I Don't Eat Fingers!
May 26-June 1, 2003
Thursday, Young & Lebrun use Mr. Dithers for a forced pop-culture gag again: "I loved that 'Anger Mangement' movie with Jack Nicholson!" he says. "I can't wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it again and again!" "I'll bet anything he was Nicholson's technical advisor!" Dagwood says, walking away. Ugh.
JUMBLE:"SHEAR" JOY, "HOT" SALES, "SIZE" HIM UP, LOTS OF "DRIVE," THE "BRUSH" OFF, TO "BLEND" IN. All quotes week! Funny Paper derives a freakish OCD-tinged thrill from the all-quotes weeks.
THE BOONDOCKS: Monday, Aaron McGruder uses the Jayson Blair fallout as an excuse to draw Bill Waterson's Calvin raising a fist and shouting "Black Power!" Pretty much any excuse is good enough for us on that one.
THE MIDDLETONS: Monday, Boomer is nursing an injury from having the Sunday Times land on him. The size of the Sunday Times is a well-worn humor option--but among the core readership of The Middletons?
BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Tuesday, Snuffy insults organized religion and animal rights at one stroke, holding out a platter of fried chicken for the parson. "Shouldn't we say a prayer first, Snuffy?" the clergyman asks. "Can if ya want to," Snuffy replies around a mouthful of drumstick, "but it seems a li'l late fer this chicken!!"
Friday, Snuffy and Lukey show their understanding of how environmental destruction affects us all. "Boy!! I shore hate to see these clearcuts, Snuffy!!" Lukey says. "Me too, Lukey!!" Smith scowls. "Gives less cover when we're hidin' from th' sheriff!!"
ZIGGY: Thursday, Ziggy watches "The Crocodile Hunter Hunter," featuring a reptile in a pith helmet.
ZIPPY: Monday, the pinhead uses Robert Indiana numeral sculptures to do a meta-comic. "Intro . . . set-up . . . conflict . . . punchline!"
GARFIELD: Tuesday, Jon tells his cat, "I know that look." "Feed me," Garfield thinks in reply. "You want to be brushed, right?" Jon says. "Or perhaps not," he adds, with the brush now jammed in his earhole. The usual and inscrutable person-speaks/animal-thinks conversational convention is breaking down here.
Wednesday, the miscommunication gag continues. "I wish I could know what you're thinking," Jon muses.
BALTIMORE SUN CROSSWORD PUZZLE JUVENILE SNICKERS DEP'T: POOP, TETE, BUSH, HOMEO, ROD, HINES, TANG, GUYNECOLOGIST. Yeah, "GUYNECOLOGIST." "20 Across: Male specialists?"
NEW YORK TIMES KINKY CROSSWORD SCENE: PADDLER, OGLES, GIRLIES, NEEDS, PANTYRAID, SEES, BRAS, DRYMARTINI, WEED, TEMPT, AGONY, STAB, MAID, DRUGUSER, NOLO.
FAMILY CIRCUS: Wednesday, "PJ's hogging Grandma!"
WILLY 'N ETHEL: Wednesday, Willy's shrink--sporting the industry-standard bald head, beard, and tweedy suit--has a burst of pragmatic insight: "If it is true that you actually do drive people crazy . . . wouldn't it be foolish and extremely short-sighted of me to cure you?"
MARMADUKE: Standard Marmaduke gag No. 7: Thursday, Marmaduke comes home wearing a party hat.
HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: Everybody quits storytime to go rummaging around in the basement. "[D]eep below the fortress, the stairs give way to a vast crypt, carved and vaulted . . . . But the silence is broken by the shrill and angry wail of a man weighed down by the weight of all the years since the dawn of time. 'How dare you violate the sanctity of this space! Now you must suffer the consequences." Somebody please tell the old guy that they've come up with lots of new and better threats since the dawn of time.
FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Monday, Lynn Johnston promotes drinking. "This is the last time we'll be together for a while, guys--" Liz tells a tableful of her college pals. "Let's enjoy!" "Every second counts!" someone else adds. "Seconds, anyone?" Rudy asks, hoisting an empty mug. For better!
B.C.: Thursday, B.C. finds the unemployment office "closed on account of prosperity." What is this, a rerun from 1998? The unemployment office is closed because they furloughed the workers there, bub.
MOMMA: Tuesday, Francis turns down a job as a dance instructor, sensing incestuous overtones in the business of waltzing 70-ish ladies around the floor.
Thursday, Francis tells Momma what she's always wanted to hear. "Francis, how come you never try to learn and grow and become an adult?" she demands. Francis tips his head back and scratches his chin in thought. "So I can always be your baby?" he replies. Correct! Mother and son fall into each other's arms in a halo of floating hearts.
Friday, Momma dreams about being dead.
HAGAR THE HORRIBLE: Strung up in chains, Lucky Eddie does old the "I've stopped biting my fingernails" routine Wednesday. Picking up on the theme, Hagar turns down an offer of "finger food" at a cocktail party Thursday. "I may be a barbarian . . . but I don't eat fingers!" he huffs.
CATHY: Monday, Cathy is too fat to buy a sweatsuit. Tuesday, Cathy is too fat to buy a swimsuit. Wednesday, Cathy is too fat to buy a swimsuit. Thursday, Cathy complains about being on a diet. Friday, Cathy tells the sales clerk she isn't really as fat as she is. Saturday, Cathy refuses to let skinny sales clerks wait on her because she's so fat. Sunday, Cathy screams at male coworkers for using the microwave, because the smell of their hot food reminds her she's fat.
ONE BIG HAPPY: Thursday, Ruthie sasses the microwave: "I know, I know! My food is ready! I heard you the first time!"
LUANN: Greg Evans lets his economic fantasies trump his sexual fantasies, as Luann and Aaron's play, "Bob's Infected Nose," wins a thousand-dollar prize.
Sunday, one huge panel: "Ideal vs, Real," i.e., the Ideal Luann vs. the Real Luann, who are fighting it out inside the skull of Greg Evans. Number 3: "Small nose, big lips . . . vs. . . . oops, got it backward." Number 5: "Flat tummy, round rear . . . vs. . . . darn. Backward again." Number 8: "Ideal feet. . . vs. . . . define 'ideal'" Get help, man!
HI & LOIS: Crudity and cruelty converge on Tuesday when Thirsty Thurston asks Hi how the Flagstons' anniversary celebration went. "Did you get lucky?" he inquires. "I was lucky the day I met her and I've been lucky ever since!" Hi says, looking a little appalled. "Some people have all the luck!" Thirsty replies, with a portrait of a frowning and disheveled Mrs. T. showing on his desk.
Sunday, an ordinary-looking gag turns very strange on closer inspection. In the first panel, Chip asks his chubby, sailor-hat-wearing sidekick, "Do you think Amelia Jenkins would go out with me if I asked her?" and the friend volunteers to find out. After seven balloon-less panels, apparently showing the question moving up and down the chain of communication, Chip's friend comes back with a "maybe."
Pretty standard. Except when we study those seven silent panels, we can't figure out who Amelia Jenkins is. The chubby guy begins things by turning to a subdued-looking girl with a ponytail--not Chance Browne's usual image of pulchritude. But nobody else in the series fits the bill either. The question seems to reach its turnaround station with some heavyset, strawberry blond guy with a red sweater and a cello. Maybe a double bass. From him, it retraces its steps back to the ponytailed girl, and thence to the sailor-hat guy and Chip. So the gag isn't about teen romance shyly working through intermediaries, after all--it's about teen romance being a complete social fiction. Either that or "Amelia Jenkins" is a cello-playing guy.
MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Tuesday, it's "The Great Pat Sajak-Alex Trebek Debates." "For the last time, I said 'Buy a vowel'" the man on the left says. "You didn't ask me in the form of a question," the man on the right shoots back. The panel confirms that as a caricaturist, Mike Peters ranks somewhere way behind Art by Vernon Carne--save for the unavoidable wavy hair and bristly mustache on the Trebek figure, there's nothing remotely identifiable about either drawing. Sajak actually looks sort of like a Peters-ized Sen. Rick Santorum. Nevertheless, Funny Paper somehow finds this gag not wholly repulsive--it's that word "great" in the title that saves it.
Friday, Peters does the ancient and boring "slam-dunked donut" gag.
MARY WORTH: Monday, the stillborn Silas Smedlap plotline gets one more panel to pack up and head for Cape Cod.
Brint Prescott brings Dawn Weston her latest stalker-gift: two toy cars that have been dinged up as if they've just had a fender-bender. "What in the world?!?" she says, opening the box on Friday. Saturday, she puzzles over the accompanying note: "We must stop meeting like this!!" Oh, for fuck's sake. Could this possibly have anything to do with the only guy you've ever met in your life? You know, Woody the thespian, man of a thousand faces? Who you got to know when your cars had a fender bender?
BEETLE BAILEY / OTTO THE ARMY DOG: The upstart canine upstages Beetle again this week, with three appearances to Beetle's two--including a seven-panel solo performance in the highly visible Sunday strip.
Monday, Sarge posts the duty roster for June 30, 2003. The non-com Knows Something. Funny Paper is starting in this weekend on preparing our Church of Latter-Day Saints-style food reserves.
REX MORGAN, M.D.: Dropping in on the picket line, Rex refuses to endorse a cap on pain-and-suffering awards. "Malpractice happens because busy doctors make mistakes . . . " he tells crewcut Dr. Hugh on Tuesday. " . . . If we had the best practice standards, there would be fewer mistakes." Wednesday, he continues hammering away at his fellow healers. "I'm tired of paying through the nose because of careless colleagues!" he says. "If we don't start policing our own, we have no room to complain!"
But enough with the policy--time for some melodrama! Friday, Hugh gives Rex some dirt on Kitty Prescott: "She had a breakdown a few months ago! They said it was stress related! I guess the job, always traveling and loneliness got to her! Actually, this is her first assignment since she got out of the hospital!" Dramatic shadows fall across the right side of Rex's face as he presses a forefinger across his upper lip and absorbs the news.
But enough with the melodrama--time for some crime! Saturday, sinister Armand briefs Jeff on his nefarious helium-balloon-aided mission: "Remember, the lens is extremely delicate! . . . Handle it with care!" "Don't worry, I'm very good at what I do, Armand!" Jeff replies, slipping on his jacket. "Deliver the lens and you can brag all you like!" Armand counters, his eyes so hooded it looks like he's borrowed the Phantom's domino mask. "And take this" he adds, proffering an automatic. "Avery International security guards all carry guns." Avery International? Enough with the crime--time for some product placement!
THE PHANTOM: "At the adventurers camp, killers play innocent," Monday's caption declares. Well, they don't play it especially well: when the kids try to get up a search party Tuesday for their deliberately misplaced-in-the-jungle companion, the guides play guilty as hell. "No way! More of you kids will end up lost!" the light-haired one says. " . . . SHUT UP! Nobody's going anywhere!" Wednesday, in gray-on-black nighttime-in-the-jungle panels, a big snake lurks behind the lost girl and something scary goes "ROARRR" in the dark. Five panels later, on Friday, the Phantom's pet wolf Devil is licking her face.
Sunday, the Phantom puts on and takes off his trench coat to scout the streets of the capital for the Python and his terrorist henchmen. The Python continues to flaunt his evil powers by dating white women. "Every day the Python lives free is an affront to those who love peace and justice," the Ghost Who Thinks in Caption Boxes muses, over a scene of the villain with his dark hands pawing a willing, slim-but-chesty blonde at a sidewalk café.
NON SEQUITUR: Chickenshit Wiley reveals that his ostensibly anticlerical Sunday plot line is really about an evil fake bishop.
CURTIS: Curtis fails to get Michelle's e-maill address.
APARTMENT 3-G: The G's go to Alexis Poe's baby shower. Shortly after, Alexis Poe goes into labor.
GASOLINE ALLEY: The ghost-impersonating moonshiners try to prey on Rufus' stupidity to get him to take a break from his night-watchman duties, so they can deliver their product. They have, it turns out, underestimated Rufus' stupidity: he's so caught up in what he thinks is a conversation with the other side, he hasn't left the building when the pickup man comes.
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