Tag Archives: smirks exchanged

Ruby the Grate

In case you missed it, we are in the final weeks of Funky Winkerbean. Tom Batiuk appears to be reluctantly retiring the strip much in the same way he’s written Ruby as reluctantly retiring from Atomik Komix this week and in today’s strip. The timing of this thin gruel of a story arc and TB’s fairly muted announcement is certainly no coincidence. Most all of us here at SOSF, despite speculating for over a decade on when and how this thing would end, are probably still processing the suddenness of the announcement, how soon it will become reality, and what that means for this wonderful community going forward.

But enough wallowing about, let’s leave that to the strip and try to get back to business as usual. I guess today’s strip is aiming for bittersweet, but it largely is coming across as just bitter. You can’t mask your true feelings in a wall of smirks, TB… And even if the strip wasn’t ending at the close of this year, I’m guessing we were never going to see Chester meet with the building manager by looking in a mirror anyways. I’d say “a pity”, but, you know, it’s not. It’s really not.

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Scorched Earth

Well, at least today’s strip made it easy to choose a post title. I don’t feel like I had any other choice.

As far as the strip goes, is this really more feminine and more hopeful than Atomik Komix’s previous climage damate covers? (Eh and Eh are my answers) More importantly, is this the kind of cover Chester can be deadly serious about? Yeah, probably. Chester, introduced as an unscrupulous and unpleasant wheeler-dealer, is pretty much the most laid back boss ever these days.

Pete should leave the snark to us. For one thing, baked potatoes are delicious and this strip suffers greatly in comparison to them. For another, all this damate climage comic business was Pete’s idea in the first place. And above all, Ruby’s given him some prime snark ammunition by drawing some planet that does not appear in almost any way to be earth and he just completely misses it. Leave the wisecracks to the professionals in our comment section next time, Pete.

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Opinions are like Les Moore. If you don’t want one, don’t ask.

Hottie Budd got a nose job? Click here for the stunning evidence!

I stared at today’s strip for hours. Trying to decide if I was amused, offended, or bored.

On the one hand, valued commenter The Dreamer foresaw this strip yesterday.

I’m waiting for Cindy to show up. At the 50 year reunion, standing with all her old geezer classmates, still looking 25 years old with her great body and younger movie star boyfriend Mason Jarr…..

And I’m getting sick of Holly Budd Winkerbean being so mopey and self-conscious. A single strip of it is relatable, a week of it is exhausting.

On the other hand, it’s at least a structured joke. Again, the nature of my own parents’ relationship skews how I’m seeing things. They tease each other mercilessly. My mom once joked that my dad was going to leave her for his old college girlfriend, and my dad just scoffed.

“It would take too long to train someone else.”

And they laughed, sitting in their cluttered dining room wearing sweatpants and baggy t-shirts, sipping coffee from out-of-season Christmas mugs that never got put away. They were both in on the joke, that learning to put up with someone new, a whole new set of pet peeves, failings, wants, and triggers would be too exhausting. And beneath the ribbing is always the stubborn kind of unconditional love that has them picking ditch side tiger lilies and cooking enough pot roast to last a week because they know that’s just the thing to make the other smile.

But when I peeled the lens of my own experience away, I was lost. My sense of objectivity completely wrecked. I was seeing, but I had completely lost the ability to understand.

Is this humor?

So I asked some of my normie friends. All women between 29 and 40. Some single, some in relationships. None with kids. People who know of Funky Winkerbean, and this blog, because of me ranting at them. But not people who could tell a Jessica from a Mindy at 100 paces. I sent them today’s strip and just said.

PLEASE GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS STRIP. Positive, negative, neutral, confused, whatever I just want some normie outsider perspective on it.

  • “It feels like he’s making like a lame mid-90s, sitcom joke about how women are difficult. Because two wives would be double the nagging and emotions or something?”
  • ahem Wifey here is exhibiting a behavior promoted by our culture where women are encouraged to fight or tear each other down because #thepatriarchy. She is heckin intimidated by Cindy and is asking for reassurance from hubby. Hubby, instead of giving her blind reassurance that he only has eyes for wifey, ~apparently~ gives the wrong answer. – Signed, the token liberal (What this means coming from this comic in particular heckin idk.)
  • “I am now overthinking it. I think my initial thought was “I’m not sure I get the joke.” Upon further reflection, It is hard to say if he was going for ha ha two wives how silly or a sweet I’d have always have fallen in love with you sentiment. I’m going to be charitable and say he was going for sweet & snarky.”
  • “Blah. That’s my reaction to this. Just blah. If my partner said that to me, I’d feel pretty gross about the relationship.”
  • “If he’s fully joking, man is he playing with fire. Let’s reverse the roles. Husband is all “Man Steve is looking like a million bucks today. Do you still wish you were married to Steve?” And then wife says: “Don’t be silly! Then I’d have two husbands!” I don’t think husband would appreciate that response.”
  • “Side note, I do think him saying “well then I’d have two wives” might be an attempt to poke fun at her for even asking about wishing he was still married to Cindy. It’s pretty lame, but it somehow has the same energy as five-year-old me asking my Dad how he did something that, at the time, seemed incredible but wasn’t really. He’d always tell me that he was a wizard.”
  • “The second thing is that some of the guys I dated in Utah always liked to float the idea of having more than one wife.”
  • “Based on everything I have ever heard about Utah this, somehow, super doesn’t surprise me? God, why is Utah so weird.”
  • Also also. Because apparently I’m not done yet, damn you. Like, look at this face.”
  • Image
  • “It is quite a face. Little dots for eyes. But like for me, in a way, her comment kind of comes off as more casual? I don’t think she’s fussed specifically about Cindy.”
  • “But also I can see the 50th anniversary banner for the reunion in the background. Which just makes Cindy seem more jarring to me, considering the subject matter. Because they’re all pushing into their 70s at least. Which means Cindy has one hell of an exercise routine and a love for Botox, probably. Which, you know. Bodybuilding grandmas are a thing.”
  • “Side note – it’s kind of funny to me that big Hollywood stars like Cindy and Mason Jar would care to kick it back to podunk small town whereveritisville for a high school reunion. Iunno. Maybe it’s just because I’ve never made it to a reunion myself and the last one they tried to put together fell apart because no one was gonna show up.”

So, there you have it. Some normie opinions on today. As close as we can get to that hypothetical newspaper reader who occasionally catches a strip or two while flipping through the paper. The only thing skewing the sample is that all of my friends are just as into hyper-analyzing media as we are here. You give us something to dissect and we start gleefully pinning it down and pulling the wings off.

But what do THE EXPERTS think?

I’m eager to find out.

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Rent-A-Fiend

Thanks TFH, enjoy your well-deserved break. You got some real stinkers… I mean, we all do, but I feel like saying that trivializes how uniquely awful each two week shift can be.

Oh, so we’re carrying Sunday’s setting over into today’s strip? Well, that’s one way to make Funky sympathetic after last week’s behavior… stick him next to Les the following week.

“Bunged up”? Is Funky continuing to morph into Crankshaft or is he suddenly a British chap with a bit of a knee allergy? Either way, Funky has apparently had the kind of knee trouble that keeps you off the tennis court for over four years (shout out to that Rick Burchett artwork). And, of course, Les got better results from tennis lessons than Funky did. Of course.

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0-2-1-3-4

Today’s strip is all about the numbers for me… and not just the zip code of “Boston, Mass”. We’ve got 3 faculty on stage here, which is what… half of WHS’ known paid staff these days (along with Les, Cayla, and Lefty)? Of course, maybe you only need 4 teachers, 2 administrators, and a Dinkle when you only have 16 students in your senior class. To be fair, only nerds would show up for a school assembly during the last weeks of their senior year, so maybe these are just all the nerds (that would explain why Maris Rogers is having to plan on crashing graduation parties instead of hosting them).

Wait a second, this is the Senior Honors assembly. That explains it…

With credit and apologies to the Scotts, Smith and Hepting.

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Stolen Valium

In today’s strip Les, appropriately, puts all of his stolen Hollywood paraphernalia in same place.

Marianne doesn’t appear to understand the concepts of opacity and walls.

Cayla plans to monetize this display even though presently no one seems willing to visit the Moore house for free (and people are willing to visit Dinkle!).

Why am I blandly narrating this strip in lieu of hard-hitting commentary and rapier wit? Because I know my limits. Why is Les blandly narrating his actions in the first panel? Because there is no limit to his disdain for even those that worship him.

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Batiuk’s Level of Preparation is Low

Today’s strip could’ve been one of my favorites ever if the third panel had depicted the director acting the way a real human being would, by telling Dinkle to sit down and shut the *#@% up. I do find it extremely hilarious that the World’s Greatest Band Director Harry L. Dinkle isn’t directing this band. Especially considering that the guy who was chosen to lead it seems to be missing a chunk of his head, possibly in an accident suffered while marching in the rain.
Oh, and apparently Mike Sewell was a real band director that is being honored in the parade this year. I feel like 99% of the readers of this strip would just assume he was another character in this strip and not give it a second thought. I also think it would be nice if Batiuk had highlighted Sewell a little bit more rather than making this all about Dinkle.

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Take off, eh?

Hey, do you remember that sketch on The Muppet Show where Florence Henderson played the teenage son of a Ronald Reagan Muppet? I sure don’t, and I’ve seen The Muppet Show episode with Florence Henderson, but apparently Funky does, if today’s strip is to be believed.

I certainly can’t blame Morton for wanting to avoid these two bores the way a teenage avoids his parents. Given that Funky and Holly are back in the car driving who knows where instead of talking with the authorities about locating Morton and about Bedside Manor’s gross negligence, I guess the feeling is mutual.

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The Gig Haiku-nomy

Over the river
And through the woods, to Morton's
Nursing home we go

Funky knows the way
As he skids on through Copley
In the driving snow

…..

But wait, he's not there?!
As we learn in today's strip
No, he's got a gig

Kinda surprising
That blonde has not mistaken
Funky for Morton

A front desk message?
Who communicates like this?
They're father and son!

OK, to be fair
This weirdness is typical
For this comic strip

If he has a gig
Does that mean we won't have to
Endure skeezy Mort?

Morton the creepster
Has become a Batiukverse
Christmas tradition


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Ho Ho Ho-le lotta nothin’

If TB is going to procrastinate until 5 minutes before his deadline, as was surely the case with today’s strip, then why can’t I? Yep, I began this post at 10:25/9:25 CT and finished this up right at 10:30/9:30 CT.

Does Crazy even know who Santa Claus is? He seemed genuinely baffled that anyone would mistake him for Santa while wearing a Santa hat and Skyler has had to browbeat him into doing Santa Claus things all week. This is the fourth time in six days.

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