Tag Archives: Cayla

On Wednesdays I Go Shopping

Link to today’s strip (eventually).

Wednesday’s strip was not available for preview.  THANK GOD.

There’ve been many times lately when criticizing this strip feels like criticizing a preschooler’s finger-painting.   When presented with such a work, you don’t want to say, “Well, Tommy, arms don’t really come out of the sides like that, and shoes aren’t big and round like wheels.  And is that a dog?”  That just seems kind of mean-spirited.

Tom Batiuk doesn’t write well.  To put it mildly.  He cannot plot out a proper story, his ear for dialogue is deaf, and his points are buried beneath the ineptitude of his execution. Occasionally, he has a sort of ham-handed way with a phrase that has a certain off-putting charm, but that’s about it.

But what if that’s the best he can do?  His “stories” over the last couple of years have started out like they might be going somewhere but always–always–end up like a balloon that’s just been unknotted.  Falling to the earth with a farting noise.  The Butter Brinkle thing–seriously, what an embarrassment that would have been to a professional, published writer.  Here?  In it goes.  And once it was done, it was gone.  Nothing to tie it together, nothing to indicate it meant anything…no impact at all.

Lately, the strip has been all been wish-fulfillment.  Les gets showered with praise.  Funky gets stepped on.  Everyone talks about how awesome Les is.  Bull gets an off-hand death that is largely used to push “Lisa’s Story” again.  That really seems like the work of someone who doesn’t care.

But he seems to be losing his grip on the elements he’s always deemed important, like Les and “Lisa’s Story.”  How many times has Mason told Les he wants to option the book?  He flew out to Ohio to do it, then flew Les in to California to do it.  That doesn’t seem like someone who can separate the wheat from the chaff.  Both are treated with equal carelessness.

So I wonder if I’m pointing out the shortcomings in the work of someone who should do better…but can’t.

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Link to today’s strip.

Charles basically nailed it–and did my job for me, thanks!–in yesterday’s comments, in which he basically laid out the next month’s worth of strips.  I’d link his comment here, but I don’t know how to do that. (Here ya go. —TFH)

So, what we have here is what we had yesterday–two characters talking about Les.   Not a single step forward, but hey, if people are talking about Les, it has to be award-winning, right?

I don’t dare wish for anything different, because it’s certain to be worse.

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Return of the LisaVirus

Link to today’s barf.

Well, I should have known.  Batiuk’s revisiting of his “prestige arc” was so poorly performed that it should have been obvious he was going to spin up Lisa’s Story again.  The world’s worst book, written by the world’s worst writer, about the world’s worst person.

Of course Summer has no idea what’s going on.  Les is far too important to himself to waste valuable preening time on informing his family about anything.   “Hello, Summer!  How’s school?  We just spent a week in California with Mason Jarre!”  No, even that takes too much effort, effort that could be put to better use stroking his ego.

I would like to say something nice about the artwork.  The shift in perspective from panel one to panel two is nicely handled; it looks like Cayla went toward Summer to help her with her bags.  A rare instance of interesting art in this strip.

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Kitchen Nightmares

Link to today’s strip

Ooooh. Les’ Kent State shirt is back! He used to wear it on the regular but I looked and he hasn’t been seen in it since March 2017. At least, I assume it’s a Kent State shirt. The sloppy way it’s drawn, I had previously took it for some kind of tribal symbol, or a bad Stargate fan shirt.

Speaking of sloppy drawing, there’s a non-sequitur of art in every panel today. In panel one Les hand disappears into Funky’s chest like he’s coping a feel. Or attempting to reenact that famous scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. In panel two Les’ face has melted into a Bell’s Palsy grimace as he hunches over the inky blackness of Funky’s coat, looking for all the world like he’s just grabbed the head of a tiny Nazgul.

Panel three we get a tiny bowl of balls invading the speech bubble atop the fridge. Are they oranges? Who puts oranges on top of the fridge? Are they novelty clown noses, tucked away for some kinky kitchen roleplay? Also in panel three we have the return of our Theme Of The Week: Funky making a horrified shocked face. Today’s offering has the overtones of ‘electric prostrate exam’ we’ve enjoyed thus far, but follows it up with a hint of ‘trousers full of spiders’ for good measure.

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Fun Honeymoon

Whee, more patented, beloved Tom Batiuk Women Talking About Their Relationship Humor. Can we please get back to Les being smug or whiney? Or Dinkle typing at a computer?
Here’s a fun tidbit that I really hope I’m not the only one who noticed: Cindy’s cleavage has been featured in 4/6 of this week’s strips. I have to imagine Batiuk included that in his notes to the artist: “Make sure you showcase her nice boobs”. And yet she’s going on and on again about how lucky she is to find Mason, despite the fact that she’s a successful attractive woman who looks thirty years younger than she actually is. Those are literally the only two character traits Cindy has “I’m a hag whose beauty has faded” and “I’m so lucky a man finds me attractive”.

I also notice how the art has made sure to showcase Cindy’s “sexiness” this week (despite how it conflicts with the dialogue of her mourning her faded beauty) but not Cayla’s.  I thought that was odd at first, since Cayla is Les’s Wife and you’d think she’d be drawn as the prettiest woman ever, because Les deserves nothing less (humor!) but then remembered she’s Secondary Wife and can’t look better than Lisa.

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Women Are Vain, Get It?

Oh, joy. More character development for Cindy. Of course, being the Hot Blonde model of female in this strip, there is basically nothing to her character apart from obsession over how attractive men find her (the other model of female is Frumpy Potato-Nose). Good job, Tom Batiuk. Honestly this strip would’ve been better off being totally wordless and just putting a little more effort into drawing a pretty, scenic nighttime beach scene. Of course, the writing took zero effort.

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The Most Romantic Moment of Cayla’s Life

Beyond just finding it hard to believe Cindy couldn’t get a date for New Year’s Eve, I think the really hard to believe thing is that she had literally nothing better to do than hang out with Les. Like, did she not have homework to do? Were there no walls to stare at? Could she not sleep?
I could be wrong, but this really does seem like more chemistry going on in today’s strip than anything portrayed between Les and Cayla. Cayla just showed up out of the blue and started throwing herself at Les for literally no rational reason, and he only deigned to pick her when Susan bowed out and Cayla won by default.
Oh, wait, the joke is that Batiuk knows two classes of ships? Oh. Ha.

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