What’s my opinion, Bernie? How about this: next time the school levy fails to pass, my opinion is that the school could save some budget by doing away with “The Bleat.” I’d also recommend giving the boot to clueless, ineffectual teachers like Mr. Moore and Mrs. Bushka, but sadly, they’re tenured in. “Tenure” must also explain why past-their-prime, mirthless franchises such as Funky Winkerbean (and Crankshaft) continue to occupy the ever shrinking amount of real estate allotted to newspaper comics.
It’s been my honor to share the FW misery with you these past couple weeks. Though I am loathe to give away spoilers, TB has already teased in his blog about next week’s “prestige” arc, ripped from last year’s headlines, and comicbookharriet will break it all down for you starting tomorrow.
It is comics like today’s strip that remind me how good I have it. I’m not taking high school English from Les Moore. I never had to take high school English from Les Moore. It is as if he is intentionally trying to be the opposite of the teacher that successful people so often cite as the inspiration that got them to make something of their life. What a miserable experience in every single way this strip is.
Les’ senior students did poorly on their quiz last Monday and now his freshman students have done poorly on theirs… I see a common denominator here. I bet these students would too if Westview High had a math teacher.
Today’s strip was not available for preview. I assume we are still at Westview High School, getting poorly acquainted with the strip’s newest generation of students (the 6th by my count, though that is not canon). We know that Bernie and Maris like to skip class, that Logan has more Facebook friends than Bernie, that New Monroe/Thatsnot Hewmore rightfully finds Les unfunny and Bernie mildly creepy, and that Emily and Amelia are twins but also, like, their own people. What will we learn today?
On that note, I thought we would take a quick look at TB’s first attempt to create a new generation of students back in the fall of 1992, mere months after the first time jump. The first two students introduced were Wally Winkerbean and Mercedes “Sadie” Summers, both relatives of prominent Act I students.
Here is Sadie pulling the same stuck-up popular girl routine that older sister Cindy did, while everyman Wally breaks the fourth wall with a sideways glance just like
cousin uncle Funky:
Wally first appeared at band camp, where he was bullied mercilessly by a mullet-sporting senior trombone player, interviewed by a TV news crew about being bullied, and then tied to his bunk with Saran Wrap.
Sadie’s first appearance was also the very first strip in which Les taught
English Language Arts. She dealt with living in the shadow of her legendarily popular sister by wearing her hair in the exact same strange way. Back in 1992, the Westview economy was not buoyed by pizza and comic books, it was built entirely on hair spray…
Today’s strip pivots
Away from Bernie’s forehead
Thank goodness for that
Nate’s the principal
Now he’s the school counselor?
Levies keep failing
Maris Rogers’ name
Silly, but could have been worse
Mason Jarr, for one
Maris is clearly
Trying to avoid Les’ class
I say “good for her”
She went a whole year
Not taking a single class
Not noticed ’til now?
Jessica, Sadie, Cindy
This path is well worn
Not much to write on
Word word word word word word word
Still better than Les
Were you all worried we would go an entire week without a reference to comic books?
Well, fear not true believers! Today’s strip brings us back to that which makes the heart of Westview pump. “Comic books, comic books, comic books”… the beat hauntingly comes through the stethoscope.
The power of comic books is so great that Bernie doesn’t even need to go through the interview process that Maris and Logan did in order to join the staff of “the Bleat”. He’s in simply because he wants to review movies and comic books and believes he can score free comics from DC and Marvel by being a critic on a closed-circuit high school announcements broadcast (good luck with that, because it doesn’t happen… period).
I am curious about two things, though:
First, Marvel and DC but not Mega Comics? Bernie is, after all, a known fan of their signature property, The Amazing Mister Sponge.
Second, what is Les’ problem here? He left these two schmucks to do his job for him and now he wants to gripe about the results? Gimme a break. “I left these teenagers without direction or supervision and now they are pursuing their interests, oh they are so terrible at all aspects of life. If only there was a place where they could learn things and people there who could teach them…”
Maybe he’s just mad that they have clearly learned more from Bull than they have from him. Specifically, they want to score free stuff, which is Bull’s primary motivation in life.
And finally, after all of this exposition, Bernie had darn well better review the Starbuck Jones movie when it comes out… provided he hasn’t graduated by then of course.
So, is today’s strip being broadcast on “The Bleat”? That sure looks like a network “bug” in the top right corner of panel 1. Or does the Westview High School AV budget cover pointlessly screening logos onto the walls?
Wait, Owen and Cody are talking like Les isn’t in the room. Did Les leave the room? Did Owen, Cody, and Maris move to another room? What journalistic standards are required to read school announcements? How is Les’ desire for his students to adhere to ethical reporting standards that will surely never come into play in any of “The Bleat’s” activities “hinky” in any way? Is there anyone on the planet besides TB who thinks “hinky” is synonymous with “anal”?
Frankly, I have no idea what is going on here… other than a tired bit about kids not knowing what newspapers are, that is. I got that. I was just hoping to avoid having to say something about it.
Today’s strip… oh boy. Buckle up folks, it looks like we are getting a whole week of job interviews conducted by “The Bleat” triumvirate.
Eh, better make that bi-umvirate, as Les appears to be taking the Gil Thorp approach to his job… that is, letting other people do it whenever possible. His utter disinterest in this process is not surprising, but it makes little practical sense. Yes, it is worthwhile to give Owen and Cody some real world-ish experience and let them help make hiring decisions for “The Bleat”, but it is Les alone who will have to deal with the results for three solid years. I assume this is how he wound up with the current staff of Owen, Cody, and Cam Eraman’s sagging pants.
Maris Rogers, meanwhile, appears to be the latest incarnation of Westview High School’s real mascot, the appearance-obsessed, stuck-up blonde. This would be a bit of a reach based simply on this strip and the fact that she has written a blog about applying make up, but consider too her first appearance, back in August. Les, wandering the halls of the school, is lost in total déjà vu as he sees Cindy, Jessica, Mallory Brooks (I think), and Maris in quick succession. That’s pretty on the nose, even for TB.