Programming note: Monday’s strip won’t drop until midnight eastern, so expect another “placeholder” post. Thanks!
Now this strip from last March (see detail) makes sense: the “we” moving back to Ohio is not Darin and Jess, but Darin and Pete. Turns out Boy Lisa was right, too. Jessica seems to have adjusted very well to being a long distance wife and mother. Shouldn’t she be “trying to sublet the apartment and wrap[ping] up her documentary film work with Cindy”? Instead, she’s lounging on the deck enjoying her fifth Ketel and tonic. She’s so sloshed that she accidentally texts her mother, who is grateful for this misdirected crumb of affection.
Readers of the official FW blog will recognize the bespectacled geek dad in panel one as John Darling, Jessica’s father who was murdered. Unless they read today’s “dialogue,” though, they’ll have a hard time figuring out that the woman who looks exactly like Jessica but with different hair is her mom Jan. As drawn by Tom Armstrong, Jan Murdock was quite the hottie. Batiuk (and the returning Rick Burchett) render her using the Blandly Attractive White Female Template.
Today’s strip finds Phil having skipped the bargaining phase of grief over his firing… moving right on to depression, acceptance, and Jim Boeheim impersonation.
Producer Jan Murdoch Darling’s sympathy for Phil is an awfully kind gesture on her part, considering that he once pulled a gun on her late husband. Frankly, I find it somewhat difficult to sympathize with Phil when he’s sharing a panel with Jan. Yes, his 40+ year career is coming to an end and not by his choice. Too bad. Meanwhile, Jan:
– grew up with an awful, abusive mother, one of the comics page’s most vile characters
– sees her only child visit on rare occasions, and never to actually see her
– has fallen from producing The “Today” Show to once again slumming it at the dying Channel One
– oh yeah… and famously saw her husband murdered right in front of her
But sure, we’ll shed some crocodile tears for you too Phil.
Happy Easter, gang, and a tip of the ol’ SoSF Easter bonnet to Epicus and SoSFDavidO for their guest stints over the last several weeks! Your pal TFH is stepping in to ramp up the “festivities” marking the fifth anniversary of Son of Stuck Funky this week!
Before laying eyes on today’s tableau, I’d have wagered that today’s holiday would have passed unremarked (as it is in today’s Crankshaft, but then Easter 10 years ago might have fallen on a different Sunday). Despite the abundance of baskets, bunnies, and eggs, this scene suggests Christmas (specifically the Epiphany) more than Easter, as Westview’s Holy Family is surrounded by the Magi bearing gifts. I recognized dowdy, nondescript Kerry, Fred’s daughter from his first marriage, though she’s not been seen since Thanksgiving 2013. It took me a lot longer to surmise that the big smirking blonde to the right is Jessica’s mom Jan Murdoch Darling (you’re welcome).
Anyway, it’s a good thing for Skyler that this mob showed up bearing baskets, else he’d have had to content himself with that pitiful tiny basket before him, which I don’t think even contains any chocolate—that green rabbit’s probably made of carob or some crap. It’s certain that the basket’s chintzy size has less to do with “keeping Skyler away from candy”—on one of the two big candy holidays all year, for goodness’ sake—and everything to do with Boy Lisa’s meager Montoni’s salary.
Link To Today’s Strip
Today Batom inexplicably repeats the (ahem) “big reveal” for no apparent reason other than to reaffirm its cleverness to himself, I guess. Or maybe he just assumes that his regular readers are so stupid that they’ll forget JD’s last words unless they’re hammered into their brains repeatedly. Or maybe, just maybe, he’s a total hack who couldn’t think of a better way to end this ponderous story without resorting to mindless meandering and pointless repetition. I personally think it’s a little bit of all three.
And JD, I think everyone would be surprised if Jessica takes up chess. Very, very surprised. Almost as surprised as I’ll be if this arc doesn’t end on an even more nauseating note than it struck today.
Link To Today’s Strip
Uh no, Jessica. Unlike you, your mother shot footage that actually turned out to be useful to someone, even if it was only you. Unless she meant it as a self-deprecating remark about how much she (Jessica) sucks at film making, in which case bleh, tell us something we don’t know. Either way, chalk it up as just another failed TomBat “joke”, pure word balloon filler. I assumed he’d have them ponder and/or actually retrieve the videos for a day or two but nope, it’s wham-bam-thank you, man, for not dragging it out for another week and a half. Knock on wood.
But seriously, she knew exactly where she’d find the answer to the big “Barbie” last words mystery but she couldn’t figure it out before she actually saw the footage? And her reaction upon seeing this mystery-solving footage is to make a snide and/or self-deprecating remark about camera-handling skills? Either way it’s peculiar, from both a plot development and writing choice standpoint. I mean she can’t resist cracking wise and humble-bragging even as the moment she’s been waiting for plays out on the screen in front of her? So what is it that I’m supposed to “like” about this character, exactly?
Link To Today’s Strip
Thanks Jan Murdoch John Darling for reminding us that this isn’t one of those “gag-a-day” strips she’s normally associated with. No, this is Funky Winkerbean, the comic strip with a dark sense of loss, heartbreak and dread that hangs over absolutely everything all the time, every day. Note how Jessica, a true Westviewian, is actually amused by her mother’s ongoing pain, cracking a weary and knowing smirk because after living in Les Moore’s house for those few years, she gets it. As we all do.
When I titled my post last Saturday I never thought he’d actually feature a “dream house”. Color me mildly amused. Something appears to be taking shape here and if it holds true to form it’ll be every bit as lame as anyone imagined. Video tapes…the perfect way to keep those long dead characters alive after you’ve bumped them off for spite or easy attention. Watching Jessica trying to piece together a “mystery” that every single FW reader solved within a hundredth of a second is still sort of funny but increasingly less so with each passing panel.
And speaking of panels…a two paneler on a Tuesday? For shame, Tombat, for shame. Too little story for six full days again, eh? Always a bad sign when he’s resorting to padding this early in the week.
Link To Today’s Strip
Ah yes, the attic (they pronounce that as “bat-ick” in the mid-central Ohio valley, BTW)…where a Westviewian goes when they need to solve a mystery about or shed light upon a character who died many years ago. Of course John Darling didn’t expect to die so soon so his archives are probably a lot less thorough than Lisa’s were, but in any event it’s a safe bet that he left an explanation for his moronic last words in some sort of easily readable or watchable form.
Pretty classless how Jessica blithely shoves aside the widow John Darling (still in deep mourning if the black flowers are any indication) in her zeal to crack the mystery she’s been pondering for an hour or so now. Boy, is she easily distracted or what? I hope we get to see Boy Lisa’s reaction when Jessica reveals how she shot zero minutes of footage and spent the day fooling around in her parent’s attic while he slaved over a hot pizza app all day AND took care of that undeniably doomed baby while she was running around trying to solve rather obvious mysteries. He’ll probably be so angry he’ll barely able to break a smirk.
I could help but laugh at Batom’s helpful panel one recap, as if we needed a refresher after watching Funky take a three AM leak. We remember, Tom, even if you do not.