Tag Archives: Mason Jarr

How the Mighty Have Fall In.

Link to Today’s Strip.

Comic Book Harriet here! Ready to aim aim high and kick it off, hopefully without slipping and breaking a leg. I wanna thank our resident Spaceman Spiff for caring for us all over the last couple painful weeks. He brought us comforting sarcasm, and a barrel full of witty insights to dull the ache of Batiuk’s broken humor.

Today we get a real treat. The Passion of the Dead St Lisa movie bombed. So all of our comments about Funky Winkerbean gradually morphing into a Judge Parker, where characters are gifted success without merit, must have struck a nerve. Or Batiuk just finally remembered who he was, and is back to his old yanking-the-football ways.

But today is just PACKED with non sequiturs.

The only thing that confused me at first, but that I could make sense of after thinking about it, is that the release date of Lisa’s Story got pushed back. The movie just wrapped a few months ago, so it didn’t have any time to sit on the shelf mostly finished ala No Time to Die or Wonder Woman 1984. But then I remembered that movies get release dates well before they are finished, or have even started filming. And the great LA Firedemic of the vaguely defined ‘last year’ apparently shut down movie production long enough for Marianne Winters to be treated for early stage breast cancer. So yeah, the release date would have been pushed back significantly.

And it is an accurate and believable rendering of what did happen to a bunch of movies in the last couple years. There’s a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to the movies, cancelled, delayed, suspended, and/or dumped to streaming because of the pandemic. I’m actually surprised Batty didn’t decide to go topical-to-the-max and have it released directly to PicFlicks or Hula or whatever the Funkyverse equivalent of a streaming service would be. But apparently it was released in theatres.

And that is what is confusing me. There is no way Les and CauCayla would be learning about the movie bombing from an EMAIL from MASONEE. They went to a wrap party, but didn’t go to the premiere? They didn’t bother to check Box Office Mojo, or Rotten Tomatoes to see how the movie was being received critically or financially?

Les knows what it’s like to drop an anvil in a lake?

It that a popular idiom? I didn’t really know. So I went to grandpa Google and did a phrase search.

It really isn’t that common. Only four pages of results. I found it used a couple times in news articles because Judge Napolitano said it about Russiagate. A really sad blog about a sick kid. A few links to some fanfictions on wattpad…

And then things got weird.

What does this mean? What does any of this mean? Is it poorly translated from a language with ideogrammic elements? Is it some kind of secret code? Some kind of communication between hidden agents among us? It Funky Winkerbean PART of whatever this is? When Tom Batiuk ended today’s strip with “an anvil in a lake,” was he sending a message, recognized only by the few, that now, at last, was the time?

If you’re interested to see what dropping an anvil in a lake looks like, may I suggest this video. Where two Finnish people speaking nearly unintelligible English drop a red hot anvil into a lake and film it, just because, why not? Why not do that? Why not watch that? It makes a lot more sense than Funky Winkerbean most days.


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Together Again for the First Time

Link to today’s strip.

I thought Les had already met Cliff and Vera, but then I thought that Les had nothing to do with Starbuck Jones, so maybe he didn’t meet them before.

So, they’re meeting now. Fine. Make another movie from it, “Les Moore Meets The Killer Klowns From Outer Space.”

Oh, and thanks Batiuk (via Cayla) for telling us how we’re supposed to regard this joke. Just for the record, it’s not cute. It’s not even clever. It barely recognizes as an attempt at humor.

And that’s why these two fossils are here, right? Who wants to bet they never make another appearance during this week? Batiuk just came up with a pun and had to shove it in here.

I could think of a better place he could have shoved it.


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Props for the Props

Link to today’s strip.

I’ve seen a few YouTube clips of conventions where the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation appear, and one of the things they would mention is asking the costume department if they could have their uniforms–especially during the last season, when the show was winding down.

And the costuming department always said “No.” So the brave men and women of the United Federation of Planets would…steal them. Yeah, it goes against the Prime Directive, but I always gave it a pass, since these roles were what gave these folks their careers, so why not grab a souvenir?

The great thing about today’s episode is that, aside from reminding me of the generally entertaining ST:TNG, it also shows that Mason knows how to operate.

It’s day two of “Yeah, we were just going to throw these in the trash, but then we thought, ‘Hey, we could give these to that shmuck Les,’ and we knew you’d be all OMG and squee and like that. And you wouldn’t even notice that as soon as we gave you this crap, everyone at the party would leave to go to the real party. Wait a minute…did I just say all that out loud?” How many times is Les going to be given gifts and praise? Wait–don’t answer that.

It also seems to illustrate Charles‘ observation from Tuesday, Mason’s “speech is just three random statements that have little if anything to do with one another.” “Thanks for the souvenir,” “When we get drunk enough, we steal things.”

And more fetishizing the death props in panel three. This strip is really unhealthy.


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Trolling for Towels

Link to today’s strip.

More praise for the awesomeness of Lisa’s Story and its author, the worst human being on the planet. I could pull the “Badges” quote from yesterday, but honestly it just isn’t worth it.

That should be the Funky Winkerbean motto: It just isn’t worth it.

Maybe on Monday, Mason was talking about Les’ cameo. They’re certainly treating it as if it was the single most important aspect of the production.

Of course, it’s not exactly ringing praise…”Well, we finished the movie about how you agonized and suffered over your feelings while, uh, it says here your wife died. Because of this powerful and emotional experience, we’re giving you this towel.”


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Wheelhouse of Pain

Link to today’s strip.

Author: What is the law?

Mason Jarr: Les Moore is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life, that is the law. Are we not men?

FW Cast (in unison): Are we not men?

Author: What is the law?

Mason Jarr: No Tom Batiuk has ever made a mistake or distorted information. He is, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error, that is the law. Are we not men?

FW Cast (in unison): Are we not men?

Author: What is the law?

Mason Jarr: Research? We ain’t got no research. We don’t need no research. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ research, that is the law. Are we not men?

FW Cast (in unison): Are we not men? We sure aren’t Devo.


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Sentencing The Construct

Link to today’s strip.

I think the original intent here was that Mason would say the production survived various disasters, and Les’ remark was meant to categorize his cameo among said disasters. It’s typical of this strip’s style of “humor,” which is either self-depreciation or a dreadful pun. It’s also typical in that it turns real life suffering into a moment for a horrible person (Les, in this case) to smirk about how he sure suffered too.

But the way Mason’s sentence is built, it sure looks like Les is claiming his cameo is “stellar work.” In which case, ego much, douchebag? Your cameo took take after take, frustrated and angered everyone involved, and actually drove up the budget.

If that’s not the case, then once again Tom Batiuk is taking overweening pride in that which does not exist: his writing ability. He could have taken an extra five minutes and constructed Mason’s dialogue to fix the “joke.” Conversely, I suppose his editors could have fixed it for him, but they’re too busy having a picnic with Bigfoot and Mothman.


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The Happy Masses

Link to today’s strip.

So, it’s another Sunday strip that adds nothing, but takes up a bunch of space.

The main thing I find of interest is the last panel, where Mason apologizes to Les, because “keeping the masses happy” is “a thing now.” Hasn’t it always been?

Dunno how to tell you this, Mason, since you’re apparently a dimwit and cannot learn new things, but “keeping the masses happy” is a major part of the motion picture industry. (Not so much in the comic strip industry, I guess.) Every studio wants their productions to be seen by as many people as possible.

Of course, Lisa’s Story is an Important Art House Film Designated (By The Author, Not The Critics, And Not The People) For Greatness, so naturally it won’t make the masses happy, and it will not be a popular or financial success. It’s just too special for the ordinary dullards who slog back and forth on this planet. Look at them, they pay their bills, they buy their Egg McMuffins, they sometimes drive to the lake so they can eat sandwiches, they might laugh at those late night TV hosts if they’re not too exhausted after their mundane days. *Shudder*

This is yet another manifestation of Batiuk’s idea that people do not know what’s good for them, they do not seek quality art that shows how a super-sensitive man reacts to his wife’s death (and finds fame thereof), but instead are happy to watch Chris Pratt do handstands in a Burger King parking lot while the soundtrack belts out something about “Cartoon Heroes” or maybe Hobbits and Isengard.

“Keeping the masses happy” is the lowest thing a “creative” person can do. (It’s certainly not the way to *cough* win awards, which should be the focus of anyone who dares to call himself an “artist.”) Look to the Oscars: If a movie is popular and is a big financial success, it’s not winning any awards in today’s movie industry.

The people who make movies, though, would love to make the masses happy. It’s how they make their money. I bet, back in the day, they even hoped Radio Ranch would be a smash hit, rather than a future relic fetishized by aging cartoonists.

One other detail here is very, very telling. In the third panel from the end, Mason mentions that the film is based on Les’ life. Not Lisa, but Les. It would have been easy to substitute the word “book” for “life,” but I guess sometimes Batiuk’s ego gets the better of him.

As long as I’m linking crap, why not link this. It’s wonderfully melancholic and yearning at the same time. Heck, it’s Saturday night, I’ll link everything that–oh hello, officer, no, I was just moving on, thank you!


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Tears of a Clod

Link to today’s strip.

I find it very difficult to feel any sympathy for Cayla. She has chosen a life of slavery, and if you think saying that is in bad taste, sorry, but that is exactly what she is in this strip. She’s the third partner in a menage a trois.

The whole relationship (I can’t call it a “marriage”) between Les and Cayla is in very poor taste. Believe it or not, women happen to be people too, and they have wants and desires that have nothing to do with making sure the husband is an object of worship.

This is just bad, all around. This isn’t how human beings act. This is how monsters act.


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Friday the 13th – Jason Takes Ipecac

Link to today’s strip.

In honor of the date, let’s hope Jason Vorhees shows up and butchers the entire cast. Then he turns his machete on the Lisa’s Story. It could certainly use some cutting–I thought this was supposed to be a trailer, not a rough cut of the whole film.

Once again, we’re going through the same stuff. I guess Batiuk thinks people will be touched by this, but the truth is, it’s as boring as it could possibly be. Lisa is so thoughtful, so observant of life all around her, and so in touch with her feelings, and so perfect in every way that she’s as dull as Les.

Lisa’s Story is going to be the most boring movie ever made. Of course, in the Funky Winkerbean universe, it will be praised to the skies as a–no, the–defining moment in the history of cinema.

Why not just go to the awards shop in town and have the folks make up a bunch of them for you?

You might also have them make you a timecode.


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Question the Numbers

Link to today’s strip.

Aw, look at Tom Batiuk, all using film terms and everything! Too bad he has no idea what he’s talking about.

You know what a timecode is, Batiuk? It’s a series of numbers that are displayed on the bottom of the screen, showing the running time and the frame count. I’ve never heard of a timecode used on a trailer; typically it’s used on raw footage so the film-makers can see what happened when while they were filming a movie. It helps with the editing process, because the director can say “I like camera 3, from 15:05 to about 17. After that, camera 2 is much better.” It allows the film-makers more accuracy in choosing takes and assembling scenes.

I don’t know why you’d put it on a trailer. Maybe you’re trying to impress a hayseed douchebag, by bamboozling him with your jargon?

But that’s okay, Tom, because you know what’s not on your trailer? A timecode. It ain’t there on screen, hayseed.

To your credit, there’s not a Time Cube on there either. I guess you aren’t educated stupid.


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