Tag Archives: Darin

Pete’s Green Thumb

Link to today’s strip.

Oh, yeah, Pete you really got played! She wrapped you around her little finger, Pete, and twisted you into agreeing to do something you were reluctant to do! And she did this using her feminine wiles of…asking nicely.

Good grief.

I’m sure this is another one where Tom Batiuk thought up the witty remark in panel three and thought, “That’s too good to waste” and so into the trash compactor, I mean, comic strip it goes.

The artwork, never a strong point with this strip, is especially bad today. In addition to the coloring gaff which gives this post its title, look at Dullard’s face in panel two. He looks like Mr. Potato Head, if he was a large banana instead of a potato.

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Flap Goes the Yap

Link to today’s strip.

Well, the perspective shifts in today’s strip seem noteworthy as an example of terrible artwork, as Dullard’s desk seems to scoot across space so he can…uh, weakly comment on dull things. I’m surprised the force of his motion didn’t knock Flash and Ruby, happily reminiscing, into the next building. That would have tied up their stories nearly, and they wouldn’t have to stand there smiling at each other.

–Wait–

Oh God. I think I foresee what’s in the wings.

Flash and Ruby are going to get married.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Please, tell me I’m wrong.

For the love of God, Montresor, please tell me I’m wrong!

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Through a Glass, Dorkly

Link to today’s strip.

Gosh, Mr. Batiuk, that sure is a swell observation about Superman’s glasses, but don’t you think it might be too clever? I mean, it’s so deep and true and sure to leave an impact on the world at large. Here, you’re wasting it in the funny pages, which, aside from the notable exception of your own work, is chodder for dum-dums who can’t handle innovation! Maybe you should write a book — “Superman’s Story – The Other Lens” — and send it to those clodhoppers at the Pulitzer Committee! And write on the inside cover, “Here’s some genius–let’s see if you can recognize it!”

I believe Dullard’s “clever” observation has probably been in circulation since, oh, I dunno, probably as long as Superman himself. I’m sure there have been a number of theories about why it works when it shouldn’t. I recall one of the more, uh, fanciful ideas was that Superman is actually using a low-level form of his “super hypnotism” power. Against the entire world. At all times. That sounds like something Batiuk would write, so maybe DC should have snapped him up when they had the chance.

It does remind me of the 1978 Superman film, where Christopher Reeve’s acting style could make you believe that he was two entirely different people. That was an excellent performance, which I don’t think has been bettered in the role of Superman in the years since.

I think that’s the only way I can use the word “excellent” in a post about Funky Winkerbean,

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People Who Are Unalert and Afraid

Link to today’s strip.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Jessica comes across as emotionally unstable, and Dullard comes across as a clueless clod. The fact that she’s ready to fly off the handle without knowing what’s actually going on, and then immediately turn lovey-dovey would be worrisome to a normal person.

But of course, Dullard isn’t normal. He thought he could hide his glasses from his wife, apparently forever; and he thought sharing his medical condition with his wife (again) was something one simply does not do.

Now, in the hands of a nominally clever writer, this could work, with a lot of details nudged here and there. You could get some good comic mileage out of this kind of a relationship. “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and dozens of other shows managed to make neurotic relationships amusing.

Of course, we are not in the hands of a nominally clever writer. What occurs to me is that this week’s “story” would have worked better with Pete and Mindy as the leads. Pete is already obsessed with his loser nature, and since they’re not married it might be a genuine worry for him that Mindy would say “Ugh! Glasses? No thanks!” Maybe. None of these characters are developed enough so we can reasonably guess what kind of reactions they would have. This week offers proof of this.

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People Like You (Dullard) and You (Jessica)

Link to today’s strip.

So Dullard was afraid that Jessica would think he was a nerd, because he was wearing glasses.

And then what? Divorce him? “Your honor, this man wears glasses. No wife wants a man who wears glasses.”

Seriously? I mean, sure there was a time when wearing glasses was considered “uncool” and perhaps a bit of a stigma…among school children, on television sitcoms. In the 1960‘s (at the latest). And I’m betting on each of those sitcoms the resolution was that it was “okay” to wear glasses.

Today, I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t wear glasses. It’s not a trait that really stands out anymore.

In a better comic strip, this could be the start of a “bit” that could be hilarious, as over the coming days Dullard tries increasingly bizarre ways to hide his glasses from Jessica. Because what else could his plan be?

Let me restate this: Dullard didn’t want Jessica to know he needs glasses. Since they are a married couple, and not casual acquaintances, this would be a very difficult achievement. “What are those?” “These? Nothing! Funky asked me to keep his glasses, just in case.” Later: “While we’re driving in the car, can you tell me when you see the signs for the exit for HorribleDemise Lane?” “Uh, I’ve got a better idea! Why don’t we ask Skyler, to test his reading ability?” “Oh, that’s such an awesome idea from a father! My father was murdered by the way.”

Skyler: “M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D. Murdered. Shot to death while on the air.”

This scenario, though, would require the creativity of 1950’s sitcom writer, which Batiuk can’t give, can’t even buy, and just doesn’t get.

Skyler: “A-E-O-N space F-L-U-X. Something unfathomably better than this horrible existence could ever be.”

(Sorry, I love that intro and wish I could do something half as cool.)

It’s another example of Tom Batiuk deciding that the first thing he thinks of would make a good story. “What if…Dullard had to wear glasses?” Well, what if? That’s just boring. “What if he wanted to hide this from Jessica?” What? That doesn’t make any sense! And it’s still boring!

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And Who’s Watching?

Link to today’s strip.

I’m not sure I understand you fully, Dullard. Could you state that as a question?

Seriously, why does Dullard’s statement end with a question mark? This is the sort of response when you’ve been found out, and are hurriedly trying to think of an answer that will defuse the situation. “My–eye doctor? Ha ha, no, of course it isn’t my eye doctor! That would be silly! I meant I might…try…a new…locker! Yeah, that’s it!”

While it is almost certainly his eye doctor he’s seeing (boy are we getting a theme in 2021 or what?), it’s interesting that his reaction to an angry Jessica is to shrink in terror. Again, boy, is this a healthy relationship. (Answer: no, it isn’t.) Most husbands or wives would probably be amused by the anger and say, “Oh hi honey. I’ve been seeing an eye doctor. I just didn’t want you to worry. Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you in the dark. Where do you want to go for lunch?”

Because, again in a healthy relationship, Dullard would know that Jessica was coming to visit. She’d have told him. She wouldn’t have just popped by…although that seems to be exactly how Atomik Komix (spit) headquarters seems to work. In a healthy relationship, she wouldn’t have wanted to keep him in the dark. In a healthy relationship.

Speaking of the dark, wow, that’s some cloud there descending in panel three to envelope (and hopefully digest) the three idiots.

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Is Guaranteed For The Life Of The Watch.

Link to today’s strip.

Day three of Jessica hanging up her coat and getting more and more worried about her marriage, only this time her worry is stoking over into rage. Let’s try spitting, that’s a good trick!

It reminds me of this video of a person using her dog’s favorite words. The dog reacts each time one of them pops up. It’s very cute and it’s basically the polar opposite of today’s thing. Jessica reacts to anything Dullard says with increasing puzzlement and anger–when he’s not talking to her.

This is not a healthy marriage. This is the portrait of a neurotic who is rapidly becoming psychotic.

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Wound Up As Tight As It Is

Link to today’s strip.

And Jessica’s fears grow deeper and wider. Perhaps, as I suggested yesterday, Dullard’s beginning to wonder why he married her.

Ha, just kidding. We all know it’s not going to be anything that threatens their relationship (such as it is).

A man having an affair wouldn’t say he “hasn’t said a thing” to his wife. Of course he hasn’t told his wife he’s cheating on her!

Banana Jr. 6000 on March 8, 2021.

Not to mention that a man having an affair probably wouldn’t talk about it with anyone, much less his co-worker. Seems like the kind of thing you’d want to keep private. Especially since Pete is well-known to just blurt things out if he thinks it makes him look clever. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, Pete.)

Also as mentioned yesterday (hey, if Batiuk can do it, so can I) this seems to be the only scenario he can come up with featuring Dullard and Jessica. Person A overhears conversation involving Person B, and immediately takes the worst possible interpretation.

Again it begs the question: why are these two together? What kind of relationship do they have if, on overhearing any dialogue (not between themselves), they immediately assume they’re on the outs with each other? I seriously wonder why they haven’t murdered each other until–SNAP!–I remember that this is Funky Winkerbean, where interesting developments are NOT allowed.

Batiuk has to keep it all stable so the Pulitzer committee can re-think their mistake.

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The Springhead of this Country

Link to today’s strip.

Many thanks to TFH for his outstanding work for this underwhelming strip. A week of moaning over renos followed by Les exalting his own genius, and TFH is still among us!

Today, Jessica overhears Pete and Dullard talking, and her first reaction is to get worried. Yes sir, this is a marriage on firm ground, all right. They could be talking about a surprise party for her, or something nice, but she’s no doubt thinking Dullard has spent the rent money on comic book art again.

Which is, come to think, a genuine worry for her. Dullard seems rather irresponsible, money-wise, considering he’s the sole breadwinner and has a young son. Yet he acts as if money is no object and gives away valuable comic art for Lisa’s Legacy. (I’m kind of surprised he didn’t buy it all back.)

This makes me wonder why he and Jessica are together at all. They don’t seem to share any interests and rarely communicate with each other. Jessica did buy two tickets to the Flash Museum…so Dullard could go with Pete. And of course that “story” mirrored this one, only Dullard thought Jessica was cheating on him. It’s become a routine with them, like a comedian saying his catchphrase.

I’m positive that today’s episode will not provide any lasting changes, though. How do I know this? It’s Funky Winkerbean. Despite Mr. Batiuk’s touting his own ability to make his characters grow and change, they never do.

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Krabby Petey

Banana Jr. 6000
December 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm 
…The joke is so mild and so botched, and the reaction is so ridiculously oversold, that the strip should be funny for how misguided it is.

Does anyone else think that Darin in the last panel looks like he was drawn by MAD’s Maddest Artist, Don Martin?

Tom Batiuk has frequently expressed, in his work and in interviews, that even though we call them “comics,” they don’t necessarily have to be “funny.” “I don’t see why a comic strip can’t carry the weight of substantial ideas,” he once said. But even a storyteller like Batiuk must cleanse the palate with the occasional standalone gag, or even a week’s worth of them. Everything about Pete’s “holiday joke” is lame, and the smugness with which he delivers it is just off the charts. Of course, the response is a hearty HA! HA! HA! from all but one of the Atomik staff.  At first, it looked to me as if Chester was the one admonishing Pete to “stick to writing drama,” which would make sense as he’s Pete’s boss. Naturally, as his fiancé, Mindy must come to Pete’s defense. But nobody knows better that his real soulmate, Darin, that flighty, distractible Pete needs help with focus. And anyway, his jokes suck.

Something that does not suck is the way Beckoning Chasm goes to work on Funky Winkerbean with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, and his authoring stint begins with Monday’s comic. Stay safe and well and happy, people. –TFH

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