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.
You know, it was a huge revelation to both Dinkle and Harriet that you could just set up a web fund and people would give you money for no reason (and no effort on your part). Even better if you had a cat, and Dinkle certainly has access to Bingo (the cat from the church, in case any of you have memories like Tom Batiuk).
But no, those old candy-selling gags are money in the bank so they’ve got to be trotted out again.
I’m sitting here wishing for a different set of characters, and realizing that no matter who’s in the cast, it’s all going to be terrible. They’re all like whatever it is in the bowl in front of Harriet–something you don’t want to look at too closely.
By the way, the Firesign Theatre had an album some years ago called Boom Dot Bust. One of the characters was mayor William Cudlip P’nisnose. I think we’re seeing his wife in today’s strip. Or, Nixon in a wig.
Well, we’re back to being “selected” so I guess consistent writing is a much harder job than it appears to be. And of course Dinkle was selected. Many things like this are entirely too predictable in this strip; the only surprise is how dull, horrible and irritating it can get.
Of course, both Harry and Harriet are dressed the same way they were yesterday, and standing in the same places, so my inference is that this is taking place mere minutes after yesterday’s strip. But Dinkle’s over-description in panel one makes it seem like days have transpired, and he has to remind Harriet which organization is going to shower him with acclaim. So, either he signs up for dozens of events daily, or Harriet is remarkably stupid, even for a female in this strip. That’s saying something.
Of course, she married Dinkle, so she can’t be that bright.
Okay, so yesterday Dinkle said he might be “selected” to be one of 300. Today, I guess all you have to do is claim a spot? Might want to work on your “consistency” there, Batiuk. And while you’re at it, do something about “continuity.”
Ha! I slay me.
Anyway, in today’s strip, the dialogue could have said that the 257 “have already been chosen,” which would put it right back into the “might be selected” camp and add a bit of an edge to panel three’s situation. Will Harry be selected or won’t he? Of course he will, that’s a foregone conclusion, but at least Batiuk could try to have a bit of suspense, something that will keep a reader interested. Cos it sure ain’t the characters or dialogue that’s gonna do it.
This is plot seems familiar. Barring the possibility that Lillian is suggesting some kind of racy ‘OnlyFans’ account, ala Banana Jr. 6000 excellent porn parody of the St Spires Choir a few weeks ago. (In the comments of the April 3 post, ‘Septic Schlock’, if you haven’t read yet.)
Tell me today’s strip it isn’t a thematic copy of the strip below.
The whole story of the St Spires Choir is a hack job repeat of everything we’ve been through, years before, with the Bedside Manorisms. The only difference is the arcs are crammed closer together, and the Bedside Manorisms actually got to perform for people, (Concert, Christmas Concert, 4th of July Concert).
And now we have today’s strip. 5.) An elderly music group member has the idea to crowdfund online rather than try to sell more candy.
So where will this parallel storytelling lead us? If the past is prologue, then soon Dinkle is going to drag a busload of infirm people on a wacky road trip for a nonsensical adventure in another state all in service of Dinkle’s ego. And, indeed, Dinkle has already dreamed of the future we’re likely heading towards.
A few things strike me as funny about this strip. I think it’s funny that a year or so ago, when Batiuk wrote this, he thought everyone would go straight from social isolation to meeting back like normal, with nobody wearing masks in between. And in all that time never thought maybe that he should have the artist go back and draw masks on the characters.
The second thing is that the CDC this week specifically mentioned singing in a choir indoors as something you should still wear a mask while doing, even if you’re vaccinated.
Oh, yeah, the “old person doesn’t know how to use technology” “gag” didn’t strike me as funny much at all. CBH takes over tomorrow. I wonder how many weeks of Funky monologuing at AA she’ll have to endure . . .
So this group really is a “Gospel” choir? That wasn’t just a set up for last month’s “gossip choir” joke? Look, I’m not saying that a choir of interchangeable old white midwestern women in what appears to be a staid mainline Protestant church cannot sing a genre of music that is most strongly associated with (often) male feature performers in southern evangelical or (particularly) Black churches. Unexpected as it might be, of course they can. What I’m saying is that I don’t think TB has any idea that Gospel music is an actual genre of music itself and not simply another term for “hymns” or “church music”.
Unfortunately for TB and for us, music is not like a choir loft. It can’t be researched by taking a photo of it and e-mailing it to Chuck Ayers.
Today’s strip marks the third straight day that Dinkle is doing his eyes-closed, head tilted back, mouth-agape, peacocking thing… which I think we can all agree is seven days too many. Hopefully we can also all agree that the poetic tire fire that is “I believe this is the first time a man’s crew-neck undershirt has been seen in the choir loft!” is a sentence that is just too perfectly execrable to exist. Yet it does exist.
You are looking liiiiive at St. Spires Church and its odd, grass-covered exterior wall in today’s strip…
At least the choir ladies are asking follow up questions now. The last two times Dinkle pulled his “a little” shtick no one pressed him for specifics. I’m half-surprised Dinkle doesn’t carry around a printed resume to hand out to the mere mortals who aren’t familiar with his life story, that really seems like something he would do.
I’m not on Dinkle’s side or anything, but I struggle to sympathize with the choir ladies in today’s strip. Those stern looks of disapproval are genuine and understandable, but these ladies have got to stop setting Dinkle up for this miserable gag. This is the third time they’ve walked right into it. Yes, Dinkle is insufferable and arrogant, but they’ve had plenty of time now to learn that asking him if he knows anything about a subject is a sure way to draw out that insufferableness and arrogance. If you don’t like the way he acts when baited, stop baiting him!
At least there’s no blood this time from Dinkle biting his tongue… Well, that’s not really an improvement. For a while there I thought that maybe Dinkle could be put on a path to self-destruction by frequently questioning his credentials.