Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Special Commentary: What the Hell Is Going On In "Crankshaft"?

I don't read Crankshaft very often. Really only when Josh or the DCR mention it. As we all know, no one can be happy in Tom Batiuk's universe. Someone must get sick and die. I just read all the strips between July 20th and 25th and don't know what the hell is going on.

We start out with a very chipper nurse about to wheel who we are led to believe is Crankshaft to a baseball game. Between the two panels we get a view of a childhood (?) Crankshaft going to a baseball game.

The 21st is no better. A depressing look at Crankshaft being wheeled out of the nursing home. If there's anything that makes me laugh it's the care of old people in nursing homes. I thought that maybe Crankshaft jumped forward like Funky Winkerbean did which got me thinking that if that was the truth, then we are in for some really crappy storylines. Week long strips of Crankshaft sexually harassing his weekday nurse (who I'll name Myrna), Crankshaft complaining to anyone who'll listen the staff is stealing from him and wheelchair races? You betcha!

Day 3's hi-larious strip is interrupted by Crankshaft apparently taking his own daughters to a baseball game although Crankshaft looks more like a guy who's going to lure them into a van than a father wanting to spend time with his kids. "Who needs baseball? I have hot dogs and cracker jacks in my gray, windowless van."

With Day 4 I am now convinced that Tom Batiuk cares more about Funky Winkerbean and that Chuck Ayers is just in it for money. But we do get a close-up of 85-90 year old Crankshaft which I am sure everyone desperately needed.

And then, with the week coming to an end, we have to quickly wrap everything up. It starts raining so the game is called and the nurse returns to wheel Crankshaft back to the home. In this middle panel today we get a look at Crankshaft complaining about his home team and apparently about to eat a peanut whole.

Then, in case you didn't really believe that was Crankshaft, the nurse calls him "Mr. Crankshaft" and then wheels the old man back across the street to the nursing home. Meanwhile back in the present, Crankshaft is angry because the game was called--which is exactly what he wanted in the previous strip! So does this week long diatribe of old person sadness actually mean something or is it a testimony to the fact that Ed Crankshaft loves baseball?

But now we are back in the present-day and there is no mention of the previous week's worth of stories (*shakes fist* "Batiuk!!!!"), only Crankshaft gardening. On the plus side, once again the 'Shaft is about to die.
Crankshaft 07-27-09

I like being outdoors with nature too but because of that I've gotten numerous mosquito bites, tick bites and a bite from a bee-fly thing that left a tiny, but itchy welt.

However, methinks Crankshaft will be saved by Rose's dog.
Crankshaft 07-28-09

I just wonder: "Will the dog die?" Seeing that it's Tom Batiuk's universe, I don't give the dog much hope.