Editor’s Note: Hey all, it’s TFH. With great power (the ability to peep upcoming strips) comes great responsibility. As pointed out in the comments, I got mixed up and provided a link to Thursday’s strip. Apologies to spacemanspiff85 and all y’all. As has also been mentioned in the comments, it really doesn’t affect the “narrative” all that much. The actual strip for today, Wednesday, Dec. 29th, is here. Feel free to snark on either or both. Thank you and happy holidays!
Is it me, or is today’s strip especially annoying, even by the standards of Batiuk? With no buildup at all you have a totally random guy who is apparently travelling with Harriet, asking her if they can cross a street to somewhere for some reason. Despite the fact that there’s obviously a parade like twenty feet away, but he somehow thinks they can just cut in front of it. And also despite the fact that I’m pretty sure the streets would be roped off so people couldn’t just wander into the road in front of the parade.
But it’s all worth it for the punchline of naming a street on the parade route. I don’t think anyone does more of a half-assed job of these “shout outs” than Batiuk. I really doubt anyone associated with the parade would read this and be thrilled that he knows the name of a street.
It’s like when a band calls out the name of the town they’re playing in, except instead of “Nobody rocks like . . . Springfield” someone just holds up a card with the name of the city, and it’s misspelled and upside down.
Today’s strip could’ve been one of my favorites ever if the third panel had depicted the director acting the way a real human being would, by telling Dinkle to sit down and shut the *#@% up. I do find it extremely hilarious that the World’s Greatest Band Director Harry L. Dinkle isn’t directing this band. Especially considering that the guy who was chosen to lead it seems to be missing a chunk of his head, possibly in an accident suffered while marching in the rain.
Oh, and apparently Mike Sewell was a real band director that is being honored in the parade this year. I feel like 99% of the readers of this strip would just assume he was another character in this strip and not give it a second thought. I also think it would be nice if Batiuk had highlighted Sewell a little bit more rather than making this all about Dinkle.
Thanks to BillytheSkink for guiding us through “Wild Mort’s Love Life, Chapter XVIII”. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but seeing Dinkle in a strip on a Monday is the worst thing to me, since you know you’re getting (at least) another week of him. At least with Les there’s more to make fun of, and something might actually happen. With Dinkle all you get now is “isn’t Dinkle awesome?”, basically. And know you have the horror of Mort and Lillian popping up at any moment.
One of the weirdest things with how Dinkle is written is how he’s simultaneously portrayed as a maniac and borderline-fascist band director that everyone hated but also a beloved figured who improved the lives of everyone he touched. It seems like the majority of the actual band directing we see him do involves making people walk in hurricanes and risk their lives, so I’m not really sure why there’s a box of envelopes that’s stacked so high there’s no way anyone could have carried it. (Speaking of carrying, I’m very confused about how exactly Becky was handling that box, based on the arrangement in the first panel).
Oh, and Becky was one of Dinkle’s students and then became a band director. That’s the punchline for today’s strip.
Today’s strip is pretty inoffensive, as these things go. It might border on “nice” if we liked a single one of these characters.
Not sure why Funky and Holly look so surprised to see Morton playing the trombone. They know Morton is in this band. They know the band is playing at St. Spires. They walk into the Christmas Eve service hearing the strains of “Silent Night”. Put two and two together…
OK, sure, most of the churches I’m familiar with place both the choir and orchestra in front of the congregation rather than behind, but such a slight difference wouldn’t floor me like a character from the late They’ll Do It Every Time.
Maybe Funky has an excuse, he thinks churches are places to practice driving, but Holly has been depicted as at least a somewhat regular churchgoer.
Today’s strip might not quite be at the “Somehow Palpatine returned”-level, but “Luckily, one of the residents at Bedside Manor overheard that the band was playing here at St. Spires” is certainly on the list of history’s worst narrative solutions via exposition.
I think Funky and Holly must have gotten turned around driving on those snowy roads. Judging by the looks of this lady waving sheet music at them, I’d say they shot clear past Centerville, through a multiverse portal, and straight into Whoville. Specifically, the Whoville from the live-action Grinch movie. Fitting for this strip, I suppose.
Finally! Dinkle and the alumni band show up in today’s strip… though Jerome T. Bushka A&L Automotive Stadium looks suspiciously like St. Sprires church and the alumni band doesn’t have any instruments (though they all look to be about the age I would expect). Weird.
After the throwaway panels, you almost could have convinced me that a computer wrote this. Former marching band director plays music from famous composer. You could generate this gag, such as it is, with a UNIVAC… though I think the UNIVAC would spit out dialogue with a little more flair.
And with that, I’m out. Tackling tomorrow’s tantalizing strip and taking to task the next two weeks will be the incomparable Spaceman Spiff.
As someone who has broken a bone after slipping on wet grass, I must admit that I briefly chuckled at today’s strip… briefly.
And that brief chuckle is the sole redeeming payoff of a story arc that began (checks phases of the moon) three weeks ago?! That’s… better than a lot of TB’s story arcs to be honest.
But what of Dinkle and the alumni band? OK, I don’t care one iota what Dinkle is doing, but the alumni band has been waiting three YEARS to perform! Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot until today that TB did this whole alumni band thing, complete with majorette performance, pretty much three years ago on the dot. I forgot about how it all started with Holly and her mom reminiscing (though then it was on a car trip from Florida). I also forgot that Holly and Melinda were told “no” on the flaming baton trick back then too. I forgot that it all ended (after taking up a whole MONTH), not with a performance, but with this. And worst/best of all, I forgot all about all of this despite being the blogger on duty when it all happened.
I was going to say “you’re welcome”, but I had to go and remember all of this today.
The day of the big
alumni band Holly and Melinda Budd vanity performance has arrived in today’s strip, and the nastiness continues. No, I’m not talking about the weather, though most of us are aware that monsoon rains during band performances are quite possibly the longest still-running gag in this strip (predating even Garfield and lasagna/Mondays, though far far less accessible).
Good crowd on hand, considering the weather, probably the biggest since Bull retired. Whoever replaced him must be doing a good job, crowds were pretty thin when Bull’s teams were struggling.
Sorry, scratch that last paragraph. This is Funky Winkerbean, so I’m sure the crowd is really here to see Holly…