Oh sweet Sousa, it’s HIM! I guess we all knew his appearance was inevitable after Holly brought up band alumni yesterday, but I think we were all hoping he wouldn’t show up as soon as today’s strip. But now he is involved AND he is tossing around comic book/video game terminology like he‘s DSH or the other guy in this strip named Harry, making this story arc go from insufferably bland to straight up insufferable in three panels flat. And now we know Holly wasn’t the only majorette he routinely maimed…
Holly really shouldn’t be surprised he remembers her, though. After all, he named his shoe brand’s majorette marching boots after her. I guess that means he is being sincere then telling her she was the best majorette he ever had, though I’ll also bet he‘s been keeping her royalty checks from the sale of those boots for the past 29 years too.
Oh, so Melinda wasn’t thinking of entering Holly in a pageant! No, as we learn in today’s strip, she was thinking about hijacking Westview High School’s homecoming and subjecting the crowd to Holly’s flaming baton trick and its subsequent collateral damage. Duh. I don’t know where Holly got the idea that her mother was trying to get her to enter a pageant, it’s not like Melinda led into this homecoming performance idea by talking about pageants or anything…
It was smart of Holly to suggest inviting a bunch of band alumni into this scheme. Not because making this an actual alumni event rather than a single woman’s vainglorious showcase means the school would likely be more accommodating. Not because it will place anyone not related to her who might be interested in seeing her performance out on the field instead of up in the grandstands. Not because it will give Wally a chance to break out his trombone again. Not even because it seems to deflate her conniving mother.
No, it was smart because Holly knows as well as anyone that misery loves company.
Oh, so we have another week of this… How, exactly, can Melinda Budd tell when the photo in today’s strip was taken? It looks like every other old photo/Act I flashback/actual Act I appearance of Holly.
I guess Holly figures her pageant days are over now that she’s looking more like Gloria Daze… but we all know that’s not going stop Melinda or TB from stretching this story concept so thin you could toss an Oldsmobile Bravada through it.
How long did these kids have to prepare for this prank? This amount of coordinated music, mouthpiece, and instrument switching could only have taken place if Becky’s absence was expected days in advance, and if this is either the first class period of the day, or the first class period after a lunch.
I want to thank TF Hackett for reminding me of the ‘knowing smirks’ tag in the comments yesterday. I’m going to need it so much to finish off my shift. Today we have an entire peanut gallery of unbearable knowing smirks being exchanged in panel 3. Some may think that these people are smiling mischievously at each other because all their clever pranks are being preempted by a witty old man. But obviously the real reason is that their ultimate prank has yet to be spotted: all of these so called ‘kids’ are obviously middle-aged adults involved in some kind of elaborate LARP.
The janitor in panel 2 is the real star of today’s strip. In all my decades of public schooling, I can’t remember a janitor sweeping the halls in the middle of the day, unless there had been some kind of unfortunate thumbtack crate explosion. But this janitor has staked out the 20 foot stretch of tile outside the band room as his turf. Nearly a year ago, it took him a full five days to carefully and methodically make his way past the classroom.
So many fun ways to interpret this! Is he:
A.) A ghost who died in a horrific sign taping accident, forced to haunt this wing of the school, forever sweeping a floor that will never be clean of the stain of his blood?
B.) A man so polluted mentally and emotionally by the Westview climate of somatic decay, greasy pizza, trashy comics, smug nihilism, and puns, that he has become a mindless shell of a man who sweeps automatically and unceasingly, like an organic roomba?
C.) A security guard from the school, in disguise, ordered to tail Dinkle whenever he is on the premises to prevent another lawsuit from parents?
D.) Secretly in love with Dinkle or/and Becky?
Remember that sign-up ends Monday at midnight for Tuesday’s 7:00 pm live online revealing of Tom’s poster for the Ohioana Book Festival.
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Today’s strip begs the question, if Lefty has to print 47 pages of things not to do for her band students, why is she taking them all to Columbus for the Ohio Music Educators Conference? Or rather, why is she taking any students at all to the Ohio Music Educators Conference? I guess they make preferable company to her typical OMEA companion Dinkle, but so does a moldy dish towel. I would take bets on whether or not the kids’ presence at the conference ultimately gets explained, but I cannot find any casino willing to give me odds on “yes”.
And don’t forget to tune in tomorrow, same time… same station, as spacemanspiff leads us all through what is hopefully something other than a return to Funky at the eye doctor. Frankly, I hope tomorrow’s strip is something other than a lot of things, including but not limited to: Les, Lefty and Dinkle, the Lisa movie, Cindy complaining about her looks, and Batom comics remembrance.
Just three days into my turn to “make the donuts” around here and I’m ready to throw up my hands…or just throw up. What the hell is today’s strip about, aside from padding this pointless arc out to six, maybe seven days? “Read a book in the morning”? Please tell me he’s not talking about taking a dump. I suppose a retired person has opportunity to read just about whenever they feel like it. What about “in the morning” makes Harry cock his head like that and raise his eyebrows? Where is joke?
Nice to see Adeela again, wearing Montoni’s Red Apron of Shame and carrying what’s either a server book or that architect diploma she got from Westview Community College. Dinkle’s unnamed friend continues his musing about retirement. “Long days, short years” does work pretty well as a wry comeback, and we’ll start taking bets now whether Tom Batiuk uses that very same aphorism when and if he ever chooses to retire.
The part of the tablecloth is being played today by Pete’s shirt.
Big ups toEpicus Doomus for the last two weeks of posts. In addition to crafting great posts and post titles, Epicus manages the guest author rotation and is my right hand man around here. Without him, there would be no SoSF.
In a rare bit of Funky fortuitousness, today’s strip involves alfresco dining, an activity that’s more popular right now than it’s ever been. What at first appears to be an old married couple in panel 1’s aerial perspective turns out to be Harry Dinkle and a friend. Judging from how non-generically the other gent is rendered here, he must also be a real-life friend of Batiuk and/or Ayers.
I donned my PPE and took a deep dive into the Act II archives for a refresher about the circumstances surrounding Dinkle’s “retirement.” Near the end of Act II, Becky Winkerbean, as she was known then, took over as band director when Dinkle was promoted to WHS’ music supervisor. His actual retirement happened “offscreen,” during the second 10 year time jump. Shortly thereafter, his beleaguered wife Harriet pleaded with, and possibly bribed, the school board president to install Harry as director of the performing arts center that bore his name, just to get him out of the house. It’s doubtful whether that director role entails hanging around the high school and basically serving as Becky’s co-band director. Look at him smirk in panel 3 at his friend’s quip. Harry Dinkle doesn’t know the meaning of retirement. No, seriously…he doesn’t know the meaning of retirement.
Sigh. I have to assume that this is a play on musicians “busting out” their musical “chops” or possibly an attempted malaprop or maybe even both. I’ve been pondering it for ten seconds now and it’s another ten seconds I’ll never get back. Thanks, Tom. Nothing’s ever easy in this daffy Funkyverse of his, you know? It’s either a tedious, grueling plod to a barely-perceptible resolution or it’s a really dumb sort of ambiguous gag that takes a half an hour to get. This one-time Pulitzer nominee (fluke thing) can’t just tell a story or crack a joke, you have to wade through layer after layer of nothingness to get nowhere instead. Bah, humbug.