Back to tha jokez in today’s strip, huh? Honestly, I’ll take it over the substantial ideas and awards panhandling we will undoubtedly return to shortly.
Still, if this is Wally’s best material, I can see why Adeela is not especially comfortable around him. And on another note, it is nice to see a food and beverage business in this strip other than Montoni’s.
Adeela finally gets to use the photo album corners in today’s strip. I think so, anyways. Is that her as a child or is that her with the child? Or is that her at all?
Wally was in Afghanistan long enough ago that a young child then would be old enough to go to college now, especially when TB treats his 10 year time jump as that, a time jump, and not just an age jump to make his Act I and II characters older (well… Cindy in mind only, not body). HA! OK, scratch that last part then, the “time jump” has never been more than excuse to age his characters.
Still, the story of a Afghan war veteran and an Afghan refugee struggling to feel comfortable enough around each other to complete a college project could well prove interesting. Now, if only we could find someone to write that story… If only.
Today’s strip was not available for preview.
So anyways, here is post-second captivity Wally shaking the hand of the Afghan-native who held him captive the first time and who sold the Taliban the missile that shot down the helicopter he was flying in prior to that first time being captured.
Have a nice Saturday, everyone!
Link To Today’s Strip
FW’s most beloved character (by far) is finally back! No, not that bizarre Wally impostor, whoever he is. Of course I’m referring to Buddy The PTSD Service Dog, who’s as fuzzy and lovable as ever. It’s about goddamned time too. That’s a good, good dog!
Mysteries abound in today’s somewhat peculiar installment. Did Wally always wear those scholarly glasses? Why aren’t Wally’s male classmates smothering Buddy with love as well? Why is Rachel so insecure? Didn’t Batiuk use this exact same gag at least once before? So people still say “co-eds” in this day and age? I really don’t know, but I do know that these idiots are a breath of fresh air after two hundred consecutive weeks of Pete, Boy Lisa and f*cking comic books, that incredibly clunky line of expository dialog in panel one notwithstanding.
If only Tom Batiuk trusted his characters to inhabit their own stories. and his readers to follow along. We’ve long since established that poor Wally can barely function in 21st century Westview. But in a story arc where he’s the main character, we must listen to Wally’s wife and
uncle cousin boss narrate the “action”. In the case of today’s strip, this is done in order to set up the wordless third panel punchline, where we see “focused and ready” Wally sitting intently, surrounded by his younger peers whose attention is anywhere but on the lesson. This marks quite a change for our Wally in the six years since his first community college go-round (see below), during which time he was not merely distracted but actually asleep in class. It’s gotta be those glasses!
Having exhausted the roster of cartoon cavemen, TB revisits a couple tropes from past Wally strips. First, the “Hey, you can’t bring that dog in here” guy, as seen in a restaurant a few years back. Wally explains that Buddy is “my service dog.” But according to the “Dogs and PTSD” page on the VA website:
A service dog is a dog trained to do specific tasks for a person that he or she cannot do because of a disability. Service dogs can pick things up, guide a person with vision problems, or help someone who falls or loses balance easily.
What you’ve got there, Private, is an “emotional support dog”:
An emotional support animal is a pet that helps an owner with a mental health condition. Emotional support dogs help owners feel better by giving friendship and companionship…In most states, emotional support dogs do not have special permission to go to all public places like service dogs do.
Fortunately for Buddy, he does wear that swell little vest and has a winning smile. Not to mention he’s a “chick magnet.” Perhaps Rachel’s come to accept that aspect, but when Wally brought it up a few years ago she sure gave him the stink eye.
Again with the friggin’ cartoon cavemen! I’ve tried to use restraint when it comes to judging Wally’s behavior on the chance that this might be a true-to-life depiction of life for an afflicted vet. But folks, Wally’s been back Stateside over seven years now. And sure, his wife and everyone in his hometown mostly left him to fend for himself. But seven years. This fish-out-of-water act is really getting old. Fortunately, the day is saved by a young lady so unconcerned about campus security that she cheerfully unlocks the door for a gaunt, older stranger in military fatigues.
Behold Saturday’s mild drollery.
Buddy sure is happy to be home, as he’s followed in the door by the Twits, who probably forgot to feed him before they left. Bet he’s headed straight for his dish. Meanwhile, we’re treated to blah-blah-blah followed by another lame attempt at a punchline involving Rachel’s mother. Rachel’s unseen mother, I might add, since T-Bats has attempted this kind of joke before…
Anyway, I was trying to think of what kind of project I’d make if I had a stack of Wallys at my disposal, and I figure I’d just notch them all at their enormous foreheads and interlock them into a little Ohio Wilderness cabin, like Lincoln Logs.
The only surprise left this week is Sunday’s strip, and whether or not there will be some sort of Rachel-and-Wally wrap up, and if so will the colorists make Rachel’s hair blonde like they usually do on Sundays in complete yet typical disregard for continuity.
If I were to classify FW characters, here’s how it would go:
- Loathsome Pieces of Shit (Les, Dinkle)
- Irritating Douches (Jim Kabbadabbadoo, Durwood, Mopey Pete)
- Sad Sack Shitheads (Funky, Holly, Wally)
- Goofy Dipshits (Masone Jarre, Owen, Crazy Harry)
- Those I Don’t Really Care About But Will Probably Eventually Dislike (Just about everyone else)
- Buddy ♥
Yeah, Buddy. My favorite resident of the Funkyverse. He never smirks. He never makes shitty puns. He never wallows in self-pity, snipes another character to make himself feel superior, or “wakes up” at the end of an arc to proclaim that it’s all a dream. Who’s a good boy? Buddy is! yes he is! even though he’d be totally justified if he pissed on Les’ leg or took a dump on Wally’s bed. Nope, he’s just a goofy, happy yellow dog who lives day to day, greeting everyone with a wagging tail and just enjoying the moment. He doesn’t even bitch when his dumbass roommates Wally and Rachel bring him to a heavy metal concert, those idiots. How ironic that, in a strip claiming to be “a quarter-inch from reality,” the most realistic character depiction is that of a dog.
[PS: I did indeed notice that, after talking all week about the Monsters Of Metal concert, not a single frame of actual comic strip real estate was spent depicting the actual event. In true BatHack style, we instead have skipped directly to the post-concert exit. But you know what? Buddy’s back! so I don’t give a shit.]
Sunday’s strip is a rare denouement, which I don’t think is in the Batominc employee handbook glossary. And look at the abs on Wally!
Rachel, apparently, awoke one day from uneasy dreams to find herself transformed into a blonde. That transformation appears to be permanent. Rachel has always been blonde. The Ministry of Truth is, no doubt, busy “correcting” the miscolored representations of her that may have appeared in the past. We have always had a blonde Rachel, just as we have always been at war with Oceania, because shut up!
There’s just one thing I don’t understand. They’re openly discussing their shared happiness in the open, without a lead ceiling or even an iron coconut to shield their thoughts from the malevolent Universe.
Oh, wait! Now I get it! “The Universe” is a local malevolent entity that terrorizes Westview and calls itself “The Universe” to assuage its crippling inferiority complex.
Stay in Nondescript Tropical Beach, Wally, Blonde Rachel Character Unit, and Buddy! Stay away from Westview, now, and forever!
Here endeth my stint as your guest snarker. Epicus Doomus is up next, with my sympathies. Let’s just say that less is more, if you receive my meaning.