This year’s Lisa’s Legacy event is taking place rather early. When the Act III curtain rose twelve years ago, Bull Bushka presided over the Lisa’s Legacy Walk while Les and Summer took part in the Making Strides walk in Central Park. Let’s recap events of the years since.
2008: Cory steals the cigar box containing over a grand in registration fees; Funky writes a check to keep his delinquent son out of trouble.
2009: Cayla and Keisha get roped in to volunteering; Cayla’s reward is to get schooled by Les on exactly how Lisa made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
2010: Even ten years ago, Funky was complaining of his physical ailments.
2011: It rains.
2012: Instead of a week-long arc, the Run occupies a Sunday strip in fiery autumn hues.
2013: This time Funky needs to be attended to by an EMT.
2014: The 15th annual LLR is noteworthy for the black, not primarily pink, tee shirts worn by the participants, and the black comic border and muted palette; not TB’s usual fall riot o’ color.
The Run wasn’t featured in 2015, and again was a Sunday-only in 2016. The Mentor (Ohio) Rotary took over the event in 2017, in order to allow Les more time for his book tour.
In 2018 and 2019, The Run was apparently pre-empted by prestige arcs: Wally and Adeela and the Death of Bull, respectively. This year’s real-life event doesn’t appear to be happening, no doubt on account of Covid.
Link to today’s strip
What a great way to follow a big prestige serious storyline you bragged about, with a total waste of space. “Hi!” “Hi!” “You’re fat!” I guess coming up with a week of ways to show how dumb Bull was must’ve really taxed Batiuk’s talent.
This is one of my least favorite things about this strip (the list of things I’ve described that way would be very long). Literally all Funky does in this strip is work and work out, and yet he’s still fat. And people make fun of him for it. And since Bull’s dead, he’s this strip’s fattest, dumbest character, so he’d better watch out, I guess.
Is today’s strip the first time Funky has gotten a positive reaction from Fitness Girl? Heck, is this the first time Funky has gotten a positive reaction from anyone in years? I think yes to the former but obviously no to the latter (see Thursday’s strip). Still, this strip usually holds Funky in such contempt that today feels like the first time someone has returned a smile to him in ages.
Giving her video of him working out is kinda creepy though. Where’s Rachel when you need her?
Fitness Girl could have used Rachel in 2014 too…
It looks like we get one of this strip’s patented jogging gags in today’s strip. Looks, however, can be decieving.
No, I would not classify today’s gag as a jogging gag. It is haplessness gag, a staple of Act I reconfigured to fit the age of the strip’s main characters. Back in Act I it was Les and Dinkle’s pupils who were most often the butt of such jokes. Now in Act III, Funky has assumed Les’ former role, his pitiful sole can’t keep from stumbling over the same little rock over-and-over as he tries and fails to get some much-needed exercise. Les has kind of assumed Dinkle’s role, lording his perfection over the morons surrounding him. Act I, however, was sometimes self-aware about how irritating Dinkle’s behavior was. Can we say the same about Act III?
It also looks like Les, who gave Durwood “the bum’s rush” yesterday so he could get to work on his new/old Lisa project, is procrastinating again. This look is not deceiving.
Link to today’s strip.
Greetings, everyone, BChasm back for another round reporting on the World’s Most Miserable Midget Opera. So… yeah… on one of my previous jaunts I way over-praised a “Funky at the gym” week, thinking Hey there’s jokes and that while none of the “jokes” was great, it was at least a development worth pursuing. Apparently I got the idea wrong, and that made Tom Batiuk furious, as mad as bees even, and since that time, the Malevolent Old Ones who oversee Westview have never let me live that down. While I don’t regret what I wrote, I’ve stepped more cautiously since and the true meaning of “Funky at the gym” has since become obvious.
The main thrust of the “Funky at the gym” weeks has not, I repeat not, been to allow small slices of humor to appear in the strip. No, the main purpose here is to emphasize that Funky is a fat slob of a loser, who years ago dared to think himself better than Les Moore, and for that he will be a fat slob of a loser forever. No exercise will ever dim his paunch.
Which is really said when you think about it. Funky started the strip as a happy-go-lucky teenager, sort of like “Zits” I guess, with the usual wacky conflicts between him, his teachers, parents and friends. Then, the sky grew dark and everything changed.
His punishment at the hands of his creator has really been thorough, and thoroughly mean-spirited. I mean, I was going to make a joke about the artwork in today’s offering, saying “Hey, look, in panel one, Funky is holding in his breath so much that his head actually deflates, but he can’t keep it up and it expands again in panel two!” but I don’t think I have to. When Tom Batiuk doesn’t care about a character to draw him consistently between two similar panels, jokes about that character kind of miss the point.
December 27, 2014 at 1:39 am
Great. Not only is he a glutton who uses regionalisms like sitting on my mind, he’s turning into Ed Crankshaft.
Take away the ballcap and glasses and yes, you do begin to see a bit of a resemblance. Of course, thanks to the time gap ‘twixt Centerville and Westview, no one would mistake the old-beyond-his-years Funkman for the now-decrepit Ed Crankshaft.
With a new year starting in a couple of days, the Funkman carries on his Sisyphean struggles versus his weight. Yesterday we saw him buying new running shoes, and today he puts the bathroom scale through a punishing test.
Link To Today’s Strip
Seriously, doesn’t that second panel conjure up images of Benny Hill racing around in fast motion? (Here’s a more appropriate one.) I hereby nominate it for the prestigious BChasm Award for “Funniest Thing I’ve seen in this Comic Strip in Living Memory.” Remember, though–it’s only a nomination.
My (minor) quibble with this one is the word “challenging.” I think what Funky means is “interesting,” or “engaging,” since clock-watching and falling asleep aren’t making the exercise routine more tolerable. “Challenging” would typically mean to a trainer, “harder, more difficult.” Which she has dutifully achieved for him, ha ha ha. I’ll hazard a guess that Tom Batiuk thought “interesting” would be too belittling to the exercise folks, but still–hey, if I can’t find something to pick at, I’m out of a job!
Anyway: the third surprise single from Tom Batiuk means that the bases are now loaded. What will happen tomorrow? Will we get another single, or a foul ball that hurls into the stands and knocks the hotdog out of Sluggo’s hands? Or a genuine grand slam home-run?
Wow. I’m actually looking forward to reading Funky Winkerbean. And they say there are no miracles.
Link To Today’s Strip
–try it again.
Hey, it’s another joke! Well, actually it’s the same joke, but at least it’s a joke. It’s been so long since this strip has featured any jokes that Tom Batiuk is probably kind of rusty at it, so I’m willing to give him a mulligan on this one. Free advice: It might help the “humor” aspect if Funky didn’t look as if he was dying right in front of us in panel two. “Argh, I’m melting, melting! What a world, what a world! I’m also losing even more of my hair!”
As I noted yesterday, working out on the treadmill is very boring…to the point where I’m surprised Trainer Greenhair hasn’t suggested a portable music device of some kind to help pass the time (or at least keep Funky awake). One of the things a trainer is supposed to do, after all, is help you to enjoy exercising. Would a Sony Walkman(c) cassette player be considered evil in Westview? You can actually still find tapes…if there’s a Goodwill store in town.
I’m hoping that tomorrow’s joke (assuming there is one, after all–two in a row is damn rare here, three in a row might shatter the universe) won’t be a third variation on “exercise is boring” but..well, baby steps, man, baby steps.
Link To Today’s Strip
Hey–what gives? This is actually funny. Not laugh-out-loud funny, or even chortle-inwardly funny, but there’s a definite sense of a constructed joke. A pretty good joke, I have to say.
And it’s even a well-observed joke. I’ve worked out on treadmills, and it’s an unbelievably tedious way to exercise. With some routines, there’s a sense of accomplishment; on a treadmill, you do the same thing you do in real life to go from point A to point B, yet never end up going anywhere.
Most people at the gym–I mean, workout center–tend to have iPods or other media players just to break the tedium. (I used to bring a portable DVD player. A BChasm Exercise Tip: Ahnold movies tend to work really well.)
So, a joke, and a fairly good one. Kudos to Tom Batiuk!
Link To Today’s Strip
Special thanks to the SoSF Staff for the last six weeks of exceptional and hilarious snarking! And as always extra-special thanks to TFH, forever our Grand Exalted Leader!
We often give TB a hard time about the way he skips around all over the place and leaves unresolved story arcs just hanging there for years at a time, but let’s give credit where it’s due today. I was on pins and needles wondering how Lard-Butt was doing at the gym so seeing his fat sweaty shapeless form again is a real relief. Building suspense is all well and good, but when you have “reality-based storytelling” that’s as gripping as this arc is, you don’t want to wait too long between re-visits. Cindy and Cory and Holly and Les and Becky’s mom are just going to have to wait, there’s a Pulitzer (nomination) just waiting to be had here, dammit.
While it’s nice that Funky is setting goals for himself, he might want to set his sights a tad bit lower if you ask me. Perhaps looking AS good as people twice his age would be a better starting point and far more realistic too. “Look better than other people my age”…seriously, Tom? The only FW character in worse shape than Funky is Fred and at least he has an excuse. And Fred at least tries to tell jokes, too. That’s probably the most ludicrous bit of FW dialog in many years, if not ever. If he wrote that masterpiece with a straight face he’s a more stoic man than I, that’s for sure.
In any event, get ready for sweat beads, wry self-deprecating remarks, a possible coronary episode and fat jokes….a lot of fat jokes. And if you’re busy this week and just don’t have the six seconds a day to put into reading the thing, just re-read my last sentence and you’ll be covered, as the likelihood of anything interesting happening this week is almost assuredly zero.