And in classic FW fashion, we don’t see even one second of Dinkle’s massive Thanksgiving feast, as Batiuk opts to focus on the dull, tedious aftermath instead. If this surprises you, please pay more attention. It might have been nice (and sensible) to maybe ask Wally or Cory or even Billy to help the elderly Dinkle carry twenty-five chairs back down to the basement, but then we wouldn’t have this “domestic slice o’ life” gag to savor and amuse us. If the next Dinkle arc involves his rehab and recovery from his unfortunate tumble down the stairs, it’ll all have been totally worth it.
And on that note, I’m pleased to turn things over to our Fearless Leader, TFH! What pre-holiday horrors await us? Stay tuned to find out!
“Hi, Mom! Listen, we’ll be by to pick you up at around eleven. We made the stuffing you like and we picked up a few pies and…what’s that? Harry Dinkle? Who the f*ck is Harry Dinkle? But…but…your grandkids are looking forward to…uh huh, uh huh, yeah, uh, OK, I guess, but this is certainly unexpected and odd and…what? Why would WE eat Thanksgiving dinner at a band director’s house? Have you been taking your medicine?”
It’s pretty funny how Halle Dinkle re-appeared and was immediately pushed into the background by every single person Dinkle knows, plus quite a few he doesn’t. I count TWENTY-NINE people, which seems like WAY too many folks to cram into Dinkle’s cheap clapboard house for anything, let alone dinner. But hey, at least BatYam didn’t have to exert himself too much by, you know, writing a story or anything like that.
I guess calling Becky the “current band director” would have bruised Dinkle’s ego a tad too much. By the same token, I guess having John putting on a normal shirt would render his character unidentifiable. And I guess Rana is still a Muslim, Billy is still alive and Wally Jr. joined the circus or the army or something. And why didn’t Wally arrive with the rest of the Winkerbeans? Why was he relegated to the B-team? My God, what a slog.
It’s a virtual cavalcade of stars today, featuring TWELVE of FW’s most beloved and adored characters. That’s over ten percent of the cast, in case you’re keeping score at home. I certainly hope Harriet started cooking early, or it’s gonna be a long, long night. I can’t imagine for the life of me why the entire Winkerbean clan would go to Dinkle’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, but hey, no one ever said a holiday garbage dump arc has to make logical sense. I assume that Rocky’s forgotten mom is sitting by the phone, forlorn and alone.
Coming tomorrow: Thanksgiving dinner at Dinkle Manor ends abruptly when Morton gets into the Sambuca and ends up exposing himself to Harriet in the hallway. Fortunately, though, it’s played for laughs and everyone smirks knowingly at the old coot’s perverse antics. Happy Thanksgiving!
And suddenly the strip is TEEMING with new characters, one after the other! I wonder if they’ll ever be named? So the seldom-seen Halle Dinkle is back, which is weird, as it always is when one of those Act II/early Act III characters suddenly re-emerges. Otherwise, this one is so uninteresting it’s tough to really find much to complain about and or mock here. Halle’s husband sort of looks like a cut-rate Paulie Walnuts, except for that orange sweater that Paulie wouldn’t be caught dead in. But otherwise, this barely rates a “meh”.
Settlement school? I looked it up, but I’m still not 100% sure what the hell these idiots are jabbering about. As far as Halle Dinkle goes, I have no memory of the character at all, so feel free to fill us in on her no doubt compelling character arc if you’re so inclined.
It’s kind of interesting how BatHam wrote these 2021 strips under the assumption that COVID would be old news by the time they ran, and by “interesting” I mean “not really”. Mildly amusing is more like it. And could the gag here possibly be any weaker? And why doesn’t the most legendary band director who’s ever lived have any friends? No local pals, no former students, nothing. Oh, wait. I know why.
Oh, dear God, he’s still on a Dinkle kick. Sigh. And here come the band turkey gags. I guess that this is probably one of FW’s longest-running gags, especially considering how he’s retconned and/or ignored pretty much everything else from that long-ago gag-a-day era. Too bad he never followed suit with this one.
Coming tomorrow: Dinkle explains to his wife, who he’s been married to for well over fifty years, that his frozen band turkey, from the freezer, was left over from one of his long-ago band turkey fundraising efforts. Harriet nods and grins in agreement, knowing as she does that the downstairs freezer is full of frozen band turkeys. I begin using BT as an abbreviation for “band turkeys”, as I just can’t take it anymore.
Well, we all knew the horrors were upon us when Harry Dinkle showed up.
So instead of contemplating the Unnamable, how about something that should go right into Tom Batiuk’s “women are unappreciated” shtick?
In honor (honor, not horror) of Harriet Dinkle, I give you Sally Cruikshank’s “Face Like a Frog,” a five minute slice of absolute brilliance, with a score (and song) by Danny Elfman. Hey, he wrote for Batman movies!
Ms. Cruikshank, in my opinion, is one of the greatest animators ever–male or female. Her work is entirely based on talent, rather than demanding appreciation because of her sex. And there’s more creativity and imagination (and humor) here than exists in all of Batiukland. Enjoy!
And to answer the obvious question, yes, that is the late, great Dick Miller as the voice of the main character.
I think Batiuk uses “So…” as a way of saying “It has been established in the previous strip, and agreed upon that…” He’s trying to bring his readers up to speed on what’s going on. The fact that nothing is usually going on (other than endless talk) doesn’t seem to be a factor. I know it bothers a lot of folks; it doesn’t really affect me either way.
It reminds me of the old intro narration on Lost In Space to set the scene for the episode: “Last week, as you recall, Will, Dr. Smith and The Robot…” etc. (You just have to add “unaware,” “incredible,” and “alien” and there you go.)
As for the content of today’s strip, I ask, “What content?” One could cut out every strip this week except Wednesday and Thursday, and you’d have the complete story.
You could cut out all of them and improve the comics page greatly. Especially since this seems to be little more than an ad for a real-world event that just happens to highlight one of his characters. Which begs the question…I wonder who reached out to who?
Another question: now that Batiuk has tied himself to this “salute to band directors,” and, in his eyes, gained a whole new slew of new readers…how long do you think it will be before he pivots to “Lisa’s Story”?