Tag Archives: Rocky The Mute

Ruined in What Way?

Link to today’s strip.

Other than taking place at Montoni’s, I don’t see how “date night” has been “ruined” in any way.  Unless the BMV was hundreds of miles away, Wally and Adeela should have gotten back well before any form of “night” started to fall.  Perhaps, once back at Montoni’s,  Adeela talked and talked forever about how awesome it is to have a driver’s license (which I would not put past any character in this strip), but it should still be late afternoon at most.

And even if she was excited about her achievement, she knows that Wally’s generosity put him on thin ice with Rachel; a decent person would have said “Wally, thank you for your help, enjoy your date tonight!”

I’ll grant you that decent people are not found anywhere in this strip, but it would have been the right thing to do under any circumstances.

Not to mention, prior to the test, “Say, Wally, are you sure you can do this?  Isn’t tonight your date night?”  Of course, we would have missed the last two scintillating weeks, but….

Oh!  I’ve got it–there was another Time Jump, though only a few hours this time!  Sure, that’s it!

And the kicker is, Wally and Rachel are right there at Montoni’s, where (for some reason) they wanted to end up anyway.  What’s to stop their “date night” now, other than Batiuk’s fear some lightheartedness will detract from his serious “talking about driving” arc?  Rachel looks as puzzled as I am.  Well, she looks like she’s rethinking this whole “Wally” thing, but close enough.

And Batiuk’s plugging of Crankshaft is definitely irksome.  I’m surprised Adeela didn’t follow up with “Is there a convenient link a person could click on to learn more about this Crankshaft?  Thank you!”

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Maybe she’ll be “awarded” citizenship!

Link to today’s strip.

See?  “Awarded”?  It’s like getting an award–something a certain cartoonist has never achieved!

I don’t know what purpose Adeela serves, except to fulfill a diversity quotient in hopes of attracting the attention of an awards group or two.  The thing is, he already had Khahn, who was a Muslim, and who was available as a worker at Montoni’s but then he decided to give him his own shop and then wrote him out.  Why try again?  Has there been an uptick in awards for this sort of thing?  The blandness of the dialog in panel three makes me think so.

In contrast to some of the earlier episodes of this arc, the artwork here is very slapdash.  To coin an oxymoron, it’s decidedly slapdash.

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Taking Fred’s Job Away

Link to today’s strip.

First of all, nice ventriloquist’s dummy of Wally in panel one.  If they revive “Tales from the Crypt” you should definitely apply to play the Cryptkeeper.  Secondly, there’s an actual kind-of joke in panel two.  But naturally, Batiuk has to ruin it with panel three with something meaningless yet vaguely depressing.  From what we can see, he has definitely brought the mood down for everyone.

I guess this makes today’s episode a grand slam!  He’s out on that tiny baseball diamond even as we speak!

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Licensed to Ill

Link to today’s strip.

For someone who prides himself on his writing ability, Tom Batiuk sure doesn’t show any evidence of possessing any.   Today’s strip is full of unneeded detail, as if Batiuk was certain the reader couldn’t remember what happened–not just in the previous strip, but in the previous panel.

Of course, he has space he has to fill.  I remain convinced that he does, indeed, draw the strip a year in advance including the word balloons, but the word balloons are not filled in until the last minute.  Notice how a cleaned-up version reads:

Notice how the flow is much better.  But it obviously wouldn’t do to leave all that white space.  So, off he goes filling the space with whatever comes to mind.

The second flaw in Batiuk’s “writing” is the fact that the joke isn’t a joke at all, yet he’s got his characters laughing uproariously at what is little more than a simple observation.   I would guess that DMV officers test drivers in all kinds of vehicles; it kind of comes with the job.  Though I should note that when Wally and Adeela came back to Montoni’s, she was driving a standard robin’s egg Batiukmobile.  How is this a “first time” for a DMV (or if you insist, Tom, BMV) officer?

Did “the officer administering the test” have to shove piles of pizza boxes into the trunk before he could fit in the passenger seat?  Batiuk, you should at least 1) try to set up your joke properly, and 2) try to have an actual joke.

 

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Naming the Unnameable

Link to today’s strip.

Well, will you look at that.  That cranky old bus driver has finally been named!  I guess Batiuk realized his word zeppelin wasn’t big enough to include “–what was his name, again?  I can never remember–” so he was forced to use his real name.

And for Heaven’s sake, Cory, you’re going to wear holes in that countertop.  How much polishing does it need, considering there hasn’t been a customer at all during this “story”?  Talk about putting in the effort without obtaining a result.

That might be a good euphemism, come to think of it.  “Tom Batiuk has been polishing the countertop on Funky Winkerbean for a couple of decades….”

Afterword:  SoSF mourns the passing of Bill Bickel, host of “Comics I Don’t Understand.”   He presented senseless comics that needed an explanation, and he and his commentors were always up to the task.  “Senseless” also describes his passing, and the internet is poorer now.  I’m not very good at deep thoughts, so I will just say that I will miss his wisdom.

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You’ll Wonder Where The Yellow Went

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, this has to be a deliberate FU to Batiuk’s critics.  All last week Rachel’s hair was pumpkin orange.  Now, she’s a frosty blonde.  And, check out Wally–his hair has gone from acorn brown to some kind of gold-bronze sheen, like Doc Savage on those old paperbacks.  I think I had a GI Joe with hair like that when I was a kid, but his hair was plastic, so he had a good excuse.  (“Only his hairdresser knows for sure!”)

Really?  Is this what quality control is supposed to look like?  Is this the comic strip you are presenting as something to admire, Mr. Batiuk?  Seeing as it’s all, according to you, reality-based, but 1/4 inch from reality?  Is this why you think you deserve awards?  Do the chains of continuity rest heavy upon you, sir?

Maybe he was inspired when the MCU had Black Widow’s hair change from red to blonde in “Avengers: Infinity War.”  I like to think the comics geek in him thought “Oh wow, I just have to do that!”

Of course, “Avengers: Infinity War” was supposed to take place some time after Black Widow’s previous appearance…not later that same day.

Sheesh.

As for the rest of today’s thing, it’s a typical Mary-Worth-style “recap of the previous week” and thus contains no new information.  At least it has the word “ASS” in there–a handy designation for everything in this strip.  (Not to mention a shout-out to the future Academy-Award winning film.)

Also, nice bowling trophy.  I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in this strip go bowling (happens a lot in that other strip), but I guess someone was good at it once.  Can’t have been Les or we’d never stop hearing about it.

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Passing The Batom

Funky’s succession plan is coming together in today’s strip, which is a good thing I think, seeing as he lately can’t remember that Wally already works for him.

Rachel, frankly, should be furious with this nepotism. She has worked at Montoni’s since the Clinton administration, surely she knows nearly everything there is to know about the place. Shouldn’t she be considered for a management position? Is it because she doesn’t have a college degree and Wally is about to receive one? Perhaps that is why Funky ultimately ignored Wally’s request to apply for the manager position that Durwood vacated in 2015.

But Funky had no real qualms about letting Cory and Rocky run Montoni’s back in August, when he and Holly drove to Florida. Cory has no college degree, he joined the military right out of high school (where he struggled) and his only experience at Montoni’s was busing tables and dressing up in a pizza costume. Rocky’s experience is likely similar, sans pizza costume.

This is especially galling because Funky, even armed with his business degree, worked his way up to being co-owner of Montoni’s by starting as… a delivery boy. Rachel facing down Funky’s nepotistic patriarchy is a much better female-focused awards-fishing story arc than last week’s bit with Mindy critiquing comic book character clothing. It is almost amazing that TB didn’t realize it… almost as in not really.  Because comical books.

Also, Cory and Rocky are moving to Seattle after their wedding, as the young people do, so we have that to look forward to come 2022.

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Reach Out And Punch Someone

Link To Today’s Strip

Ha ha, look, a callback to a recent arc! You remember, the one where Holly was all upset because Cory never answers her calls! Remarkably, it’s still exactly as funny as it was the first time. Even funnier is the wary look on Funky’s face, good thing they left Mr. Weisenheimer in charge instead of someone qualified. Nice going, fatso.

So I guess they’re really taking this trip to Florida. Holly and Funky in a car together for six days…(shudder). That’s considered torture in some countries. Not this one, though. At this rate the Alumni Reunion Band thing could take years to play out. Then again, tomorrow’s strip could feature Funky and Holly talking about the trip and the reunion in the past tense and honestly I wouldn’t even bat an eye. After yesterday’s strip, a two-week car ride arc is the least of our problems, as a senior citizen marching band arc appears to be, uh, looming, let’s say. Sigh.

Those eyeballs in the corner really freaked me out until I realized it’s just the Montoni’s logo in the window. The sudden attention to detail really threw me off.

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