Blah blah blah.
I’d like to revisit Sunday’s strip, because there was a relevant bit of dialog:
She asked about the history of Westview, and he’s giving her the history of Montoni’s. These are not the same thing, even though the strip acts like they are.
It’s also not clear what narrative purpose this is supposed to serve. This week should be the comic strip equivalent of a clip show, where Summer’s “book research” is a framing device to setup a walkthrough of old stories. But it’s not even giving us that. It’s telling us trivia about old stories it assumes we already know, and doesn’t advance the current story of Summer writing her book. How do you get a clip show wrong? Funky Winkerbean found a way.
It almost feels like Summer is trolling here. Look at that big smirk as she dutifully writes down this useless information… about her own life. How does Summer not already know this story? Especially when there is a book series, a major motion picture, and a one-man fanatical cult devoted to her mother’s life.
Hey, we got an appropriate Halloween visitor after all! The undead.
Tony Montoni is suddenly back from the dead and/or Florida. Or maybe he was just covered in flour the last time we saw him.
He recites the banal details of how the restaurant started, in classic Batiukian style: by listing all the steps in the process. “How did Montoni’s come to be? My father bought an Italian restaurant and renamed it. He smelled like pizza ingredients a lot.” That’s the kind of amazing insight into the human condition that will make Summer’s book an immediate best seller!
Tom Batiuk does not tell stories. He describes procedures. Think about any storyline you’ve ever seen in Funky Winkerbean. Everything is a rote description of the steps involved. Especially when it’s one of his precious publishing stories, where the whole point is to indulge his fantasy that’s the one being praised and fussed over.
What was Lisa’s Story? Fly to Westview. Ask Les to make the movie. Have Les sign the shopping agreement. Fly Les to Hollywood for the pitch meetings. Go to three different production companies. Find one you like. Go to lunch with them. Reach an agreement. Choose a director. Audition actresses. Begin filming. On and on it goes. Lisa’s Procedure was mercifully interrupted by the Point Dume fire procedure: unknown golfers accidentally start fire, fire spreads, Jeff announces plans to visit Bronson Cave, Jeff flies to Los Angeles, Jeff goes to Bronson Cave, Jeff ignores wildfire, Jeff has to be saved from wildfire, etc.
This strip loves to tell you what the procedure is going to be, describe or show every step of the procedure, negotiate irrelevant details, and perform formalities.
Not only is this going to be a boring rehash of unimportant trivia, it’s going to be done in the most tedious way possible. And no pizza box monster.
This week is going to be painful.
Today’s strip echoed a personal experience for me.
For almost as long as I can remember, my parents were small business owners. They ran a family business that started in 1980. When my father couldn’t do it anymore in 2005, my brother took it over. It operated continuously until 2020. You can probably guess what contributed to its demise.
When it was time to move out of the building, one of the more difficult things we had to do was take down all the pictures, mementos, awards, and other history that had been hanging on the wall for decades. There were pictures of old friends and loved ones who aren’t with us anymore. There were pictures of us with famous people. There were pictures of the time we were on a local TV news story. There were print magazine and newspaper articles. There were letters of commendation we had received about the work we did. There were letters that mentioned Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. There was even a Little League team photo plaque dated 1985, for a team I played on. Every item brought back a fond memory of a former time in our lives. So much of my family history was documented on those walls.
Montoni’s history wall sucks.
Three pictures of Tony Montoni? A local TV host? A 12-year-old playing Defender? A vague woman on a motorcycle? Most of this junk isn’t worth hanging on the bathroom wall, much less selling as “memorabilia.”
The picture of the visit from Bill Clinton is fine. Any personal interaction with a current or former POTUS is a big deal. But let’s talk about what’s not on this “history wall”:
- Mason Jarre, a major Hollywood movie star who has been to Montoni’s multiple times, and initiated the Oscar-winning movie on the premises
- Atomik Komix, a local, nationally prominent comic book publishing company, with two Hall of Famers on staff
- Pete, the writer of this world’s equivalent of Star Wars, which was also filmed in this town
- Holtron, a noteworthy prop from this movie, that is housed nearby
- Cindy Summers, a local product who became a national news reporter and was so popular in high school her parties were covered by MTV
- Bull Bushka, a local product who played in the NFL
- Any of the high school championships Westview won (my local Applebee’s commemorates such things, and I live in a big city with several high schools)
- Harry Dinkle, a man who single-handedly propped up the economy of Belgium
- The pizza box monster, who doesn’t turn up in today’s strip either. As commenter Andrew pointed out yesterday, his real-life counterpart is on Luigi’s history wall.
And I never thought I’d have to ask this, but…. where are Les and Lisa? We’re supposed to take their ridiculous over-the-top Love Story rip-off and all its side plots seriously. So they’re a massive part of Westview history.
This pathetic display should be enough to convince Summer that her proposed “oral history of Westview” is unviable. On top of that, Funky is selling all this! Why would anyone want to read a history of Westview, when the people who live there and collected that history, don’t care enough to keep it?
Funky, Cory, and the Force Ghost of Tony head on into one of Montoni’s many expansive and infuriatingly unorganized storage areas in today’s strip. People were joking about department stores putting up their Christmas decorations in August decades before I was born… but what can be said about decorating for Christmas less than a week before Santa slides down Montoni’s pizza oven chimney?
This is one of the most flabbergasting Funky Winkerbean strips I’ve ever read. Not because of penny socks, or laughably late Christmas decorating, or hologram Tony… but because Funky is apparently capable of feeling shame. Never would have guessed.