Tag Archives: sports

Burn It All Down

Oh, so maybe this is going somewhere. Perhaps Les and all of Westview will be flown to Hollywood at the studio’s expense for the premiere of Lisa’s Story, only to be engulfed in a golf-club-sparked inferno. (For more information on where Batiuk most likely got the idea for this, click here).
Unfortunately for anyone who likes drama and entertainment, that is far far too much excitement for Act III. What will probably happen is Les will cough during the premier because of too much smoke and the movie will fail. Or there will be a Sunday single panel strip of the Hollywood Hills in flames while Les complains over the phone to Cayla about how the air quality in Ohio is so much better.

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Misery, Golf Style

Oh yay, the totally random unnamed golfers with no context or purpose are back today. He’s done two full strips of these guys without any hint as to why it’s even close to relevant, or supposed to be interesting.  Does he think he’s filling a void by making comic strips about golf?  Because that is totally not the case.  And is just me or do this three just look slightly off versions of Funky, Bull, and Les without his beard?  I don’t know if it’s the directions Batiuk gives the artists, but for a while now almost all the characters look far too similar.

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Impending Dume

A sudden pivot to golf in today’s strip… huh? What is this, Gil Thorp? Not that I’m complaining about getting away from Les terrorizing the soundstage…

Continue reading

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Pickup Basketball

We’ll have to take Les’ word about the “beauty” of Mason and Cindy’s second home: what we’ve been shown for the last three days, the exterior resembles a loading dock. We don’t get to see much of the interior: most of the scenery is obscured by word zeppelins. I’m sure it’s not Batiuk’s intent, but there still feels like a lot of sexual tension between these two. I’m not able to dig up the strip where Les first meets Lisa (help me out, billytheskink), but Les’ “main pickup move” must have been strong indeed with Cayla, as seen in this 2008 strip.

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Habakbuck

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand… we’re still watching Buck and Linda wade through Bull’s sports junk in today’s strip? Of course we are. This is post-40th anniversary Funky Winkerbean we’re looking at, expectations are for fools.

Oh hi, I’m billytheskink, and speaking of anniversaries… I’m proud to be the one to take you all through the 10th anniversary of this here groundbreaking blog. I will, however, profess nothing but lament that we must be subjected to the maudlin nonexistence of a story arc that is surely coming this week.

So Buck has the same problem with hoarding sports memorabilia that Bull had? That sounds like a trite but reasonable “men, amirite” bit until you consider that Bull followed his high school football career with a 4 year college career, an NFL training camp invite, assistant and head football coaching jobs at Westview High School, a head girl’s basketball coaching job at WHS, a rescinded offer to coach a college football team, and championships won in both high school football and girl’s basketball. As far as we know, Buck’s football career ended when he walked off the field at Big Walnut Tech for the last time. Bull has an excuse to have collected a bunch of junk from his decades-long career in sports. What’s Buck’s excuse?

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Burn It All Down

Link to today’s strip.

Well, my wish from yesterday wasn’t granted, and we’re back with the Mope Set.  As before, I don’t know what to make of this; I wish I’d had the arc where Funky misses the winning basketball shot, because that’s easily explainable as Tom Batiuk’s utter hatred of his title character.

Then this would be relevant:

(Larger and more satisfying version here.)

In today’s case–well, is it true that fewer high school kids are going out for football?  I have no way of knowing either way.  My impression is that sports are always popular for students.  If the numbers are falling, one thing I do know is that it’s NOT because the kids read a powerful anti-CTE story in Funky Winkerbean.

And the last two panels, again, make me wonder if we should be concerned about Batiuk’s mental state.   Much as I disdain his work, I have no animus against the man himself.  May he live long and prosper.  But what on earth is Buck talking about?  How does cancelling the football season mean that the band “wins”?  Aren’t they tied in great measure tied to one another?  Yes, there are other band activities, like the odd concert and student assemblies and so on, but the main display of the band is at sporting events.

And please tolerate a dumb question from a non-sporto, but it’s March.  Isn’t the football season already over?

As for Linda’s curtain line, does Tom Batiuk know what “Pyrrhic victory” means?  It’s when you win a war, but at such great cost to your side that it might as well be a defeat.  Trying to spin the logic here, she means no football games means, um, no band half-time shows, but, uh…there’ll be other occasional activities for the band (which the football team wouldn’t have).  So the band has marginally more stuff to do.  But there may be so few of said activities…uh, lemme think.  I guess she means that the school might consider cancelling the band as well?  Is that it?

Why would she care?  A) She’s retired.  Other than retirement pay, the school is in her past.  (Of course high school never really goes away in Funky Winkerbean, but still.)  B) She never had any interaction with the band that I can recall.  If the school cancelled football and band, why would she care either way?

In order to really have that line work, the band members would have to be actively persuading students not to join the football team.  Which is not what they spoke about.  And neither Linda nor Buck would know anything about such a scheme.  (And that kind of scheme would make a very interesting storyline, honestly…which is why we’ll never see it.  Damn.)

I keep bashing my head against this strip, trying to figure out the logic or sense behind it, and all I get is a headache.  I think Funky Winkerbean is giving me CTE.

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Do Tell

Link to today’s strip.

I’ll confess, this week I have felt really baffled by this strip, pretty much left without much to say.  But today’s thing is the cherry on top.  Bull’s reaction that he had a “tell” shows him much more alarmed than the knowledge that his deterioration is right on track.  Remember:  his football career (and thus the period where his “tell” would be an issue) is at least thirty years gone, but his death is right around the corner.  I figured the wry smirks he’s been handing out would be much more appropriate here, but what do I know?  Not a whole lot, it turns out!

I’m really hoping today’s episode closes this, um, “story.”  For a strip which seems to pride itself on being inexplicable, dull and uninvolving, this week has reached a nadir (or perhaps a summit) in each field.  It’s like watching toast get cold.   Yep, that toast is not even warm anymore.  Close to room temperature, I think.  No one wants to eat it now.

I think that should be the Funky Winkerbean slogan: “No one wants to eat it now.”

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High Loss Finish

Link to today’s strip.

Poor, poor Bull.  Despite being a generally decent guy over the last fifteen years of his life, he will never catch a break from Tom Batiuk.   Just thinking of all the things he did to help Les makes me believe Tom Batiuk is a deeply ill man who needs a good solid look in the mirror.  Not that he doesn’t look, often and at length; he should just try a different angle.  Bull also gave his students an encouragement to play, and the parents an opportunity to cheer; what did Les do for anyone other than himself?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

All the Hollywood work and comic book careers were given out by other people–Cindy in the case of the former, Chester in the case of the latter.  Heck, even DHS John gave Harry a job when he was suddenly unemployed.

Les?  “I screwed up.”  “Yes, you did.”

As for Bull’s viewing habits, well, I think if I were a coach, I’d watch losing games over and over.  It’s the best way to see what mistakes were made and how to correct them.  But for Batiuk, no, this was just Bull wallowing in masochism and self-pity, two things no Westview inhabitant should be without.

I actually do own a VCR (it’s one of those DVD-VCR combo things), but I haven’t even plugged it in in years.   And I can’t remember the last time I bought a tape (certainly not in this century.)  Let’s also not forget that Funky Winkerbean is supposed to be set ten years in the future (your rules, Batiuk, not mine).  This is like keeping important files on a floppy disk–and a 5.25 disk at that.

All that being said, it’s not impossible for someone to have a huge collection of VHS tapes…just less and less likely as time goes on.

Kind of like this strip.

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Speaking of “Deeply Flawed…”

Link to today’s strip.

I dunno, Buck.  I’d say if the plan is getting rid of you, then it’s moving along swimmingly.  On the other hand, I’d like to lodge a complaint that Les is still around.

Again, I remain baffled that this was “written,” “drawn” and published.  Only the last seems to’ve been done with any talent or purpose.  People who are naively expecting a “prestige” arc from this strip are not going to be at all satisfied with what they’re getting.  (Regular readers know to expect nothing, or worse.)   This whole are doesn’t seem have any point behind it; two people in a room babbling past each other.  The dialogue is meant to seem deep and profound, but it just comes across as moronic.

If Batiuk had an occasional story that at least did something, I’d write this one off as something fished out of the trash because the deadline was RIGHT THERE.  There’s no excuse to have something so utterly pointless printed under one’s name.

That 50th can’t get here fast enough.

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Bobbleheaded Booby

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, I’m genuinely baffled by what the Hell Buck is talking about.  I mean, I think I’m aware that there are “bobblehead days” for major league teams, where toys are given out in the likeness of one of the star players.  And he wishes he had that kind of fame.  I get that part.

It’s the “not with my own head” that seems to come out of nowhere…that, I don’t get.

If I had to take a stab at it, I’d guess that Batiuk has no idea at all what sportos talk about when they get together, so any errant bit of nonsense is good enough to mail off to the printer.   “What would sports fans do?  I’ll use Google.  Huh, ‘Bobblehead Day’?  That sounds interesting!  Let’s just click–oh, wait, time for Flash comics.  Oh well, it’s probably just a day where they take off their heads and juggle them.”

Now, if it was comic book fans, every utterance would be accurate down to the smallest detail (unless one of those details is spelling Joe Shuster’s name correctly).

All of the above makes me wonder what this arc is supposed to be about.  It’s clearly not about any of Batiuk’s passions; it seems too banal to be award bait; and it isn’t entertaining at all.  Is it supposed to be heartwarming and sentimental?  Because it’s nowhere near that.

That leaves the only remaining answer as “one more week of carp pumped out on the way to that 50th.”

Imagine if the last fifteen years of Peanuts had been panel after panel of Linus in a beanbag chair in front of the TV, Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse, and Charlie Brown with his head in his hands.  No dialogue; just those things, over and over for years.

I suppose it could always be worse.  Linda hands Buck a book.  “I think you would’ve wanted to have Bull’s autographed copy of Lisa’s Story!”  “Lisa’s Story?  Oh wow, I’ve heard that book is supposed to be entirely awesome, uplifting and kind of humbling, at the same time.  Oh, I’ll treasure this–and I can’t wait for the movie!”

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