Wow, using the phrase “moving treadmill” three times in three consecutive panels seems like bad writing to me. If you have to signal the setup for a joke so obviously, it’s probably not a very good one, and you probably don’t have too much faith in the intelligence of your readers. Like, if he’d referred to it as just “the treadmill” once or twice his readers would have been too confused and not understood that Funky hurt himself.
I always wonder about the genesis of these storylines. I assume this is something that happened to Batiuk in real life. I do wonder if he replaced “Flash action figure he placed on the treadmill to pretend it was a Cosmic Treadmill” with “Discman”.
Oh, and telling a story at AA about how you had to interrupt your exercise because you needed “a drink” so bad that you ended up injuring yourself and (presumably) a prized possession seems problematic.
I love that third panel. Funky used to be one of the few characters in this strip I could tolerate. Lately I’ve just gotten sick of how Batiuk constantly has to dump on him and portray him as just a pathetic fat loser every time he appeared. But now he’s just rambling on about yet another nostalgic obsession like everyone else in this strip. I doubt he reacted as much to Wally getting kidnapped or Cindy leaving him as he does to that Discman “floating” to the ground.
Oh, I don’t think an AA meeting is really the best place to talk about how you stepped off a moving treadmill and did something clumsy because you needed a “drink” so bad. Has Batiuk forgotten where Funky is? It would’ve been so much better just to say “water” instead of “a drink”.
Oh yay, more obsolete technology for Batiuk to fetishize through one of his characters. Was Funky’s record player or eight track player broken? Crazy Harry will be so sad. And this seems like one of the silliest possible times to be using a Discman. The whole point of the things is that they’re portable. Listening to one when you’re by yourself in a room in your own house seems to defeat the whole purpose. Does Funky somehow own a Discman but not a stereo that can play CDs? This strip is mind-boggling sometimes.
Oh, and apparently there are still several companies that make portable CD players you can buy, at least on Amazon. They’re not Sony Discmans, but still. I also have a strong feeling that when Discmans debuted, Batiuk probably loudly proclaimed that his portable tape player was way better. And knowing him he probably did comic strips about it.
Man, I hope Funky is about to go on all week about the dangers of your personal trainer being hot. Because that’s an uncomfortable and unnecessary story arc Batiuk hasn’t gone to in a while. It’s also kind of hilarious, because every single time Funky is depicted as exercising in this strip he’s miserable, so how exactly is that helping him with stress?
Am I the only one who thinks if you want to keep people from alcohol, forcing them to listen to Funky ramble on and on about his many many woes is the worst thing to do?
Oh, yeah, and there’s bricks in this strip.
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.