Link to today’s strip
Oooh, we have a real treat this week. Not only was Monday a nonentity where one character essentially tells another, “I will soon tell you the point.” But we get a double dose of the ‘suspense’ today. Do you think by the end of the week we will know the crux of the ‘conflict’? I give it 50-50 odds.
Funky is shoveling the snow off the sidewalk, and talking to his wife on the phone. So much wrong with this.
While I guess a March snowstorm isn’t insane for the Midwest,(here in Iowa we had snow on Thursday,) the strip on Sunday had the students standing on growing green grass in light jackets and sweaters.
Funky is just outside his house. Unless his wife is away from town, isn’t she just inside? Why is she asking him if he’s sitting down? Why is she having this serious conversation with him on the phone, instead of waiting the 15 minutes for him to finish shoveling? Has she locked him out of the house? Do they only converse with cell phones now? Does she refuse to set eyes on him since he turned into a horrible eldritch amalgamation of the Stay-puff Marshmallow Man and Statler the Muppet?
‘Not necessarily bad news’ always means, ‘it’s not bad for me, but you won’t like it.’ Funky is right to sniff doom. On the other hand, a good whiff of Funky right now probably smells like moldy dog and onions. He sniffs doom with every inhale.
Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview.
Linda continues to kvetch about the negative impact that Bull’s condition will have on her retirement plans. I guess it’s a quarter inch from reality that someone faced with having to care for a partner in declining health is entitled to feel bad and complain. It sure makes for a depressing “comic” strip though. Does Linda have any other friends in whom she can confide, aside from Les, who until this week has demonstrated zero concern for the well being of his old tormentor and tennis partner?
It’s been posited here and elsewhere that the supposed 10-year time gap between events in Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft means that CS is set in the present, and FW takes place a decade from now…a decade in which medical science has found a way to diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy before death. It’s the only way to explain how Bull and Buck are aware of their condition, as well as the existence of such a weirdly specific online support group such as “Former Football Players with CTE” (“Oh, you played hockey? That’s another group.”) Meanwhile, Westview High School is courting controversy by replacing the Stars and Stripes with a “Blue Lives Matter” flag.
Okay, so a few things about today’s strip.
- It’s not terrible, especially by Batiuk standards. It’s two people happy about something, and has a little charm to it, which honestly puts it in the top 1% or so of Funky Winkerbean strips. The problem is it’s mired in with all the rest of them, so I can’t help but think of how Batiuk portrays CTE or PTSD or how lazy and self-indulgent his writing can be, which makes it hard to enjoy on its own terms.
- Speaking of lazy, this exemplifies one of the biggest things that annoys me about Batiuk Sunday strips: it’s a total waste of space. Did we really need four wordless panels to establish these two are walking? So many of these Sunday strips just seem to obviously like they were intended to be three panels and then Batiuk added a couple of silent panels to fill it out. In this instance I think one single, large panel with a pretty snow scene would’ve been very nice, and it would’ve been entirely possible to fit the two lines of dialogue in there.
- Batiuk really should not draw attention to Charlie Brown. It’s like Stephanie Meyer referencing Shakespeare, or a Sci-Fi Original movie referencing Star Wars. Don’t remind your audience there is far, far better material out there. And also Batiuk is in nowhere near the same league as Charles Schulz.
- Wherever Holly and Funky are going, it sure isn’t to visit Bull.
It’s kind of weird that Buck apparently just came running when Linda called, without having any clue why she needed him. Linda apparently reaching over to grab his ass in the second panel really doesn’t help.
And apparently the incredibly, incredibly lame indict/induct wordplay really was the joke yesterday. And apparently Batiuk found it so hilarious he’s recycling it for the second day in a row. I can’t imagine any realistic situation where someone would hear the word “induct”, ESPECIALLY in the context of a hall of fame, and think it means “indict”. Which is par for the course for Batiuk’s writing.
So are the Linda’s horrible hate eyes in the last panel. Which apparently gets Buck going, which is another level of disturbing.
Thanks for having me back here. I can’t guarantee I’ll be as entertaining as BeckoningChasm, but I think I can manage topping Funky Winkerbean itself.
And here we return to a Batiuk Classic, someone opening a letter silently. I’m kind of amazed he has the letter actually being opened in one day, rather than dragging it out forever like he did with Darrin back in the day. This might be the only time his writing has gotten better since Act 2.
My prediction for what the shocking letter is: a note from Bull’s doctor explaining that they got his test results switched up with someone else and Bull actually doesn’t have CTE after all.