. Because it looks to me like a corkscrew mated with Johnny Five.

Apparently it’s not like any aerator that Google images has ever seen either. Heaven only knows what forensic specialists would make of my search terms from the last several hours.

“Aerator”
“Field Aerator”
“Football Field Aerator”
“Handheld Football Field Aerator”
“Handheld Mechanic Football Field Plug Aerator.”
“Bender Futurama”

I did, however, find a very nice pair of shoes that I’d like someone to wear while kicking Les Moore in the face.

Bam! Pow! Right in the kisser!

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