Today’s strip is pretty inoffensive, as these things go. It might border on “nice” if we liked a single one of these characters.
Not sure why Funky and Holly look so surprised to see Morton playing the trombone. They know Morton is in this band. They know the band is playing at St. Spires. They walk into the Christmas Eve service hearing the strains of “Silent Night”. Put two and two together…
OK, sure, most of the churches I’m familiar with place both the choir and orchestra in front of the congregation rather than behind, but such a slight difference wouldn’t floor me like a character from the late They’ll Do It Every Time.
Maybe Funky has an excuse, he thinks churches are places to practice driving, but Holly has been depicted as at least a somewhat regular churchgoer.
Today’s strip might not quite be at the “Somehow Palpatine returned”-level, but “Luckily, one of the residents at Bedside Manor overheard that the band was playing here at St. Spires” is certainly on the list of history’s worst narrative solutions via exposition.
I think Funky and Holly must have gotten turned around driving on those snowy roads. Judging by the looks of this lady waving sheet music at them, I’d say they shot clear past Centerville, through a multiverse portal, and straight into Whoville. Specifically, the Whoville from the live-action Grinch movie. Fitting for this strip, I suppose.
OK, I was kidding yesterday about skeevy Morton becoming a December tradition, but today’s strip takes my meanderings seriously. Who is the audience for this? OK, Greg Evans I guess, but who else?
I cannot decide which is more egregious:
- The colorist’s decision to color both Funky’s and Morton’s coats blue (probably because they are just as confused by Morton and Funky’s converging ages as we are).
- The Bedside Manor staff not knowing where five of their residents are.
If you are one of the 17 folks who own a copy of Roses In December or just a really really big Crankshaft fan, you may recall another story where a nursing home lost track of one of its residents. That time the nursing home had an excuse, as Ralph Meckler had kidnapped his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife and took her to Sotheby’s in New York to see his collection of vintage movie posters auctioned off.
Over the river
And through the woods, to Morton's
Nursing home we go
Funky knows the way
As he skids on through Copley
In the driving snow
But wait, he's not there?!
As we learn in today's strip
No, he's got a gig
That blonde has not mistaken
Funky for Morton
A front desk message?
Who communicates like this?
They're father and son!
OK, to be fair
This weirdness is typical
For this comic strip
If he has a gig
Does that mean we won't have to
Endure skeezy Mort?
Morton the creepster
Has become a Batiukverse
Link To The Sunday Strip
Oh yeah, the funeral! I totally forgot all about that during last week’s nauseating little detour. Which is unusual, as it was the entire premise of the story. No one else on the planet “writes” like this, sometimes it’s like a weird piece of surrealistic abstract art that means whatever you want it to mean, but you don’t understand what that means, so you just ignore it. Know what I mean?
Anyhow, yeah, of course Dinkle pulled it off without a hitch, because “music” is his thing, you see. Look at him, high-stepping around in his little outfit. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to kill him more than I do today. The funniest thing about this arc was that the main protagonist, who started the whole ball rolling, was never identified by name and is dead. Again, no one else writes like this.
Link To This One
It’s funny, because just a few years ago Morton didn’t have an imagination at all! At least they’re still both clothed and for that, we should be thankful. Obviously BatYam caught part of some rock band biopic and thought it’d be “very funny” if yadda yadda yadda and so forth. At least Morty finally stopped with the demonic sex offender leering, at least for now. The whole “aren’t depraved randy old coots hilarious?” thing is around 98% less funny than BatNard thinks it is and I really wish he’d leave those gags for his other, lesser known (chortle) comic strip, as I don’t read that one.
It’s funny how usually FW characters are heavily into pop-culture references from thirty years before they born, but today Morton is referencing rock and roll tropes from seventy years AFTER he was born. It’s amazing how his advanced dementia didn’t seem to affect his memory at all, which is, uh, highly unusual, I guess you could say. The way he just totally blew off that early Act III Major Prestige Arc remains one of Act III’s greatest and dumbest mysteries.
Link To Today’s Strip
“No, no. no. He still looks too friendly and cheerful. I want the reader to see Morton as a malevolent sex machine who’s going to force himself on Lillian whether she consents or not!”
“Uh…OK, I guess. Here, let me cock up that eyebrow by 40% or so and add more sneer…and how’s that?”
“No no NO! MORE sneer! MORE eyebrow! And Lillian should appear frightened, like she knows she can’t say no!”
“Hmmm (sigh). OK (sigh).”
Once again Morton is inexplicably leering in unrestrained lustful malevolence, but what really sends this one caroming over that fine line between gross and disturbing is Lillian’s line about needing to go to confession, which is just completely unnecessary. The guy is supposed to be an “elderly ladies’ man”, not a coercive sex offender. Doing an arc about Morton trying to score a “date” is one thing, but having him luring old ladies into vans is, uh, something else entirely.
I can’t believe he’s actually doing a sub-arc about Morton trying to bang Lillian in the Bedside Manor van. I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the artist’s decision to draw Mort with that demonic leer of unbridled lust or BatYam thinking this is “cute”. In fact, this one is so far “out there” it might be the highlight of the entire year so far. It’s almost like he did this one as a test, to see if anyone was still paying attention.
Link To Today’s Thing
This one is way more disturbing than an arc about an elderly jazz group jamming with a church choir has any right to be. Morton (now 100% Alzheimer’s-free) is in full horndog mode again and has a baffled Lillian in his gun sights, with all sorts of perversity on his mind. There’s a hint of malice on his face here that gives this one a bit of an uncomfortable and gross twist and completely undermines the G-rated old coot cuteness BatHam was probably going for with this one. I haven’t seen a suggestive leer like that since Frankie left town.
That Lillian head swivel is possibly one of the most hallucinogenic moments in Act III history, at least since Les argued with that talking imaginary cat. Although the talking alcoholic murder chimp was pretty trippy too, in it’s own way. And check out Morty’s schozz in panel three. That’s a honker and a half right there. And you don’t typically see a lot of ninety year olds hauling around a gut like that either. But I digress and besides, things are already revolting enough already without dwelling on the art work.
Link To Today’s Thing
Thanks to everyone who held down the fort since my last stint! So based on all available evidence thus far, Dinkle went over to Bedside Manor, told the Manorisms they had a gig, then loaded them into some sort of cargo van without telling anyone where they were going. That nursing home’s ombudsman must have quite a full schedule. Bedside Manor might want to consider some sort of key card entry system or something, as right now anyone can just wander in and lead the residents God-only-knows where.
And speaking of God, what’s Walt’s problem? Is he skittish about churches specifically or being indoors in general? I believe it’s the former, but the gag here is so weak it leaves itself open to multiple interpretations, all of them boring. Now if we were in Act II, we’d eventually learn that Walt was involved in some sort of ghastly and tragic church fire, collapse or explosion as a youth, which would explain his pensive reaction. But this is Act III, which means it’s probably just a time-killing aside that seemed a lot funnier jotted down on a pizzeria napkin than it ended up playing out in the strip. And that’s certainly nothing new.