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?