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Funny Paper

There's a big difference between love and . . . LOVE

July 14-20, 2003

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 7/23/2003

ART IMITATES LIFE DEP'T., PART 1: Monday in Family Circus, the family of animation-industry professional Glen Keane gives a shout-out to Finding Nemo. Tuesday, the Circus goes even deeper into code, as Billy, speaking before a group of children in a clubhouse with a sign saying "Neighborhood Club for Sevens," bestows the group's Lifetime Achievement Award on an Afro-American child named "Morrie." Funny Paper looked for the comedy in vain--it's not a gag; it's a Keane-land version of the National Cartoonists Society convention. Tiny lettering on li'l Morrie's T-shirt reads "Wee Pals," clinching his identity as the seven-year-old cartoon avatar of NCS lifetime-award winner Morrie Turner. Another shirt reads "Karol," an apparent nod to Turner's "present companion" Karol Trachtenburg of Sacramento, Calif.

ART IMITATES LIFE DEP'T., PART 2: Honestly, Funny Paper doesn't quite know what to say about this. We feel like Al Hirschfeld's daughter.



FAMILY CIRCUS: Wednesday, the Real Bil Keane stands up, as Billy tells Jeffy that an alphabet-instruction compact disk is "sort of an ABCD." Pow! Thankyouverymuch! You're a great audience! Saturday in church, Dolly asks the tough question: "How loud do we hafta pray for God to hear us?" Sunday, Billy lies awake in bed with white circles around his usual eye-dots, eager for the next day's start of vacation. Looks like we'll be getting some family-trip continuity next week.

BEETLE BAILEY VS. OTTO THE ARMY DOG: This week: Beetle 4, Otto 3. On Saturday, however, Otto gets to offer an out-of-character critique of the General's battle-planning. Now the dog wants to take over the whole Camp Swampy command structure.

Monday, Sarge is laid out by the medicine he's taking. "'Side effects may include dizziness, swollen feet, blurred vision, nausea, cramps, vomiting and joint pain,'" Beetle reads off the label. According to Funny Paper's methodical medical research, Sarge just took two tablespoons full of lupus. Or sarcoidosis.

Wednesday, Miss Buxley sends Sarge into a panic when she covers Beetle all over with lovely flowers. "Camouflage isn't supposed to look pretty!!" he hollers, clutching his head in horror at the sight of the unmasculine treatment. No, it isn't, is it, Orville? Why do you keep rebuffing Sgt. Louise Lugg's advances, again?

Friday, Julius shows Miss Buxley how the general had one-way glass installed backwards on his car, so he can't see what a mess Camp Swampy is. Sunday, the general comes a little late to the game with a de-Francophonification exercise, including "wake-up calls instead of Reveille!" The enlisted men can get behind that.

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Monday, Snuffy fleeces a city-slicker who greets him as "mister hillbilly." Tuesday, Jughaid does the "frog in pocket" deal. In this version, the frog appears to weigh about 10 pounds. This must end. Thursday, Maw whips Paw in arm-wrasslin'.

GASOLINE ALLEY: In a related hillbilly story, the moonshiners continue to hold Rufus prisoner underneath the movie house as Joel does reconnaissance and sabotage (or, per Gen. Halftrack, snoopin' and wreckin'). Funny Paper is going to try to just coldly recap Gasoline Alley plot from now on and not ask any questions. Except Thursday, there's another "celebrity" appearance by Doug Kershaw, and Rufus starts with the Norm Crosby shit again. Why? At least on Saturday, the Jugmaster finally notices that this is a prime opportunity to steal some hooch.

APARTMENT 3-G: With the help of binoculars, Margo spies sketchy neighbor Tim Poe cavorting on the grass at an outdoor concert in New Jersey with a woman other than his wife Alexis. "Why are you so sure he's Tim, Margo?" Tommie asks Wednesday. "Lots of people look alike." "It's not his face, Tommie," Margo says, frowning and cocking an eyebrow like Columbo. "Tim left for the airport this morning . . . carrying that bag!" Hey, the other woman's not that ugly! Pow! Thankyouverymuch! Sunday, Margo catches up to the other woman as Tim drives off in a minivan. "I wanted to talk to your boyfriend . . . but I see he's driving off," she says. Confused, the Other Woman asks why Margo thinks the man is a boyfriend. "He's not your boyfriend?" Margo asks. "No, he's not . . . " the Other Woman says. "But he is my husband. "


ONE BIG HAPPY: Monday, Ruthie hits a fly ball in tee-ball that FLUMPs another player on the head. "Run, Ruthie, run!" her dad hollers from behind the backstop, as she stares out from home plate in shock. So she flees the field. That's legitimately funny child behavior. Thursday, on the other hand, Rick Detorie uses Joe to project a grown-up joke, as Dad asks if Joe understands what it means that Uncle Phil is his godfather. "Yeah," Joe says, "if I ever want a part in a movie, he can hook me up!"

Friday, Ruthie baits Buggy Crispino into coming after her, causing his sneaker and pants cuff to enter the right side of one frame. That's the most we've ever seen of Buggy. Saturday, she enlists James in her complicated romantic machinations with Buggy. "This is James," she hollers. "He's my boyfriend! He might be puny and he can't read yet . . . But he makes me feel . . . uh . . . like a sticky mess!" Cut that out, Detorie! We know she's talking about his melting frozen snack. That just makes it worse.

Sunday, Ruthie uses the old "close your eyes so you can enter darkened theater" trick. Half of Funny Paper employed this upon entering a screening of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Should kept 'em shut. Pow! Thankyouverymuch!

NON SEQUITUR: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, equestrian camp enrolee Danae banters tediously with her talking, huge-nosed apathetic horse.

CLASSIC PEANUTS: The gang heads off to summer camp. "Going to camp prepares you for getting drafted, which I don't want to do either," Charlie Brown muses Monday. That's why they call it "Classic"--it's as timely as today's headlines. OK, tomorrow's headlines, after they get that fourth front started in Iran and they start running out of volunteers. Wednesday and Saturday, Chuck's tentmate tells him to "shut up and leave me alone."

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT BY JOHN CULLEN MURPHY: Contrary to popular belief, it is no easy thing to move an obelisk. But Tut the architect is also a right-of-way agent, it turns out: "Because the obelisk has difficulty making turns, Tut has identified houses in the city of Rome that will need to be torn down to allow the monument's departure. The owners are paid handsomely--their new houses will be grander than ever."

SHOE: Wednesday, the bird characters fly. This is about as exciting as it gets with the Shoe.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Thursday, Mike Peters puts two anthropomorphic rats in a maze. Every time this unfunny copycat pigfucker draws "Mr. & Mrs. Animal" and the lady animal is wearing pointy eyeglasses, he should pay a royalty to Gary Larsen

CATHY: Monday, Cathy Guisewite dips into her supply of Other Characters to illustrate the curse of modern-day travel booking. Evidently Cathy is too lazy and hapless to be credible in that role.

FRANCESCO MARCIULIANO'S SALLY FORTH CREATED BY GREG HOWARD: Ralph has having one of his regular Created by Greg Howard spasms of caring what people think.

THE BOONDOCKS: Monday, Aaron McGruder accuses BET of being behind the curve on covering the demise of Barry White.

DOONESBURY: Alex runs a kiddie campaign event for Howard Dean. Friday, she encourages her followers to "start a Dean blog." Oy vey. Saturday, Zeke undermines the proceedings: "If anyone here is as bored as I am," he says, "see me in the bathroom." At first we thought this was incredibly lewd; then we figured out that Zeke was just looking for people to get high with.

MARK TRAIL: Mark doggedly follows the, uh, trail of the eagle poachers. Foul-tempered desert bride Beth gets a letter from her parents, then gives it to Bob to read. You let your parents write the "Dear Bob" letter? Woman, you have no heart whatsoever.

Sunday's featured animals: the stingrays, menacing members of the elasmobranch group. "If you think you're safe from the dangerous barb of a stingray while swimming in fresh water," a caption explains over a picture of Mark in a snorkeling mask, "you may not be!"

DENNIS THE MENACE: Tuesday, the Menace tries to disclaim responsibility for a smashed vase by appealing to different levels of causation. "I didn't break it," he tells his mother. "It broke when it hit the floor."

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Like some wicked McGyver, Jeff inflates a balloon and sends the stolen satellite lens floating out the window. Satellite tycoon Milton Avery, meanwhile, keeps hitting on Heather in the clean room. "I possess everything a man could wish for . . . " he says gravely on Thursday. "But I don't have anyone to share it with!" Sunday, everybody returns to the Avery cocktail party, while the sinister Armand uses a crossbow to shoot down and retrieve the flying lens. A crossbow! This is why Rex Morgan, M.D. is atop the comics-serial game. When was the last time you saw a crossbow in Mary Worth?

THE PHANTOM: "Why are bad things always happening to me . . . !?" three-time attempted-accidental-murder victim Cici laments on Tuesday, from the safety of a horseback seat behind the Phantom. "I mean, I came to Bangalla because of something bad that happened back home in New York!" It's not a Sept. 11 reference, it's the cue for a flashback plot. Flashplot. Plotback. Seems Cici was a dogwalker to a gangster back in NYC. "Your employer was in the underworld?" the Phantom asks. "Big-time!" Cici replies. So she witnessed a murder, and she told her mom, and her mom told the cops, and "they made me talk to some people called a 'grand jury'!" The Phantom receives the news with an exclamation-point thought balloon. "Could Cici's brushes with death be related to the murder conspiracy she witnessed?" he wonders Saturday. We're not sure yet, O Ghost Who Paints by Numbers. Better spend a week or three going back over it all again, just to make sure.

Sunday, the Python rejects the premise of the Ghost Who Walks. "The Python is as strong as you, 'Ghost'" he yells. " . . . So he will call you 'Ghost' no longer . . . ! You are just a man! -- Of flesh and blood!" Fired up by the discover, he slams the Phantom into the wall with a flying tackle. "Follow me, 'Ghost'" he sneers, fleeing as the Phantom clambers to his knees. "--Follow me and die!" Hey, you called him "Ghost" again!

ZIPPY: Bill Griffith abandons all pretense of getting the strip out of its rut and decides to milk the roadside Americana until he drops. That way it'll be easier for the syndicate to keep the strip going when he's dead. The "John Ashcroft" stuff will fall away, and Zippy will be just like Nancy.

MARY WORTH: Woody "Don't Call Me Auburn" Hills keeps on playing his games with the feeble mind of Dawn Weston. First the mysterious (to Dawn anyway) Englander wants shepherd's pie and a beer, then he wants to go someplace that doesn't specialize in calories and cholesterol. Is Dawn blind? This isn't supposed to be like Superman and Clark Kent. Finally on Thursday she catches on: "W . . . Woody?!? . . . Woody Hills! . . . Is that you?!?" Sunday, Dawn briefly tries acting hard to get, bluffing Woody with the claim that "a certain young man is head-over-heels in love with me!"--in a classic Mary Worth soap-opera style panel, where the characters necks cross as they face toward the third wall. The head of little lovelorn Brint Prescott floats upper right, in a jailbait thought balloon from Dawn.

LUANN: Crystal shows up at the bookstore with the ultimate Zane-catching accessory: a little brother in a wheelchair. The three roll off to the donut shop next door, leaving Bernice in a froth of jealously.

Sunday, Bernice goads a gullible Luann into increasing her makeup level from "hooker" to "corpse."

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Now that she's got a queer escort to her old flame's wedding, Liz worries that she won't be able to dance well enough. Overhearing that the arrangement is "platonic," April goes digging into the dictionary. "Elizabeth," she declares Wednesday, "I looked up 'platonic,' an' it means 'spiritual, but empty'!" "No, it doesn't," the alleged college student replies. "Platonic means 'just friends'--no intimate relationship--no 'love.'" The cross-examination continues: But don't people love their friends? "There's a big difference between love and . . . LOVE," Liz explains, unhelpfully. "Well?" April counters. "What's the difference between love and LOVE?" How's the nosy little sister letting her big sis off the hook so easily? Let's circle back to that "intimate relationship" part, shall we? For worse!

HI & LOIS: Tuesday, Trixie asks tough questions as she sits in front of the TV. "Will there ever be peace in the world?" the diapered philosopher wonders. "Will pollution destroy the planet? . . . Will the coyote ever catch the Road Runner?" Asked and answered.

Friday, Chip claims a "trial separation" from his steady girlfriend so he can Love the One He's With while she's away at camp.

KUDZU: Thursday, Doug Marlette switches everything up, flushes the format, and shakes the foundations of Kudzu by creating an "I hate video funerals" gag, in the manner of his triumphs with the "I hate these modern translations" gags. Friday, the masterful Marlette plays with the format some more by beginning an "I hate these modern translations" gag with the "I hate these modern translations" panel, so he can add one more unfunny panel at the end. Saturday, the comedic mixmaster pushes the limits yet again, this time by adding the word "really," as in, "I really hate these modern translations." Funny Paper hates these "modern translations" gags. Funny Paper hates Kudzu. Funny Paper really hates Doug Marlette.

MARMADUKE: Wednesday, Marmaduke sits on the lawn furniture. Thursday, Brad Anderson's scale-drawing skills desert him, as a sunglasses-wearing canine appears to tower eleven feet tall on its haunches.

THE COLL-EGG-TIBLE EGGERS FAMILY: Artist of the Week Erin McHale, age 9, sends in an unnerving "EGG-PIRE STATE BUILDING." It's more a zucchini than an egg.

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This One Is Not a Sweetheart (2/11/2004)
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Dec. 22-28, 2003

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