Today’s strip shows Les continuing to chase Nate around to berate him over his copier use. And not surprisingly, he’s wrong. He’s not being penalized. He’s simply not getting credit for it. He’s not allotted fewer copies than his fellow teachers. He gets just as many, but since he decided to go double sided, he used half as many pages. It’s not Nate’s fault, or the fault of the other teachers that Les was sloppy when heeding the rules.
But I’m more annoyed by the punchline. Batiuk uses a legal term, “don’t make a federal case out of it”, but rather than bringing the Legal Society students in, he brings in the kids in the journalism club (media club, or whatever the hell it is). Wouldn’t a better punchline be “don’t turn this into a front page story”? Or “don’t make a national story of this”? You know, something to reflect the fact that these kids are specifically in the school’s media news activity?
But I don’t know why I’m annoyed. To mix my metaphors, flubbing an open layup like this is par for the course as far as Batiuk’s concerned.
So today Les keeps mashing on the copier, like an unmajestic silverback gorilla, as if mashing it is going to make his problem of blowing through his alloted copies go away.
But it’s panel two that’s the true majesty. Look at that thing. He’s got the aforementioned unflattering angle focusing on his baldness. He’s got the loosened tie that’s supposed to make him look unpretentious and hip but instead makes him look like an unprofessional slob. His eyes are tightly closed like a six year-old’s who’s on a whining binge because his parents didn’t get him the right Christmas present. And finally, there’s that finger that he’s waving as if he’s in any position to lecture his boss about his own wastefulness.
And there’s one more thing, of course. You’d think a guy who’s supposed to be some sort of accomplished writer would be detail-oriented enough to determine from the posted rules whether making a double-sided copy constituted two “clicks” or one. But Les is not that guy.
So today we go back to Les and naturally this means it’s the setup for a week of him complaining about something.
I’ll just ignore Les blowing through his month’s allotment of photocopies, both because I trust all of you to hash it out more than adequately, but also because Batiuk’s going to give us plenty of opportunity to do so over the course of the week, to comment on something else. It’s the way Les is drawn in panel 2, looking down at the top of his recently severely-balding head. (Seriously, look at how significant Les’s hair loss has been in the last two years) I’m going to assume that Burchett leaves the diagramming of the strip’s art to Batiuk, because this is by far not the only time Batiuk’s used this angle. The odd thing is it’s with one exception always a balding man, with the primary focus on his male-pattern baldness. He’s never once drawn a woman from this angle. But now he’s shown Les, Funky and Bull in this fashion multiple times each – an odd, inexplicable angle with their head bowed showing the full ravages of a receding hairline.
It’s remarkably unflattering and jarring. Makes me wonder why Batiuk keeps coming back to it.
Link to today’s strip.
The story you are about to read is dull. The jokes have been redone to protect the humorless.
It was Friday, November 30, 2017 in Westview. The weather was gloomy and morose, and the forecasts were “You may only have weeks left.” The outlook was grim that day, but it had been grim for over ten years, ever since Lisa, so folks were out doing their usual thing. I was there to make sure no one got too excited…or did anything exciting.
The boss’s name is King Features. My partner’s name is Rick Burchett.
My name’s Batiuk. I carry a felt-tip.
Oh no, Les is back in today’s strip. And along with ol’ smirk n’ shirk we get three would-be nominees for This Week In Milford’s pantheon of hair. Let’s see… we’ve got a phone camera operator sporting a Dave Coulier mullet, a proud Lisa book-buyer wearing the Luke Skywalker, and someone so enthralled with the many justifications for John Darling’s murder in Fallen Star that they are morphing into Albert Einstein. Fantastic.
Well, that took my mind off of yet another strip where Les shows contempt for the people who want to give him money for his work, for a few minutes at least.
Thanks, SOSFers, for putting up with me and TB (mostly TB… I hope) for another two weeks. The unenviable task of covering a crazed bald man palming two imaginary grapefruits (and whatever else next week brings) falls to someone significantly more well-known to the average comic strip reader than Phil the Forecaster, our own Comic Book Harriet. Good luck.
Still talking in today’s strip
Took a creepy turn
So, what is the deal
Les leaves his writing around
Women pick it up
And just like before
The woman who picked it up
Keeps it for decades
Why was this two arcs
Really, a baffling story
Why even one arc
Still, creepy woman
Has not purchased Lisa book
Holding up the line
She kept a high school essay
I just can’t even
Well, that didn’t last long. The shared affection seen yesterday has evaporated, like much of Lake Chad, by today’s strip. In its place we get ennui, hairy sofa cushions, and a plot synopsis for the Waterworld prequel.
None of that surprises me, though. What does surprise me is that TB didn’t have Kablichnick deliver this joke to a class full of terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad young people. In any event, it adds to the clip show feel of this whole week.