“Gratitude”? What is Cory, some waif they took in off the street last month?
Am I the only one who simply can’t reconcile all these unlikeable middle-aged people with the characters who used to populate this strip?
Okay, no more rants about Funky Winkerbean. All comments about the direction of the strip should be addressed at the Stuck Funky site: They do it better there anyway.
Let’s recap: Les didn’t know whether Funky was chaperoning Cory’s party… and Summer “took the fifth” rather than telling him because she didn’t want FUNKY to find out whether he’d chaperoned Cory’s party… because Les didn’t know that his best friend was off in the French West Indies.
(Your comments about the earlier strip)
Because couldn’t you just see Les being the second guy arrested?
Putting aside the fact that Les doesn’t seem to know what “taking the fifth means” means (it’s not as if he ever knew any lawyers, after all), isn’t whether or not Funky and Holly were there something Funky would already know?
(assuming Funky’s still on the wagon)
And I’m assuming “I wasn’t drinking” is a direct response to “taking the fifth,” referring to “a fifth of scotch” or somesuch. Which, see, Summer wasn’t drinking.
Personally — and let me know if I’m alone here — whether Funky and Holly would be chaperoning the party is something I’d be asking about before allowing my 16-year-old to attend.
It’s 1999. The gang is playing touch football, and Lisa is hit hard and goes down. She loses consciousness for a few minutes and when she wakes up she says “Les, I just had this terrible dream. I died, and after I was gone you aged very badly and became a pathetic loser who creeps out our daughter.” Les assures her none of this will ever happen, she adds “and Les, let’s sell all our dot.com stock right now,” and the strip continues from there.
Updated: Okay, so I was promptly informed that Summer did not in fact throw Les a human heart, and that what looks like one in his hand is merely the design on his sweatshirt (which still doesn’t explain what she’s throwing in panel 3, what he’s picking up in panel 5, and what he’s looking at in panel 7).
But here’s what I’m really wondering now, and maybe because of my near-legendary lack of artistic skills (seriously, you’d rather have Les as your quarterback than have me as your Pictionary teammate):
When you take a photograph, I can understand how an unfortunate camera angle can give you tree branches appearing to come out of somebody’s ears, or two heads appearing to be attacked to the same body, or somebody seeming to be holding a human heart — because that’s what the camera is “seeing” at the time.
But when you’re drawing a picture, starting with a white sheet of paper and adding exactly what you want to add, how do you just happen to end up with, say, Les holding a human heart? How are you not aware of this as you’re drawing it?
This really is a serious question, and not a criticism of Tom Batiuk. I sincerely do not know how this sort of thing happens, though it clearly is not uncommon.
I really do believe that Tom Batiuk is leading up to Les being not just embarrassingly eccentric, but mentally ill — ever since, in fact, that bizarre adventure in Manhattan “ten years ago.”
Which of course will make these strips a lot less amusing in hindsight, the same way all those jokes about Ronald Reagan’s memory and attention span lapses were funny until it turned out he had Alzheimer’s.
Okay, see, since pretty much our first impression of the middle-aged Les/Summer relationship was kind of creepy, and she came right out and called him creepy, it’s difficult not to read a strip like this one other than through ick-colored glasses.
Les really has gone too long without a woman.
Everybody sent me this one. Really. Some because of the obvious comic strip theme, and others because the opinion I posted a couple of months ago (citing the FBOFW and Funky examples among others) that aging baby boomers should not be allowed to write comic strips: because we’re reaching the point where lingering illnesses are a part of our lives, and many of us were brought up believing that whatever’s on our minds is something we absolutely need to share with everybody else.
And by the way, Child in the Lower Left-Hand Corner… Comic strips that have been around for a long time didn’t start out focusing on depressing themes: Long-running strips remain in the newspapers based on a combination (varying from comic to comic) of loyal fan base and inertia.
Oh, and… When did Frumpy the Clown return and why is he wearing a dress???
Note to Tom Batiuk: Someday, some cartoonist will elicit a week’s worth of humor and entertainment out of a man raking leaves.
This isn’t that week.
This week-long Harry Dinkle Rakes His Leaves adventure begs the question of who’s been raking them all the years before he retired (and let’s ignore for a moment the fact that he retired ten years ago although he’s acting as is this is a new development).
My prediction: The next debilitating illness Funky Winkerbean will address is Alzheimer’s: Harry has actually been raking his leaves and mowing the lawn and watching television for the past ten years, but every day he forgets ever having done these things before.
Okay, while last week’s photo business bordered on the creepy, but could have been interpreted as Les simply trying to embarrass his daughter, Summer’s comment in today’s strip…
I felt as if I needed to wash my hands after reading this one.
Heh. I’ve said the same thing, word for word. I suspect there’s a list of “father phrases” imprinted into our brains and as much as we don’t think so when we’re kids, we will say every one one of them eventually.
Took three generations for somebody to acknowledge this, huh?
Um… The best solution anybody could come up with was having Les wait on a bench in Central Park, in the rain, while Funky flew in from Ohio???
The complete Funky Files
Assuming Tom Batiuk, like most of the rest of us, has had his fill of Dark Funky… Les calls Cindy, the only person he knows in New York. She helps him through the next few days, they become close, and eventually she decides that the life of a television reporter isn’t what she really wants from life — and that a life back in Ohio with Les might be (thus fulfilling the common writer fantasy of the high school nerd ending up with the high school beauty queen).
Les’s visit to the psychiatrist is taking place on the tenth anniversary of Lisa’s death and is occasioned not by any depression or life crisis, but because he wants “validation” for his desire to move on and ask Cindy to marry him. When the strip restarts, one of the first storylines involves 15-year-old Summer and step-mom Cindy learning to deal with one another. Les is happy, and it was Lisa’s quarter that brought him to Cindy and helped him resume his life.
I thought I was kidding about that.
Actually, Lisa having given Les that quarter years ago and his having had it around his neck all this time is all a lot more probable than Les finding a working pay phone in the lobby of this fleabag hotel (though I will say this: If this first first panel actually did appear years ago, I’m suitably impressed).
Bottom line, though, I can’t imagine anybody not being willing to accept a little deus ex machina for the sake of bringing Les’s New York Adventure to a quicker close.
Clearly Tom Batiuk is hellbent on showing us that Lisa Moore was, indeed, the lucky one. When last we saw widower Les, he was wandering the seedier parts of New York City, having just had his wallet and cell phone stolen — and he suddenly remembered that he was supposed to have been on his way home today.
He’s clearly no more than a deus ex machina away from becoming one of those guys who tries to tries to clean your windshield with a greasy rag near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.
Since by now even Mr. Batiuk must be running out of tortures to inflict on his characters, I propose (said proposal suggested by one of Laurie’s posts) that we help him out by suggesting additional indignities Les can be subjected to before the Great Leap Forward (and extra credit if it explains why he apparently isn’t telling all this to a psychiatrist until ten years later).
Yesterday’s Post: Where Depression’s Just Status Quo
So what, Les is living on Skid Row now and has lost track of what day it is? And never bought a return ticket?
Maybe this is why he isn’t speaking to the psychiatrist until 10 years after the fact: He’d been living in New York as a homeless person for the past decade.
Am I missing something, or is there a complete disconnect between the first and second panels? And what does airport security not checking the camera case have to do with the price of tea in China anyway?
(and for that matter, is there any possibility you’d be allowed to take an urn full of ashes — or so you claim — on board a plane as carry-on? Unless, I guess, this whole storyline has been retconned back to 1997)
Hopefully, the point of all this will be his eventual realization that his “only concern” was terribly misplaced: One one hand there’s his daughter, a little girl whose just lost her mother, who he’s dumping off with friends. On the other hand there’s Lisa’s ashes, which he’d promised to scatter in New York’s Central Park — but there really isn’t all that great a rush on this.
by syndicated cartoonist Jeff Stahler
Umm… yes she did?
The bigger question here is, in whose mind is this scene taking place?
Or perhaps it should be, Since when is the Angel of Music moonlighting as the Angel of Death?