Apologies for the late post, but after reading today’s strip you may want me to apologize for posting at all.
Phil gets a final farewell for 45 years of (poor) service at the station. OK, I get that.
He is given a gag award (swiped from a cameraman’s daughter’s bedroom no doubt) for said service. I’d get it if it was played as an inside joke, but it is clearly intended to be an insult, so… what?
Then an anchor airs some of his dirty laundry on the air. Uh…
This strip took 100 steps and went nowhere. Phil’s award, at least, was better than the gift Coach Stropp got at his (forced) retirement party.
Today’s strip finds Phil having skipped the bargaining phase of grief over his firing… moving right on to depression, acceptance, and Jim Boeheim impersonation.
Producer Jan Murdoch Darling’s sympathy for Phil is an awfully kind gesture on her part, considering that he once pulled a gun on her late husband. Frankly, I find it somewhat difficult to sympathize with Phil when he’s sharing a panel with Jan. Yes, his 40+ year career is coming to an end and not by his choice. Too bad. Meanwhile, Jan:
– grew up with an awful, abusive mother, one of the comics page’s most vile characters
– sees her only child visit on rare occasions, and never to actually see her
– has fallen from producing The “Today” Show to once again slumming it at the dying Channel One
– oh yeah… and famously saw her husband murdered right in front of her
But sure, we’ll shed some crocodile tears for you too Phil.
Poor Phil the Forecaster is still getting fired in today’s strip and Alex (the bearded news director who is probably supposed to remind us of smarmy John Darling regular Reed Roberts) seems awfully chipper about replacing him with an unpaid intern. Firing Phil as a cost-saving move (rather than for a variety of good reasons covered below) tells me that Channel One will soon be one of those stations that airs Family Feud reruns in primetime. Alex might want to start worrying about his own position.
That Phil remained Channel One’s weatherman into 2017 is remarkable, in both positive and negative ways. He debuted in Funky Winkerbean in the mid-70s, giving him a 40+ year tenure at Channel One that would be a legitimately impressive career in real life.
He also kept the job for decades despite the running gag that he was terrible at it. And if Brenda Harpy is to be believed, he also kept the job despite being a certifiable nutcase who engaged in terrifying workplace violence on at least one occasion.
He wasn’t wrong about John Darling and the ozone layer, though.
In Saturday’s strip, H.R. “Baldy” McNightmare continues to regale Cindy with brilliant one-liners. “Women, am I right?” he’ll continue. “Can’t fire ’em, can’t ship ’em off to Cleveland.”
So, we’ve got the “Cleveland sucks” joke. Check. To be fair, Cleveland really sucked in 2010. A year ago, however, when this overcooked noodle of a strip was being conceived, Cleveland fell to 17th most miserable, beating out #11 Toledo by 6 positions.
Good thing Forbes doesn’t include Westview in its misery index. The #1 position would never change.
Cindy, like the downtrodden Westview woman that she is, meekly accepts her fate and a clear violation of 29 U.S.C. § 623. Naturally, she’ll pay for her own cab and air fare as she rushes to LaGuardia to get to Cleveland’s Channel 5 before air time. Because this is the way TV stations are run, ¼ inch from reality.
I admit I was among those astonished that these events were taking place in New York City, based on Cindy being the one to report on Les’s Hollywood deal. I keep forgetting that Les lies at the nexus of history. The pope himself was awakened to keep him abreast of the contract negotiations. So of course ABC’s national weekend anchor broke the news.
But who’ll break the news to Cindy that she can fight this age discrimination? I’m sure anything we come up with will be more interesting than what Batominc comes up with.
Friday’s strip careens substantially more than ¼ inch from reality. There doesn’t seem to be any readily Googleable analogue to this situation here in reality prime. Using Google is all the effort I’ll put into this; it’s already more than Batominc puts into these plot lines. The Batominc plan is even simpler than that of the South Park gnomes.
- Draw some comics about a well-known social issue.
We learned yesterday that “digital” shows Cindy’s age, in the words of her boss Dick “Baldy” McLitigationmagnet. This arc is turning out to be a perfect storm of things Batominc knows nothing about. Digital TV doesn’t have to be HD; I’m sure Cindy looks ravishing in SD 480i. Or at least vague and fuzzy. And current ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 68 years young.
As a member of the dominant boomer generation, Batominc’s stockholder ought to know that, as that generation ages while life expectancy increases, its attitudes about the visible signifiers of age are evolving. But that would require him to have his finger on the pulse of society. And there’s one thing about pulses: you can’t feel them from ¼ inch away. You have to actually touch the patient.
Batominc is bad at social observation, OK. Now, to be fair, he’s also bad at drawing his own characters. Or did Cindy get a sudden massive wrinkle in the milliseconds between panels 2 and 3?
Wednesday’s strip has the big reveal of the reason for this arc: Batominc’s Pulitzer-trolling issue du jour: age discrimination in TV news.
It’s unclear now why Cindy was drinking in a hotel bar. Is she freshly back from an assignment? Unclear.
It’s unclear how much time has passed between yesterday’s scene and today’s. It’s unclear how Batominc will bring a fresh perspective to the issue at hand. I mean, the Google search for scholarly articles on the subject of age discrimination in media has ¾ million results.
But there’s got to be a Pulitzer in here this time, right? Right?