Tag Archives: Summer

Credit Fraud

Today’s strip concludes (we hope and pray and hope and wish) this latest visit from the Ghost of Distress Past. Her Royal Wryness. The VHSaint herself.

  • Special thanks go out to Summer for being a prop with no impact on the story whatsoever, she has already collected her prize of appearing in a full 3 panel strip this week (panels will not necessarily be consecutive).
  • Special thanks also go out to Les for having such an insatiable ego and such milquetoast friends and family that he will continue to receive the unearned praise he has been given for decades now.
  • And extra special thanks go out to Crazy Harry, who demanded nothing but 18 panels of our precious time in return for his brilliant idea of pretending Isaac Asimov invented the concept of recording video using already obsolete technology.

On the subject of 18 panels (well, 16, thanks to a couple of 2 panel strips), this new Lisa tapes origin story actually takes up more column inches than the entire original origin story AND depiction of the recording of the tapes! That took just 16 panels in four strips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…

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Where there’s an ill there’s a way

So much for Summer’s reappearance… with today’s strip we’re now seven panels removed from Monday’s “Hey Harry! What Brings?” with no end in sight to the sepia-toned sadness blocking Ms. Moore from view. If that’s not bad enough for poor Summer, Lisa can’t be bothered to even mention “her daughter” by name in the word salad she spits out in panel 2.

Are we headed toward another unnecessary and uninteresting retcon?

For years, mankind thought they knew the origin of the Lisa tapes… but they were WRONG.

WHAT IF… recording an incessant number of Lisa’s final few hours on earth wasn’t Les’ idea at all, but instead, the brainchild of a completely different nerdy MAN?

The TRUE origin of the Lisa tapes revealed… This August. Playing exclusively in Funky Winkerbean.

[read in movie trailer voiceover voice]

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It belongs in a mausoleum!

Today’s strip appears to be the latest installment of one of TB’s most recent recyclable story concepts: “old person has a Lisa flashback in front of Summer”. Of course, it’s also the latest installment in his most overplayed story… but we all knew we would be back here eventually.

Just how many Lisa tapes are there? We can see 5 or 6 peeking out of the top of the box Crazy is carrying today, meaning there are probably at least 10 total in the box. The box Summer brought to him close to seven years ago was about twice as deep, also with about 5 or 6 tapes visible out of the top. This suggests that there are about two dozen tapes, over two full days worth of Lisa video assuming she recorded a full 2 hours in SP mode on each tape.

Regardless of how many of these tapes there are, they can’t be much more than conversation pieces now given that Crazy baked them when converting them all those years ago. Not that Les wanted anyone conversing about them despite having 7 or more of them on prominent display in his living room.

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This Ain’t The Summer Of Love

Link To It

Now THIS one is just totally, wildly out of nowhere. The odds on EVER seeing a daily strip where Maddie and Keisha interact, only with each other, had to be a billion to one…until today, where Maddie (!) grills a recalcitrant and oddly hostile Keisha (!!) over Summer’s love life. This will undoubtedly fuel speculation over Summer and Keisha’s relationship, whether intentionally (I seriously doubt it) or otherwise. Until proven otherwise, everyone will still assume that Summer was the prom scenery of “uncertain sexual orientation”, let’s call it. And Keisha’s bitchy fronting over Maddie’s seemingly harmless query will do nothing to squelch that theory.

There’s a non-zero chance that this is the last time we’ll ever see either of these characters, which makes the whole thing even more mysterious and wildly random. And speaking of bitchiness, why are Westviewian women so notoriously catty? They’re fine while they’re in the background, setting up punch lines for the boys or making observations re: how dumb the men are, but get a pair of Westviewian women together and the claws come out. Someone obviously hurt BatYam a long time ago, but the less I know about it, the better off I am.

But anyway, circling back to the strip again, yeah, this seems to be a real sore spot with Keisha, for some mysterious, never-to-be-resolved reason. And why is BatNutz doing a strip about Summer’s love life (or lack thereof) anyhow? Was anyone clamoring for this? Has anyone ever clamored for this? What is it about single characters that makes him so uncomfortable? Why the incessant need to pair everyone up? Huh?

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Take Another Pizza My Heart Now, Baby

Link To This One

Yeah, I’ve used that title before, but so what? Another single paneler…this thing isn’t just running out of momentum, it’s actually rolling backwards now. As much as it pains me to admit this, Les’ barely-veiled disgust is probably the funniest moment of this arc so far. I’ve always wanted to see Dick Facey go in that direction and become a full-time, no-holds-barred asshole, all the time, instead of just occasionally. But alas, the bearded dick with ears can’t even do that right.

Two things really stand out here. First you have Summer, who’s becoming less and less recognizable by the day. Please, just ship her back to KSU and let her prepare for her triple junior year already. And then there’s Holly’s “muscatel memory” gag, which has to be one of the bottom ten all-time FW gags ever. I mean yikes, man, that’s just awful.

And what a shitty wedding. Awful, awful pop-culture gags, no one taking it seriously at all, Summer lurching around making wisecracks and a pile of shitty pizza…if I was a guest I’d seriously consider stealing my gift back.

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Take The Vow With Son Of Holly, Fa-la La La La, La La La La

Link To This One

Good God, man. While this may seem like a typically stupid and innocuous FW gag, it’s not innocuous at all. It’s actually one of the worst gags ever written by anyone, ever, and BatYam ought to be ashamed of himself for having dreamed it up in the first place.

First, you have the joke itself, which (as far as I can tell) is that the minister the happy couple found online speaks only in technology references, because he’s an “online” minister. But the thing is, he isn’t “online”, he’s right there. You can go online without becoming “online”, which seems like something you shouldn’t have to point out to anyone, regardless of how rooted in the past they are. It’s just a TERRIBLE joke on that level alone.

But then, on top of this already-abysmal gag, he uses “Bill Gates” and “Twitter” as his “online” references, as they both have something to do with “internet” and “computers”. And I mean yeah, they do and all, but it’s REALLY a weak, weak reach. If he said “by the powers vested in me by my local ISP, Megalith Cable” or something like that, it’d be a little closer to being a joke, albeit barely.

Then, the icing on the cake. It’s Summer, the young, with-it child of technology explaining the reference to Cayla, the old, out-of-touch fogey who always struggles with this internet thingie. And then there’s Boy Lisa’s absolutely baffling presence, too. Seriously? HE’S Cory’s best friend? He couldn’t even draw up some random anon-o-army guy to be Cory’s best man?

This one stinks on ice on every possible level. In fact, I’d go as far as to say this one, right here, is one of the one hundred worst FW strips of all time, maybe even bottom fifty. Just look at that terrible post title I resorted to using today, I am NOT a man who shies away from a terrible, lousy, no-good gag every now and again. But this strip is aggressively bad, the kind of bad that just grabs you by the shoulders and screams “LOOK HOW SHITTY I AM!’ right in your face, and in my opinion there’s just no call for that.

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Cory is Ex-Interesting

Oh, hey, Maybe-Summer speaks again. I kind of hope that isn’t actually Summer, just because it would be hilarious to me that someone who sort of looks like Summer has had more lines in two days than actual Summer has had in probably five years.
And look, it’s Maddie! Or possibly a random redhead, who knows. What’s funny is that she’s at this wedding but apparently doesn’t know the couple was in the military, which is one of the two character traits they have anymore.
I’m also not sure what the two figures in the first panel are for, since they sure don’t seem to be favors. The little green army men are at each setting and seem to be the favors. It looks more like a centerpiece or cake topper, which makes it extra funny, to me at least, that both of the figures are apparently male. There are female G.I. Joes, after all. It maybe would’ve been nice to have one of them be used, since the bride served in the army and all. Heck, he could’ve had Rocky talk about how she was inspired as a child by one of the female G.I. Joes. But that would’ve taken a little more effort than apparently Rocky’s character is worth.

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Unification Disgrace

Oh yay, comic books, it’s been so long since they’ve been mentioned in this strip that I really missed it. And of course Rocky is a massive comic nerd, since that’s the other personality trait she has other than “was in the army”.  If someone told Batiuk he had to write a character, story or even just a strip or just a single wedding that didn’t have anything to do with comics, I’m pretty sure you’d hear the sound of several fuses in his head blow and smoke would start pouring out his ears, because I do not think he’s capable of even considering that anymore.
I just Googled “‘unification display’+wedding” because I’d never heard of them before and wondered if this was something common that I just hadn’t heard of, but I really don’t think so. It only returned three results and none are remotely like what’s being portrayed here. Even less restrictive searches returned nothing close, so I really don’t think this is a thing. What I think happened is Batiuk thought it was hilarious/touching to have two people merge their comic collections and made up the concept of a “unification display” because I guess he couldn’t just have someone point and say “hey look, they combined their comic books!”. (And have them sitting out in the open in the sun where anyone can swipe one).
Is that supposed to be Summer on the right? I can’t really imagine who else it would be, even though it doesn’t look at all like Summer, and she’s not wearing a hoodie.
This is also yet another example of Batiuk’s need to have an extra line after the “punchline” of the strip. Nothing is added by having maybe-Summer tell us it’s cool and sweet. It’s like Batiuk doesn’t think the readers will be able to tell how they’re supposed to react to or feel about a joke without literally being told.

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Your Ignorance Makes Me Ill and Angry

Link to today’s strip.

In any other strip–Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, even Mary Worth (prior to its Wilburization)–this would be a sweet moment. Imagine if Linus found out that Peppermint Patty had deliberately thrown a game so that Chuck could have a win. That would be great, and Linus’s response to Patty’s question would be the same as here.

But this isn’t a strip where sweet things happen. Mawkish things, treacly things, things filled with bathos, sure, those happen all the time. But genuine nice moments are as rare as Becky’s mom.

Here, Summer’s sly face in panel three suggests not so much a sentimental secret, but the desire to make Les keep thinking he’s been losing his mind. I kinda like that she has that ambition, honestly.

Source of today’s title.

PS: We know why this entire week is here, right? It was a recent commentor (I can’t remember who, sorry) who pointed out that the nominees for the Academy Awards are going to be announced very soon. Who wants to bet that “Lisa’s Story” will have a few entries? So, a week of Lisa-a-Go-Go. Gotta keep Lisa in the public eye, even if she’s poking that eye with a stick!

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The Needs of the Ninny Outweigh the Needs of the Fool

Link to today’s strip.

It’s pathetic to call this week’s story a “mystery” because a mystery generally yields important information when solved. Here, Ghost Lisa was portrayed by someone we’ve never seen before and, no doubt, will never see again. And this is called “writing”?

What this episode seems to say is this: Les never filled the bird feeder. This newly minted character did, and continued to do so for (I guess) decades, because oh god, everyone was so affected by Lisa Les’ suffering that they had to do everything in their power to make sure his illusions were catered to.

And–get this–this is supposed to make Les a sympathetic character. One we’re supposed to stand behind and cheer, as he confronts his Lisa-less future alone.

And now that Summer is filling the bird feeder, Purple Hat Lady can finally rest. I’ve done my duty for Les, by God, and finally I can see the sunset. Thank the lord above I was able to help Les Moore cope for these twenty-some years.

Here’s what I think we’re seeing. Mrs. Ewing is actually Lisa, who never died but faked her death to be rid of Les. Les was always so cloying, and so clingy, that she felt she couldn’t breathe–she had to get out. And what would Lisa look like if she’d remained alive? Another fat, doughy blonde. She moved into the house next door just so she could enjoy watching Les moan and agonize over how much he suffers.

Summer wouldn’t recognize her, and Les…he only has eyes for himself.

According to Phil Holt, it’s the easiest thing in the world to fake your own death. All you need is a sympathetic lawyer. And what was Lisa’s profession again?

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