Panel 1 Mason appears to have caught whatever caused Cindy to have Stupid Hair in Act I. I would much rather focus on that than Mason apparently saying Les is a true hero, and he wants to portray him. “You made the big time after your wife died, you’re a real hero, Les!”. What the hell has Les ever done that’s close to heroic? Not curling up in a ball and dying after Lisa died? People do that every damn day and they do it in a far less pretentious way than Les.
My money is even more on Cindy portraying Lisa now, since I can totally see Mason saying that’ll add to the “realism” of the movie.
The stupid Bull storyline and interview are really starting to seem like massive baiting. “I’ll lure them all in with a moving storyline about a trendy topic, and as soon as they’re hooked, I’ll move on to Les Moore, the Greatest American Hero!”. Seriously though, has someone related to this blog done something to Batiuk, or hacked his computer, and taken over the writing of this strip? Because about the only explanation for any of this is someone really wants to make the writer look like an obnoxious ass.
Are you wondering how Bull’s wife and children are mourning his death? Maybe how his former players and fellow coaches, whose lives he surely had a large impact on, have reacted? Well, too bad for you, for the art of storytelling, and for general decency… because today’s strip is focused on four schmucks, only one of whom even knows Bull moderately well (and one who has NEVER once met the guy) and none of whom have talked to Bull in at least 3 full years. Heck, they aren’t even talking about Bull, they are awkwardly reminding us that Cindy was popular in high school.
Bull’s death only made page 2 of the Westview Gazette? This is a town with only five employers and Bull was the most decorated employee in the history of the largest of those. What could possibly have made the front page?
I know what you’re thinking, “How can today’s strip be any worse than this past week?”
Les. The most dreaded name in the newspaper. The name that even alone evokes the most dire of thoughts. “Les” is the sound that a rattlesnake makes before it dies in a brush fire. It’s the Florida State Police code word for a sinkhole. It was the name of Francisco Franco’s pet canary. It is far and away the worst part of the title of Les Miserables.
I don’t know what possessed this poor poor child to wander near Les’ table, but I do know that if he winds up reading Lisa’s Story he is not going put it down disappointed that only one person dies. No, he’s just going to think that the wrong person dies. And he would, of course, be right.
Today’s strip shows the unbelievably named Maris Rogers giving an unbelievable impromptu news cast about the unbelievably petty problem of Les blowing through his monthly copier privileges. But what’s most unbelievable about it is that any student who goes to Westview High would actually be willing to defend this jackass. Les, on the rare occasions when he’s actually shown teaching, is an extraordinary asshole to his students. It simply wrecks my suspension of disbelief that the three students on the Bleat would go up against their principal, in such an inflammatory fashion, to defend this insulting prick. Perhaps that’s why the diminutive Bernie Silver is conspicuously missing.
Btw, I find it instructive that in order to find a sequence of Les actually teaching a class rather than insulting his students over parental permission for a Washington D.C. trip or simply grandstanding, I had to go back nearly five years.
Anyway, if the copier limitations that Les so strenuously protests were so draconian, you’d think the improbably named Maris Rogers (was Ruth Babe too obvious?) would find a more sympathetic teacher than the one who’s been throwing a massive hissy all week before no doubt going back to insult his students yet again.
Today’s strip shows Les continuing to chase Nate around to berate him over his copier use. And not surprisingly, he’s wrong. He’s not being penalized. He’s simply not getting credit for it. He’s not allotted fewer copies than his fellow teachers. He gets just as many, but since he decided to go double sided, he used half as many pages. It’s not Nate’s fault, or the fault of the other teachers that Les was sloppy when heeding the rules.
But I’m more annoyed by the punchline. Batiuk uses a legal term, “don’t make a federal case out of it”, but rather than bringing the Legal Society students in, he brings in the kids in the journalism club (media club, or whatever the hell it is). Wouldn’t a better punchline be “don’t turn this into a front page story”? Or “don’t make a national story of this”? You know, something to reflect the fact that these kids are specifically in the school’s media news activity?
But I don’t know why I’m annoyed. To mix my metaphors, flubbing an open layup like this is par for the course as far as Batiuk’s concerned.
So today Les keeps mashing on the copier, like an unmajestic silverback gorilla, as if mashing it is going to make his problem of blowing through his alloted copies go away.
But it’s panel two that’s the true majesty. Look at that thing. He’s got the aforementioned unflattering angle focusing on his baldness. He’s got the loosened tie that’s supposed to make him look unpretentious and hip but instead makes him look like an unprofessional slob. His eyes are tightly closed like a six year-old’s who’s on a whining binge because his parents didn’t get him the right Christmas present. And finally, there’s that finger that he’s waving as if he’s in any position to lecture his boss about his own wastefulness.
And there’s one more thing, of course. You’d think a guy who’s supposed to be some sort of accomplished writer would be detail-oriented enough to determine from the posted rules whether making a double-sided copy constituted two “clicks” or one. But Les is not that guy.