Marianne does NOT look like someone who is willing to give away her Oscar in the first today’s strip. No, she’s looking at that Oscar the way most characters in this strip look at comic books.
The rest of this is as rote and pat as an Oscar acceptance speech can be, so let’s have some fun with another crowd shot of “famous” faces. Help me fill in the blanks and fix the mistakes where my corrective lenses deceived me.
Today’s strip begs the classic 5 Ws (and an H) of writing. It also begins the Oscars story Variety promised last month. Yeah, I thought that maybe if I buried the lede it would stay in the ground, but alas.
Who is Mason talking to on the left? Wait, he calls her Marianne… that’s supposed to be Marianne Winters? The lady with the pentagon head and the pigtail-bun hairstyle my niece insisted on wearing when she was a toddler is Marianne Winters?
What is with TB’s willingness to use Hulu and HBO’s trademarked names but still insist on sticking to the eyeroll-inducing “Netbusters”?
When does TB think the Academy Awards ceremony takes place? We’re three weeks out from this year’s Oscars broadcast… Does that mean? Oh no, please no. I really hope TB just got the dates wrong.
Where is the “chateau” where this “real party” is happening? Chateau Marmont? Haha, really? I guess if you don’t know… then you don’t know. I’m in no hurry to find out, either.
Why are Cliff Anger and Vera Nash here? Neither one was involved in the Lisa’s Story movie at all… well, other than inexplicably being at the film’s wrap party.
How is this story going to end? Insufferably, no doubt. I don’t think any other outcome is possible.
So after all of Les’ passive aggressive pouting yesterday, he’s actually happy the movie flopped. Peak Les. He’s happy at the failure of others, because it allows him to remain in his own comfort zone. Cassidy Kerr said the movie was going to change his life, and he worried if it was going to be changed for the worse or the better.
And ultimately he’s smugly satisfied to realize that his own life hasn’t changed at all. Millions of dollars of vainly wasted money; hours and hours of actors’ and crewpeoples’ lives; none of that is weighed against Les’ own desire to remain static.
Banana Jr. 6000 posted an awesome video in the comments of Tuesday’s post. It dissects what makes a character unlikable. I’m reposting it in case someone missed it, and I highly recommend it to anyone with writing aspirations.
The most damning criticism in the video, as it pertains to Les Moore, is the subject of repeated, fruitless, character arcs: where a portion of the story is dedicated to a character trying to overcome as struggle or flaw only to end up right back where they started from.
“The storytelling, in this case, puts our arc and character into the protagonist’s driver’s seat and makes a sort of promise that this is going somewhere. Instead, the wheel is turned all the way left and they’re going in circles. They’re left complaining about the same thing or acting in the same selfish way they have before. And it becomes harder for us to identify with a universal struggle that they’re going through, and instead we start to get frustrated with them personally.”
How many times have we seen Les pulled in circles? Like a dog lazily chasing its tail, half knowing it doesn’t want to catch it. Just killing time because it’s been chained to the same place for years, and it gives it a sense of a goal.
For my Funky/Cranky crossover continuity review a few days ago, I reread an obscene number of Crankshaft strips. And you know what? Crankshaft is so much better. I’m not saying it’s great, or even consistently good. The recent newspaper closing arc was Funky levels of unbearable. But the characters in that strip choose to do things. Cranky has decided he’s going to electrocute a tree using jumper cables and multiple cars, and he’s making it happen. Lillian decides she’s going to write a book, so she does. Then she writes ten more books and becomes famous in the same time it takes Les Moore to write a prequel about his dead wife in the strangest self-own I have ever seen.
While there are always exceptions: Crankshaft characters act, Funky Winkerbean characters react. In Funky Winkerbean there are a few ancillary characters, like Mason and Chester, who present the main characters with life changing propositions to react to. And in general the characters are happiest when they’re NOT moving. Everyone lives above Montoni’s, everyone works at the High School, or the restaurant. Darin, Pete, and Jess would rather take the nepotism hires close to home than capitalize on their Hollywood successes.
Les is happy the movie flopped. Inertia and entropy are the twin suns that warm his withered soul, and his only hope is to decay in place.
Oh THANK GOODNESS. We don’t have to sit through airport shenanigans, car rental shenanigans, or any other kind of travel nonsense. Someone gifted Cayla a Mother Box straight from Apokolips and they travelled halfway across the country via Boom Tube.
Apparently someone also gifted Cayla some cut-rate plastic surgery, because she’s got a late-stage Michael Jackson nose going on in panel 3 here. With the weird lines under her eyes, she looks like some kind of internet horror creepy pasta.
I hunted around a bit an was able to find a picture of the front desk of the Marmont. Decent enough approximation in the DRAWING. But I don’t think the entire interior of the lobby is painted in graphite grey like the interior of a parking garage.
Any guesses as to who Cayla is gawking at?
Summer? Cayla hasn’t seen her since Christmas, and even then, she quickly shipped the girls off to minimum wage it as Santa’s Helpers at the mall.
Comic Book Harriet reporting from the scene of the missing previews. Literally sweating bullets over trying to come up with something that hasn’t been said already by the hordes of commenters, or, as Batiuk likes to call us, ‘Beady-Eyed Nitpickers’.
Seeing a bunch of fresh names in the comments section lately brings a smile to my heart. Hate reading crappy comics is one of life’s greatest pleasures, like music, or fine wine, meant to be shared with like-minded connoisseurs. I don’t know if you people are coming back to watch the world burn, or have just found the place, but the you’re stoking the fire with some pretty hot fuel for thought.
I hope everyone will give SpacemanSpiff85 a massive round of internet points for putting up with almost an entire shift of no previews. He was able to transmogrify something out of nothing, which is the exact opposite of what Tom usually accomplishes.
This one gets a “cleavage” tag for Cindy, as it’s very faintly visible if you look closely. I know, I know, it’s a problem and I’m working on it. It is kind of interesting how that’s one small detail Ayers doesn’t seem to skimp on.
And there she is, fresh off her unsuccessful suicide bid, Marianne Winters aka Jupiter Moon. Man, Hollywood has aged her terribly. Then again that Food Film arc was like twenty or thirty years ago, so there you go. So now I’m expecting a few days of phony Hollywood banter, a day of Marianne pretending to die as Mason/Les wails “nooooooo!” followed by three more days of phony Hollywood banter, followed by a week of Cindy driving Les back to the airport and telling him she’d have done him in high school. Sigh. I hate Mondays.
So Mason is insisting on holding a phony casting call just to assure Les that he’s putting every available resource into finding the perfect Lisa, even though he’s already decided who’ll play her? So they’re going to waste thousands of dollars and everyone’s valuable time just to put the smug bearded dick with ears at ease? BatHam’s insane “inside Hollywood” fantasies are spiraling out of control again. This is the most laughable cancer movie premise yet and they haven’t even settled on the cast yet. For anyone else setting your story on the set of a Hollywood movie would have all sorts of potential, but just like with Starbuck Jones he instead opts to focus on the most mundane aspects, like picking up a guy who’ll be sitting in during casting. Yet another fanciful sub-universe full of lore, characters and lingo where absolutely nothing ever happens. Sigh.
Why is Cindy always chauffeuring Les around? Isn’t she some sort of newscaster? It always amazes me how everyone in the Funkyverse always seems to have nothing better to do at any given moment. “The same driver”…he mentioned another arc, albeit a way more recent one this time. He’s suddenly doing that all the time and I find it kind of unnerving.
If you told me Batiuk was somehow writing this crap without even noticing what he was writing, I would totally believe you. Who, after being told the movie was about someone dying of cancer, would ask what the hook is and if there’s a good twist? She dies. That’s the hook, for some reason. What’s supposed to hook you in is watching someone die. And the twist is that she dies.
And Mason’s responses have nothing to do with Cass’s question. Darin wasn’t a twist or a hook, he was a boring time wasting plot device to add more melodrama. And “testifying before Congress” is neither a hook nor a twist
And how many more days of Mason being smarmy for some reason and Les being annoyed are we going to get? I know the answer is “far too many”. It’s funny how after years of being presented as just the coolest actor ever all of a sudden Mason is a Hollywood jackass, for some reason.
today’s strip Les with his hands where nobody can see them, staring silently at a blonde woman. What else is new? Really though, what is the point of this strip? Someone expresses condolences to Les, and he stares into space sullenly and silently? Are we supposed to think she’s silly for saying she’s sorry? Is the point that “sorry” isn’t enough, and she should be weeping and rending her clothes at Les’s feet. You know what I love in this situation? If Cass’s next lines were “I lost my husband to cancer. And also my children.”. Take that, Les.
Um, Les, that doesn’t really address her question at all. She didn’t ask if you wanted sparkling water, she asked if you wanted a drink. There are many, many other drinks than sparkling water. It really wouldn’t surprise if Batiuk constructed the past two weeks just so he could use “sparking water-boarded” as a punchline.
I do like how even though she says it’s nice to meet Les, Cassidy Kerr is not actually touching him. Her face in the third panel seriously disturbs me, though.