Here is today’s strip.
And here is the Reader’s Digest version of today’s strip:
Today’s strip was not available for preview. One can reasonably assume it will involve Lefty continuing to torture the poor folks who agreed to play in this alumni band.
So, without the current strip, let’s take a quick look back at Lefty in late Act II, who had just been named Westview High’s band director. Dinkle tries to get her killed for the sake of a bad pun. He is a monster.
I do not even want to know what Lefty and Dinkle were doing in the band office prior to today’s strip that alumni band practice so rudely interrupted. Whatever it was, it was surely negative amounts of interesting, and we are better off having missed it. If only that could have continued for three more panels…
I’m amazed that TB hasn’t hatched this alumni band thing before. It is full of his favorite FW comfort foods: Dinkle, Lefty’s pinned-up sleeve, old old old people, wistful reminiscence about high school band, petty high school grudges, more Dinkle… Just throw in cancer, comic books, and Les smirking a couple times and you’ve got the complete FW meal.
Alas, there is no gold to be found here… there’s not even a creek.
Dinkle appears in today’s strip.
No “spoiler alert” tag… this is not a spoiler, it is a warning. You have been warned. Read at your own risk. Or don’t, your life will be better off.
You know what, I’m going to focus on just one small little part of this strip and let our great commenters take the rest of it apart. I’m going to deal only with the first four words that appear in the strip, “Speaking of band candy”.
“SPEAKING OF BAND CANDY”?!
NO ONE was speaking of band candy! No one other than Dinkle is ever speaking of band candy! No one in their right mind wants to speak of band candy! I suppose Dinkle is correct in “saying “speaking of band candy” because that is a 100% accurate description of what he proceeds to do… thus, he most assuredly wanders around uttering “speaking of band candy” whenever he wants to speak of band candy. There is no other possible explanation. I’m typing “speaking of band candy” over and over again in desperate hope that this will be last time those words are ever written. Please. Please.
Take a gander at today’s strip. Truly fowl, it swan of the worst yet. Remarkably, it manages to come across more dated than the similarly-themed 43 year-old strip seen below:
Dinkle can’t write despite making an honest(ly awful) effort, Les couldn’t-can’t-won’t write unless it is about someone who died a decade prior, the late Livinia wouldn’t write… I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Claude Barlow’s “tectonic scale” could probably be applied to today’s strip, and this week in general, which feels like it has been going on for eons.
What really throws me in these Dinkle-Barlow strips is that they come across simply as vehicles to deliver TB’s puns. That concept struggles when Dinkle is a character who otherwise isn’t at all disposed to being a mirthful pun-maker. It struggles further when Barlow, as an unseen character, seems to slide from being an unwitting pun set up to an unwitting pun-maker to a “humorously” terrible composer just to suit Dinkle’s TB’s mood. I get that the Barlow shtick was supposed to add to Dinkle’s over-the-top nature, and that kid of worked back in Acts I and II when he was an over-the-top character. Now, though, he’s a character that used to be over-the-top, like a guy who still wants his nickname to be “Animal” even though the only time he really got crazy was at a couple of parties in college. Now, this is just listless and out of whatever character Dinkle has remaining.
Today’s strip features a pun so tremendously corny that Dinkle had to pause for a second while typing it up to… uh, take notes on it? Maybe he had to write it down because it was so bad it crashed his WordPerfect AND broke the “oy” tag on Comics I Don’t Understand.
Oh, and here’s a remarkably prescient strip of Dinkle doing his Clade Barlow shtick way back in 1981, shortly before Ronald Reagan’s inauguration.