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Funny Paper

Shut Up and Listen to Me!!

March 3-9, 2003

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 3/12/2003

YOU CAN AVOID SAYING THAT AGAIN! DEP'T.: Monday, Jump Start does a gag about the King of Pop without mentioning him by name. Talking about golfing too much on vacation, Clarence tells Joe that Charlene "dangled my clubs from the hotel balcony!" Friday, The Boondocks does a gag about the King of Pop and R. Kelly without mentioning either by name. "And the winner of the 'Black Artist Most Likely to Commit a Sexual Offense Involving a Twelve-Year-Old' Award is . . . " Huey reads. "Y'know, it's bad enough we have to even have this award, but . . . it's a tie!!"

SUN CROSSWORD PUZZLE OREOS WATCH DEP'T.: Monday, 32 down, "Mini or Chocolate Creme snacks."

SUN CROSSWORD PUZZLE SWINGING SNICKERS DEP'T.: TEASER, DRESS, CRAVE, NAKEDNESS, CAMEONTO, SWAP, PARTNER, USE, VIDEO, GASP, BAIT, TEEN.

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD PUZZLE MANN ACT SNICKERS: OGLE, LEERED, BARTAB, IHATE, JUNIORHIGH, PSST, HOPON, IDAREYOU, BRA, NUDE, IMEANIT, PROTRUDE, NEEDS, TROJAN, HEREWEGO, ATLAST, LATE, LATERON, LAWCOURT, PAIDOFF, NEXTCASE

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Thanks to being hit in the head with that can of tomato paste, Jeff the Brit Stranger in the Supermarket gets a second chance to mack on Heather the Brit Nanny. Which means Wilson & Nolan get a second chance to try and make their characters talk all Brit-like. "Sarah has an arm like a cricket bowler!" Jeff exclaims Monday, rubbing his head. By Thursday, he's asked her to dinner in front of the honeydew melons. "It's not often I meet a beautiful, unattached English girl!" he leers Friday. "And it's not often I meet a cheeky, presumptuous Englishman!" she replies. He's bloomin' cheeky, wot? They'll be saying "pip, pip," before long. Sunday, the color supplement reveals that Jeff's longish, wavy hair is chestnut-colored. He looked like a blond on the weekdays.

MOMMA: Monday, Mell Lazarus goes back to the Homeland Security well with a chart of Momma's emotional states, ranging from Severe down through Elevated, Guarded, and Low. Funny Paper notes the savvy, professional move by Lazarus, who eschews the Komedy Krutch Kolor Kode in favor of the official names of the threat levels.

Tuesday, Francis comes away from a meeting with his girlfriend's parents with a healthy sense of self-awareness. "They said I was stupid, but delightfully and amusingly so," he reports to Momma. That's what Funny Paper says, too!

THE MIDDLETONS: Sunday, Bumper rues his inability to attack the e-mailman.

NON SEQUITUR: Monday, Wiley the rebel and iconoclast takes a shot at the French for being foot-draggers on the march to war with Iraq.

HAGAR THE HORRIBLE: Thursday, Hagar takes an apolitical shot at the French for inventing the handkerchief. "You take it out and blow your nose on it and then put it back in your pocket," Helga explains. "And they call me a barbarian!!" Hagar thinks. Funny Paper has always been with Team Hagar on this one.

GASOLINE ALLEY: Wynston the angel tries to find the Trumpet of Doom, which is currently in the hands of Joel and Rufus. When Rufus gives it a tentative "PHOOT!" thunder rumbles and part of the rickety bridge the junkwagon is crossing collapses. This is a moment ous enough event for Jim Scancarelli to deliver a whole annoying sideways splash panel on Saturday, showing the bridge wreckage CRASH!-ing down from its full height toward a bunch of raggedy souls in the gully below.

LUANN: In other eschatological news: under pretext of working on their humorous play, "Bob's Infected Nose," Luaan and Aaron finally lock lips. Repeat: Luann DeGroot, protagonist of the comic strip Luann, locks lips with Aaron Hill, her unrequited love object for the last 15 years of high school. So now it ends, right? This is Charlie Brown kicking the football. This is Cathy putting on a size-zero wedding dress. Strip's over! Everybody go home!

JUMBLE: AN EYEFUL, "PITCHED" IN, "CRACKED" THE CASE, HER "BETTOR" HALF, BYGONES, CRUMBLED.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Baby Meredith is teething. "OUCH!" Deanna hollers Wednesday. "An important lesson in life, Meredith," Michael tells the squalling infant. "'Never bite the gland that feeds you.'" So this is why Lynn Johnston has been so unstinting with the breast-feeding material. In further celebration of the beauty of natural functions, Funny Paper presents the week's collected sound effects for suckling: Tuesday: SNRK. Wednesday: MFFF MFFFF MFFF MFF, MFFMFFF MFF FF M. Friday: MFFF BLRGL MMMF. Saturday, it's sound effect for vomiting: URBP. For worse!

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Loweezy's gluttonous Uncle Huff wears out his welcome in a short series of Uncle Huff-themed strips. Tired of drawing empty cupboards, John Rose sends him packing on Thursday and restores life in Hootin' Holler to its old gag-a-day rhythm.

WILLY 'N ETHEL: Friday, Willy talks raptly to a partygoer with a popeyed grin and a lampshade on his head. "What exactly is a 'partyologist' and how hard is it to get a degree in 'partyology'?" he asks.

B.C.: Friday, Wiley's Dictionary japes that a "ram-shackle" is "what the clonesters use to keep Dolly's mate in check." Actually, they use "six feet of cold, hard ground."

DILBERT: A reporter from "Loser Magazine" shows up to profile Wally. "May I borrow your pen?" the bearded scribe asks Friday. "No," Wally says. "You look like a chewer."

FAMILY CIRCUS: Monday, Jeffy does self-aware shtick about his understanding of time. "Good morning, everybody!" he announces. "Or good afternoon. I can't tell time yet." Saturday, Jeffy does un-self-aware shtick about his understanding of time. "I'm only three 'til my next birthday," he says, surrounded by birthday cards. "Then I get a new number." No you don't, sonny.

APARTMENT 3-G: Margo tries to find her proper role as a hospital volunteer. "Would I like to learn infant massage . . . ?" she wonders Saturday, staring at the babies in the neonatal I.C.U. Sunday, a complete stranger drops by the baby-display window to give Margo a Rex Morgan, M.D.-style public-service announcement: "Do you take folic acid? You should take folic acid. I'm trying to get the word out . . . Women need to take folic acid before getting pregnant . . . . Research shows that if all women of childbearing age were to take a multi-vitamin with the B-vitamin folic acid . . we could reduce the risk of neural tube defects, like spina bifida, by up to 75%." Save your breath, stranger. Margo ain't gon' have no kids. What's the over-under on Margo's abortions, four?

MARK TRAIL: With the help of last-minute substitute guide Joe Cobb, the Trail expedition sets up camp at Misty River. "I bet it's interesting being a guide in Alaska!" 16-year-old Amanda Moore tells Cobb Friday. Not so far it ain't.

Sunday's featured animal: the low-slung, powerful flounder. Once it has flattened itself out and its eyes have finished migrating, it "is able to lie flat on the sea floor, where it is hidden from hungry enemies . . . . Also, this enables the flounder to blast off like a rocket to engulf its own meal." Just like Funny Paper at lunchtime!

JUMP START: Clarence goes 12-stepping to deal with his addiction to golf.

THE PHANTOM: The Rhodian thugs stop pretending they're a rescue party and draw down on the crew of the sabotaged mystery jet. "If you'd come down in Rhodia as planned, you could have just walked away . . . now turn around!"

Sunday, the tall, lurking woman in the Temple of Anuga steps out of the shadows and starts denouncing "Raz" Rakowski and friends. "Intruders! You have sealed your own fate! You have desecrated Anuga's shrine and violated the idol! . . . For this you die!" Enter lots of snakes. "Snakes!" Rakowski exclaims.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Monday, the caption "Las Vegas Alligators" introduces a reptile clutching a microphone and a martini and singing: "Egrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention . . . . " Funny Paper can't even agree what this is supposed to mean. Half of Funny Paper thinks this is a lame goof on the played-out, superobvious "lounge lizard." The other half of Funny Paper thinks there isn't even meant to be any comic bonus in juxtaposing alligators with Las Vegas; it's just a means of getting from "egrets" to "regrets." "Alligators Sing Sinatra" could have done the same job. Or, what with the martini and the microphone--and the fedora and the cigarette--Mike Peters could have skipped the caption altogether.

Either way, adding in the whole second line of "My Way" is definitely a waste of space. And, for what it's worth, "EE-grets"* doesn't really sound like "re-GRETS."

(*Alternate--but still no better for Mike Peters--pronunciation: "EG-rets.")

MARMADUKE: Thursday, Brad Anderson breaks form with a dialogue-free Ziggy-esque sign gag: a sign in the vet's waiting room says "SIT. STAY."

DOONESBURY: Garry Trudeau keeps insisting on drawing some sort of connection between the fiscal crisis in Oregon schools and the Spending Spree on Terror.

CURTIS: Tuesday, bully-boy Derrick hoodwinks Curtis out of a dollar with the old "I need change for a dollar" routine.

MARY WORTH: Silas Smedlap keeps giving the blow-by-blow-by-blow-by-blow backstory of the fall of Smitty's Chop House. "I also canned a couple of uppity waitresses who were as slow as molasses!" he says Wednesday. Jeez, Silas, were they breeding like rabbits, too? Thursday, he refers to his son-in-law as a "half-shaved twerp." Which half? Saturday, the final panel is charged with domestic violence and punctuation, Mary Worth-style: Silas, necktie flapping with wrath, throws up an arm at Mary, hollering, "Woman!....I asked you once politely to stay out of this....now I'm telling...." And Connie cuts him off, waving her fist violently enough to make some sort of midair impact-burst. "Shut up!!!!.... Everybody!!!.. Shut up and listen to me!!

HI & LOIS: Thursday, Hi tries to straighten out Ditto's attitude about gender relations. "Believe it or not," he says, "someday you'll find someone, like I found Mom, and you'll fall in love!" "Well, moms are a lot easier to like than girls!" the future serial killer retorts.

ZIPPY: Sunday, Bill Griffith takes a poke at septuagenarian despot Fidel Castro. "Castro may be an evil, blowhard dictator, but these sure are cute li'l tourist scooter-taxis!" the pinhead burbles. Yes, they are. Adorable. Especially when you're in one, looking way, way up at a '58 Chevy rumbling alongside you on the Malacon.

BEETLE BAILEY: Friday, Mrs. Gen. Halftrack hips Gen. Halftrack to the versatility and comfort of the elastic belt. Ah, the elastic belt! Unifier of nations in these troubled times.

Sunday, Sarge beats the shit out of Beetle in elaborate, gruesome detail. The mauling closes with a disclaimer: "Warning: kids, don't try this at home," say the crumpled remains of Beetle. "Yeah, remember we're cartoon professionals," Sarge adds.

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: The Ichthyopolitan refugees find a new home in the Misty Isles. Justinian kills Faustus the traitor--off camera. Damn!

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