As Les and Summer drone on, we learn that MONTONI’S IS CLOSING???!!!
Well, this is a shocker. Montoni’s is so central to Westview that Tom Batiuk will have to completely retool the comic strip. It’s a key location in the storytelling world of —
Oh right. I forgot. This is Funky Winkerbean. Batiuk will just forget this strip ever happened.
Funky Winkerbean has a serious problem with introducing sudden dramatic turns that radically alter the status quo, and then just disregarding them. Dinkle’s deafness, Mort’s dementia, and Phil Holt’s death were all examples of this. Sometimes it does the lame “all just a dream” cop-out, but more often they just fade away without ever being addressed. Or any character even commenting on these miraculous recoveries. It happens so often that terminally ill people should be going to Westview like it’s Lourdes. (I already used that line, but I like it so I’m using it again.)
Everything I’ve said about Summer this week applies to this stupid plot twist as well. Montoni’s suddenly needing to close doesn’t ring true. The story didn’t hint at this in the slightest. It very clumsily mentioned the pandemic, but the biggest hardship we know about was Funky having to move the jukebox.
And it ignores what we do know. Funky has no signs of financial problems. Quite the opposite: in the middle of the pandemic he paid for two surgeries, mocked a financial planning seminar, and had a major house renovation. Keep in mind, this is his house:
So there’s a good chance this seemingly monumental announcement will amount to nothing.
On the other hand, this doesn’t feel like a throwaway story. I predicted earlier that the deification of Summer would take months. Funky mentions a Montoni’s memorabilia auction. You’d better believe that’s going to happen, because memorabilia collecting is one of the strip’s favorite things to depict. And with no Montoni’s, where will Summer have her book release party? This week is setting up a lot of future sub-arcs that the strip is likely to deliver on.
It’s tough to speculate on what today’s strip means, until we know if it’s for real or not. Either this is a major step in the winding down of Funky Winkerbean, or the strip is about to reach new lows for retconning itself into meaninglessness.