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 16panels in fourstrips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…
So, did Donna just now notice that they didn’t bring a gift? Did she just tell Crazy Harry that Rocky and Cory had a registry at “Bullseye” (it’s so strange the brand names that Batiuk is okay mentioning) and then never follow up again? When they were getting ready to leave, nobody thought to mention “Hey, do you have the gift?”. I’m not really sure what about Crazy Harry makes him seem like the guy you’d rely on to shop for a wedding gift.
This does make it day four of the two weeks (so far) in this wedding arc where the gag is all about modern technology. At least it’s not comic books again. I’m a little shocked the gag isn’t just “Hey, I brought them something better- a copy of the Superman and Lois Lane wedding special!”.
It’s amusing how on Monday Harry totally forgot smartphones were a thing, and now he’s casually placing same day wedding gift orders. I also find it really, really hard to believe that same-day delivery is available in a town like Westview. I do hope that the delivery person arrives right in the middle of the exchanging of vows, loudly asking where Crazy Harry is.
I’m always a little amused whenever Crazy Harry is supposed to be a tech person, mostly because I don’t think someone who goes on a rant about iTunes suggesting music you might like can really call themselves “techy” at all. This also makes a full third of the wedding arc strips so far just being about “technology has changed since I was a kid”. I know writing isn’t as easy as it looks, but I would a wedding story would almost write itself and you wouldn’t need to pad it out with filler like “I forgot cell phones exist” or “why couldn’t we have stopped at e-mail?”. (If all of Batiuk’s “technology confuses and frightens me” strip were collected and published, how big of a book do you think it would be? Lilian from Crankshaft would need multiple chapters).
I know Crazy Harry is crazy and all, but would anyone go to a wedding as a guest and then wander over to the guy being paid to do the music and sound and offer to help? It’s his job, Crazy, what do you really think you’re going to be able to contribute? Other than playing the theme to the Adam West Batman series and Superman: The Movie on repeat.
Well, I guess Funky’s okay after being caught au naturel by his soon to be daughter-in-law. Apparently something interesting happened this weekend worth taking pictures of, and we missed that, and got to see a lot more of Funky than we wanted instead.
I do love strips like this, where the writer is referencing modern technology but really doesn’t seem to know how it works. Apparently this filter only took effect once the photo was actually posted on Instagram, and Funky never noticed it when he took the picture or when was selecting it to upload. It is more amusing than most gags in this strip, which is a nice change. And I’m very glad we didn’t get a sideways single panel repeat of the shower scene.
I do think it says a lot about this strip that in a storyline about two young people getting married, the focus here is on two old people trying to use technology. Which makes it the second day this week where the focus is on old people and technology.
And today we’re back with another installment in Tom Batiuk’s “modern technology stinks” series. I really would like more details about what’s going on here. Did the five of them just record a podcast right there, while they were standing around? Why did Cory and Rocky wait until they were with their parents to do these things, which they didn’t need their parents for and they clearly had no input in?
I’m always amused by how petty Batiuk’s gripes with technology are. This is basically exactly what hashtags are meant for, and it’s a great use for them. To react “oh no, people uploading pictures of one of the best days in your life in a way that you can easily find them, Skynet has won, why couldn’t we have stopped with dial-up and Netscape” is a really weird take. (Not sure if it’s as weird as a week long rant against song suggestions, but it’s close).
This does not seem like a great hashtag, apart from just being way too long and using up most of your characters. I’m sure we can come up with better ideas. Mine is #mrandmrsrhodessincethereisnowayiambecomingrockywinkerbean.
Logan is playing an age old scheme. A game as old as the rolodex and the address book. She’s not really interested in Malcolm now, in fact, never really wanting to see him again, but still wants to keep the echo of a line open. Another invisible thread in her bundle of similar invisible threads so that, when time gets short or she get tired of the hunt, she can yank on that bundle and see which fish haven’t been caught yet. See which fish have gone from bony bait to a trophy. Catch and release romance.
erdmann and newagepalimpsest had a different take on Malcolm and Logan reiterating over and over to each other that this is their last date:
And…wow. The nihilistic existential dread in the idea that you are an unimportant fictional character that is doomed to not only cease to exist, but cease to be remembered, the moment the eye of your uncaring creator finally passes from you. That you are conscious and aware only in this meaningless moment, and all that you have is the companionship of those trapped in the same hell, teetering on the edge of the cliff that will plunge both of you into damnatio memoriae. That is some psychological horror that Batiuk never has the guts or ambition to delve in to.
Existential horror isn’t the only nightmare we’re subjected to today. We also have a visual monstrosity in the background of the first panel. In fact, you guys have been spotting weirdos in the background all week. I wonder what it is like to experience the Funkyverse from their eyes. What their stories might be.
“You wanna go to a graduation party?” Chet asked. “My sister has a swimsuit that would probably fit you.”
She smirked at him. Then opened her mouth impossibly wide. And Chet knew, it was gonna be a good party.”
Logan, woman to fictional girl, I think this better be your last potentially romantic date with your good pal Malcolm.
I mean, I guess he’s tall. And next to cowlick Connor and certified Michelin Manlet Bernie, he’s okay looking. Yeah, he’s got a receding hairline, but what fresh-faced Westview teen doesn’t have one? I mean just look the crowd at that graduation party you went to!
But girl. I’m seeing some SERIOUS red flags. You better put him right back in the friendzone.
I know from my work at the gas station, that a lot of the young high schoolers these days have debit cards. All well and good. But a credit card?
I remember the day my mom handed me a credit card with my own name on it. She said it was linked to her account. She said she would be able to see everything I bought. She said it was only for emergencies. Like if I was stranded in a blizzard and needed a hotel. (Many of my mom’s worst case scenarios involve blizzards. It’s also why she refuses to get rid of the compressed bale of old blankets wedged in her linen closet.) She gave me one of those serious mom stares. I felt like I was walking around with the nuclear football tucked into my nylon wallet.
But Malcolm tells us that this is HIS credit card. I guess that means Malcolm is 18, and has an independent source of income. Which would seem like points his in favor. But then he says he must have maxed it out and didn’t realize it? And so Logan has to pay for the latest rehashed Marvel product?
I don’t have a smart phone. My phone has a calculator, and always knows what time it is, so it’s already smarter than me. I had a smart phone for about six month, before I ruined it jumping into a pond to fish out a newborn calf. Now I’m playing a game of chicken with a 10 year old diet-blackberry Samsung to see which quits first, the phone or the entire 3G Network. (Looks like the phone will win.)
But I have seen the wizardry available with the internet in the palm of your hand. I’ve seen people at the checkout have a card decline, pull out their phone and pay it off, or transfer money from one account to another, in minutes. I’ve seen people glancing at their phones and checking their balance before telling me exactly how much in sticky quarters they’re going to give me to pay for their pack of Camels so they can run the rest on their cards.
Meaning, any tech literate young zoomer is going to be able to pay down the balance on their credit card with their phone on the spot.
Meaning, Malcolm not only has maxed out his credit card, he lacks the funds in his bank account to pay it down. And he didn’t think to check on this before his very special date with Logan? A date where he only brought his credit card? He’s already in debt, but was going to tack interest charges onto a date?
And I know most starting out credit cards have pretty low credit lines, but still $1000, $500?
Then he looks Logan in the eye, face both tired and pained, and tells her that this is nothing…barely peanuts…to the crippling debt he’s planning to inflict on himself. Malcolm already has a solid figure in his mind, so much so that he already counts that debt as HIS before he’s sat through a single lecture. Tens of thousands of dollars, maybe hundreds of thousands, more money than most people make in a decade, are already hanging over his head, future promise bucks handed from lender to unnamed college in his name. For what?
Why is he going to a college expensive enough to drain the light from his eyes? What are his plans? Does he have a career path that requires a degree? Because he isn’t being bankrolled by scripture sales from the Cult of Dead St. Lisa. He doesn’t have an Endless Summer to spend puttering around a university changing his major from one useless certificate to another.
College can be a rewarding place to learn, to find yourself, to make new friends, to fall in love, and have exciting experiences. So can summer camp. You do not go 40 grand in debt for summer camp. You go 40 grand in debt because you have a clear goal that necessitates that sacrifice.
Come on, Logan! Surely with your ABC News boosted business blog, you should be able to talk him out of the biggest and most expensive mistake an aimless young graduate can make:
Today’s strip recalls one of the very last things that ever appeared in Act I… and uses it to mourn the death of print media? Look, I dunno what’s going on in the last panel, but I can tell you what happened in flashback panels.
After bumming everyone out with his awful valedictorian speech, Les just… hung out in the auditorium until everyone left, sulking in the unfulfillment of getting a high school diploma.
Then he headed out to the “Student Council Graduation Party” in the middle school gym, as seen in today’s flashback, finding the place deserted aside from Coach Stropp.
Why was the Student Council Graduation Party a dumb idea? Why was the party deserted?
Yep, Cindy held a huge graduation party at the mall that everybody attended… including MTV VJ Karen “Duff” Duffy and some poor souls who entered an MTV contest to win a free trip to Westview.
Les, however, sat in the middle school gym with his free copy of the yearbook, reminiscing about the good times he had with his friends in high school rather than going and actually spending time with him. After a week’s worth of strips of this, Act II began…
I do not know if next week will time warp us into Act IV or not, but I do know I will be leaving this site in the skilled hands (and mind) of ComicBookHarriet. Godspeed.
Did you know Linda teaches history at Westview HS? No? Well, then you you’ll learn something from today’s strip. It is, apparently, more than any of Linda’s students can say they’ve learned in several years now.
Yeah, well, she was supposed to be retired by now and she’s only in it for the pension anyways… Plus, the last time I think we saw her actually teach anything she was teaching the “Family Living Course” back when we were still meeting the Owen&Cody generation of kids.
The good news is we can all boot up our Packard Bells and our MS Paints and join Bernie out in Tinseltown, where we’ll be paid handsomely for our rudimentary green screen skills (citation needed). Here’s a blank Bernie to start with: