Link To Today’s Banality
I’ve often joked that if BatYak’s glacially-paced little “stories” moved any slower they’d start unfolding backwards, but I never thought it’d actually happen. But here we are, witnesses to his most brazen labor-saving contrivance yet…starting already in-progress arcs from the beginning again. He just did it with the Bull arc and now he’s doing it again by pretending that Melinda is just arriving at Funky’s house now, even though we all know this not to be the case. This isn’t just another nit-picky continuity error, he’s omitting entire story lines and just starting them over again like they never happened, which sort of defeats the entire “serialized” format itself.
I did enjoy the askew lampshade, traditionally used to symbolize disorganization/squalor/disarray and/or askewicity. It’s a delightful little touch, one that really drives home the point of how Melinda is unpacking and moving in after just arriving from Florida. It’s unusual to see such attention to detail in a story that just totally ignored literally every other detail. Melinda’s brutally downbeat response to Funky’s musty old attempted gag is classic Batiuk too, as having her crack a smile might be construed as a development in their vaudevillian mother-in-law/son-in-law relationship and God forbid he lets any character growth slip through quality control, as it could invalidate his CK contract and force him into the book signing circuit full-time. And no one wants that.
Link To Today’s Real Strip
In case you missed it, yesterday’s actual strip featured Crazy, Holly, a Flash T shirt and a really dumb menopause gag. The fake one was way better, quite frankly. Anyhow, Funky is down in Florida, supervising Melinda’s looming move back to the mid-central Ohio valley and all heck is apparently breaking loose, as Funky is already completely overwhelmed by having to put some Hummel figurines and Franklin Mint collector plates in a box. Can’t these idiots EVER just do something without bellyaching about it for six days at a time?
I’m not sure which is funnier, Holly’s brutally fractured syntax or Melinda’s vintage 1925 parlor. Sometimes I just don’t understand Batiuk’s world at all, man. On top of that, Melinda is Holly’s mother, so why isn’t SHE down there doing this? I’m sure Wally and Adeela can hold down the fort, provided there aren’t any air raid drills scheduled this week.
Link To Today’s Strip
Mother-in-laws….amirite? I mean come on. What’s a fella to do? One dame at home is plenty and I already have a dog to fetch my pipe, slippers and tumbler of scotch, thank you very much. What an old bag and so forth. And now the Copa is proud to introduce…Mr. Henny Youngman!
So another three hundred and sixty-five FW strips are in the bag. It sure looks like a lot when you spell it out like that. I mean you can say the same thing about any Act III year but man, 2018 was a real shit pile, even by FW standards. Exactly four things happened in FW in 2018.
Pete and Boy Lisa left Hollywood and began working for a whimsical Ohio-based komix book company. Mindy later joined them. They presumably still work there.
Wally, who may or may not be over the worst of his PTSD, invited his apparently estranged daughter Rana to Thanksgiving dinner. She accepted.
Bull’s rushing record was broken.
Funky’s mother-in-law visited Westview for a band competition and may remain there until she dies.
Pete and Boy Lisa’s unholy alliance with Chester was by far the dominant story arc of 2018 but even so, after all that time and all that toil he’s still only at the “they work there now” part of the story, which is exactly where it’ll resume and exactly where it’ll end next time as well. And what did we learn about our old pal Wally during his nearly two month long forced march of an arc? Well, apparently he’s “almost” about to graduate and he “seems” to be “doing better”, which is hardly news. He did invite his apparently estranged and seldom-seen daughter to dinner, though, which is where the story left off. Yup, that’s some real compelling character development right there.
Pervert Mort made a late run there at the end but the RRRRRRRR thing in the Wally arc was probably the single dumbest FW moment of the year in my opinion. 2018’s SoSF Most Reviled Player award (the “Les Moore Award”) goes to Les Moore, obviously, although the overall lack of Les was 2018’s sole bright spot. Pete and Boy Lisa are co-runners-up, though. It’s easy to forget now but that AK idiocy went on for freaking months.
Link To Today’s Strip
Impending climactic doom, neglected old gravesites hiding the bones of dead friends…Happy Holidays from your friends at Funky Winkerbean and King Features! Man, this Melinda sure is a barrel of laughs. You already know how I feel (and vice versa) regarding Author Guy’s reliance on adorable old coot humor so I won’t go into that again, but they’ve been popping up like mushrooms in the strip for the last few years. Cliff, Vera, Phil Holt, New And Improved Morty, his pals at the home and now Melinda. The average age of the characters in FW must be up around seventy or eighty by now. Even if it were funny (and it isn’t) it’d still be weird, especially when you realize he already has another comic strip that’s jam-packed with zany and depressing old coots. Which is already one too many.
Link To Today’s Strip
Holly’s look in panel three really says it all. I’m assuming that The Corporal is approximately twenty-three or twenty-four years old. He defused live bombs in Afghanistan and he is currently engaged to a mute woman. Yet for some reason he’s almost infantile today, blubbering about “visiting Disney” which, to my knowledge, has never “happened” in the strip. And Cory, bless his pointy little head, never came across as being a Disney World kind of guy either.
IMO the way everyone just completely ignored Cory’s miraculous transformation has been one of Act III’s more annoying (recent) developments. For a few years there Cory was the strip’s “bad guy”, an incorrigible scowling hoodlum who (gasp!) stole from Lisa’s Legacy, always had his hair in his eyes and had no use for anyone, generally speaking. Then he comes home and he’s suddenly Opie Cunningham but no one seems surprised in the least. It’d be like if Summer suddenly re-appeared with long curly hair and a jaunty sundress.
Link To Today’s Strip
Finally, at long last, I can stop typing “Holly’s mom” over and over and over again. It’s one of the unforeseen pitfalls of following this strip, the way Batom forces me to train my muscle memory to repeatedly type otherwise bizarre and useless phrases hundreds of times, like “band mattresses”, “Atomik Komix” and “smug bearded piece of shit”. Anyhow, her name is Melinda. OK then.
When in doubt, drag some mother-in-law gags out. The very last thing FW needs is ANOTHER adorable old coot character but it would appear that this “Melinda” is THIS CLOSE to becoming another FW regular. I will tactfully refrain from pointing out that long-range climate change would probably not have all that much of an impact on a ninety year old woman but hey, FW has NEVER shied away from Topical Issues That Affect Us All, especially somewhat vague references to said Topical Issues. Personally speaking, I’d LOVE to see a four month long arc about Melinda’s house sinking into the Atlantic Ocean but that’s just me.