Did you know President Bill Clinton likes to jog? I sure didn’t, at least not until today’s strip… and when I say “today’s strip”, I mean “when he was first elected President”. Does TB think calling him “President Clinton” is not enough of an identifier for readers or did he just recently start watching a DVD box set of 1990s Saturday Night Live episodes?
What’s with all the Eeyores in the first panel? Funky just dialed up BILL CLINTON on a whim, got the former POTUS to answer directly, and was told by the man himself that he would help. Why is Rachel even questioning this?
Better yet, why am I questioning this? Any of this? It’s been a fool’s errand for decades.
Yes, the 27 (or 37) year old phone number for President Clinton that Funky has still works, and his call has been received by a cell phone that recognizes Funky’s personal cell phone as Montoni’s! It must be the same brand as Wally’s magic Adeela-recognizing phone. But the man answering it, unfortunately, is not the former President.
Look, I dunno if this guy is Durwood 40 years in the future or maybe James Woods after a horrible accident involving a beaker or two of acid or the world’s most embarrassing caricature of the late Jerry Orbach or if Ayers just forgot what Flash Freeman looks like… but I do know he’s not Bill Clinton.
While most of the now-reassembled idiocy of Winkerbeans mopes at a Pete-level in today’s strip, Holly is taking charge! How, exactly, she expects a photo of Act II Funky with the mayor of Centerville to help Adeela remains to be seen…
Before we get into the explanation for this bit of Batiukverse history, let’s take a minute to appreciate the magnificent uselessness of Amicus Breef, who today is repeating the exact same legal vernacular he spit out two days ago… like a 14 year old who just learned the phrase “subpoena evidence” and keeps saying it because he thinks it makes him sound smart. It has been some time since TB introduced such a remarkably incompetent character, which is saying something.
OK, now for the tale of the time Funky and his mullet met President Bill Clinton. It was the summer of 1993 and the Westview school district was facing its latest challenge in getting voters to approve yet another school levy (or “tax issue” as Fred and Nate referred to this one). Dinkle decided the best way to drum up support was to get the recently elected President Clinton to appear at a rally headlined by his WHS band. Being a well-known former band geek, the President actually showed up, endured the band’s performance, and finished things off by playing a saxophone duet with Dinkle. On his way out of town, President Clinton demanded pizza and Dinkle recommended Montoni’s. Thus:
Dinkle also gave the President a gift for showing up at the rally… *sigh* It was a box of comic books, of course.
Does today’s strip really take place right after yesterday’s? Amicus and Wally left the box office window presumably just a few minutes prior to go bother the supervisor and in that short time Adeela has already been put on the 3:45 AM flight to Baghdad? I see nothing that really indicates otherwise except for Adeela’s speedy departure, so I guess we’re still in the middle of the night of Adeela’s arrest.
I suppose this was inevitable, though. Westview has seen several immigrant refugees move to town over the years, and none have wound up ultimately staying. Let’s look at their fates:
Lu Lin and Zhang Li – escaped detention in communist China for their role in student pro-democracy protests and opened The Jade Dragon, a Chinese restaurant, next to Montoni’s:
Kahn (or is it Khan?) – immigrated from war-torn Afghanistan, founded a deli, and even became a US citizen (despite having been a known Taliban-affiliated arms dealer):
Rana – orphaned by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan and the adopted by Wally and Lefty and raised in Westview by Lefty and DSH:
This ICE supervisor has got to be quaking in his Johnston & Murphy’s, Amicus Breef is finally breaking out the lawyering talk in today’s strip! And he’s doing it with righteous indignation too! What a lawyer this guy, keeping supervisor Ed O’Neill off of his Facebook feed for 4… maybe even 5 minutes by threatening to do something that would have been more useful had he done it before he showed up at the detention facility.
What’s better than four white saviors? Five white saviors of course! That’s the gist of today’s strip, it seems… as *groan* Amicus Breef emerges from the walk-in freezer brimming with fantastic legal advice such as talking to Adeela. Preferably by phone, no need to go down to the clink and talk to her in person if you can help it, right? I mean, jails are full of criminals after all and you can’t be too careful.
Oy! Amicus Breef?! Amicus? Stupid punny names are nothing new for this strip, but they usually at least involve a first name human beings might actually have. Well, at least he works in a profession relevant to his stupid punny name. What if Mason Jarr(e) was really into making homemade preserves or holding iced tea at restaurants known for their cucumber salad, or if Cliff Anger was actually a solo climber? Or what if Ruby Lith’s job was to illustrate schlocky no-budget Silver Age comic books? Oh wait…
After spending more than a month on this insipid story arc and these irritating characters, today’s strip offers some much welcome relief… I’m speaking, of course, of the Green Pitcher, far and away the best character in Act III Funky Winkerbean (and probably Acts I and II as well, to be frank). By the way… hello there, I’m billytheskink and I’m… uh, I guess I’m going to talk about the Winkerbeans as they talk about Adeela.
FASCINATING! (In my best Merv Griffin voice)
More interesting than Funky’s understandable concern for his restaurant’s assets or the icy glares of his family members is his continuing transformation into Gasoline Alley mainstay Slim in both attitude and appearance. Less interesting, of course, is Wally’s inability to use his phone to tell Funky that Adeela’s arrest had to do with her (mistaken) immigration status.
Well, apparently Tom Batiuk saw “Stan and Ollie” last year, and liked it enough to have it still playing eleven years in the future. (Your time jump, Batiuk, not mine.) The fact that he liked it makes me think it isn’t worth seeing, but I’ll try not to let his taste color my viewing habits. Who knows?
As for the rest of this, movies are made this way only in the most imbecilic fantasy wish-fulfillment worlds. The real world is nothing like this; the idea that Mason’s cellphone picture would be digitally altered for the big screen is really dumb, unless he’s planning on making an entirely green-screen film like The Amazing Bulk. Which wouldn’t surprise me in the least, given the “talent” that abounds in this strip (and behind it).
Preproduction for movies is generally nothing but drudgery, so it’s not a bad idea for Batiuk to make it seem somewhat interesting or even romantic. What is a bad idea is having Les Moore in your story–that turns it right back into drudgery.
It does turn out that Mason has a hidden superpower–he can lean way over and not fall on his face. Boy, wouldn’t that make a satisfying third panel? Especially if his cellphone broke and a piece of the screen lodged directly into Les’ throat.