How bad was the past week of Les strips? Bad enough to make today’s appearance by Mister Kablichnick feel like a refresing palate cleanser. I was ready to add “doughnut of doom” to the Batiuktionary, figuring that the term was coined by TB to set up the “punchline.” But Grandpa Google turned up this April 2019 New York Times article that uses the phrase, as well as the image Jim that is showing the students.
It’s been a pleasure sharing the pain with you lo these last two weeks. Beckoning Chasm steps into the wheelhouse starting Monday!
Tom Batiuk’s got a decade-plus on me, but I reckon my high school experience had more in common with his than with that of today’s high school student. In my days, the only “device” a student might carry would be some kind of orthodontic implement. Any phone calls a student made would have to be from the principal’s office or the corner malt shop. Logan Church and her peers are never without their cellphones, and thus, are never without access to all the world’s knowledge. No wonder the unpleasant Jim hates teaching a class. When Logan correctly answers a physics question, Jim’s initial surprised reaction immediately shifts to narrow-eyed suspicion. She couldn’t have known this answer without Googling it, because Jim believes, as does Les, that these students never even open their textbooks. The thought that he has actually taught a student something brings Jim to actual tears. Unless that teardrop in the corner of his eye is a prison tattoo.
So good to know that both Centerville twins are alive and well, after a rare solo appearance of Emily or Amelia in Tuesday’s comic. Over in the Crankiverse, these two are still interchangeable, not-too-bright tween girls. But by the time they transferred to Westview High, they had developed distinct persona: Emily, the goody-goody flautist, and Amelia, the shredder of guitars.
December 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm
Oh, so this is just a WHS garbage dump arc, a place to use up the one-off WHS gags he has laying around that studio of his.
Guess the humor in today’s strip derives from the fact that Maris is never satisfied with her school pictures. Speaking of retakes, today’s riff hearkens back to a similar gag from 13 years ago.
Retirement clearly means different things to different teachers. Harry Dinkle comes to mind…how could he not, since nearly half the strips last month were about him? Harry’s busier now than he was before his retirement. When he’s not lurking around Becky’s band room, he oversees the Bedside Manorisms, conducts the July 4th concert in the gazebo, and hard-earns a buck or two giving piano lessons to rotten kids. Even in his sleep, he experiences nightly flashbacks to his days in uniform.
Les’ “work wife” Linda entered her lonely retirement sometime before Bull’s death. So the current, core faculty at WHS consists of Les (who’s rarely seen in the school, let alone teaching a class), Principal Nate, band director Becky, and the execrable Mr. Kablichnick.
Banana Jr. 6000
December 1, 2020 at 9:54 am
[Les is] the “cool” teacher that all the kids relate to…Batiuk thinks he’s invented the modern day Mr. Chips.
December 1, 2020 at 10:56 am
He’s invented the modern day Mr. Buffalo Chips. I’ll give him that.
That title really ought to go to Jim Kablichnick, the Science Schmuck. Despite his resemblance to Mark Twain, Jim’s corny, repetitive attempts at humor elicit only groans from his students. His climate mania is his least quirky character trait. I couldn’t find the strips, but can recall an arc where his coworkers shared their concerns that he was having a nervous breakdown. He’s a militant germaphobe, and a loner who on a class trip to Washington D.C., opted to drink alone in his room rather than join Linda, Les, and Cayla for dinner. OK, that last one’s understandable. At any rate, nobody hates his job more than Jim, for whom Wednesday, June 11, 2025 cannot come quickly enough. He memorializes his remaining days as a teacher on a whiteboard. Unless Jim’s creator plans to continue working after Funky’s 50th year, and barring another “time jump,” Batty will retire three years before Jim. Here’s hoping!
ICYMI: So yesterday Logan was summoned to the office, only to return today to The Bleat’s studio with the rest of her peers (the “freshmen” we met in 2016 and hence should have graduated last June), and they’re all just back from a field trip? Th’ hell? Is this happening like five minutes later, or have days passed? Les is still wearing the yellow shirt, but that’s not a clue, since he wears a yellow shirt at least 85% of the time. Logan’s wearing a jacket that she didn’t have on yesterday, but then again, yesterday her top went from a crew neck to a turtleneck in the space of one panel. And today she wears the same color top but now it’s a v-neck. Logan: “Yeah, I almost would rather have been here!” Girl, you were here! Maybe that’s not Logan Church, but rather her heretofore unseen identical twin? Les, of course, is unaffected by any of this, as long as he can take as a “compliment” that being in his class is almost–almost–preferable to some shitty, five minute field trip to the principal’s office.
Welcome back from what I hope for you was a wonderful, long holiday weekend. Also back at work this Monday is Les Moore, after a weekend in Hollywood that started back in June. Les’ harrowing experience during the wildfires there have left him a little bit on edge: so triggered is he by the loud PA announcement that the sheaf of blank paper he was holding flies from his tiny hands. Easy to see why Mason wants to make a movie about this hero. Even Logan, the one being summoned by this booming voice, is more calm. Harder to gauge the reaction of the anono-kid in the red shirt, who is likely high AF and whose stage direction for this scene is “(looks on).” Tuesday: Logan pauses in the doorway and, without even getting Les’ Spinal Tap reference, blankly inquires of Mr. Moore, “Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?”
Kids don’t read newspapers or newspaper comics these days… Boo hoo, so sad, this generation is killing the papers and the cartoonists, blah blah blah yackity smackity… Sorry, don’t care. I’ve heard it all before, and in better comic strips to boot.
Today’s strip is bland, rote filler in a dumb, overplayed story arc, but… that second panel. Chuck Ayers artwork since taking over duties in Funky a couple years ago has taken a good step back from the solid work he did for many years in Crankshaft I would argue, but the second panel in today’s strip is a genuinely excellent piece of cartooning. The beady eyes, the nonplussed expressions, the unrealistic density of students packed into every millimeter of the panel… you can practically hear the crickets chirping in background of this non-reaction. It is an extremely rare and truly good thing to see in Funky Winkerbean. What a pity it isn’t in the service of a better joke.
Kidz these daze and their cellular doohickeys! Always on ’em. Amirite? Amirite? Eh? Today’s strip knows what I’m talking’ about! Leave ’em alone in a classroom with no direction and they just start tap-tap-tapping away on their smartyphones. It’s nothing like it wuz back in my day when we’d get in fistfights and beat lunch money out of the weird kids.
By the way, Les’ opinion on the value of comics sure has changed over the years…