Let’s all take a deep breath, and go over today’s strip one panel at a time, shall we? There we see Funky and Holly, Wally and Rachel (with…her son? Robbie? Billy? Who knows?), Tony, and Adeela. But what are they doing in the pizzeria? Two months ago, we learned that Funky had decided to close the place and auction everything off. But in the spirit of the holidays, let’s be charitable, and suppose that the auction has concluded (would’ve liked to have seen some of that), but the lease runs through the end of the year. Since these folks, except that little kid, all work there, maybe they’re putting the last touches on closing up shop…though, that pink neon sign still hangs in the window, and the TV still hangs on the wall. And there are Christmas decorations on the wall that weren’t there when the auction began. Well then, I suppose they’ve gathered for one last nostalgic employee gathering…
Then we get to panel two, and there’s the Montoni’s delivery fleet, parked right out in front. With “brand-new snow tires“! Of course this doesn’t make sense. And after all the other BS that Batty’s shoveled our way, particularly in the past month of strips, this incongruity comes as no surprise. You win, Mr. Batiuk. You’ve spent fifty years establishing these characters and their universe, and have certainly earned the right to throw logic and continuty down the toilet. Our nitpicking nation turns its beady eyes to you. Woo woo woo.
If comic strips can have clip shows. I guess they can have voice overs, too.
No characters are visible today, as (presumably) Funky rambles about how great Montoni’s history wall is. It’s the same irrelevant junk we saw Sunday, except that Mason Jarre is up there now. It’s not even drawn with much more detail.
And it feels out of order in the narrative. Summer has spent the last two days interviewing Tony about Montoni’s history, so she doesn’t need to be convinced Montoni’s has a lot of history she should investigate. Was this supposed to be Monday’s strip?
It even has another rewriting of its own history, calling John Darling a “TV celeb.” Oh, come on! The man’s dying words were a lament that he never got to become a celebrity:
On top of that, we saw John Darling being equated with these ancient fossils barely a month ago.
“Much of Westview’s history has passed through Montoni’s doors.” Yes, it’s amazing that prominent people in a small town have eaten in the town’s only restaurant. Sheesh. Get over yourself.
Today’s strip inspired me to add “backpfeifengesicht” as a tag. The more obnoxious, unfunny, and useless Funky is being, the more proud of himself he is. Look at that gigantic wide-mouth smirk. You could open a Coke bottle on it.
“Westview history” has already turned into “Montoni’s history,” and is now turning into “Funky’s boring life story.” I realize that main characters will be disproportionately represented in a flashback arc like this. But could the strip pretend anyone else exists in this town?
If Montoni’s is a suitable venue for wedding events (and yes, that’s a big if) then it should have hosted dozens of marriages over 50+ years, not just the owner and his friends. Also, Montoni’s was a restaurant long before Funky ran it. Why are there no photos of weddings, receptions, or anything else from that era?
I guess catering doesn’t warrant mention in the history books, since Funky doesn’t mention Cory and Rocky’s recent ceremony. Or the time Montoni’s poisoned an entire wedding party. (hat tip: Comic Book Harriet.)
At least this is a little bit of a flashback. From left to right, I think that’s Jff and Pmm; Funky and his first wife Cindy; Becky and… who is that? That man is way too dashing and blond to be John Howard. Was Becky also previously married? I honestly don’t remember. And of course we have Les and Lisa and their forced, copyright-infringing Funderoos wedding.
The most interesting thing here is the facial hair on the man in the light blue shirt. Who in the Funkyverse had a Van Dyke beard and a Wade Boggs moustache?
For the second day in a row, Funky is telling Summer things about her own family history she should already know. And she’s apparently surprised to learn them.
Blah blah blah.
I’d like to revisit Sunday’s strip, because there was a relevant bit of dialog:
She asked about the history of Westview, and he’s giving her the history of Montoni’s. These are not the same thing, even though the strip acts like they are.
It’s also not clear what narrative purpose this is supposed to serve. This week should be the comic strip equivalent of a clip show, where Summer’s “book research” is a framing device to setup a walkthrough of old stories. But it’s not even giving us that. It’s telling us trivia about old stories it assumes we already know, and doesn’t advance the current story of Summer writing her book. How do you get a clip show wrong? Funky Winkerbean found a way.
It almost feels like Summer is trolling here. Look at that big smirk as she dutifully writes down this useless information… about her own life. How does Summer not already know this story? Especially when there is a book series, a major motion picture, and a one-man fanatical cult devoted to her mother’s life.
Hey, we got an appropriate Halloween visitor after all! The undead.
Tony Montoni is suddenly back from the dead and/or Florida. Or maybe he was just covered in flour the last time we saw him.
He recites the banal details of how the restaurant started, in classic Batiukian style: by listing all the steps in the process. “How did Montoni’s come to be? My father bought an Italian restaurant and renamed it. He smelled like pizza ingredients a lot.” That’s the kind of amazing insight into the human condition that will make Summer’s book an immediate best seller!
Tom Batiuk does not tell stories. He describes procedures. Think about any storyline you’ve ever seen in Funky Winkerbean. Everything is a rote description of the steps involved. Especially when it’s one of his precious publishing stories, where the whole point is to indulge his fantasy that’s the one being praised and fussed over.
What was Lisa’s Story? Fly to Westview. Ask Les to make the movie. Have Les sign the shopping agreement. Fly Les to Hollywood for the pitch meetings. Go to three different production companies. Find one you like. Go to lunch with them. Reach an agreement. Choose a director. Audition actresses. Begin filming. On and on it goes. Lisa’s Procedure was mercifully interrupted by the Point Dume fire procedure: unknown golfers accidentally start fire, fire spreads, Jeff announces plans to visit Bronson Cave, Jeff flies to Los Angeles, Jeff goes to Bronson Cave, Jeff ignores wildfire, Jeff has to be saved from wildfire, etc.
This strip loves to tell you what the procedure is going to be, describe or show every step of the procedure, negotiate irrelevant details, and perform formalities.
Not only is this going to be a boring rehash of unimportant trivia, it’s going to be done in the most tedious way possible. And no pizza box monster.
This week is going to be painful.