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Oh, so maybe this is going somewhere. Perhaps Les and all of Westview will be flown to Hollywood at the studio’s expense for the premiere of Lisa’s Story, only to be engulfed in a golf-club-sparked inferno. (For more information on where Batiuk most likely got the idea for this, click here).
Unfortunately for anyone who likes drama and entertainment, that is far far too much excitement for Act III. What will probably happen is Les will cough during the premier because of too much smoke and the movie will fail. Or there will be a Sunday single panel strip of the Hollywood Hills in flames while Les complains over the phone to Cayla about how the air quality in Ohio is so much better.
Oh yay, the totally random unnamed golfers with no context or purpose are back today. He’s done two full strips of these guys without any hint as to why it’s even close to relevant, or supposed to be interesting. Does he think he’s filling a void by making comic strips about golf? Because that is totally not the case. And is just me or do this three just look slightly off versions of Funky, Bull, and Les without his beard? I don’t know if it’s the directions Batiuk gives the artists, but for a while now almost all the characters look far too similar.
And we’re back to Les’s cameo in today’s strip. I dunno what that golf thing yesterday was about, but it will probably be awful and unsatisfying if it is ever revealed at all.
Having seen more of this scene, I really hope Les’ fear that his cameo will elicit knee-buckling laughter from his friends, family, and assorted other acquaintances comes true. What better time in Lisa’s Story to bust a gut than this maudlin bit where Les recaps a phone conversation Lisa had with her insensitive doctor? That’s the first and only thing about this Lisa’s Story flick that makes me want to watch it.
This strip is a nice reminder that Lisa’s second battle with cancer was full of bumbling and insensitive doctors: always mixing up important cancer charts and exhibiting awful bedside manner. What timing TB has… I cannot think of a time in my life when fewer Americans would be interested in fictional depictions of incompetent and unpleasant doctors.
And that’s it for me. I cannot say I envy spacemanspiff85, who takes over tomorrow. Good luck to you. You won’t have it, but it seems the right sentiment to express.
Could cameras finally be rolling in today’s strip?! Ha ha, no. Tom “Tell, Don’t Show” Batiuk is living up to his nickname again. Whatever was just filmed was “great!”, though. Not great enough to portray in this strip or to make additional takes unnecessary, but still great!
There’s really nothing here, is there? We’ve seen Mason and Marianne in their costumes… we’ve seen the laughably cheap winter park bench set being set up… Les has already reacted to all of this. Did we really need to see Martin Johns say some cliché movie director things and spout some authentic Hollywood jargon? Can we move on to Les’ inevitable griping about what is actually being shot? The sooner we get there, the sooner we get out of this story arc (I hope).
At the very least couldn’t TB have had Ayers punch this up by giving Martin a clichéd old-style Hollywood director’s get-up? Y’know, stupid beret, sunglasses, jodhpurs, oversized megaphone, etc.? And if you’re gonna have Shermy cameo as a cameraman, at least let us see his face!
Today’s strip was not available for preview. Whether it is available for regular view in a timely manner is up to Comics Kingdom and their miserable and often buggy interface that has supplanted seemingly every newspaper’s online comics section. Oh to return to that time a few years ago when some papers let you read comics from multiple syndicates on the same single webpage… or even just a few months ago when I could download a PDF file of the physical paper with my overpriced and constantly-rising online newspaper subscription and read the comics in the pleasant manner that I would in a physical paper. The internet has never been easier to access or more difficult to use… but I digress.
I’m going to assume Les is still in the Hollywoodland Studios soundstage with MariLisa and MasoLes. As both actors are wearing thick winter clothing (in addition to their amazing wigs) in prior appearances this week, I am also going to assume they are preparing to film scenes from when Lisa first figured out something was amiss in her body. That was back in January 1999.
Lisa and Les, Cindy and Funky, and Lu Lin and Zhang Li all went out into the snow to play football (apparently tackle football?!) in mid-January 1999. Lisa decided to perform a critical self examination for breast lumps after feeling abnormal pain when Zhang Li tackled her to the ground. You know the rest. If you don’t, TB has some books he would like to sell you…
For those that don’t remember (looking at you, TB), Lu Lin and Zhang Li were a refugee couple from China who owned and operated The Jade Dragon (see this handy Act II character guide), a Chinese restaurant next door to Montoni’s. Like everything in Westview that doesn’t involve pizza, comics, or high school, the restaurant eventually went out of business and the couple wisely left town. Montoni’s then expanded and absorbed the space that The Jade Dragon once occupied.
Don’t know if any conversation has taken place between yesterday’s strip and today’s. I just can’t imagine dour Les being the one to introduce himself and start a conversation. Anyway, somehow the Mauve Queen has somehow deduced Les’ identity; perhaps from the dickish, passive aggressive way he ordered that salad. As a perpetual book-touring author, Les is accustomed to answering questions about his life and his work (usually in a snotty manner), but the weird “first marriage” query even throws him.
More of Batty’s trademark exposition repetition in today’s strip. Monday’s and Tuesday’s panels showed these two driving up to a building clearly marked Hollywoodland Studios. Today Les reminds us verbally, and anyone whose interest is piqued (doubtful) enough to zoom in on that little shingle under the LISA’S STORY sign will see the studio name yet again. Ponderous, man, @#$% ponderous. Anyway, panel 2 is the first time we’ve seen a happy expression on Les since back in April when he and Cindy reminisced about their chaste New Years Eve.
I know that among our loyal readership, there are a number of you who have some working familiarity with the entertainment business. Help me out here: I’ve heard of a “closed set,” but…the lot is closed? The parking lot? “They’re shooting Lisa’s Story today.” Shooting? Already? I wasn’t aware that casting, or any other aspect of this production, was even finalized. And here comes the star of this movie they’re shooting, and he can’t get on the lot because the security guard does not know who he is. Is he wearing those shades because he’s blind? And Mason, to his credit I guess, instead of throwing a movie star shit fit, sits there pouting like a douche.