After a week of Holly being cripplingly insecure, she now is trying to infect others with her self-doubt.
Cindy is a good call to try and make self-conscious. Her entire tenure as character, Cindy has been consistently portrayed as brimming with self-confidence ONLY when arbitrary ‘success’ conditions she’s built up in her mind have been met. She’s like a popularity Pharisee, as long as she’s safely within the Talmud of Flawlessness, she’s a self-righteous zealot.
But you take her ONE INCH from the straight and narrow, and she collapses. And this was worse when she was younger. When not having a date for New Year’s Eve had her hiding out at McArnolds with LES MOORE, because it broke some unwritten mental rule of hers.
And she has a history of jealousy when it comes to her romantic partners.
But yes. Cindy’s jealousy. Maybe not completely misplaced when it came to Funky and Rachel.
But, of course, she’s also been jealous of Masonee Jarree.
But it is LAUGHABLE that Cindy would be jealous of the Westview Women Lumps on display today. Marianne and Rachel were both women YOUNGER than her and lauded as attractive. Cindy is still miles above anyone else female at the reunion. Even with the crippling scoliosis she’s been stricken with in panel 1.
This, this is the ultimate power FANTASY. Parading your delicious arm candy to all the dowdy hausfraus in Ohio. Beneficently allowing all the ugly old geese a moment to pose with your prize.
I mean, who could be jealous of ‘scribbles’ and ‘Jan’? Who even is Jan?
Is she some late Act I graduate I’m unfamiliar with? Why not Cindy’s old wingwoman, Carrie?
So that is my headcanon now. These two ladies posing with Masone are Marcia and Jan. They crashed the reunion in order to meet a movie star. They’re a good 8-10 years older than everyone else, but everyone is so dumpy looking no-one can tell.
I stared at today’s strip for hours. Trying to decide if I was amused, offended, or bored.
On the one hand, valued commenter The Dreamer foresaw this strip yesterday.
I’m waiting for Cindy to show up. At the 50 year reunion, standing with all her old geezer classmates, still looking 25 years old with her great body and younger movie star boyfriend Mason Jarr…..
And I’m getting sick of Holly Budd Winkerbean being so mopey and self-conscious. A single strip of it is relatable, a week of it is exhausting.
On the other hand, it’s at least a structured joke. Again, the nature of my own parents’ relationship skews how I’m seeing things. They tease each other mercilessly. My mom once joked that my dad was going to leave her for his old college girlfriend, and my dad just scoffed.
“It would take too long to train someone else.”
And they laughed, sitting in their cluttered dining room wearing sweatpants and baggy t-shirts, sipping coffee from out-of-season Christmas mugs that never got put away. They were both in on the joke, that learning to put up with someone new, a whole new set of pet peeves, failings, wants, and triggers would be too exhausting. And beneath the ribbing is always the stubborn kind of unconditional love that has them picking ditch side tiger lilies and cooking enough pot roast to last a week because they know that’s just the thing to make the other smile.
But when I peeled the lens of my own experience away, I was lost. My sense of objectivity completely wrecked. I was seeing, but I had completely lost the ability to understand.
So I asked some of my normie friends. All women between 29 and 40. Some single, some in relationships. None with kids. People who know of Funky Winkerbean, and this blog, because of me ranting at them. But not people who could tell a Jessica from a Mindy at 100 paces. I sent them today’s strip and just said.
PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS STRIP. Positive, negative, neutral, confused, whatever I just want some normie outsider perspective on it.
“It feels like he’s making like a lame mid-90s, sitcom joke about how women are difficult. Because two wives would be double the nagging and emotions or something?”
“ahem Wifey here is exhibiting a behavior promoted by our culture where women are encouraged to fight or tear each other down because #thepatriarchy. She is heckin intimidated by Cindy and is asking for reassurance from hubby. Hubby, instead of giving her blind reassurance that he only has eyes for wifey, ~apparently~ gives the wrong answer. – Signed, the token liberal (What this means coming from this comic in particular heckin idk.)
“I am now overthinking it. I think my initial thought was “I’m not sure I get the joke.” Upon further reflection, It is hard to say if he was going for ha ha two wives how silly or a sweet I’d have always have fallen in love with you sentiment. I’m going to be charitable and say he was going for sweet & snarky.”
“Blah. That’s my reaction to this. Just blah. If my partner said that to me, I’d feel pretty gross about the relationship.”
“If he’s fully joking, man is he playing with fire. Let’s reverse the roles. Husband is all “Man Steve is looking like a million bucks today. Do you still wish you were married to Steve?” And then wife says: “Don’t be silly! Then I’d have two husbands!” I don’t think husband would appreciate that response.”
“Side note, I do think him saying “well then I’d have two wives” might be an attempt to poke fun at her for even asking about wishing he was still married to Cindy. It’s pretty lame, but it somehow has the same energy as five-year-old me asking my Dad how he did something that, at the time, seemed incredible but wasn’t really. He’d always tell me that he was a wizard.”
“The second thing is that some of the guys I dated in Utah always liked to float the idea of having more than one wife.”
“Based on everything I have ever heard about Utah this, somehow, super doesn’t surprise me? God, why is Utah so weird.”
“Also also. Because apparently I’m not done yet, damn you. Like, look at this face.”
“It is quite a face. Little dots for eyes. But like for me, in a way, her comment kind of comes off as more casual? I don’t think she’s fussed specifically about Cindy.”
“But also I can see the 50th anniversary banner for the reunion in the background. Which just makes Cindy seem more jarring to me, considering the subject matter. Because they’re all pushing into their 70s at least. Which means Cindy has one hell of an exercise routine and a love for Botox, probably. Which, you know. Bodybuilding grandmas are a thing.”
“Side note – it’s kind of funny to me that big Hollywood stars like Cindy and Mason Jar would care to kick it back to podunk small town whereveritisville for a high school reunion. Iunno. Maybe it’s just because I’ve never made it to a reunion myself and the last one they tried to put together fell apart because no one was gonna show up.”
So, there you have it. Some normie opinions on today. As close as we can get to that hypothetical newspaper reader who occasionally catches a strip or two while flipping through the paper. The only thing skewing the sample is that all of my friends are just as into hyper-analyzing media as we are here. You give us something to dissect and we start gleefully pinning it down and pulling the wings off.
Marianne does NOT look like someone who is willing to give away her Oscar in the first today’s strip. No, she’s looking at that Oscar the way most characters in this strip look at comic books.
The rest of this is as rote and pat as an Oscar acceptance speech can be, so let’s have some fun with another crowd shot of “famous” faces. Help me fill in the blanks and fix the mistakes where my corrective lenses deceived me.
In today’s strip, Marianne is coming off as not simply composed but rehearsed, belying the nerves and words she had just a few days ago. Or maybe Marianne is just that good of an actress and really is worthy of that Oscar… I have to admit, only a great actress could say that Mason and Lisa’s Story deserve Academy Award nominations without breaking out in riotous laughter.
Let’s look at some odds on who this Oscar-worthy “very special person” is:
Uh, points for brevity, I guess, though in this case it is most certainly not the soul of wit… or any other word positively associated with writing. In the absence of anticipation as to whether or not Marianne will win the little golden man statuette, we have the ridiculousness of professional actress Marianne (and no stranger to public speaking and media attention) not having any remarks prepared despite having an apparent one-in-three chance of winning. This is compounded by the ridiculousness of her asking advice on accepting an award from a guy whose work outside of Lisa’s Story and Starbuck Jones consisted of Dino Deer, My Dog Pookie, and being incredibly nervous about simply doing a table read (!!!) for the unfinished masterpiece that was Lust For Lisa.
Today’s strip begs the classic 5 Ws (and an H) of writing. It also begins the Oscars story Variety promised last month. Yeah, I thought that maybe if I buried the lede it would stay in the ground, but alas.
Who is Mason talking to on the left? Wait, he calls her Marianne… that’s supposed to be Marianne Winters? The lady with the pentagon head and the pigtail-bun hairstyle my niece insisted on wearing when she was a toddler is Marianne Winters?
What is with TB’s willingness to use Hulu and HBO’s trademarked names but still insist on sticking to the eyeroll-inducing “Netbusters”?
When does TB think the Academy Awards ceremony takes place? We’re three weeks out from this year’s Oscars broadcast… Does that mean? Oh no, please no. I really hope TB just got the dates wrong.
Where is the “chateau” where this “real party” is happening? Chateau Marmont? Haha, really? I guess if you don’t know… then you don’t know. I’m in no hurry to find out, either.
Why are Cliff Anger and Vera Nash here? Neither one was involved in the Lisa’s Story movie at all… well, other than inexplicably being at the film’s wrap party.
How is this story going to end? Insufferably, no doubt. I don’t think any other outcome is possible.
Today we can add one more slim slice of evidence to our profile of the Pizza Monster. He is someone who would shout to his victim that he’s been ‘Punked!’ You know, something giggling teens told each other circa 2004.
The comments section has been busy considering suspects for days. Much of the speculation has involved the helicopter. While just about any tall, slim, white man could have pulled off the prank the previous years, this helicopter stunt is a dangerous and potentially expensive endeavor.
Maxine of Arc crunched the numbers earlier this week,
I decided to do a quick run on Grandpa Google to find out how much it would cost to charter a helicopter in Ohio. One of the first results is for Cleveland helicopter tours (look I don’t know, I’ve never been there, maybe there’s lots to see) and it appears you can get a 10-minute sightseeing tour for around $100, half an hour for ~$240. So the mere existence of a helicopter doesn’t necessarily mean the PBM is made of money. Now, to get a helicopter to drop you on a roof in the middle of town, that will probably have to run you some extra bribe money, but even so, if this is the highlight of the PBM’s sorry existence, they could have been planning this since last year.
So I don’t think we’re limited only to Chester Moneybags. A couple of high school kids with part time jobs chipping in might be able to make it work.
While I agree with her assessment that simply hiring a helicopter wouldn’t be out of the price range of most of the cast, this is more than that. This helicopter pilot was willing to fly low over a small city, precariously dangling a man in an unwieldy box costume hundreds of feet off the ground. He was willing to participate in a stunt so dangerous it would make Tom Cruise balk. If the Pizza Monster dies, he could be legally liable. He would definitely lose his pilot’s license. He’s probably breaking the law even IF the stunt goes off without a hitch. That’s more than just some bribe money. That is someone who is either being paid a HECK of a lot, someone who owes significant favors, or someone just as crazy and daring as the Pizza Monster himself.
The existence of the helicopter was a big clue. And in the comments section we seem to have narrowed things down to four hypotheses.
One hypothesis is a coordinated effort of multiple people. (I loved ian’sdrunkenbeard’s ICE theory yesterday. That’s the creativity I keep coming back for.) Of course, this year, the Pizza Monster has to have at least one accomplice in the helicopter pilot, but there could be more. Maybe someone is the daredevil, and another the financier. So this theory can work in tandem with the three main suspects I’ve seen.
1.) Mason Jarre.
2.) Wally Winkerbean.
3.) Someone so wacky that it doesn’t even make sense. (I saw Buck, Flash Freeman, Cliff Angere (too old?) Bernie Silver, Lisa, Sadie Summers.)
To this I will ad, briefly, Darin Fairgood being financed by Chester Hagglemore. No one has mentioned it, but I haven’t ruled it out yet, since it is, on paper, plausible.
So today, lets make up a dossier on Mason Jarre, using the template pioneered by ‘be ware of eve hill’ and furthered developed by Banana Jr. 6000 and Suicide Squirrel.
Suspect: Mason Jarre
1.) Mason fits the physical description. He is tall, white, slim, and suitably athletic.
2.) Mason is portrayed as wealthy and loose with his money. He owned two houses in the L.A. area simultaneously and has chartered flights to Westview before. He would have the means to hire a helicopter pilot, and bribe him into breaking the law.
3.) Mason is Bi-Polar. The lows of which have never really come up in the strip. But we’ve seen numerous indications of his impulsivity. He is portrayed as someone who gets an idea, and just runs with it, no matter how crazy.
4.) Mason is an action movie star, who has in the past showed a willingness to risk his own life.
5.) Mason is familiar with Montoni’s, having been there many many many times over the years. He knows Funky well enough to have his cell phone number.
Motives: 1.) Mason is married to Funky’s ex-wife. Though everything seems amicable now, it could be that he enjoys messing with Funky to punish him for the years where Funky was a lousy husband to Cindy,
2.) Mason is also at least a casual friend of Funky’s. He could be doing this from a misguided notion that he’s adding a little needed excitement to Funky’s life.
3.) The first Pizza Monster incident came right after Mason and Cindy were in Westview for Bull’s funeral. Maybe was hoping to provide a zany distraction from the grief.
4). He’s just a weird guy who likes doing weird things to the tiny town he’s adopted as his own because he’s a bored thrill-seeker. Like an impulsive Lightning McQueen.
Chance of Being the Pizza Monster: Maybe? Mason Jarre fits the profile. He has means and opportunity. But is the motive too flimsy?
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. ThePassion 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.
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.