Summer’s gone from “playing along” to listening in rapt attention as Harley the Custodian talks about his mission to ensure that she writes her important book. Meanwhile, your genial host has gone from bemused to befuddled to borderline enraged at how Batiuk has seen fit to wind down his once beloved franchise. It’s exhausting even to read, let alone to try and write something funny about. The upside is that it’s inspired some genius snark from you readers; even compelling the lurkers to chime in. Starting Monday, Epicus and I will step aside and allow our stellar bullpen of guest authors to take a couple more swings, then we’ll see how things shake out over the next, final few weeks. Don’t forget that Tuesday at 8PM EST, I’m attempting to conduct a 1-hour online event via Google Chat. Email sonofstuckfunky[at]gmail.com for an invite.
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“Recognize humanity as our nation”??? Yeah, sure Tom, and maybe we can recognize ennui as our state, and boredom as our municipality. So to recap what we thus far know: apparently, Summer’s ability to detect patterns will cause a major paradigm shift that allows humanity to become our nation, and it involves Donna’s old Eliminator helmet somehow. It’s all really coming together now. I was all confused before, but yeah, this totally clears things up.
Panel one Summer looks exactly like Act II Les, minus the nerd glasses. And that fishhook smirk in panel two seems to indicate a human emotion that as of right now I am totally unfamiliar with. Skeptical bemusement? Wry acknowledgement? Polite confusion? Beats me. And while I know that hands are always notoriously difficult to draw properly, drawing a hand holding a pen must be even harder, as this week has established with iron-clad evidence.
Great Moments In FW Arc Recap History
March 17-23, 2014
Funky visits the nursing home to discover that his Dad has taken up smoking.
This one marked the moment when Morton’s Alzheimer’s, which had been nearly totally debilitating just a few years before, began to miraculously vanish. I can’t explain the medical science behind it, but apparently the cigarettes somehow transformed Morton from a helpless drool-cup into a quick-witted, razor-sharp old coot who soon became the coolest resident at Bedside Manor. It did wonders for his virility too. And it’s probably one of the more under-the-radar courageous things BatHam did during Act III, as you don’t see a lot of people promoting cigarettes as a health aid anymore. Quite a gutsy stance.
November 29, 2022 at 10:52 pm
“Custodian” in the case of the group he’s describing would mean something akin to “caretaker”; i.e., they’re responsible to keeping anything from happening to the timeline.
But “custodian” can also refer to someone who performs janitorial duties (itself a form of caretaker). Which is the job he’s doing at Westview High.
So the high school custodian is ALSO a custodian of the timeline! Hilarious!
So now this arc is really starting to go somewhere! He’s been sent from the future for the “crucial job” of making sure Summer writes her book about her podunk Ohio hometown! Time travel tales often involve a character going back in time to alter events to produce more favorable outcomes. But in whatever “somewhen” Harley’s from, Summer’s book has been written; it exists. So why is it necessary for him to travel back through time to ensure that something that’s happened, happens?
THIS is why he did this arc in the first place. It only exists so he could do that “custodian” gag! This explains everything, and it explains nothing. But I know how this guy thinks, and when he got this “custodian” idea, bells started ringing in his head and he started victory lapping around that studio of his. The whole thing was built around that one stupid joke. Sigh.
Great Moments in FW Arc Recap History
May 2-7, 2011
Les finally bangs Cayla.
May 8-21, 2011
Ann Apple calls Les to tell him that “Hollywood” wants to option Lisa’s Story. This sends Les into a panic as he imagines how “Hollywood” will desecrate his work. After a park bench consult with the ghost of his late wife, Les reluctantly agrees. Ann dismisses Les’ fears by telling him there’s virtually no chance the movie will ever get made.
May 22-29, 2011
Les and Cayla on the porch swing. Cayla interrupts Les’ “long thoughts” by uttering the words “I love you”. Les is unable to respond in kind, and after a long, awkward pause the two decide to “take a break”.
May 30-June 4, 2011
Cayla tells Linda that she and Les are through; Linda tells Bull, and Bull lets slip to Susan, who marches directly to Les’ classroom and blurts out the dreaded “I love you”. When Les (again) fails to respond in kind, Susan flees the scene.
June 5-12, 2011
Les confides in Funky and Crazy Harry about his love life. The friends react with disbelief that Les, whose inability to get a girl in high school is retold in a series of flashback vignettes, now has two women vying for his affection. Les takes umbrage at their teasing and storms out of Montoni’s. Funky shows up at Les’ porch to seek forgiveness.
June 13-July 2, 2011
Les calls Cayla to try to mend their relationship, but she is already on his sidewalk when he calls. She apologizes to Les (!). No sooner do the two exchange “I love you’s” than Keisha “crazies things up” by sending a pic of Susan kissing Les to her mom’s cell phone. Cayla buys Les’ explanation that it was not his fault. Back at Westview HS, the “kiss” photo has gone viral among the students. Principal Nate calls Les and Susan into his office, where Susan immediately takes the blame and voluntarily resigns. As she cleans out her belongings, Les halfheartedly attempts to talk Susan out of resigning, but she tells him she’s decided to make a “clean break from Westview”
Oh, if you weren’t around for this era of FW, consider yourself blessed, because the above represents TWO STRAIGHT MONTHS of solid Les. All Les, all the time, week after week after week. And there were four more weekly Les arcs in the two months that followed, with way more to come. The vitriol was pretty intense, I can tell you that. Les Moore, already the single most detestable character in the history of fiction at that point, forever cemented his legacy after this run. It was just unbearable. In my opinion, it may have marked Act III’s nadir, the point where it really bottomed out.
And, interestingly enough, the arc immediately before Les took over for TWO MONTHS was Boy Lisa’s less-than-triumphant return to Westview, after “this economy” forced him to flee his Big City MBA lifestyle and move in to his bio-step dad’s spare bedroom. The idea of moving back in with his actual parents, who were both still alive and well and living in Westview, was never mentioned. Of course, Les got Boy Lisa a job at Montoni’s, where he designed pizza apps and created the “breakfast pizza” craze that swept Westview for several panels. And Jessica, who was now his wife, was there too, kind of. Way more stuff used to happen back then, but at the time it seemed like nothing was happening, like how it is now. Maybe it was all just an illusion or something.
If you’re going to write a time travel story, you either totally ignore all the possible, unintentional ramifications of transtemporal travel, or you make the story about those ramifications. Either way, doing so requires a fair amount of narrative skill. That is, at least make it entertaining enough so that hidebound literalists and beady-eyed nitpickers don’t feel compelled to tear it apart. Gosh, this arc is infuriating. Given his seemingly supernatural gifts, surely there was some way that Hedley could have gotten back the dreary magic helmet. He’s had over 40 years to do it! But noooooo, he was content to leave it in Donna’s possession, and now it’s disappeared (and how does he even know this?). As a result, he’s “stranded” in space and time, and, nothing against janitors, but it’s probably a pretty mundane existence for someone capable of time travel and mind control. But hey, at least the music’s good!