Today’s strip recalls one of the very last things that ever appeared in Act I… and uses it to mourn the death of print media? Look, I dunno what’s going on in the last panel, but I can tell you what happened in flashback panels.
After bumming everyone out with his awful valedictorian speech, Les just… hung out in the auditorium until everyone left, sulking in the unfulfillment of getting a high school diploma.
Then he headed out to the “Student Council Graduation Party” in the middle school gym, as seen in today’s flashback, finding the place deserted aside from Coach Stropp.
Why was the Student Council Graduation Party a dumb idea? Why was the party deserted?
Yep, Cindy held a huge graduation party at the mall that everybody attended… including MTV VJ Karen “Duff” Duffy and some poor souls who entered an MTV contest to win a free trip to Westview.
Les, however, sat in the middle school gym with his free copy of the yearbook, reminiscing about the good times he had with his friends in high school rather than going and actually spending time with him. After a week’s worth of strips of this, Act II began…
I do not know if next week will time warp us into Act IV or not, but I do know I will be leaving this site in the skilled hands (and mind) of ComicBookHarriet. Godspeed.
The absolute bottom of the outtakes folder has been reached…or has it? I mean egads, man. Talk about a lifeless outing. There’s nowhere left to go from here aside from “equally stupid”…ideally, that is.
Stay tuned for a SPECIAL GUEST SUNDAY POST!!! Then I’ll be back for another thrilling week of, well, you know.
These “Funky at the gym” arcs don’t really give you a lot of material to work with. Another bland gag from a bland character in a bland setting in a bland comic strip. Of course it could be worse, but that’s all relative. At least it’s kind of a joke, so there is that. In fact in December you could go back and review 2020 and pick out the ten “best” individual strips and this one would probably make the cut, which is not an endorsement. Actually it’s downright depressing.
Finally, some genuine mid-week suspense for a change. Is he going to play this for laughs or are we about to travel down Batiuk’s Dark Path yet again? The last time Funky had to face his own mortality all sorts of hi-jinx ensued, not the least of which was the birth of “Starbuck Jones”. Maybe this time Funky will go back in time and tell BatYam to forget all about this “serious” new direction of his and go back to writing gags before it’s too late. I can’t see this being quite that ambitious, but a good ol’ Funky health scare beats the hell out of four more days of gym jokes. It’s way funnier too.
Every once in a while a work of art comes along that completely encapsulates the very act of experiencing it. Ladies and gentlemen, I submit to you panel one, the work that every FW strip parodist has been striving for since Photoshop 1.0. IMO it’s easily the pinnacle of Act III thus far. If BatYam’s entire career is remembered only for this, it was all worth it. When they someday build the FW Hall Of Fame panel one will be hanging in the entrance foyer. If he made T shirts of this I’d definitely buy one.
Where’s Fitness Girl? She was actually one of the less irritating characters in the strip. But of course, just like with Buddy, he had to go and f*ck it all up. Fitness Bro’s already getting on my nerves and ordinarily a “Funky Goes To The Gym” arc is like Ambien with none of the cool side effects but in all seriousness I was genuinely relieved when I saw it wasn’t about Lisa and her stupid f*cking ashes and benches again. And I know you are too.
The guy who writes this thing really, really sucks at naming his strips, you know? “John Darling” gives you no indication that the strip is about a wacky TV host or whatever he was supposed to be before Batom spitefully killed him off. “Crankshaft” has all sorts of hilarious connotations and if he was unaware of those connotations that only makes it funnier. And of course there’s “Funky Winkerbean”, a title that practically demands a “huh?” from anyone who hears it. I mean it probably sounded totally hysterical under a black light with a homemade honey bear bottle bong under a “Just Hang In There, Baby” poster, but sometimes perhaps it’s a better idea to refrain from mailing the letter to the trademark office until the next morning. You can’t even say it out loud without getting confused glances, as it sort of sounds vaguely obscene in a weird G-rated way. Bet you he wishes he could have that one back.
Something I’ve been pondering: if you took a big pile of “in context” strips like this one (ones that only make sense within the context of that week’s arc) and you just randomly shuffled them up and just ran them in no particular order, how long would it take before someone noticed? I bet he’d get away with it for years before anyone aside from us caught on.
Anyhow, the fat rude jerk gets his comeuppance today, which is always sort of nice, I guess. In fact IMO every FW arc could hypothetically be improved by having the lead character suffer an injury in Saturday’s strip. Like, for example, if the big Wally/Adeela arc ended with them falling down some stairs or the last Atomik Komix arc ended with Boy Lisa being disemboweled with an antique Rip Tide-Scuba Cop letter opener or something. See what I mean? You’re smiling already.
“You know how in auto racing the cars draft behind the car in front of them to lower the wind resistance? Well, I thought it’d be quite funny if I applied that principle to a treadmill in a gym!”. And on that fateful day a gag was filed away and, many months, years or decades later, that gag was finally hatched in the form of today’s strip. Obviously we all know what he was going for here but taken in the context of Funky’s refusal to take his exercise routine seriously it comes across as sort of crass and somewhat alarming, as Funky doesn’t appear to have any concern at all for anon-o-exerciser’s safety or well-being as he idiotically lumbers behind her on a running treadmill machine, all for the sake of being a wisecracking jackass at FG’s expense. Look at her in panel three, he’s aged her twenty years overnight with his antics.
Muscles firing? That’s barely a one alarm blaze right there. More of the same today…Fitness Girl gamely attempts to motivate a fat miserable sweaty Funky as he incessantly complains. It sort of (ahem) wears thin after a while.
Speaking of which, here’s another idea I’m throwing out there gratis…”Lifting Plates Is How I Ended Up Like THIS!!!!”, a paperback collection of every single “Funky exercises” strip ever. Just imagine visiting your favorite bookstore and seeing Funky’s sweaty alarmed mug staring back at you from between the “Family Circus” collections and the random Archie’s Comic Digests. The perfect gift for the reader with forty-five seconds to kill. I know it’s perverse and all but still, I wish some sort of “complete” FW existed somewhere, if for no other reason that for reference purposes. I’d really love to set aside an hour and just plow through the entire run in one sitting, just to see how coherent (lol) and/or entertaining it actually is as a whole.