Tag Archives: Melinda

A Picture is Worth a Dozen Words

Batiuk has long relied on the “photo album corners” visual cue when depicting flashbacks to past events. He uses that device once again in today’s strip to confusing effect. Are we seeing the photo that Holly is holding in her hands? Why is that photo talking? If Holly’s photos aren’t collected in a photo album, why does this one have photo album corners? There are other head-scratching details to unpack as well. There are apparently enough majorette pics to staple together and make a movie, yet there’s only one single photo of Holly as a baby…and she’s not even in it? I get the feeling too that Batty had an extra baton twirling joke, and decided to use it up in the middle panel. It really doesn’t have much to do with what’s being said in the panels surrounding it.

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Wigged Out

It’s a hell of a mishap when a flying pole with burning rags wrapped around both ends gets away from the majorette. It might cause the football field to catch fire, as Buck Bedlow can tell-not-show you. Which is a funnier circumstance than that of a girl forced to spend her teenage years hiding hideous, painful deformity to please her twirler mom. Oh, and the spelling you want in panel 2 would be “trouper.”

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Asbestos You Can Get

At least in this case we know that the red blur in the picture isn’t a ball of fire.  It’s Holly, in her classic Scapegoat majorette uni. I don’t know what’s worse: a “fireproof” garment that leaves your extremities exposed, or one that’s made out of material that can potentially cause cancer. Why not both?

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Girl on Fire

beckoningchasm
September 12, 2021 at 10:36 pm
Interesting that the only color we see on the photos is blotchy red. Are these photos of shooting victims?

J.J. O’Malley
September 13, 2021 at 10:37 pm
…[A]ll the photos appear to black and white with occasional splotches of red. Was Fun…er, Holly taking pictures at a screening of “Schindler’s List”?

billytheskink
September 13, 2021 at 10:24 am
Given all of the red smears on the photos…I’m guessing most of these “old” photos date back to Holly’s days as a red-and-white clad high school majorette…

December 3, 2013

Kudos to the above-quoted snarkers  whose beady, nitpicking eyes were drawn to the red splotches in nearly all of Holly’s photos. Those are all great (and funny) guesses, but apparently the pictures depict teenage Holly engulfed in flames.

The flaming baton gag dates back to the Act I days, and it is amusing to imagine it going horribly awry. It’s a little less amusing to imagine it causing disfiguring burns. And it becomes horrifying when we learn that her mother’s response was to schedule Holly’s yearbook photos accordingly. Also, disfiguring burns aside, Holly needn’t be so modest about her “skill” with a flaming baton. After all, she was still good enough, years later, to show a Xenon warrior just how it’s done.

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Maybe We Could Do the Twirl

Try saying “Twirling Tots” five times fast, I dare ya! Holly has settled into her ponderous pandemic picture project and is actually enjoying a little quality mother-daughter time. I don’t think I noticed until just this week that Melinda is drawn with the same weird, wide cartoony eyes that Holly had in her majorette days, and even when she was still a “Tot.”

Holly has been pictured in this outfit before. She’s wearing this uniform and boonie hat in her picture that hangs on  Montoni’s Wall of Fame. I started searching the archives to find the strip that shows this, but quickly became flustered, and I soon found myself sitting cross legged on the living room floor, being comforted by my mother. I’m going to need another pandemic to find it, har! har! har!

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Photobombed

I’m always forced to admit it when I find an FW character’s situation relatable to my own. My family photos aren’t collected in neat, tidy albums. They live in boxes and bags in the attic, and I need to, one of these days, take the time to sort and organize them. It’s a daunting task, to be sure, and that’s why I keep putting it off. But when I do find myself going through old photos, the memories they hold always bring a smile to my face. In today’s strip, Holly appears to be utterly distraught as she cowers on the floor amidst her family snapshots.

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Patterns of Force

Link to today’s strip.

Pathetic. That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw this strip. I’ve just got to remain relevant, but this pandemic messed up all my plans! Well, I’m sure I can shoehorn in something, right at the end, and remain one of the cool kids, one of the strips that resonate with today’s youth! Because otherwise, how can I grab those sweet, sweet awards?

I know a lot of people were taking the comics page to task for not adapting to the pandemic. I wasn’t one of those people; the comics page is not reality and it is not required to do anything other than entertain. But today’s strip is really galling. Batiuk is trying to have it both ways, by acknowledging the pandemic, and yet not having it interfere with his year-long planning.

Because which of the stories last year could he possibly have pulled in order to address the situation? Well, how about all of them?

Without cheating by clicking on the “Act III” button in the banner, I can’t think of anything significant that happened in 2020. And I bet that’s because nothing did. I’m not talking about “events” because “events” happen all the time. I’m talking about things that make a difference in the strip. Actual changes, the things he touts over and over as his accomplishments.

Again, not cheating by clicking, I doubt anything of significance occurred. (You can beat me up in the comments.) Batiuk isn’t having it both ways, he’s throwing it away both ways.

This is the sort of strip that makes me think Tom Batiuk should have retired a long, long time ago. That Sunday strip where child Summer turned into teenage Summer, and inaugurated Act III, should have been the end. Because this, as mentioned above, is pathetic.

And…that’s it from me. Tune in tomorrow when your host will be the always erudite, always entertaining Epicus Doomus.

As long as I’m plugging some of my favorite animators, here’s Graham Annable, aka Grickle. This one always makes me laugh. It’s a little over a minute long.

This next one is a bit more ambitious, and I’d advise you not to watch it late at night. Three minutes long, and scarier than Stephen King.

See you in the funny papers!

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And Not A Creature Was Stirring, Except In Mort’s Pants

Link To Today’s Strip

Good old horndog Morton, fully recovered from his advanced Alzheimer’s disease and as randy as ever. Gross. I honestly forgot all about Melinda, who apparently still lives with Funky and Holly in Pizza Mahal. And Cory and Rocky…apparently they’re still characters in the strip. Who knew? Other than the fact that they’re engaged we really know very, very little about Cory and Rocky. Comic books, pizza, the army, engaged…and that’s about it. They’ve had one or two arcs at most over the last six or seven years and those were when he first came marching home.

Where do they live? Where do they work? What do they do? Why are they even in the strip in the first place? Continuity? That’s, uh, “inconsistent”, let’s say. As far as Morton is concerned I don’t want to belabor the point as I’ve ranted about it many times, but his transformation from “advanced dementia patient” to “sassy and adorable old coot” is one of the more offensive things BatYarn’s done over the course of Act III. He milked that Alzheimer’s arc for a shitload of pathos, it really takes a lot of balls to just suddenly drop it and have Mort jamming with jazz combos and hitting on elderly women.

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Am I My Mother-in-Law’s Keeper?

Yeah, Holly’s all smiles today, but all week she’s done nothing but kvetch about her mother leaving the house a mess and maxing out the DVR. Funky, meanwhile, is considering renovating the guest bathroom for the old gal. OK, he could have phrased it a little better, but Funky expresses genuine concern for Melinda. His attitude towards his mother-in-law has softened considerably in the year since Melinda decided to make her stay permanent, but it’s not enough to spare him the old side-eye from the missus.

Programming note: Saturday’s, Sunday’s, and Monday’s strips are all unavailable for preview. I’ll post placeholders, but you’ll have to hold your snark til midnight EST.

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Silver-Tongued Drivel

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.

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