Tag Archives: sarcasm

Stump Speech

Link to Today’s Strip.

Yesterday I did something relatively unorthodox in these parts: I found something to praise Tom Batiuk for. Of course, the overly-long post ended with me screaming at Batiuk in all caps, but that is part of the reason I did it. I never want to get to the point in my beady-eyed nitpicking where everything is a bug to me. Because when I force myself to admit what is good, what is acceptable, and what is innocuous, then when I am confronted with the unbearably bad I can nail it to the wall with confidence.

Today is really really bad guys. Just so bad. This is worst-case-scenario Les Moore at his most insufferable. Self-pitying, sarcastic, complaining, self-absorbed, quipping without being clever. The strip is worse than pointless. It’s not funny. It does nothing to further any ongoing plot, or even advance the conversation in a meaningful way. And the only way it develops character is to further metastasize the tumorous-asshole side of Les’ personality.

And it’s a shame. Because the art today is kind of interesting. One, Les is in pain in panel 2. Which is always nice to see.

And two, he’s putting a pumpkin on a stump.

I can only assume that it’s the stump of the large maple tree in their front yard that was cut down back in 2015.

And before we have our normal reaction, ‘Ah, a relic of Dead St. Lisa, of course it is fetishized,’ the tree was also a favorite of Cayla’s, who wanted to be married under its branches, and felt like the tree was ‘part of the family.’ Plus, Summer grew up eating the fallen leaves from under that tree.

I understand grief at the loss of a tree. Emerald ash borer beetles came through my state a couple years ago and took out seven massive beautiful ash trees on my parents’ farm. It makes me sad in a very Batiukian way, wandering across the acres of yard at home, and so many sentinels of my childhood are missing. Nothing left but weed filled dimples where oceans of shade once marked out the borders of fantasy continents.

Les and Cayla left the stump of the tree they were married under. They’ve left it for years. They decorate it in the trappings of fall it can no longer produce. Because they’d rather have the reminder of the tree for a while longer, than a pristine yard. And all of this is told visually. It develops their characters much better than the awful dialogue on display today. It rewards long time readers. It gives the strip a continuity of place. And there’s that word again, continuity.

When Batiuk chose to have his strip move forward in time, he subjected his strip to the harsh and beautiful realities of continuity. In the measured compliments I’ve given the strip the last couple days, I hope I’ve pointed out how continuity can lead to deeper and more meaningful storytelling. But Batiuk wants all the blessings of continuity, without paying the price of its restrictions. He’s not shy about how little he cares. In fact he revels thumbing his nose at it, like an edgy atheist in Sunday School. And that is why his storytelling so often fails, because we don’t trust it any more.

But still. I would miss that tree too. It was a good tree. After all, it once trapped Les high in its branches, to the joy of all the neighborhood children.

And the very first thing it did upon being introduced to Les Moore was smack him right in his dumb smug head.

Our Leafy Hero.

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Eye vey iz mir!

Oh, so we’re back to the jokez! in today’s strip. If we’ve learned anything in the last week and a half, it is that Dr. Droopy and Funky both are willing to dish out this cornpone but neither is willing to take it (in fact, I would argue that this is quite literally the only thing we have learned in the last week and a half).

Well, as they say, “write what you know”… Certainly no one can claim that TB doesn’t know hypocrisy.

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Futz Said Funky

Just two strips ago, Funky was being a pill to the office’s receptionist for a joke he completely walked into… and yet here he is in today’s strip indignant that Dr. Droopy won’t sanction his buffoonery. Stay in your lane, Funky. Les is supposed to be the guy who gets huffy when other people make jokes but then expects everyone to laugh at his pathetic stabs at humor.

I was going to suggest that Dr. Droopy here was being presumptuous here bringing up Captain Kirk, not that it would make Funky any less insufferable. I thought perhaps Funky was referencing the legend of Admiral David Farragut or perhaps he is actually a big fan of the band Pain, regionally-popular purveyors of late-90s pop punk (from whom I pilfered, purloined, and repurposed today’s post-title). But nope… a brief search of the SOSF archives reveals that, in a rare bit of Batiukverse continuity, Dr. Droopy is correctly referencing when Funky previously pulled this miserable excuse for a joke back in August 2019.

Callback or not, Funky ought to be tossed out of the doctor’s office window.

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De-10-tion Center

Amicus continues to Amicus in today’s strip, quoting last year’s newspaper headlines almost verbatim…  Big kudos to commenter Banana Jr. 6000 for uncovering Breef’s past appearance in Crankshaft back on Monday.  The “Lionel Hutz of Westview” is not only less entertaining than the beloved Simpsons character (obviously), he also appears to somehow be even less competent at practicing law than the intentionally idiotic Hutz.

Writing facial recognition software in the Batiukverse has got to be the ultimate fool’s errand.  While I was not able to find any source for Amicus’ 20% of the time figure here in real life internetland, in Westview I would think the figure would be well above that.  WAY well above that.

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Hollywoodnesday, July 15

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.

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Ticking Away The Moments That Make Up A Dull Forty-Six Years

Link To Today’s Thing

Sigh. Like five interminable weeks wasn’t “enough time”. This might be BatNard’s way of bringing Pete and Boy Lisa back into the Westview fold, although I don’t know of anyone who’s been clamoring for that to happen or what difference it could possibly make, unless he’s planning some sort of sick “Crankshaft” crossover wedding with that Mindy chick or something…(shudder). I certainly wouldn’t put it past him.

I like how business in the Funkyverse moves every bit as slowly as everything else does. It took well over a month to just get to Chester’s pitch and now we’re forced to wait some more while these two morons ponder their decision? Not that I can entirely blame them for being disoriented and confused, as Chester’s entire pitch consisted of a comic book nostalgia rant and an old stock photo of an atom bomb test blast.

This whole stupid arc is way funnier if you just substitute pizza for comic books. Pete and Boy Lisa are busy in Pizzaland writing the new Pizzaman movie when wealthy pizza mogul Chester Pizzamore contacts them about a new pizza proposal. Chester, who became wealthy after stealing Golden Age pizzas from the pizzeria where he worked as a boy, is sick and tired of these grim n’ gritty newfangled pizzas and wants to bring back the pizza he enjoyed as a young boy, without all the fancy toppings and calzones and deep-dishes and etc. Just good pizza where you have no problem separating the crust from the slice. Pete and Boy Lisa become confused, then take a break for lunch. See? It’s a vast improvement.

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