Tag Archives: Batiukmobile®

Bored In Least L.A.

Link To Sunday’s Strip

There’s just something about the mid-central Ohio area. The third-rate pizzerias, the comic book mills, the torrential downpours and never-ending blizzards, the incompetent medical care, porch swings and gazebos, the apathetic students and faculty, the death and amputations…Les looks at all of this and sees home. One again BatHam demonstrates his eternal enmity toward Hollywood, as he’s never going to let that failed “Crankshaft” project go. Everything there is awful, impractical and fake and the people are all vapid materialistic phonies, unlike the bottomless well of saintly pious martyrs who call Westview home. He’s just never, ever going to get over being rejected, the guy carries a grudge like it’s herpes or something.

Thanks for all the wry banter over the last two weeks, gang! Stay tuned for El Presidente himself, TFHackett!

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Meet Cindy Sparks

Link To Today’s Strip

This one took a few seconds longer than usual to parse thanks to the incredibly clunky dialog. When these two fools start with the Westviewian banter it’s like trying to roll a dumpster up a flight of stairs. I concluded that Cindy must mean that if Mason has too much “chemistry” with whatever shameless harlot he’s working with she will make his life a vicious living hell when he gets home. Sounds about right. Describing Cindy and Mason’s marriage as “highly reductive” is being way too kind. And she’s supposedly the mature one.

“Are you OK with them looking to see who has good chemistry with Mason?”…wow. Maybe it’s grammatically correct but if it is it shouldn’t be. “Sure, because I can still make sparks happen when he gets back from the lab”…did I read this wrong? Is she talking about sex here? These two sentences should be in textbooks. Chapter Ten: Not So Good, This Is.

Coming next week: Les is mildly surprised to learn that Cindy carved “Mason + Cindy 4 Eva” into Mason’s chest with a Swiss Army knife corkscrew while he slept. No one else is.

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Doo Diligence

Link To Today’s Strip

So Mason is insisting on holding a phony casting call just to assure Les that he’s putting every available resource into finding the perfect Lisa, even though he’s already decided who’ll play her? So they’re going to waste thousands of dollars and everyone’s valuable time just to put the smug bearded dick with ears at ease? BatHam’s insane “inside Hollywood” fantasies are spiraling out of control again. This is the most laughable cancer movie premise yet and they haven’t even settled on the cast yet. For anyone else setting your story on the set of a Hollywood movie would have all sorts of potential, but just like with Starbuck Jones he instead opts to focus on the most mundane aspects, like picking up a guy who’ll be sitting in during casting. Yet another fanciful sub-universe full of lore, characters and lingo where absolutely nothing ever happens. Sigh.

Why is Cindy always chauffeuring Les around? Isn’t she some sort of newscaster? It always amazes me how everyone in the Funkyverse always seems to have nothing better to do at any given moment. “The same driver”…he mentioned another arc, albeit a way more recent one this time. He’s suddenly doing that all the time and I find it kind of unnerving.

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People are Strange

Link to today’s strip.

Well, Mason, if you didn’t want to freak Les out, maybe you should have been a little more subtle…you know, less following Les around in your little black car, less parking right across from their house–you know, that sort of thing.

Or, as all of us have been screaming for days now, maybe you could have realized that memorizing an idiot’s driving patterns isn’t going to help you in a drama about a man suffering because his wife is dying.  Has Mason always been this stupid?  I know, I know, to ask is to answer.

Cayla’s remark to the contrary, it would have been nice if Mason had made Les and Cayla act “weird or strange.”  They’ve been just as boring as they always were, and always will be.  I would have settled for “interesting,” too, but that ship has sailed.

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Flooding the Head

Link to today’s strip.

Not much that I can say about this one…we all figured it out, thanks to Charles.  Seriously, it’s the most idiotic development I can imagine.  In order to portray a husband devastated by his wife’s terminal cancer, Mason has to memorize traffic patterns and driving habits.  It’s a whole new level of stupid, something this strip can, perhaps, take pride in at last (“I had the dumbest development ever!  Give me prizes!”)

I’m reminded of the (perhaps apocryphal) story about the film “Marathon Man.”  Dustin Hoffman went to extraordinary lengths to portray his character (which was far more interesting than Les), and Lawrence Olivier said, “My dear boy, why don’t you try acting?”

My dear Batiuk, why don’t you try writing?

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Charles in Charge

Link to today’s strip.

Yes, our very own Charles called it.  Congratulations, sir, you may pick up your prize at the ticket window.

I’ve never read it, and have no intention to do so, but my impression of “Lisa’s Story” is that it is (and I’m being generous I know) a story about a young couple, and how they cope with the knowledge that one of them will be dead soon.

Of course, I’m sure the actual book is all about Les, his feelings, his sufferings, how could the universe do this to him, and how will he mope, etc etc.   Even so, I imagine that there isn’t anything in the book about how Les drives to work.  The route he takes, the little quirks in his driving habits, how long he takes, what he listens to on the radio (“I need to know that for the movie’s soundtrack album!”).

Tom Batiuk seems to think everyone is as obsessed with trivia as he is.  Fun fact:  no one is.  If this is seriously how Mason researches a role, how the hell did he play Starbuck Jones without traveling into space?

Look how manfully Les tears open the door.  Almost as if he knew there’d be a “friendly” inside.  Just imagine anyone else on the other side of that door, and Les would be getting the well-deserved (and long overdue) beating of his life.  Which would be much more satisfying than anything this strip is capable of offering.

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The Lifetime of a Role

Link to today’s strip.

Charles: I just realized that with Mason being on the masthead, the guy tailing Les is Mason, who is surreptitiously researching Les for his role.

Holy moley, I think that’s got to be correct.  It’s so utterly stupid (on Batiuk’s part, I hasten to add) that it has to be real.  I can just see Mason thinking (if that’s the right word) “I’ll follow Les as he drives to and from work, so I can get his driving pattern down perfect, for the movie to be real.”  (Let’s not bring up that it’s actually Cayla driving.)

Because I can just as easily see someone in the Valentine audience wrinkling his face with disgust and saying, “This movie is total garbage.  Everyone knows Les does a ‘rolling stop‘ when he drives away from the high school.  He also tends to weave leftward.  I’m leaving and I want my money back.”

Because I can thirdly see Mason imagining the above scenario, and breaking out into a cold sweat.

Speaking of cold sweat, our “mysterious” driver seems to be experiencing one, despite the fact that a) he could simply go around and continue on the road, and thus allay suspicion, and b) the sight of a racing Les, arms flailing, is one of the most hilarious things this strip has shown.   Our mystery driver should be shaking with laughter.

It’s a pity that “Shoot!” in panel three is just a thought balloon, rather than an order to a guy with a shotgun sitting in the passenger seat.  That would lead to the greatest Saturday strip in the history of Funky Winkerbean.  I wouldn’t even mind the sideways comic-book tribute Sunday strip showing the funeral.

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Strike A Posey

Link to today’s strip.

My recollection of Jared Posey was that he was a moody smoker who had a good football arm.  Crazy Harry was (was) an imaginative kid who was very outgoing and inventive.  How Les draws a match between the two sure puzzles me.  Oh, wait, I get it–they’re both written by Tom Batiuk, so continuity be damned.   I’m thinking neither will be mentioned again this week, but Batiuk has a talent for baffling in the dullest way.

And there’s Frankie (presumably) trundling right along behind.  I guess he didn’t pull into the Moore’s driveway and filch things.  He just drove to the school, sat in his car, and is now following them again.  What he hopes to gain by this course…well, who knows.  It’s not like Les takes a different route to work every morning, to keep his enemies off-balance so they can’t track him.   Hell, Frankie could have just bought a map and drawn a line down the most likely streets.

This is lazy writing at its laziest.  By now, we should have had some hint of who this is and what he’s up to.   Sure, we’re all thinking it’s Frankie, and it may be, but maybe it’s Jared, miffed at being “referred” (roofie’d?).   Remember when Buck first showed up?  I recall that it was a couple of weeks of him drawn from the back only, leading to much speculation about who might be returning to the cast.

“Don’t get your hopes up” is always wise advice with this strip.

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Friendly Stranger in a Black Batiuikmobile

Link to today’s strip.

I guess one positive to take from today’s thing is that Les is so tiny he’s barely visible.  Presumable Frankie zooms off to follow, so he can tell Les he’s the location manager for the “Lisa’s Story” movie or some other entirely stupid development.

And, one supposes Cayla’s “It knows where we live” is probably just more world-weariness.  I honestly don’t understand how these people can get out of bed in the morning, since everything is awful and futile and all plans are doomed to failure, and there is no chance of even a fleeting glimpse of happiness.  Westview is one charismatic leader away from Jonestown–and that’s only because Les has no charisma; he would willingly serve the Kool-Aid with a smile.  “You’ll all be with Lisa soon!”

I don’t understand why Batiuk writes this crap.  I know he feels that “high art” is that which shows its depth by being all about depression and darkness and the complete lack of hope…and some works of art embody those things and do achieve greatness.  But Batiuk doesn’t have the talent for it, and it’s long past time he should realize this.

But then, some fools nominated him for a prestigious award, because awards are often given to the bleak, and his focus changed forever.

Today, his Titanic is set and locked on course for the iceberg, and it’s far too late to alter course.  Shame, really, he could have taken his place with Mel Lazarus, Ernest Thaves, Morrie Turner and Art Sansom.   People who could reliably fill a comic-strip space.  Nothing to be ashamed of, it’s a worthy occupation and gave some readers a grin or two.

Instead, he turned away and made readers wish that space was left blank.  Or had an advertisement for cyanide.

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Dreaming of Sleazebags

Link to today’s strip.

Well, I guess the dream is over, as Les pivots from a dream that kept him tossing to now note how he’s “thinking” about Frankie.    Maybe Batiuk doesn’t know the difference between dreaming and idle musing, but I’m pretty sure the latter is how he gets all his “ideas.”  But look at Cayla in panel one!  That’s the face of someone who is soaked in regret.  I’ve never seen weariness, God-am-I-sorry-I-asked, Please-Stop-Talking so well portrayed, so kudos to Ayers again.

And of course that’s Frankie in panel three.  What exactly is he going to do?  Demand that he be in the movie, or get money from the movie, because…reasons?  He has no relation to anyone still alive other than Dullard.  He certainly won’t have anything he can use as leverage over Les.   If the movie was “Dullard’s Story” he could, perhaps, claim to be an integral part but it isn’t so he can’t.  I am genuinely curious as to what kind of scheme he’s going to launch, despite the fact that Batiuk always disappoints.

I guess since the movie version seems to be moving along nicely, Batiuk needed a villain and, well, why not Frankie.  More Hollywood types whining that “Lisa’s Story” won’t play in China might have been too much repetition, even for Batiuk (hard as that is to believe).

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