How bad was the past week of Les strips? Bad enough to make today’s appearance by Mister Kablichnick feel like a refresing palate cleanser. I was ready to add “doughnut of doom” to the Batiuktionary, figuring that the term was coined by TB to set up the “punchline.” But Grandpa Google turned up this April 2019 New York Times article that uses the phrase, as well as the image Jim that is showing the students.
It’s been a pleasure sharing the pain with you lo these last two weeks. Beckoning Chasm steps into the wheelhouse starting Monday!
Tom Batiuk’s got a decade-plus on me, but I reckon my high school experience had more in common with his than with that of today’s high school student. In my days, the only “device” a student might carry would be some kind of orthodontic implement. Any phone calls a student made would have to be from the principal’s office or the corner malt shop. Logan Church and her peers are never without their cellphones, and thus, are never without access to all the world’s knowledge. No wonder the unpleasant Jim hates teaching a class. When Logan correctly answers a physics question, Jim’s initial surprised reaction immediately shifts to narrow-eyed suspicion. She couldn’t have known this answer without Googling it, because Jim believes, as does Les, that these students never even open their textbooks. The thought that he has actually taught a student something brings Jim to actual tears. Unless that teardrop in the corner of his eye is a prison tattoo.
Retirement clearly means different things to different teachers. Harry Dinkle comes to mind…how could he not, since nearly half the strips last month were about him? Harry’s busier now than he was before his retirement. When he’s not lurking around Becky’s band room, he oversees the Bedside Manorisms, conducts the July 4th concert in the gazebo, and hard-earns a buck or two giving piano lessons to rotten kids. Even in his sleep, he experiences nightly flashbacks to his days in uniform.
Les’ “work wife” Linda entered her lonely retirement sometime before Bull’s death. So the current, core faculty at WHS consists of Les (who’s rarely seen in the school, let alone teaching a class), Principal Nate, band director Becky, and the execrable Mr. Kablichnick.
Banana Jr. 6000
December 1, 2020 at 9:54 am
[Les is] the “cool” teacher that all the kids relate to…Batiuk thinks he’s invented the modern day Mr. Chips.
December 1, 2020 at 10:56 am
He’s invented the modern day Mr. Buffalo Chips. I’ll give him that.
That title really ought to go to Jim Kablichnick, the Science Schmuck. Despite his resemblance to Mark Twain, Jim’s corny, repetitive attempts at humor elicit only groans from his students. His climate mania is his least quirky character trait. I couldn’t find the strips, but can recall an arc where his coworkers shared their concerns that he was having a nervous breakdown. He’s a militant germaphobe, and a loner who on a class trip to Washington D.C., opted to drink alone in his room rather than join Linda, Les, and Cayla for dinner. OK, that last one’s understandable. At any rate, nobody hates his job more than Jim, for whom Wednesday, June 11, 2025 cannot come quickly enough. He memorializes his remaining days as a teacher on a whiteboard. Unless Jim’s creator plans to continue working after Funky’s 50th year, and barring another “time jump,” Batty will retire three years before Jim. Here’s hoping!
*(Pronounced “Too Lame”)
Link To The Sunday Strip
What’s with the “pronounced Tor” gag there in panel four? Another sly dig at Hollywood? In order for something to be an “inside joke” someone else needs to get it, so I don’t know.
So poor, poor Klabichnik is annoyed and frustrated by his sub-cretinous students…there’s a theme FW rarely touches upon. It might make more of an impact if it wasn’t the punchline of every single FW teacher/student gag, but then again probably not.
Link to today’s strip
As usual, the Sunday strip wasn’t available for preview. Normally I would try to tough it out till midnight, just to make sure whatever horrors Sunday brings are properly commented on. However, the strain of trying to find amusement in drying paint has finally broken me, and I’ve come down with the Westview flu. Not as deadly as the Spanish flu, maybe, but virulent in it’s ability to sap me of energy, leaving me with a headache, and slightly nauseous. So pretty much what you would expect after spending two weeks with Les Moore.
Here’s hoping that it’s not able to be transmitted through the interwebs, because Beckoning Chasm is taking over for me tomorrow, and I’d hate to think I had contaminated the controls.
Goodnight, and Good Luck.
Link to today’s strip
Now I am really really disappointed we didn’t get to see any of this water balloon competition. Because it sounds like it was a no-holds-barred water war waged both inside and outside the school. Can you imagine the water damage? Even if they were barred from classrooms and computer labs, all those corkboards and vaguely inspirational posters on the walls are toast. And those tile floors would have gotten dangerously slippery, I imagine everyone who participated has bruised tailbones and skinned knees.
But I’m guessing there isn’t anything in the student handbook preventing the teachers from running through the halls with firehoses, water pistols, and, balloons. Nate’s hands were tied.
Why is Les still grilling hotdogs? We see food in front of these people, so they’ve mostly all gotten all they were going to eat already. Unless there’s going to be a hotdog eating contest later. Billytheskink was joking at the beginning of the week about Dinkle being able to eat a banana sideways. Now I’m picturing him shoving hotdog after hotdog into his mouth sideways like a machine, lips closing over his entire fist down to the wrist every time and sucking the digits clean.
But more likely Les just doesn’t want to listen to anyone elses’ speechifying.
Link to today’s strip
They had a water balloon competition this morning, and instead we’ve been saddled with a week of bland speechifying?! I would LOVE to see the faculty of Westview in a no-holds-barred water balloon fight. My church growing up used to have a water fight every summer, and one year it ended with our pastor on the roof of a van with a super-soaker screaming “TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD!” and hosing down the first-grade Sunday School class.
Water Balloon competition sounds so much more banal though. I’m guessing it was a series of water balloon egg-tosses. Followed by bland science-type experiments involving water balloons with parachutes being dropped from the second floor windows. Of course STEM would win over the arts. The arts probably tried to protect their balloons with committee designated ‘safe-spaces.’
The ‘Super Soaker Six’ is either a reference to DC’s The Secret Six so obscure only I got it, or I’m too much of a basement dwelling nerd to figure it out. Please let me know in the comment what this is referencing.
June 1, 2017 at 11:27 am
…[S]houldn’t “Ms. Lopez” be “Mrs. Bushka”? Did Bull die off-camera or something?
Here’s another unanswered question: is Jim being witty or does he just not know what a credit union is? Another question, and this one’s for any teachers out there: are you required to pack up and schlep home all your belongings at the end of every school year? Linda’s got but one box but it looks to be loaded with books; Jim’s got two boxes but still manages to get a hand free to push open the automatic door. Burchett gets to introduce another new character: that janitor who vowed to one day kick the ass of the guy whoever the hell peed in his closet 40 years ago.
Here’s the one Westview teacher who makes Les look like Mr. Chips, getting his first spoken lines in a year. Burchett’s Jim Kablichnick still resembles Mark Twain, though he’s lost his suspenders (and he used to favor colorful dress shirts). Today’s gag, of course, is lifted from Sunday’s “Name the Canadian Provinces” strip (and from every comic strip that’s featured a kid sitting at a school desk), right down to name-checking another Golden Age Disney character. Smirk it up, Bernie: there can be no incorrect answer (“Write down what you think…”). On the other hand, Kablichnick’s enough of a douchebag to find a rationale to mark every student’s answer incorrect anyway.
Given Rick Burchett’s animation background, it’s weird how statically he’s rendered Jim here: propped up in front of the classroom, pointing his finger at the ceiling. Like Batiuk, Burchett uses some unusual “camera angles.” But unlike TB, RB (let’s just start using that abbreviation) puts his characters in actual, defined space, and not silhouetted in a crosshatched, encroaching black void. Three of his four strips so far have been set in a classroom, the angular walls and neatly tiled ceilings of which loom claustrophobically on all sides. I recognize the books atop the cabinet in the corner of Jim’s class, but am still trying to figure out what those diagonal planes in the left foreground of yesterday’s panel one. All the crazy angles lend some sort of tension to the settings. Kind of like how in the old Batman TV series, the camera shots inside the villians’ hideouts were all tilted askew.