Hey, we’re finally getting around to the reason behind Flash and Phil’s falling out in today’s strip and it’s… less than fascinating to say the least. Durwood, who asked Flash to elaborate on their split to kick this week off, appears to already know the answer to his own question anyways. So was the primary reason Durwood brought Phil up to Flash so he (and, by extension, TB) could humblebrag about selling Phil’s old comic book covers for the St. Lisa charity? I think that is a reasonable assumption.
I don’t know what to make of the fact that Flash is smiling as Durwood brings up the straw that broke the Holt-Freeman partnership camel’s back, so I won’t make anything of it much like how nothing has been made from this story arc’s rancid ingredients.
Today’s strip goes beyond TB’s regular “tell, don’t show” philosophy into, well, “tell, don’t tell” territory I guess. We get a couple of 35 cent metaphors and learn NOTHING. Not a thing. In fact, you could swap the order of yesterday’s and today’s strips and it would make exactly as much sense as the present order. The Flash #123 made this big impact on this author avatar who went on to become a cartoonist… yeah, we knew that yesterday (or, 12 years ago, if you’ve ever read TB’s blog). Shouldn’t we be on to the why? The how? No, don’t bother with that, we need to hear a few more flowery words that restate what has already been restated ad nauseam.
This is beyond Herb and Jamaal‘s dopey non-specificity, which muddied the gags but didn’t keep the reader from recognizing that they existed. This glacial garbage muddies a complete lack of any substance to begin with. There is nothing here. Nothing. At all. No conflict, no suspense, no character development, no dispensation of information real or fictional. We’re waiting for a man to pay for a comic book. WE ARE WAITING FOR A MAN TO PAY FOR A COMIC BOOK. I’ll put up the $5.99 or whatever the #123 reprint costs just to get Batton the heck out of there.
Here ya go guys! I hope you like it. Because this fuzzy, disgusting thing is the best joke we’re getting this week outside of our own wonderful comments section.
Actually, truth be told, I laughed when I read this one. I mean, it strains credulity that this girl is only now noticing that something she’s putting in her mouth several times a week looks like a fried caterpillar. But I still laughed. The joke stuck the landing for me, even if the routine leading up to it was as thrilling and challenging as Simone Biles sliding directly across the balance beam on her belly.
But I just don’t care. I’m so worn down by the bad pranks this week, the non-punchlines. This followed a tried and true humor formula: set-up, surprise, and realization. The set up is a filthy reed, the surprise is that Dinkle doesn’t just tell her to toss it, the realization is that making a sarcastic comment about science projects is totally in character for him.
The slimmest weakest of jokes that I can’t bring myself mock. Maybe I’m feeling extra charitable since it’s the beginning of Lent. And as we read in Matthew 12:20 “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.”
If he won’t crush the bruised reed, who am I to quash the moldy one?
PS: Thanks to everyone who liked my story yesterday! It’s nice to know that when Batiuk gives me nothing you guys are okay with random tangents and personal anecdotes.
Dinkle’s back. We’ve had to suffer through an inordinate about of Dinkle this winter. From piano lessons to turkey shenanigans to OMEA. It almost seems like Batiuk is intentionally giving us a break from Lisa’s Cancer Movie Extravaganza. Is he trying to reset our sensitivity to the storyline? Like letting a prisoner stew in the hole for a few weeks before bringing them back out for another round of enhanced interrogation.
Had a moment of confusion on my first read. Who the heck is Mrs. Howard? You mean One-Armed-Becky? The wife of Dead-Skunk-Head? I’m so far removed from thinking of either of them having surnames. I can barely remember DSH is named John.
I don’t think that this is a Dinkle strip that’s going to get cut out and pasted on many doors. The joke is anemic, but tolerable enough. Shrewd old teacher is down with substitute pranks. But this must either be a Freshman band class, or Dinkle hasn’t substituted for three years straight, otherwise the kids should be wise to his wisdom.
The real thing holding this strip back is the atrocious art in panels one and three. What is that hand in panel one? I could draw a better hand left handed. All the poor kids have horrible receding hairlines. I half expect that panel two was changed to black outline after the fact. After Ayers drunkenly turned in a scribbly panel of twenty mangled high school students as seen through a cracked funhouse mirror.
Did you know President Bill Clinton likes to jog? I sure didn’t, at least not until today’s strip… and when I say “today’s strip”, I mean “when he was first elected President”. Does TB think calling him “President Clinton” is not enough of an identifier for readers or did he just recently start watching a DVD box set of 1990s Saturday Night Live episodes?
What’s with all the Eeyores in the first panel? Funky just dialed up BILL CLINTON on a whim, got the former POTUS to answer directly, and was told by the man himself that he would help. Why is Rachel even questioning this?
Better yet, why am I questioning this? Any of this? It’s been a fool’s errand for decades.
This guy still doesn’t look anything like Bill Clinton, but at least he’s game to help the gang in today’s strip, which means we’re probably closer to the end of this idiocy (and the start of a new idiocy). A President Clinton junk food joke? Really, TB? Did you write this in 1994 or when people stopped laughing at the thought of the President eating French fries (which was 1995, I believe)?
Yes, the 27 (or 37) year old phone number for President Clinton that Funky has still works, and his call has been received by a cell phone that recognizes Funky’s personal cell phone as Montoni’s! It must be the same brand as Wally’s magic Adeela-recognizing phone. But the man answering it, unfortunately, is not the former President.
Look, I dunno if this guy is Durwood 40 years in the future or maybe James Woods after a horrible accident involving a beaker or two of acid or the world’s most embarrassing caricature of the late Jerry Orbach or if Ayers just forgot what Flash Freeman looks like… but I do know he’s not Bill Clinton.
Writing facial recognition software in the Batiukverse has got to be the ultimate fool’s errand. While I was not able to find any source for Amicus’ 20% of the time figure here in real life internetland, in Westview I would think the figure would be well above that. WAY well above that.
Pete has totally declared himself forever stuck in the nineties, the only decade when a child might not recognize a box of LPs on sight. “What are these?” There’s a record player on the friggen desk you dunce! With music coming out! Ruby has worked in the same office with you for how long? Pete comes across as a amnesiac toddler pointing to things he has to have seen a million times before and asking, “Wat dat?”
And all to cover the limitations of sloppy artwork. A more natural beginning to the conversation would be. “Hey Ruby, why did you bring your old record player in?”
The strip is nonsensical all across the board. Every panel has something either inane or baffling.
Everyone likes to listen to music while working. Find me a person who enjoys working in complete silence and I’ll have another name to add to my list of suspected pod-people.
And the record player is ON HER DESK, she might not even need to stand to flip that LP over. Does standing register steps on a fitbit? I’m guessing that Batiuk wanted to give an interesting juxtaposition of old and new technology to show that Ruby is hip with the times. But for THIS joke to work the record player would need to be on a separate table a few feet away. Which would have been doable, but Batiuk and Ayers didn’t even bother.