Today’s strip marks Summer’s first appearance since… oh wait, yeah, sorry, that’s (Marianne) Winters, not Summer.
Summer actually has appeared in this strip as recently as 7 weeks ago, which is not something you could often say since she graduated high school. Even so, it’s kind of remarkable that Les and Cayla have interacted more over the past few years with a now-Oscar-winning actress than they have with their own children, both of whom (still!) appear to go to Kent State… less than an hour away from where Westview is generally considered to be.
And by “remarkable” I mean 1/4 inch AU from reality. I think I would have found it more relatable and more entertaining had we focused instead on the adventure that must have been Marianne’s efforts to bring an Oscar stuffed in a small drawstring bag through a TSA checkpoint.
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.
Here is today's strip
Is it worse than we all feared
Or simply as bad
If I was popcorn
I would be quite offended
By this portrayal
Les hated this film
Why would he even watch this
Was happy it failed
In this case, "writer"
Would not describe Les as he
Did not write the script
This deserves more scorn
I'm a skink, I can't rant, so
I'm counting on you
Rip this thing to shreds
Kill it with all of the fire
Or just acetone
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:
Quite the crowd on hand in today’s strip, with the first panel serving as the Batiukverse equivalent of the semi-famous crowd reaction photo from the 2017 Academy Awards’ wrong envelope incident. While the crowd of stars watching Marianne are not quite of the same wattage as those in the 2017 audience, I still spy some big names.
OK, I don’t know who this is, but his mouth is huge
The shirtless Nazi who gets shredded by a propeller in Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Dorothy Hamill (what’s with all the sports people?)
The entirety of today’s strip is going be spent on that same “picture the audience naked” advice from the last strip? This is where the story arc has decided to stall during the requisite Funky Winkerbean storyline doldrum?
Heck, we skipped right over Marianne being presented her Oscar… I’m assuming this is because Rick Burchett isn’t around to draw Conan O’Brien. I’m torn on whether that is a good thing or not. On one hand, there could be some level of unintentional comedy in seeing the cowering, flop sweating trainwreck Marianne from today’s first panel struggle to not fumble the Oscar hand-off from Anthony Hopkins. On the other hand, such a scenario would probably wind up being an even more insufferable attempt at making Marianne endearing than today’s strip.
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.
But wait, BC, there’s a third option: reprint that eco-sermon from 1972 in every ish of their new comic. That wouldn’t be too preachy, would it? Many of you have pointed out that the Stan Lee “quote” was addressing pollution, not climate change. While both topics are of course related, climate change has only more recently been regarded as a threat. By characterizing it as “climate damage,” Pete’s making Flash and Stan sound like they were ahead of their time.
J.J. O’Malley February 26, 2021 at 11:43 pm
I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I almost want there to be a complete tour of the new and “improved” Chateau Winkerbean tomorrow, just so our six days of sloughing through (apparently) one very repetitive day-long conversation won’t have totally been in vain.
Hate to spoil it for ya, J.J., but I have a feeling that today’s strip is about as close as we’re gonna get to seeing the actual reno in progress. Throwaway panel 1 is a lovingly detailed rendering of a gutted kitchen, chock full of the kind of details–the orange extension cord, discarded sheetrock and wood, exposed studs and electrical–that have me thinking Batty snapped some reference pix during the real-life reno of his own kitchen that inspired this arc.
Also in panel 1, to the left of the FW text, we see Holly’s profile, which tells us that they’re sitting in a room that’s just off the kitchen. Which makes me wonder how she could forget that the ice cream and everything else has been moved to another location.