Tag Archives: Junebug

All of My Friends Were There

Cindy’s Popularity Was Just a Cover for Insecurity? Whoddathunk?!

Cindy was the most popular, so she gets to talk about getting left out TWICE. Or we’re supposed to interpret the start of this interminable pity party on Tuesday as a private conversation between Funky and Cindy, and thus she warrants a second confession to the entire group. Continue reading

37 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

(We Are) The Depressed Derek Appreciation Society.

The Minority Characters Speak Out!

Roland was an anti-establishment activist. Of course he didn’t feel a part of things in high school. I suppose we can read this as Roland feeling alienated even before, and choosing an identity in the counter-culture that justified those feelings.

At least by talking about prior ‘protests’ and ‘anger’ Rolanda has made her line specific to her, so she’s leaps and bounds ahead of Crazy and Funky this week. But Batiuk is just writing her saying this because he wants to let his new trans character talk one more time before this arc ends and she disappears forever.

It’s Derek who’s giving me a chuckle today. He gets one word. One word this whole year. “Seriously?”

I’m guessing that this was intended by the author to reference the one or two strips where he felt ‘alienated’ by his race. He was one of a few black students in a mostly white school. So obviously (sarcasm) asking him if he felt left out is silly.

The Cringe Echoes Through the Ages.

But I am invoking Death of the Author.

Because Derek is the embodiment of ‘Seriously?’ As in, “Why do I exist in this asinine universe surrounded by stupid, unfunny, jokes?”

Every time he would stare out at the audience, it was like a cry for help through the crack in the Fourth Wall. He had this air of resigned desperation. I imagine you would get a similar expression if Charles Dance was sent to a hell populated entirely by Teletubbies.

Chilling

And so when Derek today says, “Seriously?” I don’t hear, “Yes, of course I felt like an outsider.”

I hear, “Seriously? Seriously? It’s been 50 years! I hardly even remember high school. Why did I even come to this? Why did I bother to bring the ultrasound picture of my great-grandson? Or the photos of my granddaughter getting her doctorate? Why did I bother looking any of these chucklefucks up on Facebook to see what they’ve been up to. I came all prepared to talk about Les’ movie getting an Oscar. Cindy’s work on BuddyBlog. What it was like being stuck in LA for the fires. Funky’s punk son finally making an honest woman of that poor pretty army chick. Holly’s biography on being a majorette. Rolanda’s work counselling the families of senior gender transitioners. Maybe share some memories of Bull and Mary Sue, since this is our first reunion without them. But naw, I shoulda known better. These assholes are just gonna stand in a row all facing the same way, like they’re posing for a picture no one is gonna take, and pass the same damn sentence down the line in the world’s most half-assed game of telephone. Fuck these cookie-cutter punch-outs all thinking they’re a special snowflake. If they’re not all dead by the next reunion, I’m not coming. I was hoping to talk to Barry Balderman and Carrie and Melissa, maybe catch up with Wanda, but naw. They were too smart for this shit. I mean. Seriously?”

“At least Les didn’t have a pity party over his dead wife again.”

Speaking of Les! Here’s some more writing advice from the past! Brought to you by the world’s least prolific biographer.

Past, Present, and Future can all be thrown out without explanation if you suddenly decide that Crankshaft and Funky are no longer separated by 10 years.
Good pacing is spending five days on a woman being impotently worried, two days introducing a transgender character you haven’t seen in 40 years, and five days on characters all agreeing they have the exact same feelings using the exact same words.

We Are The Son of Stuck Funky Admiration Affiliate

Preserving the old strips from being abused
Protesting the new ways for me and for you
What more can we do
?

60 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Harry Rag

Crazy Harry? Copying the crowd? Strange but true.

Crazy Harry was never part of the ‘In-Crowd’? GASP! I don’t believe it. (sarcasm)

Crazy Harry noticed or cared enough to feel excluded? I don’t believe it. (not-sarcasm)

He could barely tell that Mr. Mathews openly despised him.

Crazy was so weird that he bent reality around himself. And he didn’t seem to notice how strange it was.

And yet, he was voted Student Council President in an election against Mr. Mean, Median, and Mode himself. So his weirdness notwithstanding, he must have been liked well enough.

50 years later, Crazy Harry is barely wacky enough to wear a Hawaiian shirt to his reunion. And his line today could have been spouted by anyone in attendance. In fact, it already HAD BEEN. TWICE. In order to get his anemic little point across, Tom will let Harry rag on high school now as if it wasn’t a decent time for him, that he reminisced on fondly just earlier THIS YEAR.

Banana Jr put in wonderfully in the comments yesterday.

It’s not exactly The Breakfast Club, is it? Those were different characters who each, in their own way, learned that they had some things in common. This is like watching Twelve Angry Men, if they all agreed he’s guilty in the first minute and spend two hours telling each other how right they all are.

I’ve complained about it before. I will complain about it again. But the hollow sameness of every character cripples this strip in ways I don’t think Batiuk realizes. You ever buy a danish, or a jelly doughnut, and when you bite into it you realize that all the filling has been baked out? That’s an Act III Funky Winkerbean character. Bland, flakey, overcooked yet doughy. And completely empty inside.

When poking around the Toledo Blade Microfiche, looking for when Cindy first hit it off with Funky, I stumbled across a hilarious and yet infuriating week.

Les teaches Sadie Summers STORY WRITING.

Ah, Tom’s a writer and Tom is bold
Tom is bolder than the writers of old
But whenever he gets in a bit of a jam
There’s nothing he won’t do to let Harry rag

Harry rag, Harry rag
Do anything just to let Harry rag
And he curses himself for the life he’s led
And writes himself a Harry rag and puts himself to bed

Ah, Tom’s old Lisa is a dying lass
Soon they all reckon she’ll be pushing up the grass
And her bones might ache and her skin might sag
But still she’s got the strength to let Harry rag.

45 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Who Will Be the Next to Whine?

Funky See, Funky Do.

Quick! The most popular and objectively successful member of the class has admitted they never felt like they fit in! Everyone must fall in line behind her and parrot her sentiments! This will prove how alienated and apart from things they all were!

This would almost be a joke. If the idea that “Les was a dork in school” hadn’t been hammered home so many times the nail is halfway to China, and they’re using a percussive drilling machine with 2000 feet of rod to reach the punchline.

Keep digging, Boys! We’ll reach that sweet black comedy!
I know it!

What even does ‘In-Crowd’ mean? In my experience, you want your circle of friends to share your interests and enjoy the same things. A chess club nerd is going to be lost and bored at a football kegger. The kids I knew in high school that were miserable were either the ones that faked their way into a clique that didn’t really suit them, or the poor kids who never found a niche no matter how small.

But Funky was considered perfectly acceptable in High School. Neither the most popular, nor the least.

‘Average’ is the first bit of characterization Funky was given, and as far as I can see it held true through 20 years of high school. You’ve got to give him some credit for keeping Les as his best friend, since nothing probably dragged him down Cindy’s popularity rankings more than having human tumor Les Moore clinging to his side.

I would say that Funky should let Les speak on what it really felt like to be excluded in high school. Since if anyone has a right to speak on the topic it is him.

But I bet Funky and crew remember Les’ self-righteous downer of a commencement speech and rightfully figured the less he said on the topic the better.

Wanda has been smart enough to NEVER attend a reunion following the 2008 fiasco. But really she should have known what she was in for, since Cindy showed up at her door in 2004 to for an entire week of groveling. Something I only found after my Wanda retrospective back in March.

Thank you, Cindy, for coming to my house and talking about your own feelings for five minutes and then walking away without waiting to see if I had anything I needed to get off my own chest.

46 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

The Power Of Friendship.

Hey Look Derek and Junebug!

Did you guys enjoy this gripping, emotional, and politically charged tale which really challenged our main characters leading to growth and change that will really shake things up going forward?

Good!

Artistic Credit, Beckoning Chasm. Love you buddy!

(Seriously, tomorrow is Cindy and Holly.)

53 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Creepy Harry

Of course, you can’t have a time travel story without Lisa. It’s inevitable.

It’s already creepy enough for sixty-ish Harry to be walking up to a high school girl who doesn’t know him and address her by name, but telling her he’s been to the school before doesn’t help. Lisa really should know better than to stop and engage some random old guy who’s approaching her, but this is Lisa after all, she clearly has bad judgment when it comes to men.

I’m positive someone Harry’s age is bound to have friends or family who aren’t alive in 2022 anymore, but apparently he doesn’t care at all about seeing them. All he cared about was himself (literally), and visiting high school again, which is so typical of characters in this strip. Honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if he somehow enrolled in high school again (it turns out he’s missing a credit!) or becomes a teacher, and that lets Batiuk reboot everything.

It’s been great being able to comment on one of the weirder recent arcs. TFHackett gets to take over tomorrow, when Harry probably tries to make Les and Lisa get married as teenagers or something.

35 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Odd Man In

Link to another boring nonsensical strip that I still kind of understood because I’m always asking my housemate and best friend if she wants to go to the store with me but man was this week awful with maybe one almost joke and five days of pointless observation and yes this was supposed to be one long run-on sentence for comedic effect.

Full disclosure: Until I read through the Vintage Funky Winkerbean, I assumed Roland was black. I realized my mistake when Derek popped up, asking Les about why ‘brothers and sisters’ weren’t being covered by the school paper, looking like the lost sixth Jackson brother from the Jackson Five cartoon.

Ooh, ooh, Derek, (don’t want you back)

So Roland’s poofy hair was just an Art Garfunkel style jewfro, and Derek is the strip’s first black character. Which other characters seem to only notice and comment on occasionally.

In all of his appearances, there’s only a handful of strips where Derek’s overtly concerned about racism. And it always comes across cringy af. Now-a-days this is the sort of material that gets you twitter cancelled.

A modern activist would call this gaslighting.
I think the joke here is that the computer scheduling has more power than the school board and admin.

Other than these cases, Derek is written as ‘one of the guys’. Sometimes he spouts off Roland-esqe general activist talking points for a laugh.

His main character trait is this sort of weary detachment. In the four years of strips released, I think I’ve seen him smile twice. It’s like, somehow he knows. He knows that he’s stuck in Funky Winkerbean. And the best he can hope for is to feel slightly less than dead inside.

Like Livinia, unspoken identity politics hamstring his range. Because Batiuk wants Derek to be a positive portrayal of a black student, he’s never shown getting into trouble with the principal or being ignorant. He never asks the dumb question. He is the one Funky Winkerbean character that is never the wacky one spouting off inanity. He is all grimace and side-eye.

When Derek delivers the punchlines, they’re clever observations that reveal intelligence, not obliviousness like Batiuk will use for Les or even Funky.

Derek is still showing up in Vintage Funky Winkerbean through 1976. Most recently watching TV with Crazy Harry on 4-10-76.

I doubt he’s going to completely disappear for a while, since he fulfils an important diversity position. He’ll keep showing up until a more gimmicky black boy is introduced, or until Batiuk forgets to remind his audience he’s not racist. In September of 1975 a black female student was introduced, Junebug Jones. She and Derek are dating, and she becomes a cheerleader. Her ‘unorthodox’ cheering strategy is another running gag.

I’m of two conflicting minds on Junebug. On the one hand I wonder if she plays into the lazy stereotype of black girls as loud, aggressive, and tactless. On the other hand, I love seeing a lady with some backbone.

Derek and Junebug, one of the first couples in Funky Winkerbean. She might not have liked the odds, but she should have placed her bets. By the 1998 class reunion arc, they are confirmed to be married.

Crazy/Holly: the ship not taken.

And by the 2008 reunion they have grandkids!

Don’t worry Funky, I’m sure Corey and Rocky will give you some grandkids eventually. Maybe. If they get around to it.

Junebug shows up again in 2015, as part of The Upcoming Reunion planning committee.

Note: Except for poor Barry Balderman here, none of these other people are actually seen at The Time Pool reunion. I like to think they bailed when they realized what a shitshow it was going to be.

So, really, despite all his grumbling, it seems like Derek and Junebug had it pretty good for Funky Winkerbean characters. They escaped the plot before the Act II drama hit, and every subsequent cameo appearance has only reinforced their happy ending.

He who laughs last…

32 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Gym-Nauseum

Link To Today’s Farce.

And as we enter the homestretch it’s “the WHS gym” making a TREMENDOUS run for the wire! Yep, it looks like we’re in for lots of sepia-toned “Les is stuck on the gym rope again” flashbacks featuring good ol’ Act I Loser Les! That’s right, folks. Way back when, before he was an award-winning author/martyr/smug obnoxious jerk whose wife tragically died, Les was a hapless dweeb! I know, I know…it’s difficult to believe, but it’s 100% true. In fact, you can visit the official FW archive site and take a gander at those old strips anytime you…oh, wait. Forget that last part.

“Six months ago”??? What? Does the reunion committee meet every two weeks or something? Why were they discussing a venue six months ago? And why didn’t they settle on one? Normally, a story starts making more sense as you add details…but not in the Funkyverse, where up is white and down is sideways and everything is coated with pizza grease, nonsensical developments and retconned nostalgia. And sometimes all the names are wrong too.

Why are there corner thingies in panel one? It’s just a flashback to six months ago, not a cherished old memory of happier days gone by. Either use them right or not at all, Author Guy! Retcon photo album corner thingies are a privilege, not a right.

29 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Lunch’s Unexpected Return

Link to today’s strip.

When I said yesterday, “It gets worse,” you probably thought, “How can it?”  Well, now you know.

Those of you with weak stomachs may want to stop with Les’ first dialogue balloon, in which Les gets someone else to do his work, again, this time quadrupling his own workload to nothing.  Has Les ever done anything?  It sure seems all he does is complain when things are expected of him, and then he moans and weeps until someone else does all the work.   Then he whines about how hard his life is, and, well, you know the rest.

If you’re brave enough to tackle the rest of the strip, let’s press on.  Les has never gotten over the loss of his first wife, and everyone, simply everyone, is completely aware of this and does whatever they can, at all times, to help him heal.   Because no one else in this world has ever lost a loved one.  No one else has ever suffered.  No one else bears the weight of the world like Les Moore.   (It’s no wonder that someone like Wally, who has suffered far more than Les, is a character the strip treats with thinly-veiled contempt.)

Lest you think me callous, I do understand that losing a loved one is a lifelong thing, and that those who’ve left us will always be in our memories.  But looking at Les’ sad, smashable face in panel two, you’d hardly think this was a guy who eventually married another woman, then wrote a comic book about how he’d found new love with his new wife.

Mary Sue’s phrase in panel two seems off to me–if I was sympathetic to Les, I’d say he still loves Lisa, and that’s why he remembers.  Oh well, Mary Sue is, after all, a girl, and they’re not much good for anything in this world, are they.  I’m surprised we didn’t get a third panel of Les patting her on the head and saying “Thank you for trying.”

There’s a phrase that describes Les Moore perfectly.  That phrase is “wallowing in self-pity.”  It’s the sort of thing that a normal person does for a time–possibly a long time–but then picks himself up and moves on.

But not Les Moore.  He’s going to make sure you’re always aware of him, and through this awareness, he’s going to make you suffer.

Oh, before I forget, when I said it “gets worse” yesterday, I left out one thing–it gets even worse tomorrow.

19 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

The Baffled King Composing Hallelujah

Link to today’s strip.

Okay…I’m going to take a wild stab here and guess that the “state of the ark” thing is supposed to be a joke about…Noah?  (Oooo, too bad last year’s film wasn’t a huge blockbuster–that would’ve helped, right?  Oooo, those year-long waits.)   As, I’m guessing again, the prior DJ’s equipment was commonly used in Biblical times–not at all conducive to repainting those  funky (oops) seventies vibes.  And all those lyrics about cubits!  No wonder the Reunion Committee ladies want something more contemporary (it’s a well known fact that, before building the ark, Noah was well known for hosting some serious raves, but that was, like, aeons ago.  You can read all about it in your Bibles.)

–Uh…huh.   Even I can’t find that premise easy to sustain, and I find it hard to believe anyone, Tom Batiuk included, would write that down and say There.  There’s the next strip.  Granted, he has given us many, many inexplicable punchlines over the years, but I seem to recall they kind of related to the subject at hand.  This one, not so much.  Unless the last DJ decided to forgo the turntables in favor of pottery shards, this is rather dim.

One thing, though–the fervor with which poor Barry is assailed makes me think that, yes, the high school does hold a reunion every year–and it’s the only thing going on in these folks’ lives.  They just go through their sad days, waiting for the magical date to show up, the reminder of when they were happy and the future was rosy.  And all they want is a decent DJ to help the illusion along.  And suddenly…I don’t think these reunion enthusiasts are idiots any longer.  I find them kind of sad, now, people longing after a happiness they’ll never have, fluttering along like a butterfly at the end of its lifespan, desperate not to die for a while longer.

Have I bummed you out?  If so, it’s good practice.  I’ve seen tomorrow, and tomorrow isn’t pretty.

26 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky