Tag Archives: flashback

Nudge, Nudge, Say No More… Please

Hey folks, billytheskink here… I’m back for at least one more post so I can tag the ever-loving dickens out of today’s strip.

Lest we think Harley only takes agency and free will away from women, we learn today that he did the same to DSH and to the various members of the Westview High School class of ’92-’88-’78-’72 reunion committee. Since TB is looking back, let’s step into our own WABAC machine and see what exactly happened in the these two events that Harley interfered in.

First off…

Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History

November 19-December 20, 2012
An extended Crazy Harry arc begins. Harry explains to Donna his love of old comic books. The next day he walks into Montoni’s to inform Funky that USPS is shutting down the Westview Post Office and he’s out of a job. Harry decides he must sell off his beloved library, spending a week sorting and packing his books and his comics before schlepping them off to John, who offers Crazy Harry a job at the Komix Korner.

Granted, I cannot say what she was thinking, but back during this story arc, Donna never talked about leaving town. She didn’t do much of anything, really, except try to come on to Crazy while he moped about and spout off about how his political beliefs had changed with age. Also, is Harley admitting here that he “nudged” long-time Komix Korner employee Kevin out of existence to clear the way for DSH to hire Crazy? There are consequences to this time-meddling, Batiuk!

Now for the star flashback of the day…

We’re looking at August 21, 1993, when Les and Lisa reconnected at one of the incessant high school class reunions.

In the original strip, Les hung the moon for Lisa… in today’s flashback, he hung the “Westview Reunion” banner next to the moon.

Should we assume the committee back in 1993 (holding what was then a canonically a 5-year reunion) was the same cabal Les was drafted into replacing Cindy on in 2015: Cindy, Mary Sue Sweetwater, Junebug, who I think is Cindy’s frizzy-haired minion Carrie, and abdicated valedictorian Barry Balderman? Eh, why not? Barry wasn’t at this reunion, though, he had a cool job.

I’ll give Harley/TB this, his intervention into giving that crew Lisa’s Seattle address makes some level of sense as Lisa wasn’t close with ANY of those committee members (even nerdy Barry) and Les didn’t have her address until after he broke his hand punching Bull at the reunion for reasons that still defy explanation. In a rare moment of common sense, Lisa actually chided a deserving Les for still being stuck in high school. This moment passed quickly, though. Lisa was practically apologizing to Les for being upset even before dawn and the next week Bull was practically apologizing to Les for getting punched. What a time to be alive that was…

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That Was The Week That Wasn’t

Look at last Sunday’s strip, and then look at today’s strip.

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.

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Four Weddings And A Funeral

Today’s strip inspired me to add “backpfeifengesicht” as a tag. The more obnoxious, unfunny, and useless Funky is being, the more proud of himself he is. Look at that gigantic wide-mouth smirk. You could open a Coke bottle on it.

“Westview history” has already turned into “Montoni’s history,” and is now turning into “Funky’s boring life story.” I realize that main characters will be disproportionately represented in a flashback arc like this. But could the strip pretend anyone else exists in this town?

If Montoni’s is a suitable venue for wedding events (and yes, that’s a big if) then it should have hosted dozens of marriages over 50+ years, not just the owner and his friends. Also, Montoni’s was a restaurant long before Funky ran it. Why are there no photos of weddings, receptions, or anything else from that era?

I guess catering doesn’t warrant mention in the history books, since Funky doesn’t mention Cory and Rocky’s recent ceremony. Or the time Montoni’s poisoned an entire wedding party. (hat tip: Comic Book Harriet.)

At least this is a little bit of a flashback. From left to right, I think that’s Jff and Pmm; Funky and his first wife Cindy; Becky and… who is that? That man is way too dashing and blond to be John Howard. Was Becky also previously married? I honestly don’t remember. And of course we have Les and Lisa and their forced, copyright-infringing Funderoos wedding.

The most interesting thing here is the facial hair on the man in the light blue shirt. Who in the Funkyverse had a Van Dyke beard and a Wade Boggs moustache?

For the second day in a row, Funky is telling Summer things about her own family history she should already know. And she’s apparently surprised to learn them.

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His Story, Not Her Story

Blah blah blah.

I’d like to revisit Sunday’s strip, because there was a relevant bit of dialog:

She asked about the history of Westview, and he’s giving her the history of Montoni’s. These are not the same thing, even though the strip acts like they are.

It’s also not clear what narrative purpose this is supposed to serve. This week should be the comic strip equivalent of a clip show, where Summer’s “book research” is a framing device to setup a walkthrough of old stories. But it’s not even giving us that. It’s telling us trivia about old stories it assumes we already know, and doesn’t advance the current story of Summer writing her book. How do you get a clip show wrong? Funky Winkerbean found a way.

It almost feels like Summer is trolling here. Look at that big smirk as she dutifully writes down this useless information… about her own life. How does Summer not already know this story? Especially when there is a book series, a major motion picture, and a one-man fanatical cult devoted to her mother’s life.

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Jumping’ Jack Flashback

Today’s strip was shot in Kodachrome… despite being set even further back in time than this past week’s sepia-toned historical revision. Really sets the mood for imagined fiery death, doesn’t it?

You would (not) be surprised at how often TB goes to the well for Holly’s Act I flaming baton trick. It wouldn’t shock me if it has appeared as a gag in Act III more often than it ever actually did in Act I. But hey, after this past week, I’ll take some Sunday Funky-Holly filler, even if it involves flaming batons.

And with that, I cede the podium to Comic Book Harriet, a master of both Batiukverse history and the entertaining anecdote. I expect we will enjoy a good bit of both from her in the coming weeks.

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Credit Fraud

Today’s strip concludes (we hope and pray and hope and wish) this latest visit from the Ghost of Distress Past. Her Royal Wryness. The VHSaint herself.

  • Special thanks go out to Summer for being a prop with no impact on the story whatsoever, she has already collected her prize of appearing in a full 3 panel strip this week (panels will not necessarily be consecutive).
  • Special thanks also go out to Les for having such an insatiable ego and such milquetoast friends and family that he will continue to receive the unearned praise he has been given for decades now.
  • And extra special thanks go out to Crazy Harry, who demanded nothing but 18 panels of our precious time in return for his brilliant idea of pretending Isaac Asimov invented the concept of recording video using already obsolete technology.

On the subject of 18 panels (well, 16, thanks to a couple of 2 panel strips), this new Lisa tapes origin story actually takes up more column inches than the entire original origin story AND depiction of the recording of the tapes! That took just 16 panels in four strips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…

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The Les He Knows, The Better

More word zeppelins in today’s strip… Not as bad as yesterday, but still, get your bookmarks out, folks!

You know, this is actually one of TB’s tidiest retcons, probably because it is one of the very few intentional ones he’s ever undertaken. It takes the original scene and changes its context (slightly) by depicting a previously unseen scene. Tidy. The pieces actually fit together. There are no loose ends, deleted original context, or unresolved conflict with the originals scene. See? That’s not so hard.

Heck, as a bonus it even (unnecessarily but adeptly) explains a silly detail from the original scene, why Les has a camcorder and this Hari Seldon story readily at hand as if he was waiting for Lisa to lament about all the things Summer she will never get to experience. Turns out, he pretty much was just waiting on the chance to whip that camera on out.

Tidy as it is, this retcon was no more entertaining or less irritating because of it. In fact, it makes the origin story of the Lisa tapes tremendously off-putting. The focus shifts away from the impending reality of Summer growing up without a mother seen in the original scene to the needs of Summer’s nogoodnik parents… First, Lisa wants to record the tapes so she can live vicariously through Summer’s adolescence in her imagination. Then, Crazy and Lisa hatch this cockamamie plan to let Les take credit for the idea to record the infamous tapes, which only soothes his ego and bolsters his hero complex. These people are awful and I hope I never wind up sitting next to any of them on an airplane.

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Hari Don’t Care-i

I’m surprised it took until today’s strip for the word zeppelins to arrive… but one has docked right at Crazy’s mouth and is unloading such a tremendous volume of technobabble that it threatens to lift the roof right off the porch of the Taj Moore-hal! In explaining the concept of recording Lisa’s advice on video, Crazy somehow spits out 60% more words than Les did in the original take on this story back in 2007. It is almost enough to make you pity Lisa, who apparently had to listen to this verbal assault twice.

Hey, I said almost

I’m not a big Isaac Asimov guy or a sci-fi reader in general, I’ve always been very much a non-fiction reader when it comes to things that aren’t comics, so I cannot tell you how accurate or apt or idiotic or unnecessary Crazy’s rambling is (I can tell you it makes for miserable comic strip reading, but that should go without saying). I suspect we have some folks much better suited to that than me in our comments section, so I will now turn this over to my fellow SOSFers.

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Porch Wry-rates

Cue the laugh track for today’s strip… because otherwise there’s just this long, awkward pause between non-jokes. It’s like a newsprint manifestation of those “sitcom without the laugh track” videos, only more more cringe-inducing. Why are these two ostensible friends (one of whom is terminally ill) being insufferable to each other? This kind of thing works when you establish that the two characters have some type of relationship and that unbearable wryness is their M.O. As far as I know, Crazy and Lisa never had much of a relationship of any kind (he was Les’ weirdo buddy), much less a whole Gilmore Girls thing going on.

Lisa really let Harry slide on that face after saying she didn’t feel as bad as she looked? Sure, she’s dressed like Crankshaft, but she’s also sick and at her own home. He’s the one who went out in public dressed like Gallagher wearing a Paul Simon Halloween costume.

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It belongs in a mausoleum!

Today’s strip appears to be the latest installment of one of TB’s most recent recyclable story concepts: “old person has a Lisa flashback in front of Summer”. Of course, it’s also the latest installment in his most overplayed story… but we all knew we would be back here eventually.

Just how many Lisa tapes are there? We can see 5 or 6 peeking out of the top of the box Crazy is carrying today, meaning there are probably at least 10 total in the box. The box Summer brought to him close to seven years ago was about twice as deep, also with about 5 or 6 tapes visible out of the top. This suggests that there are about two dozen tapes, over two full days worth of Lisa video assuming she recorded a full 2 hours in SP mode on each tape.

Regardless of how many of these tapes there are, they can’t be much more than conversation pieces now given that Crazy baked them when converting them all those years ago. Not that Les wanted anyone conversing about them despite having 7 or more of them on prominent display in his living room.

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