Becky prefers CONCERT band over MARCHING band??? Burn her at the stake! Crucify her! Wait…scratch that second suggestion. I mean you’d need to hire someone to build a special cross and surely the Americans With Disabilities Act would come into play and with the WHS budget being what it is and all…
But anyway, yeah, winter in Ohio is cold. The thing that really stands out here is Dinkle’s out of character reaction. He’s just standing there with that moronic grin on his face as his prized one-armed protege essentially spits in the face of everything he’s ever stood for. If he’s going to react like that what’s the point of this “gag” at all? And what the f*ck does this have to do with Christmas?
I’m somewhat familiar with Richard Strauss’ work, but not so I can point to something he wrote for the holiday. Perhaps he did, or perhaps Tom Batiuk thought of this bit (reminiscent of the late Norm Crosby) and just couldn’t find another way to present it.
He couldn’t use Johann Strauss (either of them) because “Viennese” is too close to “Vietnamese” and thus might be a simple mistake in pronunciation. No, the students must be presented as dunderheads beyond measure or redemption. I mean, just look how Becky’s face has fallen in that last panel. So, Richard Strauss it is. Even though the students might think Johann Strauss was “Australian,” and that’s surely a malapropism good enough for Funky Winkerbean.
Strauss Waltzes are often used in holiday programs because they’re light and fun. But “Light and Fun” have no place in the Funkyverse. Maybe Becky should choose some Nick Cave songs for the holiday program–that would go over well.
(NB: I like Mr. Cave’s music a great deal, but it’s not the sort of thing one plays in celebration. Some songs are quite lovely, but his work is typically rather dark and gloomy. And before you say it, even at his worst his work has too much quality to appear in this strip.)
For Pete’s sake, look how absolutely smug Dinkle is walking into the band room in panel one. Since his retirement, Becky has tried shilling mattresses, books, and selling the turkeys online. But here she is, stuck again in a chilly band room full of cardboard coffins of rapidly thawing poultry corpses. He knew she’d go crawling back to Sam’N’Ella’s finest, just like she always does. There’s nothing the elderly love more than seeing innovation fail.
I don’t know how long Batiuk has been patting his back over his Sam’N’Ella turkey pun. But, the earliest November in our archives shows the bacteria riddled band turkeys stacked to the ceiling.
I hope all of you aren’t tired of Dinkle yet! Because November is DINKLE AWARENESS MONTH, and our glorious leader, TF Hackett, will be making sure you all are aware of Dinkle for the foreseeable future.
But, before I sign off from my shift, I just wanted to take a moment for a little early Thanksgiving sentimentality. This week wasn’t just Donna and Harry’s (early) anniversary, it also marked my third anniversary of guest hosting this blog. I can’t say how much having a warm and inviting place to snark means to me. A place where I can stretch some disused writing muscles to a cozy, appreciative, audience, and even feel okay if I need to slack off on a few posts where the stress of real life or the paucity of the material gives me little to work with.
So I give thanks to TF Hackett and Epicus Doomus, for making this little place chug along, and giving me the opportunity to drive the bus every few months. And thank you everyone who comments, either with praise, or details, or your own hilarious takes on this strange comic universe’s Kafkaesque parody of a Hallmark Channel movie. Remember, your impotent rageposting makes the world a brighter and funnier place.
Strips like today’s really just make Batiuk’s habit of writing his strips so far in advance extra hilarious. Not only is nobody wearing a mask and everyone is basically touching, you have a roughly hundred year old man on oxygen right in the middle of them. And it’s not like the global pandemic just sprung up in the last week when it was too late to tweak the strip. Batiuk’s had nine months where he could’ve had the artist at least draw masks on the characters to make it look like it reflected reality. Les blatantly ogling Funky’s ass with both of his hands in his pockets while his Lesser Wife is standing right next to him is extra awkward. When did Crazy Harry’s wife die from cancer/get murdered by him/starve because his part time job at a comic shop couldn’t feed them both? It’s especially sad when you’re a Funky Winkerbean character whose tragic untimely death doesn’t even merit an arc, or Les silently staring at your obituary in the paper.
And here we finally have the point. Delivered with all the beauty and grace of a newborn giraffe with inner ear problems trying to stand. He’s trying to pander to his band teacher ‘fans’, with Hallmark card greetings, but the message is first muddled, and then outright destroyed.
1.) Squirrels bury nuts to eat them later. Some squirrels even bite off the tiny seed leaves if they find sprouted acorns in order to preserve their food supply for longer. So I guess teachers plant ‘seeds’ in their students hoping to profit off of them later, and it is only an accident if some of those students grow from the experience.
2.) Becky’s percussion section this year is so stupid they will never amount to anything. She expects nothing from them, and so nothing will grow from them later. After saying teachers renew the world by growing the mighty forest of young minds, we are shown teachers joking about dum-dum kids they’ve deemed beyond their help.
3.) Becky blames the sun for stupid drummers.
4.) Batiuk thanks Scott Lang, Ant Man, for this entire nightmare.
We come closer and closer and closer to the point, and yet we never arrive. Because there’s always one more lame rodent pun to make. At least I have a faint, unenthusiastic, hope that this week we’ll actually have a dull dud of a conclusion. Though last week watching Funky panic over nothing like a deer on meth was more fun to look at. It was stupid, but it was weirdly energetic.
This week makes a little more sense, but all for the worse. We only have Becky, and Dinkle, and Mr. Janitor Man. Mr. Janitor, who stares at the floor with a soul crushing grimace, somewhere between pain and boredom. Inching his way past the band room one agonizing day at a time, sweeping up the trash.
We are well and truly frozen in time this week. The janitor hasn’t moved, Becky and Dinkle are still in the band room. The joke is still nonsensical. (Squirrels aren’t nuts. Nuts are nuts. Squirrels eat nuts. I guess if you are what you eat..FORGET IT. THERE IS LITERALLY NO POINT.)
See what you did there Batiuk? You made me type in ALL CAPS. Like Terry Pratchett’s DEATH. Or like an elderly woman texting who can’t read her own phone screen.
Not even the coffee cup has moved. Dinkle’s coffee cup. Which he keeps in the band room as a way of marking his territory. Like leaving a coat on a chair, or purse on a pew, or a dog pissing on a couch. It hasn’t moved in years. The top of that piano must look like someone’s old Spirograph art.
Maybe it’s the Super Tuesday hangover, but Dinkle in panel three looks just like Bernie Sanders.
Wow. Just. Just, wow. Guys, I don’t know what to do with this really. I feel like that poor janitor hanging around outside, trying to sweep something off the same patch of ground days in a row.
Last week it took and entire week for Funky not to watch the last three seconds of a basketball game. This week we have Dinkle blathering endlessly about the parallels between rodents and band teachers.
Two weeks, out of an entire year, where nothing is being gained. Neither humor, nor character development, nor plot. A good joke in a story arises from the characters as designed and forwards the characterization, plot, or emotional arc.
When has Dinkle ever been a zany trivia nerd about anything other than music? Now, overnight, he’s so obsessed with his squirrel book he can’t bear not to share it with Becky.
How COULD music teachers be like squirrels?
Well, according to the Ohio DNR: The gray squirrel was one of the most populous species of wildlife in Ohio at the time of settlement. Gray squirrels had extensive habitat in the state taking advantage of the widespread forest in Ohio. Early historical records speak of gray squirrel populations so dense that “…it took a month for an army of squirrels to pass.” In fact, gray squirrels disrupted early agricultural efforts in the state to such an extent that Ohio law required each taxpayer to turn in a quota of squirrel skins along with his tax payment.”
I guess what I’m saying is that I hope the Ohio taxpayers are out for band director hides, because there are way too many of them cluttering up the state.
Did Funky ever get to see the game winning shot? We’ll never know.
Actually, of course he did. Because it’s 2020 and he was able to pull the clip up on his smart TV within hours. We just didn’t get to see that part, because Ayers got tired of drawing Funky trembling in fear and amazement at the very idea of a last second tie breaker in a non-playoff game for a team we never had identified to us.
Back to the old grind then. Becky and Dinkle. Blathering inanely and pointlessly.
Nice to see Dinkle stopped at the office to sign in and get the ID badge that allows this old coot to wander the halls clutching squirrel books. Why did he bring the book with him, unless he’s been converted to some kind of nutty new rodent religion and is on the hunt to proselytize. Ave Sciuridae, glandulae plena.