Tag Archives: Les being a giant smug douche

Nudge, Nudge, Say No More… Please

Hey folks, billytheskink here… I’m back for at least one more post so I can tag the ever-loving dickens out of today’s strip.

Lest we think Harley only takes agency and free will away from women, we learn today that he did the same to DSH and to the various members of the Westview High School class of ’92-’88-’78-’72 reunion committee. Since TB is looking back, let’s step into our own WABAC machine and see what exactly happened in the these two events that Harley interfered in.

First off…

Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History

November 19-December 20, 2012
An extended Crazy Harry arc begins. Harry explains to Donna his love of old comic books. The next day he walks into Montoni’s to inform Funky that USPS is shutting down the Westview Post Office and he’s out of a job. Harry decides he must sell off his beloved library, spending a week sorting and packing his books and his comics before schlepping them off to John, who offers Crazy Harry a job at the Komix Korner.

Granted, I cannot say what she was thinking, but back during this story arc, Donna never talked about leaving town. She didn’t do much of anything, really, except try to come on to Crazy while he moped about and spout off about how his political beliefs had changed with age. Also, is Harley admitting here that he “nudged” long-time Komix Korner employee Kevin out of existence to clear the way for DSH to hire Crazy? There are consequences to this time-meddling, Batiuk!

Now for the star flashback of the day…

We’re looking at August 21, 1993, when Les and Lisa reconnected at one of the incessant high school class reunions.

In the original strip, Les hung the moon for Lisa… in today’s flashback, he hung the “Westview Reunion” banner next to the moon.

Should we assume the committee back in 1993 (holding what was then a canonically a 5-year reunion) was the same cabal Les was drafted into replacing Cindy on in 2015: Cindy, Mary Sue Sweetwater, Junebug, who I think is Cindy’s frizzy-haired minion Carrie, and abdicated valedictorian Barry Balderman? Eh, why not? Barry wasn’t at this reunion, though, he had a cool job.

I’ll give Harley/TB this, his intervention into giving that crew Lisa’s Seattle address makes some level of sense as Lisa wasn’t close with ANY of those committee members (even nerdy Barry) and Les didn’t have her address until after he broke his hand punching Bull at the reunion for reasons that still defy explanation. In a rare moment of common sense, Lisa actually chided a deserving Les for still being stuck in high school. This moment passed quickly, though. Lisa was practically apologizing to Les for being upset even before dawn and the next week Bull was practically apologizing to Les for getting punched. What a time to be alive that was…

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Guess Who’s Not Coming To Dinner

In today’s strip, Les and Summer’s visit to Montoni’s continues. To recap: Summer has returned from being out of town for a decade, and she and Les are celebrating her decision to write a book that will no doubt become a seminal event in the history of Westview.

Where’s Cayla?

Shouldn’t Summer’s stepmother be along for such a momentous event in her step-daughter’s life? This wasn’t an impromptu trip to Montoni’s. Les and Summer have both changed out of their jogging clothes and into more formal dress. They had to go home to do this. Did they just walk in, silently shower, and leave again without even telling Cayla where they were going?

Summer’s relationship with Cayla should be a lot more complex than it is. Cayla was more a part of Summer’s life than Lisa ever was, though that’s not saying much. Cayla’s daughter Keysha has been Summer’s closest companion. But Summer treats Cayla just like Tom Batiuk does: as a prop to be brought out for Lisa- and race-related stories, and ignored the rest of the time. Everything revolves around what Les wants.

And what Les wants right now is another Lisa fetish object. I can’t imagine why he needs one: every known object and human activity reminds this man of Lisa. Bird feeders, cancelled checks, VHS tapes, book ideas, class reunions, time travel journeys, motion picture production, and of course his hand-delivered Oscar for Best Actress. I shudder to think what that statuette has seen.

Funky Winkerbean thinks it’s a realistic comic strip. But no wife would accept being ostracized from family activities, or being made to accept ridiculous monuments to ex-wives. Cayla has already been way too indulgent of Les’ inability to move past Lisa’s death. In the Lisa’s Story era, you could argue that she was putting aside her feelings to support his work. But that justification doesn’t exist anymore. Lisa’s Story is over. And despite being Les getting an Oscar-winning movie made to his exact specifications, he still can’t move on. Now he needs a pizza sign because it reminds him of Lisa.

Les Moore is a sick, sick man. Everyone in this town needs to quit enabling him. Starting with the two other people in today’s strip. Summer’s reaction to this sickness is to throw jazz hands and try to steer the conversation back to herself. What she says makes no sense, but her facial expression is clear: “It’s time to talk about me some more. I’m writing a book, remember?”

Even Funky should be interjecting here. He tried telling Crazy Harry that salad dressing wasn’t a good anniversary gift, so he should be hinting to Les that this is a much worse idea. He could at least offer some pre-fab divorce papers, like Atomik Komix does if you buy a life-size Iron Man figure. But Funky’s more interested in making a sale. He’s grinning like he knows someone else wants to buy that sign, and Les is going to bid the price through the roof. Great guy, that Funky Winkerbean.

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Not Sure If Serious

As Les and Summer drone on, we learn that MONTONI’S IS CLOSING???!!!

*record scratch*

Well, this is a shocker. Montoni’s is so central to Westview that Tom Batiuk will have to completely retool the comic strip. It’s a key location in the storytelling world of —

Oh right. I forgot. This is Funky Winkerbean. Batiuk will just forget this strip ever happened.

Funky Winkerbean has a serious problem with introducing sudden dramatic turns that radically alter the status quo, and then just disregarding them. Dinkle’s deafness, Mort’s dementia, and Phil Holt’s death were all examples of this. Sometimes it does the lame “all just a dream” cop-out, but more often they just fade away without ever being addressed. Or any character even commenting on these miraculous recoveries. It happens so often that terminally ill people should be going to Westview like it’s Lourdes. (I already used that line, but I like it so I’m using it again.)

Everything I’ve said about Summer this week applies to this stupid plot twist as well. Montoni’s suddenly needing to close doesn’t ring true. The story didn’t hint at this in the slightest. It very clumsily mentioned the pandemic, but the biggest hardship we know about was Funky having to move the jukebox.

And it ignores what we do know. Funky has no signs of financial problems. Quite the opposite: in the middle of the pandemic he paid for two surgeries, mocked a financial planning seminar, and had a major house renovation. Keep in mind, this is his house:

So there’s a good chance this seemingly monumental announcement will amount to nothing.

On the other hand, this doesn’t feel like a throwaway story. I predicted earlier that the deification of Summer would take months. Funky mentions a Montoni’s memorabilia auction. You’d better believe that’s going to happen, because memorabilia collecting is one of the strip’s favorite things to depict. And with no Montoni’s, where will Summer have her book release party? This week is setting up a lot of future sub-arcs that the strip is likely to deliver on.

It’s tough to speculate on what today’s strip means, until we know if it’s for real or not. Either this is a major step in the winding down of Funky Winkerbean, or the strip is about to reach new lows for retconning itself into meaninglessness.

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A Large With Double Smirks And Extra Self-Entitlement, Please

That coy pose is making me really uncomfortable.

batgirl

Then you may want to avert your eyes from today’s strip.

We end up at Montoni’s after all. Maybe the pizza box monster will show up by Halloween. I would welcome it. I would welcome a month-long Pete and Darin awards arc, if it would end this smugapalooza.

Look at that coquettish pose in Panel 3, with the closed eyes and the deliberate little nod. “Oh yes, it’s true, lil’ old me, writing a book.” I just want to scream “YOU HAVEN’T DONE ANYTHING YET!”, Sam Kinison style.

Why is anyone taking this seriously? Especially Les. We’ve seen him grumble about Summer’s indecisiveness, and having to support her year after year. He could have put all of the Roughriders through Oberlin for the money he’s spent trying to get his one child through Kent State. I know I keep bringing this up, but it’s a major problem to this non-story.

She wants to write a book? Big deal. So does everyone who has more than 50 Twitter followers. Lots of people write books. You probably know several. In fact, let’s test that theory: if you’re writing a book, or have ever written one, say so in the comments.

There are at least three of us. Commenters Hannibal’s Lectern and sorialpromise said Monday that they have both written books. I’ve written two school textbooks as part of a past technical writing job.

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Infinite Recursion

You won’t believe Summer’s brilliant idea for a book! It’s not about Lisa! It’s about Westview! Which is about 70% Lisa by volume.

There are already enough books about Westview, Summer. They’re called The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volumes 1 through 12. Nobody buys or reads them.

Is Batiuk trying to be meta here? He’s already blurred the line between Lisa’s Story, the in-universe book Les wrote, and Lisa’s Story, the real-world book of Funky Winkerbean comic strips you can buy online for only $80.

Let’s see how meta this gets. Someday, Tom Batiuk will sit down to put together a future Complete Funky Winkerbean compilation, that will contain the “Summer wants to write a book about Westview” plotline. When he does this, he will be writing a book about Westview about writing a book about Westview.

And what if Summer’s book includes information about the many books that have been written by Westview residents? Most of them are about things that happened in Westview: Lisa’s death, Holly’s majorette career, Dinkle’s life story. So when Batiuk sits down to compile this future Complete Funky Winkerbean book, he will be writing a book about Westview about writing a book about Westview about writing a book about Westview.

But wait! What if Les’ earlier book Fallen Star contains an account of how Plantman threatened Les when Les’ writing was going to reveal Plantman as the murderer of John Darling? It has to; it’s an important part of the story. Now, imagine Summer interviews her father about this, for her own book about Westview. This would mean… take a deep breath…

Tom Batiuk is writing a book about Westview (the future Complete Funky Winkerbean collection these strips will appear in) about writing a book about Westview (Summer’s in-universe book) about writing a book about Westview (Fallen Star) about writing a book about Westview (the accounts within Fallen Star about how writing Fallen Star brought out the killer).

This isn’t just another book publishing story. I feel like like I’m unpacking a Russian nesting doll of book publishing stories.

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Credit Fraud

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 16 panels in four strips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…

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Haiku Dive

Today's strip still has
That chair jammed in the ladder
And also two shmucks

So what's with the chair?
Is that really going to
Keep folks off the dive?

Les can dish it out
"Memory lane is now closed"
But he can't take it

Not some great mem'ry
Les scared to jump off high dive
A weak Act I gag

More memorable
Was Les and the climbing rope
A low bar to clear

Les and the rope, though
Had the off chance that he might
Wind up hung to death

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With a capital P and that rhymes with D and that stands for… uh…

The real star of yesterday’s strip finally gets top billing in today’s strip!

Like certain parts of the comics page we are too polite to mention here at Son of Stuck Funky, the old pool sits sadly: unused, unloved, overgrown, and falling apart. Unlike certain parts of the comics page we are too polite to mention here at Son of Stuck Funky, the old pool has actually been replaced.

Les is one to talk about “Summers* slipping away”…. At least Funky is willing to admit his memory lapses.

*It has been 43 days (and counting) since Summer’s most recent appearance in this strip. The three gaps prior to that were 145, 408, and 107 days.

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Burning Man

One bad turn deserves another, I suppose. Today’s strip sees Les take his revenge on Funky for two strips’ worth of Crankshaft schtick with some ‘Shaft-level quote muddle-ment of his own. Where did you pull this piece of unwisdom from, Les, I Chong?

The master says: Piles of excrement comes out of both ends of Les, but only one pile can can be flushed.

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Dr. Schmoe’s

Did you know Funky is old and injured? He’s so old and injured, y’all… see today’s strip for reference if you don’t believe me. When did this happen? Funky being old and injured has NEVER been mentioned in this comic strip before…

Les, though? Les is probably YEARS away from qualifying for his own cancer run’s over 65 division even though he graduated high school the same year Funky did. Look at him, no orthotics of any kind. Heck, he doesn’t even bother putting a strap on his glasses to play tennis.

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