Most days, I think Get Fuzzy fails to live up to the promise of its early years, when Bucky Katt, Satchel Pooch, and Rob Wilco were the most interesting characters on the comics page. Over time, I’ve become frustrated with the strip’s rambling dialogue and seeming lack of ambition. But every once in a while, I see something that reminds me of why I loved Get Fuzzy in the first place. The fourth panel of today’s strip is a shining example, with its hilarious depiction of Rob groaning from the pain of a headache. It’s the kind of expressive artwork that used to set the strip apart from its contemporaries but has practically vanished over the past few years.
Archive for December, 2009
Upon closer inspection, I see that the cow closest to the bottom of panel three is holding a stack of papers and looking over his shoulder, but at first glance I thought he had sprouted wings. That original impression didn’t surprise me as much as it might have considering the context. The rest of the cows in this strip were standing on their hind legs and plotting to take out a goat who threatened to leak their plans for world domination. So the fact that one of them could fly didn’t seem like much of a stretch.
Actually, the world posited in today’s Mister Boffo doesn’t sound half-bad. If those responsible for creating buzz spent the bulk of their time sitting on park benches basking in the glory of their numerous elbow- and knee-patches, then we would probably have fewer balloon boys in our midst. Fame seekers would be discouraged by the dwindling likelihood of hitting the publicity jackpot and we might never have to hear the phrase “everyone is talking about it” again. A man can dream…
Christmas 2009 was exhausting for me, with four straight days of merriment spread across the greater Chicagoland area. On the 23rd, my fiance and I braved rush hour traffic as we drove to her mom’s house. The next day, we visited her grandparents and her father back to back. Christmas Day was spent eating brunch and opening presents with my parents. Finally, on the 26th, we attended a funeral service for my great-uncle. The whole experience was dizzying, but also satisfying in that I got to spend time with family. Unfortunately, some people have to work over the holidays. With that in mind, I’ll temper my complaints and instead raise a glass to the baristas, clerks, cops, nurses, and other brave souls (Santas included) whose days are spent serving others. Merry Belated Christmas; you’ve earned it.
Some books suffer under the weight of awful titles that discourage readers from discovering the wondrous text within. That appears to be the case with Dad’s Big Book of Pathetic Childhood Stories. If I saw this volume sitting on a bookshelf, odds are that I wouldn’t pick it up. But that would be my loss, since I would miss out on the whirlwind adventures of a mid-century youngster with a curiously middle-aged face. Far from being pathetic, this New Year’s Eve sounds like an absolute blast, so much so that I may need to replicate it. At the very least, I can make paper hats out of the Sunday Funnies to help ring in the new decade.
What strikes me about this strip is not Dennis’ aw-shucks observation that every material thing in his life is made in China, but rather his father’s incredulous (bordering on angry) reaction to the quip. It’s as if this middle-aged man has been hit with the sudden, rude realization that American manufacturing is in the midst of inexorable decline. Considering the father’s physique, it seems safe to assume that he sits at a desk all day. Still, his expression suggests that Dennis’ callous dig at an entire, fading sector of the American economy has touched a raw nerve.
Coincidentally, one of the first presents I received this year was a gift card for the Olive Garden. It’s been years since I’ve set foot in that particular restaurant, given that I shy away from national chains in favor of locally owned eateries. My favorites range from neighborhood pizza joints and storefront taquerias to hip bistros and smokey stakehouses, all of them sharing an authenticity that can’t be replicated by franchisees. That said, I’m not above the pleasures of a mass-produced crowd-pleaser like Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits, and I’m eager to judge whether the Olive Garden can produce any similar knockout dishes of its own.