Well, at least the math is correct in today’s strip. Atomik Komix does indeed have only four titles (The Inedible Pulp, Rip Tide: Scuba Cop, Atomic Ape, and The Girl Scorch), all of which TB has lovingly rendered in big splashy Sunday strips… via guest artists.
What doesn’t add up is this need for more than four titles to do a crossover. TB does it with three comic strips, one of which hasn’t been printed in nearly 30 years. Even a non-crossover strip like this one has crossover elements – Pete is the child of John Darling character Reed Roberts. I suppose none of this is “Mega-Mind-Blowing-Everything-Will-Change”, but nothing that Pete and Durwood could come up with would be either.
Today’s strip is finally up, and it looks like we’re in for another week of the Ratty Atom Bullpen… or maybe it’s a Pete and Mindy week… or maybe it’s a descent to the Nth circle of hell (one can only hope).
So Mindy has just seen Pete strolling on the Flash treadmill for the first time. If she’s still dating him in tomorrow’s strip, we can confirm her standards are even more depressingly low than once though. Could have had Mooch Myers… Could have. *sigh*
Phil is implored to give the viewers one more forecast in today’s strip, a forecast so far out that even a good meteorologist would just be guessing.
And that’s… it? We spent a week watching the fifth or sixth most-prominent character from a decades dead comic strip get ceremoniously fired from a job we didn’t know he still held.
A lot of Funky Winkerbean story arcs make we scratch my head, but this one may have me wearing in a bald spot. I mean, I like a good deep cut reference as much as the next person but that doesn’t mean I would subject anyone to a week of posts consisting of nothing but Tonio K lyrics and Cattanooga Cats references. Well, at least Les wasn’t involved in this one.
Apologies for the late post, but after reading today’s strip you may want me to apologize for posting at all.
Phil gets a final farewell for 45 years of (poor) service at the station. OK, I get that.
He is given a gag award (swiped from a cameraman’s daughter’s bedroom no doubt) for said service. I’d get it if it was played as an inside joke, but it is clearly intended to be an insult, so… what?
Then an anchor airs some of his dirty laundry on the air. Uh…
This strip took 100 steps and went nowhere. Phil’s award, at least, was better than the gift Coach Stropp got at his (forced) retirement party.
It’s about time! I was wondering if we’d ever get there, but today’s strip finally gives us the call back to John Darling we’ve been expecting. Yes, Phil is terrible at his (former) job, just like he was back in 1979. Back then, making fun of the local weather forecaster was a comedy trend surpassed only by making fun of Billy Carter…
This strip appeared opposite an ad imploring you to come test drive the all-new Chevrolet Citation…
Oh, for Pete’s sake!
I remain baffled by the pie case at Montoni’s. Who eats pie there?
That’s a rhetorical question of course, nobody eats anything at Montoni’s. Not even Crazy, who is only ever seen there sipping a bottomless coffee or soda and avoiding his job. But still, what’s with the pie case?
Today’s strip finds Phil having skipped the bargaining phase of grief over his firing… moving right on to depression, acceptance, and Jim Boeheim impersonation.
Producer Jan Murdoch Darling’s sympathy for Phil is an awfully kind gesture on her part, considering that he once pulled a gun on her late husband. Frankly, I find it somewhat difficult to sympathize with Phil when he’s sharing a panel with Jan. Yes, his 40+ year career is coming to an end and not by his choice. Too bad. Meanwhile, Jan:
– grew up with an awful, abusive mother, one of the comics page’s most vile characters
– sees her only child visit on rare occasions, and never to actually see her
– has fallen from producing The “Today” Show to once again slumming it at the dying Channel One
– oh yeah… and famously saw her husband murdered right in front of her
But sure, we’ll shed some crocodile tears for you too Phil.
Poor Phil the Forecaster is still getting fired in today’s strip and Alex (the bearded news director who is probably supposed to remind us of smarmy John Darling regular Reed Roberts) seems awfully chipper about replacing him with an unpaid intern. Firing Phil as a cost-saving move (rather than for a variety of good reasons covered below) tells me that Channel One will soon be one of those stations that airs Family Feud reruns in primetime. Alex might want to start worrying about his own position.
That Phil remained Channel One’s weatherman into 2017 is remarkable, in both positive and negative ways. He debuted in Funky Winkerbean in the mid-70s, giving him a 40+ year tenure at Channel One that would be a legitimately impressive career in real life.
He also kept the job for decades despite the running gag that he was terrible at it. And if Brenda Harpy is to be believed, he also kept the job despite being a certifiable nutcase who engaged in terrifying workplace violence on at least one occasion.
He wasn’t wrong about John Darling and the ozone layer, though.
Oh, did you come here for Funky Winkerbean snark? Sorry, but today’s strip is a John Darling comic, presumably part of a JD revival that few will get and surely fewer asked for.
Yep, this is “Phil The Forecaster”, weatherman for Channel One.
Well, former weatherman for Channel One now, apparently… Back in the JD and early Act I FW days, Phil was the subject of a running gag where, get this, his forecasts were always wrong!!! And everyone made fun of him for it! Ha Ha! Oh man, can you believe it? A TV weatherman getting the forecast wrong… Brilliance.
Anyways, Phil just got fired.
Link to today’s strip.
I find the most reasonable explanation for Mindy’s attraction to Pete is the one offered by a number of commentors–she’s hoping to sleep her way into some of those Starbuck Jones/Cable Movie Entertainment millions so she can buy her way out of this strip. That’s surprisingly cynical for a strip like this, but, let’s face it–Pete is otherwise a repellent character, who has no attractive features of any kind, and only an insane/desperate person would find him worthy of affection. I mean, he and Mindy had two remarkably stupid conversations, and suddenly she wants to divert from the airport to Bedside Manor? (To meet He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Strip, of course.) I’d find it more plausible if she was driving him to some remote field where she’d force him to dig his own grave before gifting him with a bullet.
Pete is one manifestation of the Ultimate Batiuk Form–the Whiner. If Mindy is serious about wanting to be with him, she had better get used to endless whining about how hard he has to work at what would otherwise be his dream job. Because those who exist in the Funkyverse without constant complaining don’t truly exist at all.
Of course, the sleeping-to-the-top theory falls down when you realize this would mean a female character has drive and ambition–and those things are not directed toward bringing milk and cookies to her comic-reading man. Sorry, everyone.
It does remind me of the old Hollywood joke–this one comes from the 1930’s I believe, so it’s right there on Nostalgia Boulevard. “Did you hear about the aspiring actress? She was so stupid, she slept with the writer!”