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:
For all of us who tell Tom Batiuk “write what you know!” Who doesn’t know what a pain in the ass it is, having to enter your login credentials using an onscreen “keyboard”? For once, we feel the Funkman’s frustration at being randomly required to sign in, even if his overreaction spoils their relaxing evening.
Signing in tomorrow (if he can remember his %#*@$$ password) will be the Silvio Dante to my Tony Soprano, Epicus Doomus. Epicus makes the trains run on time here at SoSF, and devotes much thankless effort to managing the guest author rotation and flagging the occasional errant spam comment. He’s done more than anyone, myself included, to keep this blog going for 12 years. We stand in line.
And so we conclude The 2021 Funky Winkerbean Awards. The first ever year-end awards event in Son of Stuck Funky history! But will it be the last?
Years ago, many of us hypothesized that Batiuk may end his strip at the 50th Anniversary; go out with a major milestone achieved and draw a line under half a century of storytelling. The counter still sits at the very bottom of the right of the blog, expressing this hope.
64 days from the 50th, I think it’s safe to say he has no plans to retire this year, or even relatively soon.
And to that I say, good. Judging by the comments, the 2021 Funky Awards were a smashing success. If he wants to continue, then maybe we’ll be here again next year, with a new set of punchable Les Moore faces to choose from.
But before we close this first one out, I have some people to thank, ANOTHER SPREADSHEET (yay!) and a final arc I’d like to recognize.
First of all, I want to thank those of you who comment almost daily! Some of you are relative newcomers, some of you have been at this for longer than I’ve been lurking around. You are ALL awesome.
A few years ago this blog was averaging 15 to 25 comments a day, often less. This year, as boring and inane as the stories seemed to be, we regularly hit 40, 50, sometimes more. There are a lot of great places to go on the internet to post snark on Funky Winkerbean, but people here were also discussing, debating, analyzing. They were posting photoshop edits, strip rewrites, and song parodies. This isn’t just a place to get some great sarcastic quips whipped up by clever minds, it’s also a place to vivisect the very concept of humor itself. So thank you!
Secondly, to the lurkers or occasional posters, thank you. Even if you’re just upvoting or downvoting comments, or chuckling at the banter as you scroll through, we’re glad you stopped by. You are always welcome to comment (provided it’s blog kosher), and should never feel pressured to.
A big thanks, and a tip of the CBH keyboard, to my fellow guest writers:
Thanks to Beckoning Chasm, for the hilarious post titles, the cheeky pop-culture references, and your dark artistic flair. Thanks for creating the hilarious gif of Les getting pummeled by an Eisner. Hope you don’t mind I wanted it front and center for these awards.
Thanks to SpacemanSpiff85 for being able to methodically shred the logical and humor failings of strip after strip after strip with Socratic insight. Every post from you asks how? why? when? and nails Tom to the wall for his lack of answers.
Thanks for Billy the Skink, our resident Batiukstorian, and poet laureate. We can always count on you to educate us on 50 years of Westview history; or spin a pointless strip into a golden bundle of haiku, and to tag the ever living HECK out of it. If we were the Starship Enterprise, (TNG, of course,) you would be Data. (I would be Wesley.)
A huge thank you to Epicus Doomus, the power behind the throne. He not only writes his two week shift, he moderates, he schedules everyone else, he subs if someone can’t complete a shift. I may go off on a tear and spend two weeks playing ‘try-hard’, but then I get to hibernate for a couple months. For Epicus, the work doesn’t stop. He carries the burden of a lot of the behind the scenes minutiae. Thank you.
Another huge thank you to TFHackett, Blogmeister-In-Chief, not only for creating this blog and keeping it trucking along, but for your posts, your humor, and your hilarious panel edits. Without you, this blog wouldn’t exist, and none of us would have this great place to voice our opinions on a single syndicated comic strip read by almost no one else.
And a final thank you to the mysterious ‘Stuck Funky’ writer, the progenitor of the original blog from which we are descended. Wherever our primordial ancestor is, I wish him or her happiness, humor, and health.
Speaking of voices….
Since you enjoyed the appearance spreadsheet, I thought I’d also share the OTHER spreadsheet I generated this week. See, appearances are nothing, especially when women be tiny and disappearing into the background. So I decided to see how often various named characters actually SPOKE this year, so we could figure out which characters were actually characters, and which were just props.
Below is a list of the number of PANELS named characters SPOKE in for 2021.
(I excluded Marianne and Masone’s lines from the Lisa’s Story Trailer.)
It’s less an award, and more an arc this year that was lambasted in the comments, but that resonated with me. For very personal reasons.
So, The 2021 ComicBookHarriet Special Recognition Certificate goes to.
HOLLY AND MELINDA
Many in the comments criticized the early part of this arc; where Holly and Melinda reminisce, decide to arrange an alumni event, and then Holly breaks her ankle trying to impress her mom. They felt the relationship was regressive and borderline abusive. And, given the exaggerated characters on display, and everyone bringing their own personal histories to the table, that is a perfectly valid interpretation.
Nothing in Funky Winkerbean this year hit me harder or touched me more.
At the very end of September, I lost my 98-year-old grandma. She’d been declining physically for years, though maintained most of her cognitive function to the very end. Still, her death was a surprise.
My grandma was very much a softer Melinda Budd type. She was Olenna Tyrell from Game of Thrones. She was Violet Crawley from Downton Abbey. Propriety focused, status conscious, but practical. Very particular in the way she wanted things done, but generous to a fault. Occasionally prickly, but devoted to her family.
I adored her.
My mother, on the other hand, is gregarious, and laid-back almost to the point of laziness. Anti-conflict, comfort seeking and giving, a people pleaser. In high-school she’d been a cheerleader and homecoming queen and class president, but as an adult she morphed into a Holly Winkerbean type: warm, soft, and maternal.
For the last fifteen years of my life, I watched my mom and my grandma navigate the difficult transition where child becomes caretaker. They handled it better than many, mostly because my mother left my grandmother as much agency as possible, and my grandmother had the grace and intelligence to admit when she needed to cede some control. But what struck me was that, until the very end, my mom worried what her mom would think, and my grandma worried what my mom was doing.
How many times when I was visiting Grandma in the nursing home in this last year, when she was unable to walk, unable to care for herself, would Grandma ask me how my mom was doing? If she was alright? Because she, of course, didn’t trust my mom to tell her.
How many times would Mom say, ‘don’t tell Grandma this,’ or ‘why did you tell Grandma that?’ Always about something inconsequential, like Mom having a routine doctor’s appointment, or the state of the house, or a story I thought was funny but Mom found embarrassing.
This time last year I hugged her while she choked up; this woman in her 60’s, months away from being a grandma herself. And my mom told me, “I don’t want to lose my mom.” And she said it in a voice like a little girl, and I, her daughter, comforted her like a friend.
The beginning of this arc tapped into that for me. The dynamic between mother and daughter that sometimes you can’t get away from, and sometimes you don’t want to. Such a weird moment to find a connection in, for a strip that usually portrays women with all the nuance and depth of cheap paper dolls.
Maybe it really is as bad as the comments thought, and I was just looking at it through a rosy tear-blurred lens. But before we shut the door on 2021, even if I’m the only one who enjoyed it, I wanted to thank Tom Batiuk for this arc, for showing me a middle-aged woman and her elderly mother bickering and bonding, and reminding me that mother birds are mother birds forever.
Well, I and others on this blog have long admired the blog Mary Worth and Me. It has been going strong for 15 years, all helmed by the esteemed blogmeister, Wanders. The undoubted highlight of each year on the blog is the Worthy Awards, which just wrapped up voting. Many have expressed a desire to see a similar event for Funky Winkerbean.
This year, Son of Stuck Funky is proud to announce the first ever Funky Awards!
Votes will be accepted through midnight January 16th. Winners will be announced throughout the following week.
Before we present our nominees, I would like to take a moment to thank Wanders. I reached out to him for pointers on how to set these up, and he responded with the kind of humor and advice that would have made Mary herself proud.
I know that I speak for all of us here at Son of Stuck Funky when I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Mary Worth community as they mourn today’s tragic cruise ship death of strip regular Wilbur Weston.
And now onto the nominees!
The Thatsnot Hewmore Award for Standout Unnamed Character
1.) Referential Heckler
2.) Suffering Saint Nursing Assistant
3.) Average Comics Fan
4.) Mature Comic Con Attendee
5.) Zombie Orderly
6.) Oblivious Parade Spectator
The Livinia Memorial Award for Achievements in Feminism
1.) Women Be Shopping
2.) Women Be Changing Their Minds
3.) Women Be Jealous
4.) Women Be Catty
5.) Women Be Another Species Entirely
6.) Women Be Tiny and Disappearing in the Background
The Backpfeifengesicht Award for Most Punchable Les Moore
1.) Remembering Old Friends (For the First Time in Years)
As an avid reader, I do kind of like this strip, just because I like bookstores and seeing people read. I would really like to know what they’re reading, though. It’s extra funny if you assume they’re reading part of Lisa’s Story and that’s why they fell asleep. I would like to know what time of day it’s supposed to be, because if it’s first thing in the morning and they’re already passing out, that’s very different then if it’s night time.
I do like Funky’s expression in the third panel-“Yeah, that’s right, I have a credit/debit card! Aren’t I awesome?”.
I am very tired of these little crossovers. It’s funny how after years of these strips somehow being ten years apart and taking place in the present day at the same time, he’s just given up on it making any kind of sense. I won’t be surprised at all if somehow Sunday’s Crankshaft involves the title character and the annoying newspaperman being waited on in Montoni’s by Adeela.
Oh, so we’re pretending the Atomic Komix crew actually works in today’s strip, are we? I suppose we are also pretending like it is normal for all of these people to fly to San Diego together for Comic-Con (not @home then, I guess)?
We’re pretending like Darin doesn’t have a wife and child to be concerned about? Wait… we’ve been doing that for years.
Well then we’re pretending that Flash has literally nothing better to do in his few remaining years (months? days?) than hang around a comic book company he never worked for? Oh… I guess we’ve been doing that for years too.
At least Chester appearing to care that his employees do their jobs is a new thing here.
I’m less curious about the identity of the unseen mystery nerd in today’s strip than I am about how they intend to “make it” to Comic-Con, which even in the Batiukverse is occurring “@HOME”.
Hey waitjustagoshdarnminute! This webpage is the same thing Pete was looking at on Monday, isn’t it?! Pete wasn’t even contacted directly by the Comic-Con or Eisner Award folks? He learned the news by reading a press release on the Comic-Con website? I don’t know if that is hilarious, sad, or hilariously sad…
(Some of our loyal SOSF commenters actually noted that Pete seemed to learn of Flash and Ruby’s induction via such indirect communication as a webpage earlier this week. It would appear that J.J. O’Malley was the first commenter to mention it, so please come up to receive your “Beady-Eyed Nitpicker” award, J.J.)
A few things strike me as funny about this strip. I think it’s funny that a year or so ago, when Batiuk wrote this, he thought everyone would go straight from social isolation to meeting back like normal, with nobody wearing masks in between. And in all that time never thought maybe that he should have the artist go back and draw masks on the characters.
The second thing is that the CDC this week specifically mentioned singing in a choir indoors as something you should still wear a mask while doing, even if you’re vaccinated.
Oh, yeah, the “old person doesn’t know how to use technology” “gag” didn’t strike me as funny much at all. CBH takes over tomorrow. I wonder how many weeks of Funky monologuing at AA she’ll have to endure . . .