Tag Archives: Les’ yellow shirt

F.U. Frankly Unbearable.

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No Cayla. Just no. She’s not going to graduate totally unemployable. Totally unemployable is the 45 year old grandmother who comes into the gas station sometimes, dentures out, in the same shirt as yesterday, still tweaking, and complaining about getting fired from her part time waitress gig at the local greasy spoon because of her nasal fistula.

Summer is going to graduate having wasted either a ton of money, or a scholarship, on a price-inflated liberal arts degree, in a field already supersaturated with competent degree holders. In her most likely job prospects, some kind of office drone, her degree will entitle her to marginally better starting pay and position that in no way recoups the time and money spent teaching her how to read Finnegan’s Wake.

Basically her new degree choice marks her forever as a dreamer, taking what seems like the most obvious, immediate path to satisfying self-actualization. But in reality making her pay through the nose for the kind of deductive reasoning and knowledge she could just as easily pick up from You-Tube videos and $5 Amazon used books. All so she can write navel-gazing, passionless, modern novels filled with listless protagonists with SJW-edgelord identity labels going through a pointless bildungsroman only to reach some kind of epiphany of vaguely positive, yet nihilistic, existentialism. No one but other literary intelligentsia will ever read her books. She’ll be forever outsold by hacks like Stephanie Meyers, and hacks of hacks like E.L. James; people who make up for terrible writing and characters with things like escapism, wish-fulfillment, simple conflicts and emotional arcs, and palpable passion for their creation. You know. The things the masses want and like to read.

I told my best friend Creative Writing English Major about what was happening in Funky Winkerbean yesterday. The second I mentioned Creative Writing English Major she shouted through the phone, “No, it’s a trap!”

But Les sits there smirking, because his daughter is about to fall into the trap he’s in. Finally company. A little LisaLes Jr., both himself and his favorite emotional prop combined. They’ll be able to commiserate and complain about frustrated artistic ambition for the rest of his life.

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Patrimonial Penury

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“Dad, be serious, if I wanted a job that would pay me money I would have taken two months of Industrial Welding at Centerview Community College.”

Really rich coming from worthless English major magnate, Mr. Les ‘those who can’t, teach.’ Moore.

Also, if she’s interested in going into law, then majoring in sociology would have been fine. You can major in anything you want, as long as you keep your GPA up and pass you LSAT.

And don’t you dare disparage sociology! It’s a useless major alone but paired with a Master’s Degree she could become like my older sister, working at her state’s only inpatient mental health hospital for barely more than what an average desk drone makes. But she’s fulfilled.

Sociology made sense as Summer’s old major, what with her activism in high school. But I guess Batiuk has forgotten that, and decided to make her a tiny female clone of her father. I can’t wait for her first book about someone she knew who died.

Also, my best friend forever majored in English lit with a focus on creative writing, and her fanfictions of obscure video games have been very well reviewed! She leads the genre in likes!

She is also a desk drone. Not really using her degree to get paid. But still. Getting paid.

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The Very Model of A Modern Major Millennial.

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At least we now have some kind of in universe excuse for why Summer has been at Kent State for so long. Apparently she calls her father every year at the same time to change her major. And he seems smug as a snake about the whole thing. Is he paying for her college, or has she taken on student loan debt?

I decided to do an archive deep dive and found that Summer and Keisha last showed up on October 7 for a one-off Sunday strip.

If I could ask Tom Batiuk one question, honestly, it would be why he doesn’t write people interacting with their kids. The children of main characters are an afterthought if they are remembered at all, and parenting and concern for offspring are rare topics. It sometimes shows up. Rarely. Holly was worried about Corey being in the military, and had a snit fit when he wouldn’t text her back about things.

But if we were to compare the number of strips involving couples and their relationships to the number of strips about parents and kids, there would be no contest. Despite the bond between a parent and a child being the more inalienable, demanding relationship. You can’t amicably divorce your kids, and see them socially on occasion.

It makes me want to sit down with Tom and a shrink and ask him about his relationship with his parents, and then his own kids, to see if those relationships were as bland and benignly distant as the ones he portrays. I would like to see if he resents the idea that his kids should affect his life and dreams, or have a claim on him for time or emotional support.

I don’t have kids, but I have parents, aunts, uncles, coworkers…and it doesn’t matter how old you or your children become, your bond with your children is primal. It will take up a chunk of your emotional and relationship capital. You can’t have casual children. But Tom has never wanted to present children as obstacles in that way. People just show up together, without their kids, and no mention of babysitters.

Darrin apparently has dumped Skyler off at his parents’ and forgot about him and Jess is content to live in California forever. Wally didn’t know Rana had gone back to college, and we haven’t seen him interact with Wally Jr in years. Jinx didn’t show up to her father’s retirement. We never get to see how Bull’s CTE affected his kids. Jinx could still be in college, but that didn’t come up when Linda was talking about finances. Crazy Harry’s Maddie has slipped into the memory hole, along with her other two siblings.

Maybe Batiuk would fob this off by saying there are already so many comic strips about parents and kids, so he chooses not to show the moments of parenting. They take place off panel. But in a strip that’s become about less than nothing, maybe some parent-child dynamic could bring a bit of heart. Shoving hordes of kids into the attic like an army of Chuck Cunninghams only makes your characters seem shallow and self-centered. Every couple a codependent, un-nurturing, dead end.

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Pointless precognition.

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You didn’t sit down before answering! You sat down after answering! At most you sat down WHILE answering. And do you always narrate everything you plan to do? And then do you immediately fail to do the thing you plan?

Cayla is confirmed as baked out of her mind, only able to repeat what she heard last. No judgement here, whatever gets her through the day.

Epicus pointed out yesterday that Summer has been in college for seven years of real time. Even if we accept a ‘comic book time’ that allows for a year of Funkyverse to take more time than a calendar year in the real world…It’s baffling that Tom Batiuk would drop her character like that.

What do you figure Summer’s big bombshell is? I still have a longstanding bet that she the secret student from behind the Big Gay Castle. But maybe I’m unfairly stereotyping female basketball players with pixie cuts. It was probably Chullo head.

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When a Stranger Calls.

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Comic Book Harriet back for another turn at the Train Wreck Report. Thanks to Epicus for seeing us through last week! Your hard work on this wonderful little blog deserves praise.

Caucayla sure looks haggard in panel one. Also she seems to be drying the dishes, even though she is standing nowhere near a sink. Also, if Les is rolling in the published author, tenured teacher, kill fee dough, why don’t they have an electric dishwasher? Does Les need a flesh and blood woman to dry his dishes? Is this like…a fetish for him? Is that why Cayla looks so depressed?

Cayla in panel two echoed my thoughts when reading this for the first time. Summer calls? Like the season? I guess it is nearing the middle of May…maybe Les, as a teacher, is especially attuned his students’ bipolar spring emotions of crushing ennui and building excitement. The call of summer.

Then I was all like, oh yeah, Les has a daughter named Summer…right. Wonder when the last time we heard from her is? Doesn’t Cayla have a daughter too? Weird.

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January 20, 2018

Today’s strip was mercifully not available for preview. Post away on anything Funky-related that you like!

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No

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.

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