As she wanders ’round Westview, hopefully Summer’s head is beginning to clear. The rest of us, meanwhile, are getting dizzy trying to figure out what, if any, significance these locations hold for her. On Monday we saw her pass by Dinkle’s house, but Summer was too involved with sports to be in the band. The high school was certainly an important part of her life, but from there, she continues on past the first home of the Fairgoods, Fred and Ann.
I’m embarrassed to admit I immediately recognized the house in today’s panel 1 as “the Lighthouse.” It was another site that Fred and Ann pointed out ten years ago as they took Darin and Jess on their impromptu nostalgia tour. It was formerly “a home for troubled youth” where Ann had worked early in her career. Maybe the locale stuck in my head because of Ann’s ominous answer when asked by Darin why it had closed: “Long story short…the guy who ran it turned out to be more troubled than the kids who stayed there.”
I searched the Act I strips in vain for some background. One of the “troubled youths” who spent time at the Lighthouse was young “Crazy” Harry Klinghorn:
But I gave up before finding any dirt on “Neal,” who appears to have been a pretty nice guy.
In the second panel, Summer gazes fondly at yet another Fairgood landmark, the second apartment where once lived Fred and Ann. Really, what gives? Yes, this is the couple that raised her half brother, and “Eight Track” Ann did (assistant-) coach Summer’s team to the state championship. It just seems so random, but who are we to question Summer’s legendary “ability to detect patterns“? At least we’re out of that goddam janitor’s closet.
It follows almost perfectly, doesn’t it? The story could have skipped this entire week. When it wasn’t redundant, it was confusing. Yesterday’s auction scenario now seems like a bizarre non-sequitir as we flip back to Summer’s insipid story. And next week apparently won’t be about either of these things.
I have to give today’s strip credit for moving the story along. The strip could have easily spent a month unpacking all the repetitive backstory Summer is hearing about today. Maybe her author arc won’t take as long as I thought. Batiuk probably just wants to get Summer her book tour, movie deal, and Nobel Peace Prize for Literature faster. But I’ll take the positive side effects where I can.
There’s still a lot to complain about, though. The intellectual bankruptcy of Summer’s stupid “oral history” is on full display. She asks her father’s friends about things that aren’t remotely history-worthy, and which she should already know anyway. Harley the janitor, a character so irrelevant that Linda and Kablichnik talk about him like he’s not there, gets his second mention in three days. Dinkle and the Eliminator get two panels each, even though the strip rehashes both stories constantly. No doubt this dross will be enough to make Summer the greatest historian since Pliny the Elder.
Is she interviewing people during the auction? I know I asked why she and Harry weren’t at this event, but isn’t this kind of rude? And how are you going to have a conversation while this is going on the background?
And with that, my guest hosting shift is up! This was one confusing fortnight in the Funkyverse. Though I had a blast, as always. My esteemed colleague BillyTheSkink is on deck.
The waiter has fetched the…uh, red champagne, and the discussion turns to the rest of the Best Actress field. Which for some reason consists of only two other actresses, when IRL there are five Best Actress nominees. We should be grateful that Batiuk’s given the pair names which are actually plausible sounding, and not jokey or punny (before I wrote that, I had to say “Cordelia Rama” out loud, ten times fast, to be sure).
Is Mason being coy when he claims to “forget” who the other nominees are? Also, someone please come up with a tag we can use where, in the last panel, one character delivers the punchline, and another character chimes in with a gratuitous rejoinder (never mind, I just came up with a tag!) that adds nothing to the joke. In this case it’s Mason’s “Nope!” Unless he’s grown tired of Marianne’s mesh mask meanderings, and instead is excited about the upcoming horror flick from Jordan Peele.
At this point, the Komix Kritik “Travis Brickel” is literally in Mindy’s face, complaining about Atomix’ women characters unsuitability for, uh, one handed reading. Even if her riposte is once again less than scathing, Mindy’s gaze is steely, and she’s clearly standing her ground. We can’t expect her to rely on Pete to defend her: he’s got his back turned to her and Skyler, perusing a comic book whose pages are solid blue. Now that’s some #@!*🌩 coloring!
Yup. It’s just a neighborhood covered in billboards. Due to Botcons and TFcons in the area, I’ve been to Hollywood four or five times myself. Because every time I went, there was someone else in the group who hadn’t seen it. It’s certainly a place. I’m glad I got to see it once. Point at the stars on the Walk, go to the pavement of the Chinese Theatre, and put my own hands where Harrison Ford (and literally thousands and thousands and thousands of foreign tour groups) have put their hands before.
But I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite place to go in LA.
Because it’s a street lined with desperation. Every person you pass that isn’t a tourist is an uncomfortable sales pitch waiting to happen: smiling with their mouth but not their eyes, scanning every fanny-packed stranger, hunting for the barest indication of eye contact to swoop in. Its not the kind of place for the untrained midwesterner who is used to benignly waving with all five fingers extended at strangers when they pass them on the highway.
Everyone in the comments has been shocked by the survival of the Chateau, and most of Hollywood proper. But I’ll remind you that there have numerous Southern California wildfires since the hotel was built in 1929. I pulled up my old map I made of the fire last year, just to confirm that Hollywood was probably spared, while Cindy and Mason’s Malibu McMansion went up in smoke.
So yeah, it would have been a near thing. If I was the owner, I would have been nervously sniffing my dinner plate of cocaine, and making calls with promises of bribes to the Fire Chief.
But the REAL non-sequitur today is the Starbuck Jones billboard. The premier for that movie was supposed to be going on during the fires last year. Were we supposed to have some pandemic related delay? Those things aren’t cheap to rent, and Hollywood regularly repaints itself in the trappings of whatever the next big blockbuster will be. When I was last there, every billboard, bus stop, and park bench was painted with the Hellboy 2019 movie that bombed.(#notmyHellboy.)
So, we have two options. One, the movie’s release was delayed an entire year and I’m just forgetting. I mean the 2021 Comic Con badges were Starbuck Jones too.
Two, this is a Tommy Wiseau The Room situation. The movie’s already bombed, but they’re hoping to drum up interest in the DVD sales. So they’ve paid for a single Hollywood billboard, month after month, year after year. Four years from now, Masone Jarree will still be staring with his black soulless eyes through his fishbowl helmet out at the drivers on Sunset Blvd.