Link to today’s strip.
First, hats off to SpaceManSpiff85, who had to suffer through one of the strip’s worst storylines in recent memory. Glad to see you lived through it.
As for today’s offering, well thank whatever gods frown down on us that “Lisa’s Story” is no longer the focus. I’m not sure what’s beginning here, but it almost looks like…whimsy? Can Tom Batiuk do whimsy? I’d have thought that he felt such things were beneath him, but who really knows.
At any rate, looks like someone’s build a costume out of pizza boxes. I’m guessing it’s Corey.
Ugh, this is one of my least favorite parts of this strip. Something ostensibly good happens to someone (Les is getting paid money to make a movie out of their book, meaning there’s at least a chance a story he cares about will speak to people in a new medium, and at the very least more people will read the book, also MONEY, how does that not mean anything to a public school teacher with two daughters in their seventh year of college), and he reacts to it like he just sat on a turd and he’s too crushed with despair to do anything about it but moan.
Even if you want to look at it Les’s way, where he’s worried his beautiful story will be ruined (How exactly do you glamorize “woman dies of cancer”?), he has to just sit around like a wimp about the whole thing, like he’s still the nerd who had his lunch money robbed by Bull (since Batiuk is so clearly still obsessed with high school). Grow a spine and say no if it’s so painful, Les. Especially since you’ve been down this exact road before. “Gosh, I guess three people who have no real role in my life thing I should do something I’m dreading, well okay, what can you do.”
I know Campbell’s idea of the Hero’s Journey can be cliché often, but it’s worlds better than the Batiuk Method. Here’s some famous tales, as redone by Tom Batiuk;
The Aeneid-Aeneas loses his home of Troy, then sits in the ashes of his home until he dies from lung cancer.
Paradise Lost-Lucifer is cast from heaven, then spends eternity laying where he fell moaning “Why me?”.
Star Wars-Luke whines about the droid he bought blowing up, shrugs and just figures that’s how life is and goes home without doing anything about it.
The Lord of the Rings-Frodo hands over the One Ring to the first Ringwraith because clearly he wants it, and it’s a long walk, and he tried his best, but sometimes things just don’t work out, but he does plan to go home and write a bestseller about it.
Wow, if Holly uses her one line for the year to endorse Lisa’s Story Done Right, then it must be real important to her. I mean, yeah, her story might be interesting too, since it’s a story of raising a kid by yourself, overcoming cancer, and finding love again and remarrying, but this is all about Lisa.
Actually Holly’s story is way better than Lisa’s, to be honest. Lisa’s story is “Lisa got cancer and died”. Holly’s is about overcoming something horrible and finding new life. Which really does sound like it would make a much, much better movie. I really don’t get what’s so important or inspiring about “a fairly unlikeable woman gets cancer and dies from it” where everyone thinks it would just be amazing movie and cultural touchstone, but whatever, it’s all Lisa Lisa Lisa. Lisa. Lisa.
Can someone please explain what the deal is with Montoni’s and coffee? Cindy and Mason don’t have coffee so it’s not breakfast time, and I don’t think Montoni’s even serves breakfast anymore. I’d say the majority of what Cindy and Funky do there is carry around a carafe. I think it’s just Batiuk’s way of showing “hey, these people are in a restaurant” without actually showing any real work. Really though, “Let’s go to the pizzeria for some coffee” sounds kind of gross to me.
So . . . Lisa still lives, and her and Les have an adopted Hispanic son? The title will still be Lust for Lisa? That all was great? Literally the only thing wrong with it was that Les wrote the script? I know it’s an incredibly pointless question, but I really wonder if Batiuk even thinks about this stuff while he’s writing it, let alone going back and reviewing it once it’s done.
If there’s one skill Batiuk has, it’s always finding a new rock bottom. It’s like he listened to everyone making fun of the original Lisa’s Story Movie Storyline and his reaction was “Oh yeah, jerks? You think the Lisa worship was bad before? You got sick of Les being idolized years ago? Just you wait, you beady-eyed nitpickers!”
And the dialogue is just hideous here. Mason wants to take a selfie of him wearing what? The idea of playing Les? When exactly did Cindy come up with that idea? If you really don’t want to sleep anytime soon, let’s just assume it was in the bedroom.
“Oh, Mason, I’m getting kind of tired of you dressing up like Starbuck Jones. How about tonight you pretend to be a real hero, Les Moore?”
Honestly that’s probably less sickening than what’s actually going on in this strip. Going back to the comments recently about the incredibly minor role religion plays in this strip, if things keep going the way they’re going we’ll end up with literal Les worship soon. That’s essentially where we are now. Tomorrow could just be a single panel of Mason and Cindy bowing before Les and kissing his feet and it wouldn’t seem out of place at all.
What on earth is the right way to do Lisa’s Story? True to life, where it just focuses on Les’s reaction to everything, and skips right over the really difficult and interesting part of how he adjusts to life without her? Or focusing on the ridiculous medical paperwork mishap that anyone who saw it in a movie (or a comic) would say is just laughably bad writing?
Actually I think it’s pretty clear what “the right way” means. Lisa Must Die. Because serious art requires beloved characters to die in a very serious, very profound way. Except Bull. Bull you just knock off as quick as possible so you can get to Lisa. Again.
That “Cindy…?” is hilarious to me. “Formerly hot girl I used to stare at in high school and have no real meaningful relationship with, do you think I should make this beg life decision? Because yours is the only opinion that matters to me, way way more than my secondary wife’s.”
I had no idea playing the lead in one (or is two now?) sci-fi movies opens enough doors for you where you can just create movies by yourself. And this is another in the long tradition of Batiuk using “witty” or “funny” sayings that really make no sense, apart from not being funny at all. The doors are already opened, Les. I don’t think it matters what’s on the other side.
Do you think that’s still Cindy there, or just a blonde wig on a stick? They’d both work about as well in their job of sitting quietly while the menfolk handle business, which is all Cindy has done since Les showed up.