Link To Today’s Strip
Yes Dinkle, we know. We know you know all about mascots. Just like you knew all about playing music and directing and fundraising. You’re a former high school band director. WE ARE PAINFULLY FAMILIAR WITH THE CONCEPT.
And who isn’t familiar with mascots? Was he being ironic? If so, why did we need an entire panel of him imagining a school logo?
And in what universe does this exchange not come across as extremely dickish? Lillian was explaining that the cat was the mascot, she wasn’t asking if Dinkle knew what a mascot was.
It would be like showing a friend your new Jeep and having them roll their eyes and tell you that they are familiar with the concept of internal combustion engines.
And Dinkle is imagining the school logo. He didn’t even have the decency to remember the actual live goat he bought to stand on the sidelines and nibble chemically treated turfgrass while watching the Scapegoats lose. Paul deserved better.
Our Funkistorian Billy The Skink posted these back in 2018. But for any of our more recent readers, a little journey back in time.
I suppose we have the consolation that today’s strip is not nearly as terrifying as Dinkle’s last music directing dream. That’s not much, but we have to take what we can get here.
So this group really is a “Gospel” choir? That wasn’t just a set up for last month’s “gossip choir” joke? Look, I’m not saying that a choir of interchangeable old white midwestern women in what appears to be a staid mainline Protestant church cannot sing a genre of music that is most strongly associated with (often) male feature performers in southern evangelical or (particularly) Black churches. Unexpected as it might be, of course they can. What I’m saying is that I don’t think TB has any idea that Gospel music is an actual genre of music itself and not simply another term for “hymns” or “church music”.
Unfortunately for TB and for us, music is not like a choir loft. It can’t be researched by taking a photo of it and e-mailing it to Chuck Ayers.
You are looking liiiiive at St. Spires Church and its odd, grass-covered exterior wall in today’s strip…
At least the choir ladies are asking follow up questions now. The last two times Dinkle pulled his “a little” shtick no one pressed him for specifics. I’m half-surprised Dinkle doesn’t carry around a printed resume to hand out to the mere mortals who aren’t familiar with his life story, that really seems like something he would do.
At least we get that brilliant salmonella pun again… 4 and a half months was just too long without it. It’s a true TB original too, you won’t find it anywhere else.
I’m not on Dinkle’s side or anything, but I struggle to sympathize with the choir ladies in today’s strip. Those stern looks of disapproval are genuine and understandable, but these ladies have got to stop setting Dinkle up for this miserable gag. This is the third time they’ve walked right into it. Yes, Dinkle is insufferable and arrogant, but they’ve had plenty of time now to learn that asking him if he knows anything about a subject is a sure way to draw out that insufferableness and arrogance. If you don’t like the way he acts when baited, stop baiting him!
At least there’s no blood this time from Dinkle biting his tongue… Well, that’s not really an improvement. For a while there I thought that maybe Dinkle could be put on a path to self-destruction by frequently questioning his credentials.
Link To The Thing
Now that you mention it I can’t recall ever seeing Dinkle actually playing a musical instrument. Surely he has and I’m just blotting it out for obvious reasons, but isn’t he really more of a conductor of sorts? Or am I just remembering his entire ten thousand year character arc all wrong?
Look how angry he is in panel two, as if these old biddies would know who the hell Harry Dinkle is. Where the hell did he learn how to play a big church organ anyhow? In the Army or something? It’s all so stupid and implausible. He couldn’t even create a backstory here, where we learn that Dinkle’s dad Hinkel used to play the organ at his old church and young Harry used to tag along or whatever. He’s just the “music guy” and BatHam’s go-to whenever “music” is somehow involved, like Les and smugness or Boy Lisa and blandness.
Link To Today’s On Time Strip
No, she passed away while playing racquetball, you clod. This one is rather grim and depressing, even by FW standards. They just refuse to let that poor old dead organist rest. Oh well, at least her death resulted in a humorous anecdote for everyone else, so her hundred and twenty years on this planet were well worth it. Maybe next week the pastor will die during a funeral service, with hilarious consequences of course.
I get this reference, because G and C are music notes, right? Sigh. It’s not Batiuk’s worst gag ever, but still, the old lady dying sort of takes the edge off, for lack of a better term. In a FW context it’s nothing but to an outsider I suppose it’d seem rather dark, which is probably one reason why hardly anyone reads it.
Link to today’s strip.
For a man who has such great pride in his writing ability, Tom Batiuk shows remarkably little evidence of having any.
The fact that we’re on our fourth day of this non-story gives a very good picture of Batiuk’s “writing” process.
First, set up a situation. A church needs a new organist. It’s a fine premise, it would be possible to tell an interesting story with that situation. Except for the next step.
Second, find something in the premise that’s incredibly trivial and inconsequential, and stretch the Hell out of it. You should be able to get an entire week out of this; if you put in the effort, you can get two or even three weeks.
Third, go for an ending where you get to reward your hero characters with little or no effort.
As mentioned, finding an new organist could make an interesting story. You could have several characters try out for the position–one person who has always wanted the job, another who is qualified but hasn’t been a member of the church for years, perhaps a relative who thinks the position should be his, etc. Drama is certainly a possibility, as well as some interesting character work.
But not in Funky Winkerbean.
Heck, if you hired Tom Batiuk to write a “Fast and Furious” movie, the characters would spend two hours looking for their car keys. Then at the end, they’d be handed their car keys by an unintroduced character, and they’d spend the rest of the movie admiring themselves, their abilities, and their struggles to get those car keys.
Link to today’s strip.
Here it is Wednesday and we’re still all glabbering about replacing the organist. I realize that this is all supposed to be happening on the same day, strip-wise, but it makes it excruciatingly slow for the reader.
I know Batiuk doesn’t give a cusser’s tink for his readers, but he needn’t be so blatant about it.
This week’s strips together make the most desolate wasteland I’ve seen in this strip for a long while. If he really needs to stretch this sort of stuff out, he should give serious thought to retiring. Yeah, I know there’s some Golden Something award if he makes it to 50 years, but give the world a break.
This reminds me of people who talk constantly, who never shut up, and who also never say anything. It’s like they have to fill the world with noise, but it’s never interesting noise.