Cindy was the most popular, so she gets to talk about getting left out TWICE. Or we’re supposed to interpret the start of this interminable pity party on Tuesday as a private conversation between Funky and Cindy, and thus she warrants a second confession to the entire group. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Rolanda
Roland was an anti-establishment activist. Of course he didn’t feel a part of things in high school. I suppose we can read this as Roland feeling alienated even before, and choosing an identity in the counter-culture that justified those feelings.
At least by talking about prior ‘protests’ and ‘anger’ Rolanda has made her line specific to her, so she’s leaps and bounds ahead of Crazy and Funky this week. But Batiuk is just writing her saying this because he wants to let his new trans character talk one more time before this arc ends and she disappears forever.
It’s Derek who’s giving me a chuckle today. He gets one word. One word this whole year. “Seriously?”
I’m guessing that this was intended by the author to reference the one or two strips where he felt ‘alienated’ by his race. He was one of a few black students in a mostly white school. So obviously (sarcasm) asking him if he felt left out is silly.
But I am invoking Death of the Author.
Because Derek is the embodiment of ‘Seriously?’ As in, “Why do I exist in this asinine universe surrounded by stupid, unfunny, jokes?”
Every time he would stare out at the audience, it was like a cry for help through the crack in the Fourth Wall. He had this air of resigned desperation. I imagine you would get a similar expression if Charles Dance was sent to a hell populated entirely by Teletubbies.
And so when Derek today says, “Seriously?” I don’t hear, “Yes, of course I felt like an outsider.”
I hear, “Seriously? Seriously? It’s been 50 years! I hardly even remember high school. Why did I even come to this? Why did I bother to bring the ultrasound picture of my great-grandson? Or the photos of my granddaughter getting her doctorate? Why did I bother looking any of these chucklefucks up on Facebook to see what they’ve been up to. I came all prepared to talk about Les’ movie getting an Oscar. Cindy’s work on BuddyBlog. What it was like being stuck in LA for the fires. Funky’s punk son finally making an honest woman of that poor pretty army chick. Holly’s biography on being a majorette. Rolanda’s work counselling the families of senior gender transitioners. Maybe share some memories of Bull and Mary Sue, since this is our first reunion without them. But naw, I shoulda known better. These assholes are just gonna stand in a row all facing the same way, like they’re posing for a picture no one is gonna take, and pass the same damn sentence down the line in the world’s most half-assed game of telephone. Fuck these cookie-cutter punch-outs all thinking they’re a special snowflake. If they’re not all dead by the next reunion, I’m not coming. I was hoping to talk to Barry Balderman and Carrie and Melissa, maybe catch up with Wanda, but naw. They were too smart for this shit. I mean. Seriously?”
“At least Les didn’t have a pity party over his dead wife again.”
Speaking of Les! Here’s some more writing advice from the past! Brought to you by the world’s least prolific biographer.
We Are The Son of Stuck Funky Admiration Affiliate
Preserving the old strips from being abused
Protesting the new ways for me and for you
What more can we do?
Crazy Harry was never part of the ‘In-Crowd’? GASP! I don’t believe it. (sarcasm)
Crazy Harry noticed or cared enough to feel excluded? I don’t believe it. (not-sarcasm)
He could barely tell that Mr. Mathews openly despised him.
Crazy was so weird that he bent reality around himself. And he didn’t seem to notice how strange it was.
And yet, he was voted Student Council President in an election against Mr. Mean, Median, and Mode himself. So his weirdness notwithstanding, he must have been liked well enough.
50 years later, Crazy Harry is barely wacky enough to wear a Hawaiian shirt to his reunion. And his line today could have been spouted by anyone in attendance. In fact, it already HAD BEEN. TWICE. In order to get his anemic little point across, Tom will let Harry rag on high school now as if it wasn’t a decent time for him, that he reminisced on fondly just earlier THIS YEAR.
Banana Jr put in wonderfully in the comments yesterday.
It’s not exactly The Breakfast Club, is it? Those were different characters who each, in their own way, learned that they had some things in common. This is like watching Twelve Angry Men, if they all agreed he’s guilty in the first minute and spend two hours telling each other how right they all are.
I’ve complained about it before. I will complain about it again. But the hollow sameness of every character cripples this strip in ways I don’t think Batiuk realizes. You ever buy a danish, or a jelly doughnut, and when you bite into it you realize that all the filling has been baked out? That’s an Act III Funky Winkerbean character. Bland, flakey, overcooked yet doughy. And completely empty inside.
When poking around the Toledo Blade Microfiche, looking for when Cindy first hit it off with Funky, I stumbled across a hilarious and yet infuriating week.
Les teaches Sadie Summers STORY WRITING.
Ah, Tom’s a writer and Tom is bold
Tom is bolder than the writers of old
But whenever he gets in a bit of a jam
There’s nothing he won’t do to let Harry rag
Harry rag, Harry rag
Do anything just to let Harry rag
And he curses himself for the life he’s led
And writes himself a Harry rag and puts himself to bed
Ah, Tom’s old Lisa is a dying lass
Soon they all reckon she’ll be pushing up the grass
And her bones might ache and her skin might sag
But still she’s got the strength to let Harry rag.
Quick! The most popular and objectively successful member of the class has admitted they never felt like they fit in! Everyone must fall in line behind her and parrot her sentiments! This will prove how alienated and apart from things they all were!
This would almost be a joke. If the idea that “Les was a dork in school” hadn’t been hammered home so many times the nail is halfway to China, and they’re using a percussive drilling machine with 2000 feet of rod to reach the punchline.
What even does ‘In-Crowd’ mean? In my experience, you want your circle of friends to share your interests and enjoy the same things. A chess club nerd is going to be lost and bored at a football kegger. The kids I knew in high school that were miserable were either the ones that faked their way into a clique that didn’t really suit them, or the poor kids who never found a niche no matter how small.
But Funky was considered perfectly acceptable in High School. Neither the most popular, nor the least.
‘Average’ is the first bit of characterization Funky was given, and as far as I can see it held true through 20 years of high school. You’ve got to give him some credit for keeping Les as his best friend, since nothing probably dragged him down Cindy’s popularity rankings more than having human tumor Les Moore clinging to his side.
I would say that Funky should let Les speak on what it really felt like to be excluded in high school. Since if anyone has a right to speak on the topic it is him.
But I bet Funky and crew remember Les’ self-righteous downer of a commencement speech and rightfully figured the less he said on the topic the better.
Wanda has been smart enough to NEVER attend a reunion following the 2008 fiasco. But really she should have known what she was in for, since Cindy showed up at her door in 2004 to for an entire week of groveling. Something I only found after my Wanda retrospective back in March.
Did you guys enjoy this gripping, emotional, and politically charged tale which really challenged our main characters leading to growth and change that will really shake things up going forward?
(Seriously, tomorrow is Cindy and Holly.)
Oh, I ‘member.
I’m starting to get kinda paranoid, guys. I’m starting to feel like Batiuk IS reading this blog. That he reads it, and then changes continuity or characters just to troll us. He saw my jokey headcanon that Roland became a conservative hardware store owner, and had to kick back against my fantasy of responsible small business success and respect for the establishment by inserting the character into a hot button political issue.
I had to fumigate and dissect a political hornets’ nest on my last shift. I’m in no mood to kick this one. I eagerly look forward to all of you in the comments respectfully discussing with each other the artistic merits of this decision and tearing Batiuk a new one. Remember the site rules.
Whatever our diverse views, we can all agree that Batiuk is mostly doing this because he lazily looked through the Overton Window and realized he could bring up a topic that would get him possible cheers from the people he loves to get cheered by and maybe even jeers from the people he gets off on hating.
Some context for your discussion. I don’t have anything concrete I’m trying to say with these. Just some stuff that’s weird to read with the new retcon in mind.