Tag Archives: Barry Balderman

Do maladroits dream of selective *bleep*?

Today’s strip

Les – * There’s no DJ here. There’s no DJ here. There’s no DJ…
Cayla – Wake up, honey.
Les – * Hate Big Walnut Tech. Hate Big Walnut Tech. Hate Big Wal…
Cayla – Les. Les, dear, It’s Cayla, darling.
Les – Oh, Cayla, it’s… you.
Cayla – Yes, darling.
Bull – Hello, Les! Anybody home? I heard the you were distraught by the the big… well… you seem all right now.
Crazy Harry – Yes. He got quite a bump on the head. We kind of hoped… uh… thought there for a minute he was gonna leave us.
Donna – Oh.
Les – But I did leave you, Crazy. I came through the time pool. And then went back to our high school days.
Cayla – There, there, lie quiet now. You just had a bad dream.
Les – No.
Funky – Sure. Remember me, your old pal, Funky?
Les – Oh.
Holly – And me, Holly?
Cindy – You couldn’t forget my face, could you?
Les – No. But it wasn’t a dream. It was a time pool. And you, and you, and you, and you were there.
Barry – Oh!
Les – Not you Barry.
Cayla – Oh, we dream lots of silly things when we…
Les – No, Cayla, there was a real, functioning time pool. And I remember that there wasn’t much class… but mostly it was a reunion. But just the same, all I kept doing was wandering through the background listening to Cindy reveal her insecurities and Crazy plot to alter the present with a smartphone. Doesn’t anybody believe me?
Crazy Harry – Of course we believe you, Les. *wink*
Les – Oh, but anyway, Lis… uh Cayla, we’re here! Here! And this is the reunion – and you’re all here! And I’m not going to coordinate the reunion ever, ever again, because I loathe you all! And… oh, Cayla? There’s no one like Lisa!

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Barry Bald-faced-liar-man

– Find and/or purchase salt. Box, canister, iodized, sea, it doesn’t matter.
– Take one grain of aforementioned salt
– Read today’s strip
– For best results, avoid repeating

Is this strip supposed to explain Les’ lack of interaction with young Lisa (or any of the Act I gang)? That he fainted and was unconscious during the whole interaction?
Probably, in which case there will be a new entry into the dictionary’s definition of “cop-out”, but we should give TB the benefit of the doubt until this is confirmed.

Either way, though, Barry Balderman is spouting some Barry Balderdash today. This is what happened to Les after her was told that the DJ bailed:

He stated his hate for Big Walnut Tech

He gave Cayla the “children left behind” death glare for making a good point

He broodingly mused on the origin of Crazy’s nickname

He saw the entire Act I gang appear out of the Time Pool

He had a staring contest with his younger self while Lisa looked forlornly at her replacement

He continued the staring contest in silhouette form

He watched the entire Act I gang prepare to get back in the Time Pool

He waddled through the background of a strip that appeared IMMEDIATELY before he was depicted as fainted and passed out

Are my eyes beady enough for ya?

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‘Nuts to You, Westview

Memo to future Westview High School Reunion Committees: do not let Barry Balderman recommend a DJ.

Guest Page Turner Author
July 5, 2015 at 11:41 pm
…All the venues were booked, my ass! On a Sunday evening of a holiday weekend? !?!

I guess “holiday weekend class reunions” are a big thing in Westview, as are poorly structured DJ contracts. Anyone who calls themselves professional, “state of the ark” equipment or not, would surely risk legal action and terrible word-of-mouth for such shenanigans. But Les and company’s anger is directed not at the DJ but at the school that lured him away.

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Gym Jam

The red and blue balloons (though the school colors are red and white) have been filled, and the kraft paper and tempera paint banner has been haphazardly Scotch-taped to the folded up bleachers. Everything appears ready for the coming reunion. You’d expect Reunion Committee Chairman Les to be displaying his base-running, smugly satisfied smirk. But Les implies that the reunion planning has been fraught with problems. OK, well, his committee did forget to choose a venue, though this issue was easily resolved (albeit to the detriment of Westview’s basketball-loving youth). Les has overcome his lack of a Facebook page and a suitable high school portrait, and has managed to delegate the setting up of the Lisa shrine, yet he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. And here comes Barry Balderman to drop that shoe…

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Gym-Nauseum

Link To Today’s Farce.

And as we enter the homestretch it’s “the WHS gym” making a TREMENDOUS run for the wire! Yep, it looks like we’re in for lots of sepia-toned “Les is stuck on the gym rope again” flashbacks featuring good ol’ Act I Loser Les! That’s right, folks. Way back when, before he was an award-winning author/martyr/smug obnoxious jerk whose wife tragically died, Les was a hapless dweeb! I know, I know…it’s difficult to believe, but it’s 100% true. In fact, you can visit the official FW archive site and take a gander at those old strips anytime you…oh, wait. Forget that last part.

“Six months ago”??? What? Does the reunion committee meet every two weeks or something? Why were they discussing a venue six months ago? And why didn’t they settle on one? Normally, a story starts making more sense as you add details…but not in the Funkyverse, where up is white and down is sideways and everything is coated with pizza grease, nonsensical developments and retconned nostalgia. And sometimes all the names are wrong too.

Why are there corner thingies in panel one? It’s just a flashback to six months ago, not a cherished old memory of happier days gone by. Either use them right or not at all, Author Guy! Retcon photo album corner thingies are a privilege, not a right.

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Lunch’s Unexpected Return

Link to today’s strip.

When I said yesterday, “It gets worse,” you probably thought, “How can it?”  Well, now you know.

Those of you with weak stomachs may want to stop with Les’ first dialogue balloon, in which Les gets someone else to do his work, again, this time quadrupling his own workload to nothing.  Has Les ever done anything?  It sure seems all he does is complain when things are expected of him, and then he moans and weeps until someone else does all the work.   Then he whines about how hard his life is, and, well, you know the rest.

If you’re brave enough to tackle the rest of the strip, let’s press on.  Les has never gotten over the loss of his first wife, and everyone, simply everyone, is completely aware of this and does whatever they can, at all times, to help him heal.   Because no one else in this world has ever lost a loved one.  No one else has ever suffered.  No one else bears the weight of the world like Les Moore.   (It’s no wonder that someone like Wally, who has suffered far more than Les, is a character the strip treats with thinly-veiled contempt.)

Lest you think me callous, I do understand that losing a loved one is a lifelong thing, and that those who’ve left us will always be in our memories.  But looking at Les’ sad, smashable face in panel two, you’d hardly think this was a guy who eventually married another woman, then wrote a comic book about how he’d found new love with his new wife.

Mary Sue’s phrase in panel two seems off to me–if I was sympathetic to Les, I’d say he still loves Lisa, and that’s why he remembers.  Oh well, Mary Sue is, after all, a girl, and they’re not much good for anything in this world, are they.  I’m surprised we didn’t get a third panel of Les patting her on the head and saying “Thank you for trying.”

There’s a phrase that describes Les Moore perfectly.  That phrase is “wallowing in self-pity.”  It’s the sort of thing that a normal person does for a time–possibly a long time–but then picks himself up and moves on.

But not Les Moore.  He’s going to make sure you’re always aware of him, and through this awareness, he’s going to make you suffer.

Oh, before I forget, when I said it “gets worse” yesterday, I left out one thing–it gets even worse tomorrow.

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Breakfast’s Journey Back

Link to today’s strip.

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

You could concentrate on panel one, where Les has off-loaded yet another job to someone else, doubling his contribution of nothing.   Barry looks positively Cory-esque (old school Cory) as he plots some kind of photo-related mayhem.

If you choose to go on to panels two and three, you have just saved a lot of money on an emetic.   Oh, poor, poor, poor Les, always and everywhere to be reminded of his sad loss–a loss that happened well over eighteen years ago, and, after said eighteen years, he–uh, remarried.  Whoops!

A couple days ago I said I wanted to slap Les.  Strips like these make me want to bury an axe in his skull.

It also drives home the occasionally floated idea that Les’ marriage to Cayla was simply Tom Batiuk trying to get some awards.  There is clearly no affection between the Les and Cayla; they’re together only because Mr. Batiuk wanted to be thought of as “with-it” and “hep.”  When that (and the nominations) failed to materialize, Cayla pretty much disappeared as a character.  Last time she did anything was getting all flustered at the thought of Mason Jarr the Movie Actor coming for a visit.   She usually just stands there and beams at her prize man…while he, of course, only has eyes for Lisa.

The shadow of Les hangs over every moment in Westview.  If Tom Batiuk had a month-long story arc in which Les was murdered, I’d cheer.  And the strip would improve greatly–not having to play second fiddle to Les, the other characters would finally start to shine in their own light and the strip would become interesting again.

Naturally, that will never happen.  Which reminds me….

Remember how I implied, “It gets worse” yesterday?  Well guess what–tomorrow, it gets worse.

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The Baffled King Composing Hallelujah

Link to today’s strip.

Okay…I’m going to take a wild stab here and guess that the “state of the ark” thing is supposed to be a joke about…Noah?  (Oooo, too bad last year’s film wasn’t a huge blockbuster–that would’ve helped, right?  Oooo, those year-long waits.)   As, I’m guessing again, the prior DJ’s equipment was commonly used in Biblical times–not at all conducive to repainting those  funky (oops) seventies vibes.  And all those lyrics about cubits!  No wonder the Reunion Committee ladies want something more contemporary (it’s a well known fact that, before building the ark, Noah was well known for hosting some serious raves, but that was, like, aeons ago.  You can read all about it in your Bibles.)

–Uh…huh.   Even I can’t find that premise easy to sustain, and I find it hard to believe anyone, Tom Batiuk included, would write that down and say There.  There’s the next strip.  Granted, he has given us many, many inexplicable punchlines over the years, but I seem to recall they kind of related to the subject at hand.  This one, not so much.  Unless the last DJ decided to forgo the turntables in favor of pottery shards, this is rather dim.

One thing, though–the fervor with which poor Barry is assailed makes me think that, yes, the high school does hold a reunion every year–and it’s the only thing going on in these folks’ lives.  They just go through their sad days, waiting for the magical date to show up, the reminder of when they were happy and the future was rosy.  And all they want is a decent DJ to help the illusion along.  And suddenly…I don’t think these reunion enthusiasts are idiots any longer.  I find them kind of sad, now, people longing after a happiness they’ll never have, fluttering along like a butterfly at the end of its lifespan, desperate not to die for a while longer.

Have I bummed you out?  If so, it’s good practice.  I’ve seen tomorrow, and tomorrow isn’t pretty.

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Mary Sue, Meet Marty Stu

Link to today’s strip.

I don’t suppose it could be said often, or loudly, enough:  THERE’S NO NEED FOR CONTACTS–YOU SEE THESE PEOPLE EVERYDAY.

And, once again, despite all his whining and complaining and moaning about having to be on the reunion committee, someone else has done Les’ job for him.  Will that stop the whining, complaining and moaning long enough for Les to offer a simple “Thank you”?  Of course not.  Les doesn’t thank anyone.  Hmph, if anything, they should be thanking him.  Here they are, bathing in his presence and all they can do is give him grief for not being a shallow teenager.  How he suffers!

By my count, Les has done exactly nothing to help prepare for the reunion.   Perhaps that makes him wiser than the others in a real-world sense, but it still makes me want to slap him.  Of course, that’s natural to feel anytime Les shows up.

And, with Les “leading” the committee, the Coming Reunion is certain to become a Lesfest.    Hey, remember Lesfest ’12?  Totally awesome.  I got completely blitzed on nachos, man, and they had the widescreen TV wheeled in.  Woo-hoo!  Good times, man.

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As the Cuckoo is in June

Link to today’s strip.

Monday’s strip was not available for preview.  Will Tom Batiuk pick up any of the storylines he’s left lying around, or will he launch a new plot to abandon?  No matter what it is, I think Captain Cab called it a couple of days ago when he said it will involve people hauling things from one place to another.

Well, we’ll find out together later tonight.   And if it has people assembling sheet metal together, we can say for sure that it’ll be riveting!  Ha ha, I can make puns just as bad as Tom Batiuk.

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