So, Dinkle enjoys name-dropping, but mirabile visu, refrains from talking about his own OMEA triumphs. Somehow that panel must have been edited out by mistake. Or maybe Batiuk thought, “You know, I think I’ll give Becky a fourth line in this week-long story.” Wotta gentleman.
Of course, Dinkle loves to blow his own…horn, so I’m sure Becky has heard all of this multiple, multiple times. Funny how the actual band director rarely gets woven into these OMEA strips, except to purr how awesome Dinkle is. Ah, the woman’s lot in the Funkyverse: shoring up the menfolk.
Gad, a week of Les then a week of Dinkle. This has been quite a spell in the command chair. But at last we’re out, and Epicus Doomus takes over filling the bird feeder tomorrow. Imperious Rex!
(Sorry about the preview earlier, folks, WordPress’ scheduling system is as bad as Funky Winkerbean.)
Ahem–as I was saying earlier…
Just so you know, Tom Batiuk, having your characters acknowledge that your jokes are terrible doesn’t make them not-terrible. Are we supposed to identify with the people in the last panel, who are thrown into a panic by these mal mots? No–we’re not. Because these puns aren’t terrible enough to elicit that kind of response. Mostly these stupid, underthought puns would just make people grimace sourly, hoping that they might get a sale, but otherwise waiting until the “punster” moved on to the next booth.
Now, the actual presence of Dinkle would make people scream for mercy before he could even open his mouth. Because he’s damned terrible. Plus, he’s the worst.
So, we look forward to another week of Dinkle defecating witticisms, and telling everyone how awesome he is. What a charming character. Let’s introduce him to Wilbur Weston.
Oh…great. More “Permanent Hatchet Face” Dinkle dispensing “witticisms” at the OMEA. Strap yourselves in for a week of terrible word-play…wait, that’s no different from any other week.
Strap yourself in for another week of Dinkle being where he has no business being. Seriously, why does he come here every year? He’s not a band director anymore. What he is (other than loathsome) is Tom Batiuk’s most recognizable character (especially in band director circles). And by shoving him to the OMEA meetings, Batiuk is guaranteed a table to hawk his wares.
Nice to see the drummer from the Bedside Manor group there in panel two. Those old coots are really getting around these days, huh?
When I first saw today’s strip, I thought, ‘Isn’t that kind of racy for kids to be playing?’
But that is, of course, because the song ‘Unchained Melody’ has for more than 30 years been chained to a certain famous, and much parodied, pottery making scene in the movie Ghost. To the point that playing the first few notes of the Righteous Brothers cover of the song instantly cues many brains to expect slow motion montages of wet, spinning clay.
But the song was created 35 years before Patrick Swayze ever slid his hands over Demi Moore’s while Bobby Hatfield crooned. American composer Alex North, (most known for scoring Spartacus and the jazz infused soundtrack to A Streetcar Named Desire,) wrote the melody that has no bonds for the movie he was currently scoring. A completely forgotten 1955 prison pic called Unchained. (Which was based on a real experimental reform prison in Chino, California.)
North asked lyricist Hy Zaret, (famous for later writing children’s educational songs such as ‘The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas’) to write the words. The producers had requested that the word ‘unchained’ be used in the lyrics. Zaret refused, so instead the whole song was called ‘Unchained Melody.’
The first singer to record ‘Unchained Melody’ was African American opera singer and actor Todd Duncan, who had a bit part in the movie as an unnamed prisoner singing a shortened version of the song.
Since then “Unchained Melody” has reached number one on the UK four times with four different recordings. It is currently one of the highest grossing royalty earners for it’s copyright holders of any song.
Was that a great musical education? Maybe not. I mean, I stole most of those facts off of the internet and I knew NONE of this before I looked it up today. But I guarantee you it’s a better musical education that Lefty usually provides. And I suspect Batiuk doesn’t care at all about the song, its history, or if it would be appropriate, or even possible, for a high school band to play an arrangement of it. He just heard a song title and thought, ‘Heh, I can make a quick band joke outta this.’
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Three things about today’s strip:
1. Batiuk still depicts signs as being on the inside of the door, which is silly. I’m guessing he’d think people would miss the vitally important detail that this conversation is taking place in the band room, and he can’t think of a way to arrange the layout so you can see the outside of the door. (Also, there’s no hilariously crappy tape holding the sign up. Maybe we’ve made a difference!)
2. Based on my ten seconds of Googling, “finale list” isn’t a thing. I’m assuming it’s a play off of “bucket list”, (“he’s a musician, he wouldn’t talk about buckets, he’d talk about finales!”), but just swapping one word for another doesn’t instantly make comedy, despite what the existence of Crankshaft would have you think.
3. But hey, Dinkle is talking about his finale, which can only mean he’s about to die soon. Here’s hoping for a Sunday sideways “Death of Superman” “homage”, which will be extra awkward when it’s Becky cradling Dinkle’s corpse in her arm.
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.
I guess calling Becky the “current band director” would have bruised Dinkle’s ego a tad too much. By the same token, I guess having John putting on a normal shirt would render his character unidentifiable. And I guess Rana is still a Muslim, Billy is still alive and Wally Jr. joined the circus or the army or something. And why didn’t Wally arrive with the rest of the Winkerbeans? Why was he relegated to the B-team? My God, what a slog.
Well there is nothing that says “Happy 4th of July!” like today’s strip, where Crazy and DSH take turns playing one of Scott Adams’ most/least beloved tertiary Dilbertcharacters. It’s got everything you would want to celebrate America’s birthday: a close up of DSH’s gaping maw and blackhead-pocked nose, bricks, people not working, Domo, people complaining about having to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, a store with not a single customer shopping… Like I said, everything!
I think Batiuk uses “So…” as a way of saying “It has been established in the previous strip, and agreed upon that…” He’s trying to bring his readers up to speed on what’s going on. The fact that nothing is usually going on (other than endless talk) doesn’t seem to be a factor. I know it bothers a lot of folks; it doesn’t really affect me either way.
It reminds me of the old intro narration on Lost In Space to set the scene for the episode: “Last week, as you recall, Will, Dr. Smith and The Robot…” etc. (You just have to add “unaware,” “incredible,” and “alien” and there you go.)
As for the content of today’s strip, I ask, “What content?” One could cut out every strip this week except Wednesday and Thursday, and you’d have the complete story.
You could cut out all of them and improve the comics page greatly. Especially since this seems to be little more than an ad for a real-world event that just happens to highlight one of his characters. Which begs the question…I wonder who reached out to who?
Another question: now that Batiuk has tied himself to this “salute to band directors,” and, in his eyes, gained a whole new slew of new readers…how long do you think it will be before he pivots to “Lisa’s Story”?