Tag Archives: chullo

It swings both ways…

“The Bleat” door I mean
Opens out in today’s strip
Unlike on Tuesday

The ABC News
Picks up a teen’s business blog
Sure… why the heck not?

Owen and Cody
Glare, unimpressed, at Logan
I do not get why

With successful blog
Why does Logan have a need
to work on “The Bleat”?

Check it out you all
The world’s narrowest table
And it’s in Westview!

Speaking of tables
What happened to the news desk
Cindy donated?


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Hinky, Blinky, Pinky, and Snide

So, is today’s strip being broadcast on “The Bleat”? That sure looks like a network “bug” in the top right corner of panel 1. Or does the Westview High School AV budget cover pointlessly screening logos onto the walls?

Wait, Owen and Cody are talking like Les isn’t in the room. Did Les leave the room? Did Owen, Cody, and Maris move to another room? What journalistic standards are required to read school announcements? How is Les’ desire for his students to adhere to ethical reporting standards that will surely never come into play in any of “The Bleat’s” activities “hinky” in any way? Is there anyone on the planet besides TB who thinks “hinky” is synonymous with “anal”?

Frankly, I have no idea what is going on here… other than a tired bit about kids not knowing what newspapers are, that is. I got that. I was just hoping to avoid having to say something about it.


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Blushed Aside

Today’s strip… oh boy. Buckle up folks, it looks like we are getting a whole week of job interviews conducted by “The Bleat” triumvirate.

Eh, better make that bi-umvirate, as Les appears to be taking the Gil Thorp approach to his job… that is, letting other people do it whenever possible. His utter disinterest in this process is not surprising, but it makes little practical sense. Yes, it is worthwhile to give Owen and Cody some real world-ish experience and let them help make hiring decisions for “The Bleat”, but it is Les alone who will have to deal with the results for three solid years. I assume this is how he wound up with the current staff of Owen, Cody, and Cam Eraman’s sagging pants.

Maris Rogers, meanwhile, appears to be the latest incarnation of Westview High School’s real mascot, the appearance-obsessed, stuck-up blonde. This would be a bit of a reach based simply on this strip and the fact that she has written a blog about applying make up, but consider too her first appearance, back in August. Les, wandering the halls of the school, is lost in total déjà vu as he sees Cindy, Jessica, Mallory Brooks (I think), and Maris in quick succession. That’s pretty on the nose, even for TB.


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Cardigan Vet-er

What is this? New named student characters in today’s strip? A rare sight indeed.

I think our last new named student character was Travis Tanner, who we have not seen since Bull told him to go back to class back in November 2014. I like to think that Travis left Bull’s office, went right past his classroom, and did not stop walking until he reached whichever ocean Westview High School’s front doors face. Good for him.

Anyways, Les seems to think he’s hosting a revival of “The Dating Game” with today’s panel 1 expository dump. Apparently, he is the faculty sponsor of “The Bleat” (which I guess is what TB believes to be the “modern” equivalent of a school newspaper), a position he takes so seriously that he is letting Owen and Cody decide which of these three oddly-named freshmen make up the broadcast’s staff after they finally graduate.

Let’s see, we have:
Contestant #1 – Maris Rogers – Maris is presumably the blonde in the foreground and is very thankful her parents didn’t name her Ruth Babe. Owen has already chosen her, but Les informs him that he will still have to play the game because the syndicate requires the show to fill its entire time slot.

Contestant #2 – Bernie Silver – Bernie may or may not be a vicious mid-century London gang leader looking to add Westview High School to his criminal empire by seizing control of the media. He sports a winning smirk.

Contestant #3 – Logan Church – Logan is “eclectic” because she thinks that is what high school kids who wear cat-eye glasses and over-sized earrings call themselves. Chien, sitting in a dark room far from Westview with a smoldering cigarette in her left hand, is not impressed.


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Gallup and Doper

Just look at today’s strip. Kids these days… I tell ya.

With their chullos and their scarves and their short haircuts and their closed circuit television broadcasts and their disagreeable opinion polls and their polka dot boxer shorts that they expose to the world because they refuse to properly tighten their belts because they are all disrespectful punk hoodlums who will destroy America after we retire.

Those ungrateful seniors want to chose where they go on a trip meant to celebrate their impending graduation. How dare they?
Not that Owen, Cody, and company have earned much sympathy from us over their decade at Westview High School, but given that they endure Les and Kablichnick on a daily basis, they are definitely the lesser of two evils here. I politely applaud their efforts to stick it to the administration via sarcastic opinion poll.


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They’re Wafer-Thin

Link to today’s strip.

You know, I don’t think it quite works that way.  When you report to your homeroom that you’ve sold a box or two, but your profits aren’t money but cookies, the folks in charge are going to frown at you.

Imagine the scene when the class goes to the bus station to begin their journey.

“Hi!  So you’re the crew that’s going to Washington, DC!  Great!  Can I have the check, please.”

“Well, we’re not paying with money, of course not!  We have lots of boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, though!  Surely their value will allow us to purchase tickets for an interlude of fun!”


In terms of actual humor, this reminds me of a “Beavis and Butthead” episode in which they were supposed to sell candy bars, but ended up using the same dollar to buy each others’ bars in turn, ending up with all the bars gone but with only a dollar to show for it.

I’m sure Tom Batiuk would be horrified to know that his work reminds people of “Beavis and Butthead”…but that’s kind of a bonus, isn’t it.

The artwork in this one has a number of nice touches.   I’m sick of seeing that chullo, but it’s quite intricately detailed–obviously, Tom Batiuk put some time and effort into it.  And the girl scout’s badges and sash were clearly drawn with care.  The neighborhood is well-depicted, too; you can actually catch the character of the area.  You know the time this is happening; that’s nicely done.

I especially like the detail of the footsteps in the snow–it’s actually used to tell the story, showing where these two were just moments before.   It also has a sense of, for lack of a better word, ongoingness.  You get the sense that these two have been going from door to door for some time during the day, rather than just starting out.  The only false note in the art is the way Chullo’s hand is bent, but I can chalk that up to Tom Batiuk’s desire to show the front of the box

Things like this are what puzzle me the most about this strip.  Tom Batiuk clearly has the tools to tell stories, and he’s capable of the odd subtle yet important touch.  So why doesn’t he put more effort into the actual substance of the strip?  Why add these things only on rare occasions? Today’s strip tells me that he could make this strip at least readable (if unremarkable), but he’d just rather not.

But the odd touches make me think he still…kind of cares about this thing.  And if he still cares, perhaps he could set another goal, other than getting his strip to that 50 year anniversary.  Perhaps a goal that might, you know, engage him a bit.

I mean, six years is a long way to go on autopilot.


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Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Link to today’s strip.

Well, once again I can kind of see the joke here.  If Owen was slightly likable, it could have worked, though in the main it seems like a joke well past its prime.  I recently unearthed a whole slew of BC paperbacks I’d put in storage, and this seems like a joke BC might have used back in the 70’s.  Peter would be leaning up against a rock painted “Peter’s Popcorn Emporium” and BC himself would ask about flavors and be given the same spiel, with the same response.

Although, I think BC would have…phrased…the final question somewhat better.  “Do you just have any plain popcorn” is really awkward, almost desperate; it would be far better said “Do you have any just plain popcorn” but I guess if you’ve been out of the joke-telling business for a decade or two, the ol’ muscles get a bit rusty.

And yes, I can also see the attempts at humor in the flavorings–sushi, gruyere-porcini, et al.  If Tom Batiuk really wanted to kick it into “funny” territory, the last entry would be “spam.”  But I guess that was a bridge too far.

By the way, those old BC paperbacks were pretty funny.  Amazing what could be done with some rocks, some odd tunics, ants, a Fat Broad, and a Cute Chick.


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Pop Will Eat Itself

Link to today’s strip.

Well, in fairness, that’s typically how high school popcorn/candy sales work.  The parents will buy two or three, some relatives will be guilted into picking up a couple, and the seller doesn’t even have to stop lounging in front of the TY!   Watching Elvis the Pelvis!  You know, I think it’s time he had a haircut!

As I said, that’s how it usually goes.  Though it’s kind of sad to see how little Les thinks of his charges; naturally, none of them are going to put any effort into this…or into anything else, ever, for the rest of their lives.  Supposedly, Les is a teacher, and is supposed to inspire them.  Instead, he would just prefer to offer yet another highly-punchable smirk.  The man is a walking disease.

It’s surprising that he still has all his teeth.


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Link to today’s strip.

I honestly don’t know anything about “senior class trips” so I don’t know if Craig’s question has a legitimate basis (“Can a senior still go if he’s in danger of flunking?”) or if this is just more “Today’s Kids–the Marching Morons” that this strip loves to toss onto today’s world.

A better question might be something like, “If you’re so gifted, Mr. Moore, why are all your students still idiots?”

As ever, the students are all clueless while the staff are cynical saints, weary of the impossible task of imparting knowledge.  Does anyone remember Funky Winkerbean back in the Act I days–wasn’t it the reverse?  The staff were all cynical tight-asses, dedicated to stopping fun, while the students were happy free spirits?  Has Mr. Batiuk’s dim view of high school aged along with him, so that the heroes have shifted sides?

It’s something to ponder, from a strip that offers pretty much nothing to ponder, other than “Why is this still happening?”


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The 11th

Link to today’s strip.

Monday’s strip was not available for preview…hey, you know, it might actually be good!



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