Today’s strip concludes (we hope and pray and hope and wish) this latest visit from the Ghost of Distress Past. Her Royal Wryness. The VHSaint herself.
Special thanks go out to Summer for being a prop with no impact on the story whatsoever, she has already collected her prize of appearing in a full 3 panel strip this week (panels will not necessarily be consecutive).
Special thanks also go out to Les for having such an insatiable ego and such milquetoast friends and family that he will continue to receive the unearned praise he has been given for decades now.
And extra special thanks go out to Crazy Harry, who demanded nothing but 18 panels of our precious time in return for his brilliant idea of pretending Isaac Asimov invented the concept of recording video using already obsolete technology.
On the subject of 18 panels (well, 16, thanks to a couple of 2 panel strips), this new Lisa tapes origin story actually takes up more column inches than the entire original origin story AND depiction of the recording of the tapes! That took just 16panels in fourstrips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…
So much for Summer’s reappearance… with today’s strip we’re now seven panels removed from Monday’s “Hey Harry! What Brings?” with no end in sight to the sepia-toned sadness blocking Ms. Moore from view. If that’s not bad enough for poor Summer, Lisa can’t be bothered to even mention “her daughter” by name in the word salad she spits out in panel 2.
Are we headed toward another unnecessary and uninteresting retcon?
Cue the laugh track for today’s strip… because otherwise there’s just this long, awkward pause between non-jokes. It’s like a newsprint manifestation of those “sitcom without the laugh track” videos, only more more cringe-inducing. Why are these two ostensible friends (one of whom is terminally ill) being insufferable to each other? This kind of thing works when you establish that the two characters have some type of relationship and that unbearable wryness is their M.O. As far as I know, Crazy and Lisa never had much of a relationship of any kind (he was Les’ weirdo buddy), much less a whole Gilmore Girls thing going on.
Lisa really let Harry slide on that face after saying she didn’t feel as bad as she looked? Sure, she’s dressed like Crankshaft, but she’s also sick and at her own home. He’s the one who went out in public dressed like Gallagher wearing a Paul Simon Halloween costume.
Today’s strip appears to be the latest installment of one of TB’s most recent recyclable story concepts: “old person has a Lisa flashback in front of Summer”. Of course, it’s also the latest installment in his most overplayed story… but we all knew we would be back here eventually.
Just how many Lisa tapes are there? We can see 5 or 6 peeking out of the top of the box Crazy is carrying today, meaning there are probably at least 10 total in the box. The box Summer brought to him close to seven years ago was about twice as deep, also with about 5 or 6 tapes visible out of the top. This suggests that there are about two dozen tapes, over two full days worth of Lisa video assuming she recorded a full 2 hours in SP mode on each tape.
Regardless of how many of these tapes there are, they can’t be much more than conversation pieces now given that Crazy baked them when converting them all those years ago. Not that Les wanted anyone conversing about them despite having 7 or more of them on prominent display in his living room.
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.
Three things about today’s strip:
1. Batiuk still depicts signs as being on the inside of the door, which is silly. I’m guessing he’d think people would miss the vitally important detail that this conversation is taking place in the band room, and he can’t think of a way to arrange the layout so you can see the outside of the door. (Also, there’s no hilariously crappy tape holding the sign up. Maybe we’ve made a difference!)
2. Based on my ten seconds of Googling, “finale list” isn’t a thing. I’m assuming it’s a play off of “bucket list”, (“he’s a musician, he wouldn’t talk about buckets, he’d talk about finales!”), but just swapping one word for another doesn’t instantly make comedy, despite what the existence of Crankshaft would have you think.
3. But hey, Dinkle is talking about his finale, which can only mean he’s about to die soon. Here’s hoping for a Sunday sideways “Death of Superman” “homage”, which will be extra awkward when it’s Becky cradling Dinkle’s corpse in her arm.
Apologies for today’s short post, but this story arc has gone about as well as my week at work has… And today’s strip doesn’t do much to improve matters. It doesn’t do much period.
The insurance companies Dinkle may have put a stop to the flaming baton trick, but don’t you dare think he is losing his touch. He has happily proposed maiming senior citizens with fire in recent years.
Look, the man himself
Deigns to appear on panel
Here in today's strip
Why is he worried
No one is coming to see
Him in uniform
No one is coming
To see Holly twirl either
But whatever y'all
This Harry Dinkle,
He sounds like a real jerk
This guy here, real jerk
With his history
Of abusing band members
Why would alums play
But of course these two
Still have their band uniforms
No one leaves high school