Please, CBH, I beg of you — please dive into some Act I material when Batiuk actually wrote things that were mildly entertaining.
I’m sorry, Y. Knott, but I am bound and determined to see this Frankie thing through. Don’t worry, today is the last day of unfortunateimplications, as the final Frankie arc is as anodyne as it is baffling.
But still, I hear your plea, so here’s a little Act I palate cleanser of some strips I pulled at random during my deep dives.
It’s great to be back here for one last time (maybe, unless Batiuk is just tricking everyone). I really, really do not understand the point of this arc, unless it’s Batiuk kind of giving a middle finger to his critics and trying to say that actually he did have a plan all along, and every insignificant thing was part of the beautiful tapestry that led to Summer. But even just a really casual reading makes things super baffling, since:
Harley did nothing to prevent the bombing, which I’m pretty sure injured and killed people other than Lisa.
If Lisa hadn’t been at the post office, I guess Harley wouldn’t have given a crap.
Harley had to somehow alter dozens of people’s minds in order to get them to help after a tragedy.
Could he not have “nudged the mind” of the bomber to prevent the bombing?
I’m also curious how he “made sure” the physician was in charge of Summer’s care. Did he have a second job as a hospital director, or did he bribe someone? Did he kill Westview’s previous lousy neonatal physician, ensure the top neonatal physician (in the entire world, I guess) lost his job in such disgrace that he had no choice but to come to Westview? And if he cared so much to get involved in Moore family health care, could he not have done something to help Lisa? I’m seriously waiting for the strip where he reveals he intentionally messed up Lisa’s paperwork and nudged her mind so she’d die in order for Summer to write her book.
Great Moments in FW Arc Recap History
I totally forgot this classic part of one of the lamer bombing related storylines in fiction:
Les was going to go to the post office instead of Lisa, but she forced him to get back to work, because she existed to make him happy. And apparently she didn’t have anything to do that day, nothing as important as whatever stories Les was writing.
I just love Les’s expression in the second panel. I’m not entirely sure if I prefer CBJ’s ponytail or skunk hair, but they’re both awful.
The “USA!” panel is definitely in my top five favorite FW panels. (Especially know that you know that somewhere, the high school janitor is smiling to himself and thinking “Yes, all is proceeding according to the grand design”.)
And here we have a strip where Bull appears to be a decent and selfless guy, which he did for most of Act II, but know we know it was actually Harley who nudged his mind, I guess, which takes away from Bull’s character and is totally in line with how he’s been treated in this strip for all of Act III.
Oh, and in strips like this, where a medical professional is mocking someone who is literally helping save lives for being fat.
I’ll just end with this strip, because it’s extra funny now. Your fate was not in your own hands, actually, it was in the hands of the janitor who probably stared at you and Lisa an awful awful lot.
The rest of the arc recap is totally worth reading. It’s one of the weirder arcs Batiuk has done. Even so, after reading it again now, I was struck by how much better Act II was compared to the last five to ten years of this strip. It definitely had a lot of flaws, but things happened. If Batiuk did this kind of story now, it would’ve just been a week of Les and Tony listening to the radio and then back to an Atomik Komix arc.
SIGH…not this asshole again. What’d I ever do to BatYam to deserve this? Oh, yeah…that’s right! Sigh.
You’d think that after thirty years Les would have settled into a routine of sorts, but apparently the trauma he suffered back in 1986 still resonates every September, like clockwork. Because high school forever defines us, you see, and back in high school Les was an anxiety-ridden simpering pud, so there you go. Kind of makes you wonder why he decided to spend his entire teaching career at the scene of the crime, so to speak, but logic has never been BatYam’s strong suit (guffaw). At least Cayla looks properly annoyed in panel two instead of looking on stupidly like she usually does. Sigh. You NEVER follow up a major Les arc with a Les “slice o’ life” arc…NEVER. You go with a lite & breezy Funky or Crazy Harry arc in that situation, not more Les.
We can only hope today’s strip is the awful coda to this awful story arc about these awful people.
This is why you turned down Buck’s advances, Linda? Not because he was being incredibly creepy and distasteful? Not because you are still mourning your husband who committed suicide not even 6 months ago and don’t feel like jumping into any relationship? Not because you know absolutely nothing about him beyond his high school football career? Not because the only thing you two demonstratively have in common is your late husband?
I agree with Linda on one thing, though. I can’t go through this again, either.