The panels in today’s strip read at least as well in reverse order. To paraphrase Nate, who can say what the past four years held for the Class of 2017? The only glimpse we get of WHS ’17 is a few pairs of feet in panel 4 (nicely-rendered, by the way, and feet are hard to draw) . Recall that Cody and Owen handed over the reins of WHS’ in-house media operation directly to some freshmen. I’m supposing Tank and Conner to be underclassmen. As befits these anono-grads’ status, their commencement is held not in a stadium, with drones, but rather in the auditorium, listening to Nate name-check the author of A Game of Thrones.
Batiuk’s spent the last few weeks burning off a lot of one-shot gags. You’ve gotta admit, though, that even when they fall flat, you’ll take a half-dozen joke strips over say, a week of Funky exploring an abandoned house. Today’s comic continues in the gag-a-day vein, but Burchett continues to add welcome and pleasing visual details. Especially in that first panel: Cayla is positively coquettish, smiling to herself as she casually lets slip to Nate that hubby Les is going to be…preoccupied. And she’s totally getting through to Nate, too. Cut to a nice shot of the talking school building featuring non-hand lettering on the WHS message board, some nice shade from some leaves, and of course there be bricks.
That slow jam playing we could hear in the background abruptly switches to Yakety Sax! Here comes Les, haulin’ ass, knocking hapless students aside with his valise in his frenzy to get the hell away from there. Unless Les and his wife drive separate cars to work, poor Cayla’s going to need a ride home…
Today’s strip was not available for preview. I assume we are still at Westview High School, getting poorly acquainted with the strip’s newest generation of students (the 6th by my count, though that is not canon). We know that Bernie and Maris like to skip class, that Logan has more Facebook friends than Bernie, that New Monroe/Thatsnot Hewmore rightfully finds Les unfunny and Bernie mildly creepy, and that Emily and Amelia are twins but also, like, their own people. What will we learn today?
On that note, I thought we would take a quick look at TB’s first attempt to create a new generation of students back in the fall of 1992, mere months after the first time jump. The first two students introduced were Wally Winkerbean and Mercedes “Sadie” Summers, both relatives of prominent Act I students.
Here is Sadie pulling the same stuck-up popular girl routine that older sister Cindy did, while everyman Wally breaks the fourth wall with a sideways glance just like
cousin uncle Funky:
Wally first appeared at band camp, where he was bullied mercilessly by a mullet-sporting senior trombone player, interviewed by a TV news crew about being bullied, and then tied to his bunk with Saran Wrap.
Sadie’s first appearance was also the very first strip in which Les taught
English Language Arts. She dealt with living in the shadow of her legendarily popular sister by wearing her hair in the exact same strange way. Back in 1992, the Westview economy was not buoyed by pizza and comic books, it was built entirely on hair spray…
Today’s strip pivots
Away from Bernie’s forehead
Thank goodness for that
Nate’s the principal
Now he’s the school counselor?
Levies keep failing
Maris Rogers’ name
Silly, but could have been worse
Mason Jarr, for one
Maris is clearly
Trying to avoid Les’ class
I say “good for her”
She went a whole year
Not taking a single class
Not noticed ’til now?
Jessica, Sadie, Cindy
This path is well worn
Not much to write on
Word word word word word word word
Still better than Les
Click here to find the fruit
Well, he’s resuming one of FW’s twenty thousand dangling plot threads, so that’s something. Unfortunately, though, it’s this one. Dinkle and his perpetually-ignored wife are traveling to Belgium to cash in big-time on Dinkle’s outrageous WHS band candy scam, but unfortunately for both Harry is a complete imbecile whose devotion to marching bands has left him totally unable to perform simple everyday tasks like a regular person. And because this is FW and he’s dealing with a government agency (at the airport no less), incompetence, annoyances and non-stop hassles are in store for everyone…including FW readers…assuming there are any, of course.
Is it possible that today’s strip is the last we’ll see of Bull and/or Bull’s retirement ceremony? Who knows? T-Bats stretched a three-panel story about Durwood running out of pens into two solid weeks of shitposting, so anything is possible.
Once again, though, we’re shown that Bull really is a solid dude, having established (with Linda’s help) an equipment fund that will provide future Scapegoats with state-of-the-art noggin armor. I swear, Tom never builds up a non-Les character like this unless he’s setting him up for a fall. The suspense is killing me! Or would be killing me, if I really cared about this half-rate storyline.
And someone help me out here…who dat in Panel Three, basking in the sunshine far from the Ohio night? It’s not Jinx – she had straight black hair, as befits her stereotypical ethnicity. Could it be Crazy Harry’s daughter Maddie? Has any other FW girl worn a billed cap? If it’s Maddie, why isn’t her hair red anymore?
First off, ladies and gentlemen, let’s have a big round of applause for the late Paul Winfield, appearing in today’s strip in the roll of
game show host Principal Green.
Now let’s talk about this stadium stuff. Talk about a kick in the head (ha ha, no pun intended) to Bull. They’re kind of naming the stadium after him, but not really, since they also have a corporate sponsor who is presumably paying for stadium naming rights. So…thanks, Bull, for those three championships your teams managed to win despite sucking at football, but it wasn’t quite good enough. Sorry.
Oh, and Tom? A & L Automotive? I’m giving you points not only for making an asshole pun, but also for getting it past the censors at King Features. If you’re ever in New Haven, look me up and I’ll treat you to a REAL pizza and not one of those Ohio shit pies.