I hope against all hope that today’s strip marks the end of this chapter of Les Goes To Hollywood And Gets All Pissy- Part II, particularly for the sake of our own spacemanspiff, who has to write up the next two weeks of strips. Trying to come up with words to describe this horror is not a task I would wish on my worst enemy… or even Tom Batiuk.
On the emptiest beach in California, Masone engages in some criminal activity that doubles as the dumbest cult ritual this side of the Lisa’s Legacy Run. Not one aspect of this stupid movie project has moved forward since October despite the fact that four weeks worth of strips have been expended covering the inactivity.
Not even the prospect of s’mores improves things, which is terribly sad.
Is this today’s strip or the October 26 strip?! No, it is today’s… and it leaves us in the exact same place we were in October. THE. EXACT. SAME. PLACE.
Masone promises a “shopping agreement”, explains that he has to sell Lisa’s Story to some powers-that-be, assures him of his good intentions and that he is making the right decision by letting Masone pursue this stupid movie thing, Les prepares to wait for the shopping agreement in a snit… scene. It’s the exact same thing we got in October with two exceptions:
One, this week of Masone-wants-to-make-a-Lisa’s-Story-movie strips was preceded by a week of Les and Cayla arguing about whether or not they should fly to California to discuss with Masone the fact that he wants to make a Lisa’s Story movie. We wasted this week on repeating the October scenario PLUS the week of Les and Cayla debating whether to take the stupid trip… the trip that could have been resolved with a 15-minute telephone call!!!
Two, this week ends with the unfortunate promise of future strips in which Les takes Masone around New York for some unbearable Lisa reminiscence, undoubtedly griping all the way.
Misery. Sheer misery.
Now we’re getting to it in today’s strip! Finally!
“It” being Les trying to undermine specific elements of Masone’s Lisa’s Story passion project for no explained reason. And boy is Masone going to give Les EVERY opportunity to sabotage the project, inviting dragging him into practically every element that TB thinks exists in the film-making process. It’s a good thing Les has all of those unused personal days…
Also, what is Les’ problem here exactly? He doesn’t want Lisa to be played by an attractive and successful actress? Frankly, Marianne Winters seems like a fine choice to play late Act II Lisa based on looks at least. She’s for certain sure a dead ringer for the bewigged Lisa we saw during much of that first bout with breast cancer in 1999.
If only I could believe that Cayla’s question in today’s strip truly represented some self-awareness from TB, because YES! why didn’t Mason lead with this inevitable smoke-blowing? Sure, STILL nothing has actually happened, but we’ve wasted several days of strips even getting to Mason’s effusive and unwarranted praise, a scene we all knew was coming before this movie thing got to the point where Les could start trying to undermine specific elements of it.
As far as Mason’s opinion of Lisa’s Story goes, why would he think it would succeed in winning an Oscar where the beloved film Love Story (which, incidentally, turns 50 years old this year) largely failed. Does Love Story simply not exist in the Batiukverse? I guess I could buy that, given that this is a universe where Lisa’s Story was an Eisner Award finalist. But will Mason be satisfied with just a nomination or a Golden Globe? …or, more appropriately, a Razzie?
Today’s strip takes a pre-dick-tably maudlin turn. Like we didn’t all know “Les tries to sullenly undermine this dumb movie thing” was going to be the gist of this story arc.
Even if I wasn’t short on time to write this, I’m wouldn’t archive dive to prove that Lisa did or did not say what Les is claiming at some point in time… because I can quickly and easily point to a time when she pretty much said the exact opposite.
OK, when I typed “So, what’s the deal with airline food?” in yesterday’s post, I didn’t think Les would seize upon that and give us a airline complaints routine that even Milton Berle wouldn’t steal in today’s strip. I’m truly and terribly sorry. Seriously, I genuinely apologize and take full responsibility for this crime against newsprint. Somebody has to take responsibility…
Les griping about the airline nickel-and-diming him just doesn’t track, as Mason paid for his flight, a fact that was mentioned in the strip as recently as… literally yesterday. Well, I mean, the idea that Les and Cayla were charged extra for their stated “free” trip doesn’t track. Les griping at the slightest opportunity, of course, does. If Les was acting like this the whole flight he should be grateful that he wasn’t tossed out of the plane without a parachute. A nation sighs at the missed opportunity.
I know what you’re thinking, “How can today’s strip be any worse than this past week?”
Les. The most dreaded name in the newspaper. The name that even alone evokes the most dire of thoughts. “Les” is the sound that a rattlesnake makes before it dies in a brush fire. It’s the Florida State Police code word for a sinkhole. It was the name of Francisco Franco’s pet canary. It is far and away the worst part of the title of Les Miserables.
I don’t know what possessed this poor poor child to wander near Les’ table, but I do know that if he winds up reading Lisa’s Story he is not going put it down disappointed that only one person dies. No, he’s just going to think that the wrong person dies. And he would, of course, be right.
Poor Phil the Forecaster is still getting fired in today’s strip and Alex (the bearded news director who is probably supposed to remind us of smarmy John Darling regular Reed Roberts) seems awfully chipper about replacing him with an unpaid intern. Firing Phil as a cost-saving move (rather than for a variety of good reasons covered below) tells me that Channel One will soon be one of those stations that airs Family Feud reruns in primetime. Alex might want to start worrying about his own position.
That Phil remained Channel One’s weatherman into 2017 is remarkable, in both positive and negative ways. He debuted in Funky Winkerbean in the mid-70s, giving him a 40+ year tenure at Channel One that would be a legitimately impressive career in real life.
He also kept the job for decades despite the running gag that he was terrible at it. And if Brenda Harpy is to be believed, he also kept the job despite being a certifiable nutcase who engaged in terrifying workplace violence on at least one occasion.
He wasn’t wrong about John Darling and the ozone layer, though.
Oh, did you come here for Funky Winkerbean snark? Sorry, but today’s strip is a John Darling comic, presumably part of a JD revival that few will get and surely fewer asked for.
Yep, this is “Phil The Forecaster”, weatherman for Channel One.
Well, former weatherman for Channel One now, apparently… Back in the JD and early Act I FW days, Phil was the subject of a running gag where, get this, his forecasts were always wrong!!! And everyone made fun of him for it! Ha Ha! Oh man, can you believe it? A TV weatherman getting the forecast wrong… Brilliance.
Anyways, Phil just got fired.
Les finally remembers his creepy Centerville contemporary in today’s strip, something he lied about just two strips ago.
While this comic would like you to believe that Les’ memory was jogged by this girl’s foolish belief that she was going to meet George Clinton and Co. on a school-arranged trip to Washington DC, let’s be honest here. Les really remembers her because she looked like a proto-Lisa back then.