305. “Funky Winkerbean!”

The episode:Laserblast,” ep. 706

The riff: Exclaimed by Mike as the hero’s feet stride into camera with very wide and frayed bottom cuffs.

The explanation:Funky Winkerbean” is the name of a long-running comic strip that began in newspapers in 1972 and continues today. In its original format it was highly gag-oriented and the characters never aged for 20 years–I think Mike is calling the film’s hero that because his pants look like bell bottoms in this shot. In 1992, the Funky Winkerbean comic underwent a format shift and the characters began to age in real-time, along with storyline changes that suddenly made it like a “very special episode” of a TV show. In 2007, a “time jump” occurred in the strip that moved the characters forward another 10 years.

Novelty factor: It’s very weird for me to say so, but I’ve never read a Funky Winkerbean comic. This is all the more strange because I grew up reading the comics every Sunday in the Chicago Tribune, but Funky Winkerbean was not one of them for whatever reason.

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