Tag Archives: Mary Sue Sweetwater

A Smug Bearded Dick With Ears Walks Into A Bar

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I studied this one for a while, trying to figure out what the smug bearded jerk’s massive word balloons were supposed to mean. “Suspend his disbelief” in what? Life? Death? Funerals? Roulette? The continued existence of Bob Dylan? Then, after some really annoying pondering, it started to make sense, sort of, in a roundabout and stupid way. I believe that what Les means here is that he refuses to acknowledge that he’s getting old and will die relatively soon, choosing instead to willfully ignore this harsh reality. Which is really out of character for Les when you think about it, as the guy’s entire identity is based around death. Unfortunately though, not his.

Anyhow, this is what happens when BatYam tries to out-clever himself. Everything devolves into a weird, half-assed mess where you end up wasting valuable minutes trying to figure out what the hell is going on. He could have simply said “I try not to think about it” and saved all kinds of word balloon space, but he’d have just wasted it anyway. God I hate Les so much, curse all you people who say “I’d even prefer a Les arc over this”. Never, ever wish for that, it’s bad mojo.

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Rainy Day Assholes #1 And #2

Link To The Strip

Well, they’ll bore you when you’re trying to be so good
They’ll bore you just like they said they would
They’ll bore you when you’re trying to eat a slice
And when you’re at The Korner haggling over price
Why do I read this anymore?
Everybody must get bored

If I was Bob Dylan I’d be genuinely terrified right now. I do know how Funky feels, though, as I do the same thing, but with Handsome Dick Manitoba. It’s pretty funny how Funky is already a jaded obituary-reading expert, because of course he is. Just two dear old pals, shooting the shit at a burial service in the rain, caring a little, but not too much…that’s the FW experience in a nutshell.

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Celebrity Death Fool

Link To Today’s Drollery

It comes as no surprise to me that Les enjoys seeing celebrities die, as he’s always been a spiteful scumbag and all. The clumsy dialog in panel two baffled me at first, until I realized it was merely BatYam’s typically oafish way of explaining that Les was more of a beginning obituaries reader, as opposed to being a sad old coot scanning the obits to see which friend, colleague or associate died on any given day. Which is a premise just dripping with comedic potential…all of it unrealized, of course.

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Come Sweat Death

Link To This One

The indignities just keep piling up for the late Mary Sue, all because she didn’t deign to satisfy Les Moore’s disgusting adolescent urges back in high school. Too bad for her, as if she’d have put out for Les she’d probably still be dead, but at least she’d be a venerated martyr and not the subject of this droll wry funeral banter courtesy of Dick Facey and his fat elderly pal. But that was her choice, and now she has to live with it. Well, not “live”, exactly, but you know what I mean.

It was mentioned in yesterday’s comments a few times so it’s not an original thought, but who happens across the obituary of an old high school classmate, then decides to be-bop and freestyle all over their funeral? A self-absorbed, depraved, bearded dick with ears, that’s who. This guy carries around his old high school grudges like they’re herpes.

“Hey, old pal from high school! Know who just died? Joe Blow, our old high school classmate we didn’t know very well.”

“That f*cking guy cut in front of me in the cafeteria line once. Let’s go to his funeral and mock him.”

Seems pretty harsh to me. It’s almost like he’s embarrassed about those old Act I “Mary Sue Sweetwater’s perfect bod” strips and wants to atone for them by utterly destroying Mary Sue to the point of actually killing her off, which again, seems pretty harsh to me.

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Mary Sue’s Gettin’ Buried Tonight

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh yeah, Mary Sue Sweetwater. She was everyone’s dream fantasy girl back in high school, then she got frumpy and fat, and now she’s dead. And now Les is at her funeral, talking to Funky about how her death affects him. This sure seems familiar. I have to assume that BatYam’s high school memories are nothing short of harrowing, given how much he enjoys these revenge arcs, where Les dances on his old high school foils’ rainy, windswept graves. Les wins again.

I’m just relieved that it’s not comic books again. It says a lot about FW when you’re actually pleased to get an arc that’s set in a cemetery. The rain, the windswept graves, the depressing morose banter…I feel like we’re home again.

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Gym-Nauseum

Link To Today’s Farce.

And as we enter the homestretch it’s “the WHS gym” making a TREMENDOUS run for the wire! Yep, it looks like we’re in for lots of sepia-toned “Les is stuck on the gym rope again” flashbacks featuring good ol’ Act I Loser Les! That’s right, folks. Way back when, before he was an award-winning author/martyr/smug obnoxious jerk whose wife tragically died, Les was a hapless dweeb! I know, I know…it’s difficult to believe, but it’s 100% true. In fact, you can visit the official FW archive site and take a gander at those old strips anytime you…oh, wait. Forget that last part.

“Six months ago”??? What? Does the reunion committee meet every two weeks or something? Why were they discussing a venue six months ago? And why didn’t they settle on one? Normally, a story starts making more sense as you add details…but not in the Funkyverse, where up is white and down is sideways and everything is coated with pizza grease, nonsensical developments and retconned nostalgia. And sometimes all the names are wrong too.

Why are there corner thingies in panel one? It’s just a flashback to six months ago, not a cherished old memory of happier days gone by. Either use them right or not at all, Author Guy! Retcon photo album corner thingies are a privilege, not a right.

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Dinner’s Surprising Reappearance

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, now yesterday I’m sure you were thinking, “BChasm says it’ll get worse.  How can it possibly get any worse than this?  It just isn’t possible.”  Well, there you go selling Tom Batiuk short–a mistake you’ll probably think twice before committing again!

And here, today, we finally have it–the entire reason for The Coming Reunion.  Once more bringing out Lisa’s battered corpse so that the whole enterprise can be The Les Moore Show, starring Les Moore, with Special Guest, Les Moore!  “Hey, Les, enough catching up.  Let’s talk about you and your feelings.”

This is truly nauseating.  The space that the slogan occupies on the poster implies that only two people have died from Les’ class (leaving out the fact that Lisa apparently wasn’t in Les’ class).  And so, let’s make sure that the proper one gets worshiped.  Livinia must NOT grab any attention!  I do like the little touch of Lisa herself helpfully pointing with her eyes just where the book should go, then beaming her approval at Mary Sue.   And isn’t it nice that Livinia won’t distract from Lisa by having her own book all about her how her spouse suffered and moaned.  Like the Highlander, there can be only one–even if that one went to a different high school, and graduated in a different year.  Every occasion is an opportunity for Les worshiping Les (assisted by Lisa).  But like the prior question repeatedly asked–why do they need to have a reunion, they see each other every day–there’s another question raised by today’s episode.

Why would Mary Sue Sweetwater need to leave a copy of “Lisa’s Story” for the “In Memoriam” display?

Everyone from Les’ class, as well as everyone else in town, already owns a copy.  They know the story, they are completely aware of it at all times, and they have allowed it to become the dominant narrative in their own lives.  Hey Bull, got turned down for that job?  Well, I got it worse–“Hollywood.”  “Oh, you’re right–Sacred Lisa was about to have her story commercialized.  I’m so sorry for you, Les.”

The Coming Reunion story has now fully grown from a silly story about too much nostalgia into a really creepy episode of self-worship.  (Hey, “Les Whipfors,” a new character.)

My mutant ability to see tomorrow’s Funky Winkerbean (worst X-Man power ever) ends at this point, so I have no idea if I should issue a warning about tomorrow or not…but considering the ride we’ve been on, I think it’s wise to be prepared.

By the way, if you want to see the full cover of “Murdering Les Moore for Dummies” it’s right here.   Before you ask, yes, the fonts are off as it was adapted from a similar book made years ago.  But hey, if Tom Batiuk can recycle things without a care, I guess I can too!

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Lunch’s Unexpected Return

Link to today’s strip.

When I said yesterday, “It gets worse,” you probably thought, “How can it?”  Well, now you know.

Those of you with weak stomachs may want to stop with Les’ first dialogue balloon, in which Les gets someone else to do his work, again, this time quadrupling his own workload to nothing.  Has Les ever done anything?  It sure seems all he does is complain when things are expected of him, and then he moans and weeps until someone else does all the work.   Then he whines about how hard his life is, and, well, you know the rest.

If you’re brave enough to tackle the rest of the strip, let’s press on.  Les has never gotten over the loss of his first wife, and everyone, simply everyone, is completely aware of this and does whatever they can, at all times, to help him heal.   Because no one else in this world has ever lost a loved one.  No one else has ever suffered.  No one else bears the weight of the world like Les Moore.   (It’s no wonder that someone like Wally, who has suffered far more than Les, is a character the strip treats with thinly-veiled contempt.)

Lest you think me callous, I do understand that losing a loved one is a lifelong thing, and that those who’ve left us will always be in our memories.  But looking at Les’ sad, smashable face in panel two, you’d hardly think this was a guy who eventually married another woman, then wrote a comic book about how he’d found new love with his new wife.

Mary Sue’s phrase in panel two seems off to me–if I was sympathetic to Les, I’d say he still loves Lisa, and that’s why he remembers.  Oh well, Mary Sue is, after all, a girl, and they’re not much good for anything in this world, are they.  I’m surprised we didn’t get a third panel of Les patting her on the head and saying “Thank you for trying.”

There’s a phrase that describes Les Moore perfectly.  That phrase is “wallowing in self-pity.”  It’s the sort of thing that a normal person does for a time–possibly a long time–but then picks himself up and moves on.

But not Les Moore.  He’s going to make sure you’re always aware of him, and through this awareness, he’s going to make you suffer.

Oh, before I forget, when I said it “gets worse” yesterday, I left out one thing–it gets even worse tomorrow.

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Breakfast’s Journey Back

Link to today’s strip.

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

You could concentrate on panel one, where Les has off-loaded yet another job to someone else, doubling his contribution of nothing.   Barry looks positively Cory-esque (old school Cory) as he plots some kind of photo-related mayhem.

If you choose to go on to panels two and three, you have just saved a lot of money on an emetic.   Oh, poor, poor, poor Les, always and everywhere to be reminded of his sad loss–a loss that happened well over eighteen years ago, and, after said eighteen years, he–uh, remarried.  Whoops!

A couple days ago I said I wanted to slap Les.  Strips like these make me want to bury an axe in his skull.

It also drives home the occasionally floated idea that Les’ marriage to Cayla was simply Tom Batiuk trying to get some awards.  There is clearly no affection between the Les and Cayla; they’re together only because Mr. Batiuk wanted to be thought of as “with-it” and “hep.”  When that (and the nominations) failed to materialize, Cayla pretty much disappeared as a character.  Last time she did anything was getting all flustered at the thought of Mason Jarr the Movie Actor coming for a visit.   She usually just stands there and beams at her prize man…while he, of course, only has eyes for Lisa.

The shadow of Les hangs over every moment in Westview.  If Tom Batiuk had a month-long story arc in which Les was murdered, I’d cheer.  And the strip would improve greatly–not having to play second fiddle to Les, the other characters would finally start to shine in their own light and the strip would become interesting again.

Naturally, that will never happen.  Which reminds me….

Remember how I implied, “It gets worse” yesterday?  Well guess what–tomorrow, it gets worse.

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The Baffled King Composing Hallelujah

Link to today’s strip.

Okay…I’m going to take a wild stab here and guess that the “state of the ark” thing is supposed to be a joke about…Noah?  (Oooo, too bad last year’s film wasn’t a huge blockbuster–that would’ve helped, right?  Oooo, those year-long waits.)   As, I’m guessing again, the prior DJ’s equipment was commonly used in Biblical times–not at all conducive to repainting those  funky (oops) seventies vibes.  And all those lyrics about cubits!  No wonder the Reunion Committee ladies want something more contemporary (it’s a well known fact that, before building the ark, Noah was well known for hosting some serious raves, but that was, like, aeons ago.  You can read all about it in your Bibles.)

–Uh…huh.   Even I can’t find that premise easy to sustain, and I find it hard to believe anyone, Tom Batiuk included, would write that down and say There.  There’s the next strip.  Granted, he has given us many, many inexplicable punchlines over the years, but I seem to recall they kind of related to the subject at hand.  This one, not so much.  Unless the last DJ decided to forgo the turntables in favor of pottery shards, this is rather dim.

One thing, though–the fervor with which poor Barry is assailed makes me think that, yes, the high school does hold a reunion every year–and it’s the only thing going on in these folks’ lives.  They just go through their sad days, waiting for the magical date to show up, the reminder of when they were happy and the future was rosy.  And all they want is a decent DJ to help the illusion along.  And suddenly…I don’t think these reunion enthusiasts are idiots any longer.  I find them kind of sad, now, people longing after a happiness they’ll never have, fluttering along like a butterfly at the end of its lifespan, desperate not to die for a while longer.

Have I bummed you out?  If so, it’s good practice.  I’ve seen tomorrow, and tomorrow isn’t pretty.

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