Tag Archives: Cliff Anger

Always Give Up, Always Surrender

Link to today’s strip.

Sorry about that, I was watching “Galaxy Quest” and forgot about my duties here!

So, anyway.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Cindy’s documentary will not win an Emmy.  Here are the reasons why.

First of all, losing will be a crushing blow to Cindy (especially now that Mason’s enthused about it), and I don’t think Tom Batiuk can resist that.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much forgotten all of high school–but for some, those memories are forever.

Secondly, Cliff Anger has already had the ultimate honorarium–he had a hot-cocoa-and-sammiches meet-up with a bunch of freeze-dried adolescent idio-fans, and that, my friends, is the only honorific that truly matters.  An Emmy award for a program about him is overkill.

Thirdly, an award for a Cliff Anger documentary would say that there is a value in persisting and striving for a goal–Cindy’s goal, of course, not Cliff Anger’s–and that goes against everything this strip stands for.

Fourthly , it emphasizes the idea in this strip that awards are not given to *ahem* truly deserving subjects, but are meted out to things that tweak the current zeitgeist; awards are shallow things that shine in the eyes of the great unwashed for a few moments, before the next shiny thing comes along.

Finally, and I think most importantly, an award is impossible for anything unless Les Moore is involved.  He alone is allowed to achieve, because, you know, he’s SO sensitive and artistic, and driven by creativity, and–get this–his wife died.  How can you not shower him with accolades?

This is another strip that gives the lie to the “time jump” theory.  All of Cindy’s competition is thoroughly contemporary.  Tom Batiuk didn’t push his cast into the future–he just aged them.

So I’d like to make a request of the Gods of Funky Winkerbean critique.  Please stop saying “time jump.”  Please start saying “age jump.”  Because that’s all it ever was.

PS:  If you’ve never seen “Galaxy Quest” I highly, highly recommend it.  It’s about a bunch of has-been actors who are given the chance to save the world.   Instead of bitterly making sure the angle of their lampshades were just so, they stood up and made a difference.   It’s one of the few films I recommend with no reservations.


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Exclamation Point!

“Amazing” is one of those words that’s completely lost its meaning from overuse. What amazes me is that Jess is still standing there holding up that giant video camera. Something else that amazes me about today’s strip is how Cindy checks her phone and the first thing she sees is the tabloid headline and photo of Masone and Marianne. Did somebody see it and send it to her? Does she subscribe to “DMZ’s” mobile alerts? No matter. Batiuk has spent months establishing Cindy’s insecurity and self-doubt, and almost as much time setting up a showdown between her and Mason’s sexy (though sweet and innocent) co-star. Shit’s about to get real, yo.


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St. Anger

So having served his six months in the joint, Cliff decided his acting career was over and retreated to New York to spend sixty years awaiting rescue by those meddling Westview kids. Thankfully, other blacklistees, such as Lena Horne, Orson Welles, Arthur Miller and others, managed to pick up the pieces and go on to continued success. Cliff basically blacklisted himself.


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Contempt of Continuity

Gerard Plourde
December 1, 2016 at 8:29 am
I wonder where he’s going with this. Does Cliff defect to the USSR and end up in the Gulag until 1992?

December 1, 2016 at 1:39 am
“How would you characterize your shipmates, Mr. Anger? Were they communists? Were they virile? Strapping? Did they have tattoos?”

These questions and many more will sadly go unanswered as today Cliff wraps up his story. And your genial host must, unlike Cindy Summers and Tom Batiuk, do at least a modicum of research to come up with something to say about this plodding plot. While I could find no actors from that era who were sent to jail, I did find a Wikipedia entry about the Hollywood Ten, a group of screenwriters and directors who refused to cooperate with McCarthy’s HUAC and who were indeed blacklisted, fined, and sentenced to prison terms of up to one year.

November 23, 2016 at 2:49 am
Oh, hell. He’s going to ruin Trumbo.

Yep, Dalton Trumbo was one of The Ten, and I’ve put his words from a 1976 interview into Cliff’s mouth here,to lend a little eloquence.


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Leningrad Steamer

Tailgunner Joe clearly has got some kind of a hard on for Cliff Anger and his commie pals, and he continues to press his case against this hostile witness. Query this, though: if Cliff had to find work in the summer of 1940, let’s figure his age at the time had to be at least, oh, sixteen. Which would make him 92 today. It’s not totally implausible that he could be spry enough to travel to Hollywood, resume acting, and even pitch woo with his former costar, but it is kind of a stretch. Of course, in the Funkiverse, age and even time itself is fluid and elastic. Cliff looks hardly older than the ostensibly late-fiftyish Crazy Harry, and Harry’s contemporary Cindy has the face and body of a millennial.


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Clifford the Big Red

November 28, 2016 at 10:55 pm
Does Batiuk think that any of his readers actually care about Cliff? Because there’s not even at attempt at humor here. Just sticking it to a senator who’s been dead for sixty years, which is weird and bizarre and totally par for the course for Batiuk.

What’s even more annoying and boring than Cliff Anger “trifling with” Sen. McCarthy by cracking wise? It’s Cliff, for the second day in a row, responding to another direct question by sanctimoniously spouting his views. Voting “several times for candidates of various political parties“? Hoo boy! What a rebel. And I’m pretty sure that definition makes most of us Communists. This arc is the comic strip equivalent of “eat your brussel sprouts.” Colorless, musty, verbose brussel sprouts.


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The good news? Batiuk is opting for once to “show, not tell” how Cliff wound up in front of Sen. Joesph McCarthy’s committee. The bad news is that rather giving us a straight-up flashback, TB’s presenting  Mason Jarre starring in The Cliff Anger Story. No way could the guy in today’s panel 3 be the same one we saw in yesterday’s: not with that cheese-cutter nose and maddening, dangling anglerfish-like forelock.

Gerard Plourde
November 26, 2016 at 1:31 am
The “Red Scare” and blacklist of the late 1940’s and 1950’s is a very complex subject and an understanding of that history is not helped by confusing and conflating events…

Many of you in our very erudite audience have rightly taken Batiuk to task for his fuzzy depiction of this chapter in our nation’s history. If TB can’t be bothered to do research, neither can I, though a little Googling turned up an article mentioning Dashiell Hammett, who was in fact called before Joseph McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations but refused to cooperate. The article fails to mention if Hammett “sassed” Sen. McCarthy in the manner of Cliff Anger; but though he was blacklisted, effectively hastening his demise, he was not put behind bars.


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