Tag Archives: Harriet

Closing Ceremony

Why would a deaf man need a mute button?

And so we conclude The 2021 Funky Winkerbean Awards. The first ever year-end awards event in Son of Stuck Funky history! But will it be the last?

Years ago, many of us hypothesized that Batiuk may end his strip at the 50th Anniversary; go out with a major milestone achieved and draw a line under half a century of storytelling. The counter still sits at the very bottom of the right of the blog, expressing this hope.

64 days from the 50th, I think it’s safe to say he has no plans to retire this year, or even relatively soon.

And to that I say, good. Judging by the comments, the 2021 Funky Awards were a smashing success. If he wants to continue, then maybe we’ll be here again next year, with a new set of punchable Les Moore faces to choose from.

btw, this strip was Principal Nate’s only appearance for 2021.

But before we close this first one out, I have some people to thank, ANOTHER SPREADSHEET (yay!) and a final arc I’d like to recognize.

First of all, I want to thank those of you who comment almost daily! Some of you are relative newcomers, some of you have been at this for longer than I’ve been lurking around. You are ALL awesome.

A few years ago this blog was averaging 15 to 25 comments a day, often less. This year, as boring and inane as the stories seemed to be, we regularly hit 40, 50, sometimes more. There are a lot of great places to go on the internet to post snark on Funky Winkerbean, but people here were also discussing, debating, analyzing. They were posting photoshop edits, strip rewrites, and song parodies. This isn’t just a place to get some great sarcastic quips whipped up by clever minds, it’s also a place to vivisect the very concept of humor itself. So thank you!

Secondly, to the lurkers or occasional posters, thank you. Even if you’re just upvoting or downvoting comments, or chuckling at the banter as you scroll through, we’re glad you stopped by. You are always welcome to comment (provided it’s blog kosher), and should never feel pressured to.

A big thanks, and a tip of the CBH keyboard, to my fellow guest writers:

Thanks to Beckoning Chasm, for the hilarious post titles, the cheeky pop-culture references, and your dark artistic flair. Thanks for creating the hilarious gif of Les getting pummeled by an Eisner. Hope you don’t mind I wanted it front and center for these awards.

Thanks to SpacemanSpiff85 for being able to methodically shred the logical and humor failings of strip after strip after strip with Socratic insight. Every post from you asks how? why? when? and nails Tom to the wall for his lack of answers.

Thanks for Billy the Skink, our resident Batiukstorian, and poet laureate. We can always count on you to educate us on 50 years of Westview history; or spin a pointless strip into a golden bundle of haiku, and to tag the ever living HECK out of it. If we were the Starship Enterprise, (TNG, of course,) you would be Data. (I would be Wesley.)

A huge thank you to Epicus Doomus, the power behind the throne. He not only writes his two week shift, he moderates, he schedules everyone else, he subs if someone can’t complete a shift. I may go off on a tear and spend two weeks playing ‘try-hard’, but then I get to hibernate for a couple months. For Epicus, the work doesn’t stop. He carries the burden of a lot of the behind the scenes minutiae. Thank you.

Another huge thank you to TFHackett, Blogmeister-In-Chief, not only for creating this blog and keeping it trucking along, but for your posts, your humor, and your hilarious panel edits. Without you, this blog wouldn’t exist, and none of us would have this great place to voice our opinions on a single syndicated comic strip read by almost no one else.

And a final thank you to the mysterious ‘Stuck Funky’ writer, the progenitor of the original blog from which we are descended. Wherever our primordial ancestor is, I wish him or her happiness, humor, and health.

Speaking of voices….

SPREADSHEET TIME!

Since you enjoyed the appearance spreadsheet, I thought I’d also share the OTHER spreadsheet I generated this week. See, appearances are nothing, especially when women be tiny and disappearing into the background. So I decided to see how often various named characters actually SPOKE this year, so we could figure out which characters were actually characters, and which were just props.

Below is a list of the number of PANELS named characters SPOKE in for 2021.

(I excluded Marianne and Masone’s lines from the Lisa’s Story Trailer.)

It’s less an award, and more an arc this year that was lambasted in the comments, but that resonated with me. For very personal reasons.

So, The 2021 ComicBookHarriet Special Recognition Certificate goes to.

HOLLY AND MELINDA

Many in the comments criticized the early part of this arc; where Holly and Melinda reminisce, decide to arrange an alumni event, and then Holly breaks her ankle trying to impress her mom. They felt the relationship was regressive and borderline abusive. And, given the exaggerated characters on display, and everyone bringing their own personal histories to the table, that is a perfectly valid interpretation.

Nothing in Funky Winkerbean this year hit me harder or touched me more.

At the very end of September, I lost my 98-year-old grandma. She’d been declining physically for years, though maintained most of her cognitive function to the very end. Still, her death was a surprise.

My grandma was very much a softer Melinda Budd type. She was Olenna Tyrell from Game of Thrones. She was Violet Crawley from Downton Abbey. Propriety focused, status conscious, but practical. Very particular in the way she wanted things done, but generous to a fault. Occasionally prickly, but devoted to her family.

I adored her.

My mother, on the other hand, is gregarious, and laid-back almost to the point of laziness. Anti-conflict, comfort seeking and giving, a people pleaser. In high-school she’d been a cheerleader and homecoming queen and class president, but as an adult she morphed into a Holly Winkerbean type: warm, soft, and maternal.

For the last fifteen years of my life, I watched my mom and my grandma navigate the difficult transition where child becomes caretaker. They handled it better than many, mostly because my mother left my grandmother as much agency as possible, and my grandmother had the grace and intelligence to admit when she needed to cede some control. But what struck me was that, until the very end, my mom worried what her mom would think, and my grandma worried what my mom was doing.

How many times when I was visiting Grandma in the nursing home in this last year, when she was unable to walk, unable to care for herself, would Grandma ask me how my mom was doing? If she was alright? Because she, of course, didn’t trust my mom to tell her.

How many times would Mom say, ‘don’t tell Grandma this,’ or ‘why did you tell Grandma that?’ Always about something inconsequential, like Mom having a routine doctor’s appointment, or the state of the house, or a story I thought was funny but Mom found embarrassing.

This time last year I hugged her while she choked up; this woman in her 60’s, months away from being a grandma herself. And my mom told me, “I don’t want to lose my mom.” And she said it in a voice like a little girl, and I, her daughter, comforted her like a friend.

The beginning of this arc tapped into that for me. The dynamic between mother and daughter that sometimes you can’t get away from, and sometimes you don’t want to. Such a weird moment to find a connection in, for a strip that usually portrays women with all the nuance and depth of cheap paper dolls.

Maybe it really is as bad as the comments thought, and I was just looking at it through a rosy tear-blurred lens. But before we shut the door on 2021, even if I’m the only one who enjoyed it, I wanted to thank Tom Batiuk for this arc, for showing me a middle-aged woman and her elderly mother bickering and bonding, and reminding me that mother birds are mother birds forever.

Until next time, CBH out.

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Don’t Worry, One of You Will Surely Die Soon

Dinkle’s garage door is like bricks, falling leaves, and Becky’s pinned-up sleeve-they all have to be featured as prominently and as often as possible. “This guy has a treble clef painted on his door, isn’t that wacky?”.
I find it really, really hard to believe anyone from Westview could ever receive that many awards.
This strip is just another example of how Batiuk can’t seem to decide if Dinkle is supposed to be an egotistical maniac or actually great. And I wonder if Dinkle’s name legally includes “World’s Greatest Band Director”, or if that’s the award he won (which you think someone would have mentioned it at some point). I guess all those other band directors were wrong when they referred to themselves that way. If Dinkle calling himself WGBD is supposed to be humorous, you shouldn’t have him literally receiving awards referring to himself that way.

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I Sold Snacks So I Can Buy Snacks

You know you’re reading quality comedy/ground-breaking genre convention busting high Art and Literature when you’re getting an “airplane food is expensive” joke. I do think it’s a little weird that Dinkle went around raising funds from people so he could fly out to California and be honored. I also don’t really get how it’s band candy if someone not in the band is selling it, but whatever.
I do find the entire premise of today’s strip, “I told people I needed X amount of money to fly out here but kept begging people for money long after I reached X” to be pretty revealing. That seems bad, and not something that one of the heroes of your strip should be doing? And I don’t really know what he means by “let on”. Is he just saying that he lied to his wife about how much he sold, and how much money he has? Which seems pretty awful, actually. Or did he lie to the fundraising company and not report some of his sales, by like claiming a box went missing or arrived damaged or something? Setting up the extremely, extremely tired “airline food is expensive” gag that got old decades ago shouldn’t be this confusing.

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Where Are the Photo Album Corners?

This is such a strange comic strip. I really have no idea what the joke here is. It seems to be “Dinkle doesn’t know how to relax”, or “Dinkle is obsessed with band”, which, we get it already. But Harriet says they never went on vacation before, not that they never had a good vacation. So is she just totally forgetting that they went to the beach?  (And I guess Batiuk has just given up on the photo album corners and sepia tone for flashbacks.)
And really, if flying halfway across the country to stand on a street corner and watch your husband do the same thing he’s been doing for decades is the closest thing you’ve had to a vacation, that is so sad.

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I Didn’t Catch the Name of the Parade

I’m confused, is Dinkle excited about this event he just participated in? I think it’s a party, or a parade, or something? I’m not sure, this comic is so subtle and definitely doesn’t spend day after day repeating the same premise, it’s hard to catch all the details sometimes.  Seriously, by this point I feel like anyone who was ambivalent or indifferent about the parade probably hates it by now.
So, Dinkle liked the parade, and he’s happy with Harriet. Based on this strip’s history, tomorrow he’ll be telling her he expects her to put out now.

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March Backwards Right off a Cliff, Please

So Dinkle is commenting on how he’s only seen the parade while marching backwards as a director. Which is odd for two reasons. I don’t think he’s ever directed the Rose Parade, because if he had I can guarantee we would have heard a ton about it this week. And also, as many people have pointed out, this isn’t Dinkle’s first time in this parade. It might be that Batiuk thought “Marching in the parade for the third time, this time with all those other band directors was an amazing experience, Harriet” was too clunky even for him, but I’m guessing he just forgot.

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How Great Dinkle Art

This is just kind of sad, to me at least. Haha, the church choir ruined the worship service because they were so excited to see Dinkle on a small screen. And I really don’t understand how Dinkle’s whole schtick can be that he’s basically a slavedriver but still somehow everyone loves him so much they’re thinking about him in the middle of singing a hymn. At this point I won’t be surprised when this church is renamed Saint Dinkle’s.
And I’ve probably said it before, but whenever I look at an individual comic strip I assume someone is probably reading it for the first time, especially when it’s a Sunday strip. Unless you read this strip obsessively (and if you do, odds are you’re a commenter here), you would have zero clue what’s going on, who “he” is, or why this is supposed to be funny. Honestly, without any context most people would just assume that this is supposed to be some kind of joke about technology becoming so prevalent even a church choir is distracted by it. Not that actually having the context improves things . . .

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Cutting Corners (This Time For Real)

Link to today’s strip, again
It says a lot about the quality of this strip that you can completely skip over a day in a storyline and not immediately recognize something’s missing. 😛 And also, that once you actually do read the missing strip it really adds nothing at all to your understanding. “Harriet’s old, is married to a band director, and refers to herself as his mom” is a strip we could pretty much do without, I think.
One last comment on yesterday’s strip-why in the world is B hat guy asking if she’s been doing that long? She’s apparently in her mid-seventies. Unless she just marred a band director or her husband just got a job as one but is somehow already being honored by being selected to march, yes, she’s been doing it a while. Asking needless questions no real person would ask to set up a punchline no real person would laugh at-it’s the Batiuk way!

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Cutting Corners

Editor’s Note: Hey all, it’s TFH. With great power (the ability to peep upcoming strips) comes great responsibility. As pointed out in the comments, I got mixed up and provided a link to Thursday’s strip. Apologies to spacemanspiff85 and all y’all. As has also been mentioned in the comments, it really doesn’t affect the “narrative” all that much. The actual strip for today, Wednesday, Dec. 29th, is here. Feel free to snark on either or both. Thank you and happy holidays!

Is it me, or is today’s strip especially annoying, even by the standards of Batiuk? With no buildup at all you have a totally random guy who is apparently travelling with Harriet, asking her if they can cross a street to somewhere for some reason. Despite the fact that there’s obviously a parade like twenty feet away, but he somehow thinks they can just cut in front of it. And also despite the fact that I’m pretty sure the streets would be roped off so people couldn’t just wander into the road in front of the parade.
But it’s all worth it for the punchline of naming a street on the parade route. I don’t think anyone does more of a half-assed job of these “shout outs” than Batiuk. I really doubt anyone associated with the parade would read this and be thrilled that he knows the name of a street.
It’s like when a band calls out the name of the town they’re playing in, except instead of “Nobody rocks like . . . Springfield” someone just holds up a card with the name of the city, and it’s misspelled and upside down.

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Il Dunce

Finally having a clear schedule after directing both the choir and the band at St. Spires’ Christmas Eve service, Dinkle has no time to rest as he prepares in today’s strip to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade with his fellow fans of fascist regalia band directors. Seems like this thing was announced years ago (about 6 months, actually), but I guess The World’s Greatest Band DirectorTM doesn’t need more than a week to prepare. He does, however, need a little help from the tailor… something Harriet realized 11 years ago (a time so long ago that Dinkle was watching recordings of his concerts on his flip phone).

What assuredly entertaining and engrossing things will Dinkle get up to in Pasadena? I don’t know, but it will be Spaceman Spiff who will guide us through them. Good luck and happy holidays!

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