Tag Archives: football

Grosstalgia

As someone who has ridden in an ambulance with a parent after breaking a bone while competing in a sport, I found there to be nothing at all redeeming about today’s strip. At least yesterday we had some America’s Funniest Home Videos visuals, solid work from Chuck Ayers for once, but today… today… just get out of here with this tripe!

No one wants to see Holly apologize to her mother for, um, for breaking her ankle?! What?! No one wants to see this whole cruel and miserable experience turned into a nostalgia trip. No one wants to know what kind of hairspray Holly uses that has kept her terrifying hair claw intact despite spending extended periods in a driving rainstorm.

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Slipping through the craaacks

As someone who has broken a bone after slipping on wet grass, I must admit that I briefly chuckled at today’s strip… briefly.

And that brief chuckle is the sole redeeming payoff of a story arc that began (checks phases of the moon) three weeks ago?! That’s… better than a lot of TB’s story arcs to be honest.

But what of Dinkle and the alumni band? OK, I don’t care one iota what Dinkle is doing, but the alumni band has been waiting three YEARS to perform! Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot until today that TB did this whole alumni band thing, complete with majorette performance, pretty much three years ago on the dot. I forgot about how it all started with Holly and her mom reminiscing (though then it was on a car trip from Florida). I also forgot that Holly and Melinda were told “no” on the flaming baton trick back then too. I forgot that it all ended (after taking up a whole MONTH), not with a performance, but with this. And worst/best of all, I forgot all about all of this despite being the blogger on duty when it all happened.

I was going to say “you’re welcome”, but I had to go and remember all of this today.

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Don’t sleep in the subway, Holly

The day of the big alumni band Holly and Melinda Budd vanity performance has arrived in today’s strip, and the nastiness continues. No, I’m not talking about the weather, though most of us are aware that monsoon rains during band performances are quite possibly the longest still-running gag in this strip (predating even Garfield and lasagna/Mondays, though far far less accessible).

Good crowd on hand, considering the weather, probably the biggest since Bull retired. Whoever replaced him must be doing a good job, crowds were pretty thin when Bull’s teams were struggling.

Sorry, scratch that last paragraph. This is Funky Winkerbean, so I’m sure the crowd is really here to see Holly…

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And All the World is Football Shaped

He may be the only Westviewian who’s not enthralled with comic books. But for someone who dreaded high school gym class, Les is…not uninterested in sports. He plays tennis (but only against easily defeated, out-of-shape opponents like Bull and Funky). He’s not real good swinging a bat (except in his mind), but he raised a basketball phenom, and we know he watches hoops on TV with his current wife. Never pictured him as a football fan, though. But Les being Les, he and St. Lisa saw no mere game, but rather “a model for dealing with and overcoming adversity“. Assuming he’s watching the Cleveland Browns, like everyone else in Batiuk’s realm, that actually begins to make sense.

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De Jock Vu

Today’s strip takes us back in time to Sunday, I think. Yep, TB is repeating himself all of two days later… eh, he’s done worse.

Well, not much worse, because Buck hitting on Linda (and insulting the entire canine species) is some of squickiest squick we’ve seen TB hatch in a good long while. How else are we supposed to read “a little attention and a job to do”? This is not cute or endearing, it’s gross. Buck looking kinda like Dennis Hastert does the strip no favors either. Just awful all the way around.

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Habakbuck

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand… we’re still watching Buck and Linda wade through Bull’s sports junk in today’s strip? Of course we are. This is post-40th anniversary Funky Winkerbean we’re looking at, expectations are for fools.

Oh hi, I’m billytheskink, and speaking of anniversaries… I’m proud to be the one to take you all through the 10th anniversary of this here groundbreaking blog. I will, however, profess nothing but lament that we must be subjected to the maudlin nonexistence of a story arc that is surely coming this week.

So Buck has the same problem with hoarding sports memorabilia that Bull had? That sounds like a trite but reasonable “men, amirite” bit until you consider that Bull followed his high school football career with a 4 year college career, an NFL training camp invite, assistant and head football coaching jobs at Westview High School, a head girl’s basketball coaching job at WHS, a rescinded offer to coach a college football team, and championships won in both high school football and girl’s basketball. As far as we know, Buck’s football career ended when he walked off the field at Big Walnut Tech for the last time. Bull has an excuse to have collected a bunch of junk from his decades-long career in sports. What’s Buck’s excuse?

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Burn It All Down

Link to today’s strip.

Well, my wish from yesterday wasn’t granted, and we’re back with the Mope Set.  As before, I don’t know what to make of this; I wish I’d had the arc where Funky misses the winning basketball shot, because that’s easily explainable as Tom Batiuk’s utter hatred of his title character.

Then this would be relevant:

(Larger and more satisfying version here.)

In today’s case–well, is it true that fewer high school kids are going out for football?  I have no way of knowing either way.  My impression is that sports are always popular for students.  If the numbers are falling, one thing I do know is that it’s NOT because the kids read a powerful anti-CTE story in Funky Winkerbean.

And the last two panels, again, make me wonder if we should be concerned about Batiuk’s mental state.   Much as I disdain his work, I have no animus against the man himself.  May he live long and prosper.  But what on earth is Buck talking about?  How does cancelling the football season mean that the band “wins”?  Aren’t they tied in great measure tied to one another?  Yes, there are other band activities, like the odd concert and student assemblies and so on, but the main display of the band is at sporting events.

And please tolerate a dumb question from a non-sporto, but it’s March.  Isn’t the football season already over?

As for Linda’s curtain line, does Tom Batiuk know what “Pyrrhic victory” means?  It’s when you win a war, but at such great cost to your side that it might as well be a defeat.  Trying to spin the logic here, she means no football games means, um, no band half-time shows, but, uh…there’ll be other occasional activities for the band (which the football team wouldn’t have).  So the band has marginally more stuff to do.  But there may be so few of said activities…uh, lemme think.  I guess she means that the school might consider cancelling the band as well?  Is that it?

Why would she care?  A) She’s retired.  Other than retirement pay, the school is in her past.  (Of course high school never really goes away in Funky Winkerbean, but still.)  B) She never had any interaction with the band that I can recall.  If the school cancelled football and band, why would she care either way?

In order to really have that line work, the band members would have to be actively persuading students not to join the football team.  Which is not what they spoke about.  And neither Linda nor Buck would know anything about such a scheme.  (And that kind of scheme would make a very interesting storyline, honestly…which is why we’ll never see it.  Damn.)

I keep bashing my head against this strip, trying to figure out the logic or sense behind it, and all I get is a headache.  I think Funky Winkerbean is giving me CTE.

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Do Tell

Link to today’s strip.

I’ll confess, this week I have felt really baffled by this strip, pretty much left without much to say.  But today’s thing is the cherry on top.  Bull’s reaction that he had a “tell” shows him much more alarmed than the knowledge that his deterioration is right on track.  Remember:  his football career (and thus the period where his “tell” would be an issue) is at least thirty years gone, but his death is right around the corner.  I figured the wry smirks he’s been handing out would be much more appropriate here, but what do I know?  Not a whole lot, it turns out!

I’m really hoping today’s episode closes this, um, “story.”  For a strip which seems to pride itself on being inexplicable, dull and uninvolving, this week has reached a nadir (or perhaps a summit) in each field.  It’s like watching toast get cold.   Yep, that toast is not even warm anymore.  Close to room temperature, I think.  No one wants to eat it now.

I think that should be the Funky Winkerbean slogan: “No one wants to eat it now.”

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High Loss Finish

Link to today’s strip.

Poor, poor Bull.  Despite being a generally decent guy over the last fifteen years of his life, he will never catch a break from Tom Batiuk.   Just thinking of all the things he did to help Les makes me believe Tom Batiuk is a deeply ill man who needs a good solid look in the mirror.  Not that he doesn’t look, often and at length; he should just try a different angle.  Bull also gave his students an encouragement to play, and the parents an opportunity to cheer; what did Les do for anyone other than himself?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

All the Hollywood work and comic book careers were given out by other people–Cindy in the case of the former, Chester in the case of the latter.  Heck, even DHS John gave Harry a job when he was suddenly unemployed.

Les?  “I screwed up.”  “Yes, you did.”

As for Bull’s viewing habits, well, I think if I were a coach, I’d watch losing games over and over.  It’s the best way to see what mistakes were made and how to correct them.  But for Batiuk, no, this was just Bull wallowing in masochism and self-pity, two things no Westview inhabitant should be without.

I actually do own a VCR (it’s one of those DVD-VCR combo things), but I haven’t even plugged it in in years.   And I can’t remember the last time I bought a tape (certainly not in this century.)  Let’s also not forget that Funky Winkerbean is supposed to be set ten years in the future (your rules, Batiuk, not mine).  This is like keeping important files on a floppy disk–and a 5.25 disk at that.

All that being said, it’s not impossible for someone to have a huge collection of VHS tapes…just less and less likely as time goes on.

Kind of like this strip.

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Speaking of “Deeply Flawed…”

Link to today’s strip.

I dunno, Buck.  I’d say if the plan is getting rid of you, then it’s moving along swimmingly.  On the other hand, I’d like to lodge a complaint that Les is still around.

Again, I remain baffled that this was “written,” “drawn” and published.  Only the last seems to’ve been done with any talent or purpose.  People who are naively expecting a “prestige” arc from this strip are not going to be at all satisfied with what they’re getting.  (Regular readers know to expect nothing, or worse.)   This whole are doesn’t seem have any point behind it; two people in a room babbling past each other.  The dialogue is meant to seem deep and profound, but it just comes across as moronic.

If Batiuk had an occasional story that at least did something, I’d write this one off as something fished out of the trash because the deadline was RIGHT THERE.  There’s no excuse to have something so utterly pointless printed under one’s name.

That 50th can’t get here fast enough.

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