Tag Archives: Cayla

…that the Play is the Tragedy “Les,” and Its Hero–

Link to today’s strip.

…is the Enabler Cayla.

You know, Les and Lisa are horrible, horrible people.  But today’s entry makes a strong case that their infection has spread beyond the immediate Moore family, and has made its way into the outer world.  Soon, entire cities, entire nations will fall as the Lisa-Worship pandemic spreads to every corner of the globe.

Because here’s Cayla, Les’ current wife, asking Les to make sure that Lisa, Les’ dead wife–dead at least twenty years now, mind–is protected from the machinations of the cruel, uncaring world of entertainment–you know, the slugs who push awful contrived entertainments on the (shudder) masses so they can sell toilet paper and cheap auto loans.

And this is something Cayla cannot stand.  Because Lisa’s reputation, Lisa’s legacy, is the only thought she has.

Not a thought for herself remains.  Not a thought for herself, her own child, her marriage, her future.  It’s all Lisa now.  It will never be anything other than Lisa.  Lisa.

I thought I was being clever the other day when I referenced “Colossus: The Forbin Project.”   (And c’mon, I kinda was.  And if you haven’t seen that film, then you should.)  But the real reference film here is far more chilling.  From 1956.

Well, it started, for me it started last Thursday. In response to an urgent message from my nurse I’d hurried home from a medical convention I’d been attending. At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn’t. Something evil had taken possession of the town.

The “Colossus” movie ended with Dr. Forbin’s defiant “Never!”   The book ended similarly, but included a final paragraph:

Never?

Anyway, that’s all from me for now.  Thank you all for your indulgence, your creativity and your knowledge.  It always makes hosting this place a treasure, when the actual strips make it a chore.   I learn nothing from the strip, but learn a lot from you all.  Kudos!

Tune in Monday, when your snarker extraordinaire Epicus Doomus takes the center seat in the Funkyverse’s most-watched game show, “How Bad Can It Get?”

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Best Fiends Forever!

Link to today’s strip.

Lots of good speculation this week about what Mason might do, now that he’s learned of the Lisa Tapes, but as always there’s more creativity in the comments here than in Batiuk’s entire studio.   Mason just makes his excuses and leaves, and from the looks of it, he’s not doing anything interesting like hiding a couple of the tapes under his shirt.   Just another extraordinarily lame “joke” and we’re done.

Think about that for a moment.  The Lisa Tapes were mentioned, Les was extremely snotty about them, and the subject was dropped.  Mason didn’t even ask what was on them.  Long-time readers such as we (and probably only we) know all about the Tapes, but any casual reader is going to be baffled by their mention.   “Well, gosh, what are these tapes?  I didn’t learn anything about them!”  Batiuk probably thinks that since the Tapes are Known to Him, they’re Known to Everyone–something that happens a lot to folks who work on a project for a long time.  The details are so ingrained in his mind that he thinks everyone is similarly familiar with them. “Everyone knows Dinkle hates vanilla ice cream, no need to address that at all, the joke works fine as is.”

But the casual reader has to be brought up to speed for a situation to make sense.  As Stan Lee famously said, “Every comic book is someone’s first comic book.”  Without the background, this mythical casual reader will soon become an ex-reader.   Here’s the problem, though–Batiuk can’t talk about the tapes themselves.   Batiuk thinks the tapes are cute and endearing and evidence of the great love that Lisa generated.*  But any casual reader–and, realistically, anyone else–would find them horrifying, evidence of deep mental problems in Lisa, Les, Cayla, and anyone else caught in Lisa’s web.   A casual reader would be repelled–the characters, Les especially, would be revealed in the full glory of their loathsomeness.

The cynic in me has another answer, though–Batiuk hopes this will intrigue a casual viewer into taking the next step–“Since I must learn what those tapes are about, I guess I’ll have to buy the books to find out more!”

It’s right there, between the second and third panels.

*PS: I agree with Comic Book Harriet that a tape left for a child by a dying parent can be a touching display of parental love.  But that’s not what Lisa is doing here.  She’s never told Les or Summer that she loves them.  Every tape is designed to run every aspect of their lives according to her will.

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“This is the voice of World Control”

Link to today’s strip.

Mason:  “So, Lisa made some videos before she died?”

Cayla:  “Yes, hundreds of them.  We’re all required to watch them.  They cover every aspect of our existence.”

Mason:  “…what?”

Cayla:  “Yes, we can’t make any kind of move, or any decisions at all, really, until we consult the library and find the tape that deals with the issue.  It’s Lisa’s way of making sure she always watches over us, always takes care of us.  I don’t know what we’d do without Lisa.”

Mason:  “Hmm…let me see if I understand.  When she knew she was dying, instead of being a loving wife and mother, she neglected both her husband and her child so she could sit in front of a camera and make films.   Instead of treasuring the time left, she decided to map out the future for her husband and child, by instructing them in how they should act and behave for the rest of their lives.”

Cayla:  “My life, too.  And I didn’t even know her.  Well, I didn’t know her then…but I know her now.”

Mason:  “What happens if you don’t do what she says?”

Cayla:  “I don’t know.  That never occurred to any of us.  All we can do is obey.  Besides, Les would probably get peeved, and that is forbidden.”

Mason:  (after a long pause) “My God.  I had no idea I was making a horror movie.  Welp, I’ve gotta go–gotta break some contracts and make a bunch of apologies.  Don’t call me!”

PS:  Is Les getting ready to jerk off in panel three?

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“B” as in “Boring”

Link to today’s strip.

Odd, isn’t it, how much Mason and Dullard resemble each other.   Almost as if, on that night when Lisa was “assaulted,” both she and Frankie succumbed to the alcohol and passed out, and a passing student saw an opportunity…nah, Mason was probably five years old then, and besides, it’s too interesting for this strip.  Wouldn’t it be intriguing to find out that Mason was a completely terrible person, and this was some complicated revenge scheme?  Again, too interesting.

Better to make Mason pretty much clueless about the character he wants to portray, almost as if he’s never read Les’ book or spent any time with him.  Nine hours in a sweltering parking lot, that’s enough research for Mason!

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How to Make “Alien” More Terrifying

Link to today’s strip.

Seriously, can you imagine John Hurt going through all that agony, and out pops a little Les Moore?  Which screams “Endings have to be earned!” before scooting off to hide in the ductwork?   And it then confronts Harry Dean Stanton and says “I am the lord of language, and you are my acolytes!”   The crew of the Nostromo would be screaming, “Please!  Tear our brains out instead!”

I guess some children were left behind!

I mean, I get shivers just thinking about it!  I’m going to leave the lights on tonight, but I don’t think I’ll ever go to sleep again!

Other than that, my God is Les being a little sh!t.  Yes, I know he’s a douchebag deluxe (indeed, a douchebag supreme), but Mason is supposedly a friend.   If someone were to treat me the way Les is treating Mason, I’d make my excuses and avoid that person.  And of course, avoiding Les Moore is always a great strategy to employ.

On a serious note, Mr. Batiuk–when you’re offering a decidedly inferior product to your audience, it’s very unwise to remind them that there are superior entertainments out there that are much more worthy of their time.

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People are Strange

Link to today’s strip.

Well, Mason, if you didn’t want to freak Les out, maybe you should have been a little more subtle…you know, less following Les around in your little black car, less parking right across from their house–you know, that sort of thing.

Or, as all of us have been screaming for days now, maybe you could have realized that memorizing an idiot’s driving patterns isn’t going to help you in a drama about a man suffering because his wife is dying.  Has Mason always been this stupid?  I know, I know, to ask is to answer.

Cayla’s remark to the contrary, it would have been nice if Mason had made Les and Cayla act “weird or strange.”  They’ve been just as boring as they always were, and always will be.  I would have settled for “interesting,” too, but that ship has sailed.

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Flooding the Head

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Not much that I can say about this one…we all figured it out, thanks to Charles.  Seriously, it’s the most idiotic development I can imagine.  In order to portray a husband devastated by his wife’s terminal cancer, Mason has to memorize traffic patterns and driving habits.  It’s a whole new level of stupid, something this strip can, perhaps, take pride in at last (“I had the dumbest development ever!  Give me prizes!”)

I’m reminded of the (perhaps apocryphal) story about the film “Marathon Man.”  Dustin Hoffman went to extraordinary lengths to portray his character (which was far more interesting than Les), and Lawrence Olivier said, “My dear boy, why don’t you try acting?”

My dear Batiuk, why don’t you try writing?

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Charles in Charge

Link to today’s strip.

Yes, our very own Charles called it.  Congratulations, sir, you may pick up your prize at the ticket window.

I’ve never read it, and have no intention to do so, but my impression of “Lisa’s Story” is that it is (and I’m being generous I know) a story about a young couple, and how they cope with the knowledge that one of them will be dead soon.

Of course, I’m sure the actual book is all about Les, his feelings, his sufferings, how could the universe do this to him, and how will he mope, etc etc.   Even so, I imagine that there isn’t anything in the book about how Les drives to work.  The route he takes, the little quirks in his driving habits, how long he takes, what he listens to on the radio (“I need to know that for the movie’s soundtrack album!”).

Tom Batiuk seems to think everyone is as obsessed with trivia as he is.  Fun fact:  no one is.  If this is seriously how Mason researches a role, how the hell did he play Starbuck Jones without traveling into space?

Look how manfully Les tears open the door.  Almost as if he knew there’d be a “friendly” inside.  Just imagine anyone else on the other side of that door, and Les would be getting the well-deserved (and long overdue) beating of his life.  Which would be much more satisfying than anything this strip is capable of offering.

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The Lifetime of a Role

Link to today’s strip.

Charles: I just realized that with Mason being on the masthead, the guy tailing Les is Mason, who is surreptitiously researching Les for his role.

Holy moley, I think that’s got to be correct.  It’s so utterly stupid (on Batiuk’s part, I hasten to add) that it has to be real.  I can just see Mason thinking (if that’s the right word) “I’ll follow Les as he drives to and from work, so I can get his driving pattern down perfect, for the movie to be real.”  (Let’s not bring up that it’s actually Cayla driving.)

Because I can just as easily see someone in the Valentine audience wrinkling his face with disgust and saying, “This movie is total garbage.  Everyone knows Les does a ‘rolling stop‘ when he drives away from the high school.  He also tends to weave leftward.  I’m leaving and I want my money back.”

Because I can thirdly see Mason imagining the above scenario, and breaking out into a cold sweat.

Speaking of cold sweat, our “mysterious” driver seems to be experiencing one, despite the fact that a) he could simply go around and continue on the road, and thus allay suspicion, and b) the sight of a racing Les, arms flailing, is one of the most hilarious things this strip has shown.   Our mystery driver should be shaking with laughter.

It’s a pity that “Shoot!” in panel three is just a thought balloon, rather than an order to a guy with a shotgun sitting in the passenger seat.  That would lead to the greatest Saturday strip in the history of Funky Winkerbean.  I wouldn’t even mind the sideways comic-book tribute Sunday strip showing the funeral.

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Strike A Posey

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My recollection of Jared Posey was that he was a moody smoker who had a good football arm.  Crazy Harry was (was) an imaginative kid who was very outgoing and inventive.  How Les draws a match between the two sure puzzles me.  Oh, wait, I get it–they’re both written by Tom Batiuk, so continuity be damned.   I’m thinking neither will be mentioned again this week, but Batiuk has a talent for baffling in the dullest way.

And there’s Frankie (presumably) trundling right along behind.  I guess he didn’t pull into the Moore’s driveway and filch things.  He just drove to the school, sat in his car, and is now following them again.  What he hopes to gain by this course…well, who knows.  It’s not like Les takes a different route to work every morning, to keep his enemies off-balance so they can’t track him.   Hell, Frankie could have just bought a map and drawn a line down the most likely streets.

This is lazy writing at its laziest.  By now, we should have had some hint of who this is and what he’s up to.   Sure, we’re all thinking it’s Frankie, and it may be, but maybe it’s Jared, miffed at being “referred” (roofie’d?).   Remember when Buck first showed up?  I recall that it was a couple of weeks of him drawn from the back only, leading to much speculation about who might be returning to the cast.

“Don’t get your hopes up” is always wise advice with this strip.

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