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Funny Paper

Should You Be Calling Me a 'Puke'?

Dec. 2-8, 2002

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 12/11/2002

YOU CAN LADLE THAT OUT AGAIN! DEP'T.: Monday, Ziggy finds that the soup du jour at the lunch counter is "cream of meatloaf." Thursday in Blondie, Dagwood explains his lunch to a coworker: "It's my own creation, 'Hot Dog Soup.'"

YOU CAN COUNT TO 23 AGAIN! DEP'T.: Monday in Garfield, Jon recoils from the cat's gape-mouthed expression of "eager anticipation." "I don't know if I can take that for the next 23 days," he says. Meanwhile, Dennis the Menace is displaying the same math skills: "Just think," he tells Joey, "only 23 more 'Behave Yourself' days till Christmas."

CRUDE PHALLIC SYMBOLISM WATCH DEP'T.: Monday in Hi & Lois, Ditto annoys Dot by brandishing his electric "toothbrush" at her in the bathroom.

CRUDE VAGINAL SYMBOLISM WATCH DEP'T.: Tuesday in Blondie, the mailman asks about the availability of Blondie's "doughnuts." She's stopped making them at home, she says, but they're available at her catering shop. "If you delivered mail there," she says, "you'd have plenty." The mailman promptly puts in for a route transfer.

HERB & JAMAAL: Monday, Jamaal studies for an eye test, because he's blind or real dumb or a bad test taker.

LUANN: Zane reappears, all recovered from his smoke inhalation. "Hop on!" he tells Bernice Monday, indicating his lap. Cue montage of romantic-frolicking-on-wheelchair scenes. Happy? Good. "I'm leaving tomorrow," Zane tells Bernice Wednesday.

THE BOONDOCKS: Another week of reruns. Monday and Tuesday, Huey rejects the white man's teachings while trying to get an education. Sunday, Huey draws a political cartoon of a G.O.P. boot landing on a "Punk Democrat Rear End."

ONE BIG HAPPY: "Miss Chowder taught us how to make babies!" Ruthie announces Monday, in her daily curriculum debriefing with Grandma. Miss Chowder? "She said to drop the Y and add I-E-S!" Wednesday, Lucille asks Ruthie, "Hey girlie, did you learn anything today?" "No, ma'am," Ruthie says. "I spent most of the day in school." Has Ruthie been talking to Huey at school? Sunday, in the name of honest, untainted scholarship, Joe writes a report on the lobster without turning to the crutch of the dictionary.

MARK TRAIL: The Trail family chews over Mrs. Morgan's unhappy relationship with Mr. Morgan. "I don't think he likes any kind of animals," Rusty says Monday. "He doesn't have any around his house!" So maybe Rusty should go live with the Morgans. He might get some attention. What a bad, animal-hating man that Mr. Morgan is. Why can't he love animals, like Mark Trail, or Hitler? Tuesday, Rusty and Cherry go riding over the Morgan homestead. "But we can't let Andy or Sassy follow us," Rusty warns. Rusty, horses are animals, too. Thursday, Rusty, stay out here with the dumb animals. Saturday, Judy Morgan serves tea in the living room to Cherry and to her secret pet deer Sweetie. A deer in the living room? Gad, how heartless can Mr. M. be, not to want a deer in his living room? Suddenly: "Oh no, it's Tom. . . he's home early!" Nothing worse than being cuckolded by animals.

Sunday's featured natural phenomenon: the roiling electromagnetic forces of space weather! Invisible scourge of pager service and homing pigeons.

JUMBLE: PAYDIRT, ON THE EDGE, PULL A "FAST ONE," THE "PAST" LANE, A "LIGHT" SLEEPER, TRIMMED THE FAT.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: The late Mister B's in the cold, cold, uh, freezer. Along with a tub labeled "Pork gravy 1982." By Saturday, April has brought home another rabbit. For better!

BEETLE BAILEY: Beetle resents being ordered to dig a foxhole with a spoon.

B.C.: Monday, a "Skool"-house antling asks "permission to go to the bathroom," then urinates all over the floor. What's next, scat-munch jokes? Tuesday, the ever-mystifying Queen Ida of the ants rejects an "Ida Red" apple as a birthday present. "I hate 'red,'" the queen says. "I prefer the term 'crimson.'" Is this some kind of gag about anti-Communism and Harvard? In the margin, Johnny Hart has written "HBQI." OK, so "Queen Ida" is a tribute to someone he knows, and it's her actual birthday, so he sends her Happy Birthday Queen Ida wishes. We're pretty confident we can decipher the secret message. It's the regular message that has us stumped. Wednesday, the turtle is too slow to go on the turnpike, where the minimum speed is 40. Yeah. That turtle is so slow! (How slow is he?) He's so slow . . . he's slower than a motor vehicle! Get it? Hello? Is this thing on? Check, check.

DOONESBURY: B.D. puts journalists through pre-war boot camp: forced marches, simulated mine fields, etc. Not the part where they sit in a briefing room and copy down what the Defense Secretary tells them. "My column's in 600 papers," one bespectacled scribe protests Friday. "Should you be calling me a 'puke'?" Six hundred papers? Who are you, pal, Sidney Omarr? Being widely syndicated is no defense against people calling you a puke. "Hell soldier, half your class is too banged up to even follow us into the field!" B.D.'s commanding officer says Saturday. "Yes, sir!" B.D. replies. Pause. "Okay, I just got it," the officer says. "Good work, son."

THE MIDDLETONS: Friday, Bumper lets out a big YELP! "What this town needs is fireplug warmers," he thinks. Huh? We hadn't known dogs were in the habit of actually touching the thing that they lift their legs against. Or is Bumper hung super-low? Maybe that's why they call him Bumper. Thanks for making us think about dog penises, Dunagin & Summers.

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: The women of Fishburg pretend to be mermaids, to entrap the invading Imperial sailors. John Cullin Murphy sacrifices both verisimilitude and hydrodynamics in the name of family-safe entertainment, drawing the Ichtyhopolitan ladies swimming around fully clothed.

ZIPPY: Thursday, the pinhead strolls by a busted-up White Tower restaurant. Are we in Baltimore again?

MARMADUKE: Monday, Marmaduke is disturbingly fascinated by Dottie's squatting exercise pose. Tuesday, Marmaduke lies on the bed.

MARY WORTH: Monday, Joy Tully sets up a date with Mary to dish the dirt on Silas Smedlap. They convene Thursday for lunch at the Women's Club of Santa Royale. Saturday, the Widow Tully tosses back some wine. "I guess I'm looking for some 'Dutch courage,'" she tells Mary. "Gathering nerve to squeal on an old friend!" Dutch courage? Is that a slur on the good people of Dutchland? Dutchistan? Dutcholia? Dutchruppersberger? By Sunday, the Widow Tully has started talking, but she still ain't saying anything we don't know. Maybe she shoulda ordered some other country's kind of courage.

THE LOCKHORNS: "Loretta's one-syllable answers don't mean she's angry," Leroy says Wednesday. "It means she's just watched 'The West Wing.'" Loretta watches The West Wing? Bullshit. And Leroy watches Behind the Velvet Ropes, right?

KUDZU: Monday, the parakeet makes a "J-Lo" joke. Because she gets married a lot, like automatic punchlines Liz Taylor, Mickey Rooney, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. Except she's only heading for her second marriage. But someday she'll probably be one of those celebrities who has gotten married a lot. Yeah. And then that gag will be really funny. "I'm so out of it," the Rev. Will B. Dunn thinks in the bath Wednesday. "All this debate over post-modernism . . . I'm still having trouble with modernism!." That's not a gag, really. That's just Doug Marlette speaking his mind.

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Saturday, Snuffy puts a hood ornament on his mule.

MOMMA: Monday, Momma thinks about death. Tuesday, Momma dreams about destitution. Wednesday, Momma broods over her daughter-in-law's cooking. Thursday, Momma lies in a coffin for practice.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Mike Peters spends the week trying to tempt Funny Paper into savaging his characters again. Monday, a big-nosed man runs over another man with a steamroller. "After he grew up, Dennis got a job on a construction crew." The man on the steamroller is saying, "Oh, sorry, Mr. Wilson." This would seem to be a reference to Dennis the Menace. But there's a pair of glasses sticking to the roller part of the steamroller, and Mr. Wilson in Dennis the Menace doesn't wear glasses, except half-glasses to read with. And when we look at the guy driving the steamroller, we're forced to conclude that it looks more like Denis Leary than Dennis Mitchell. Verdict: Mike Peters is guilty only of attempting to traduce someone else's cartoon character. Wednesday, a woman with puffy short sleeves and a bow in her hair tells another woman, "Actually, we've only stayed together for the sake of the dwarfs." OK, clearly this is supposed to be Walt Disney's Snow White. But Walt Disney stole Snow White in the first place. Reluctantly, Funny Paper gives Peters another pass. Friday, it's "McGruff's career as a crime fighter ended when he was caught taking kickbacks." Following last week's Bibendum precedent, Funny Paper concludes that McGruff is a mascot, not a cartoon character per se. But our judicial restraint is wearing mighty thin, Peters.

THE PHANTOM: "You two will be heroes in our countries!" the getaway pilot for the latter-day Crusaders exclaims Monday. Enraged, the Ghost Who Always Has Time for Pedantry pauses in storming the cockpit to explain that the term "hero" is relative. "They're villains in Bangalla, the only one that counts," he says. Tuesday, the latter-day Crusaders attack, with one swinging his mace into the aircraft's bulkheads. "Have I ever told you the story about the boxer and the black belt?" the Phantom smirks. "Put a boxer and a black belt in a phone booth . . .Boxer wins every time," he continues Wednesday. "Black belts need room to fight . . . as do swordsmen!" Thursday and Friday, the Crusaders continue swinging away, smashing various useful components of the airplane's interior. Enough with the close-quarters-combat thing, Walker. Arsenault the Crusader clocked you fair and square with his broadsword a couple of weeks ago, and the script bailed you out. If the strip was Adventures of the Latter-Day Crusaders or The Severed Head of the Phantom, you'd be dead, dead, dead by now. You've got the writers on your side.

Sunday, the Phantom, the natives, and "Killer" Razowski's crew all pile into the sea-canoe to escape the wreckage of Razowski's getaway boat. Crawling ashore, the Phantom briefly spies a tall, imperious-looking woman looking at them. "For a second I thought I saw a woman on top of that dune!" he thinks. "But I must have been mistaken!" Here's a man who pals around with poison-arrow-shooting pygmies, living dinosaurs, and a chimpanzee postal service. But a real live woman? Impossible!

FAMILY CIRCUS: Thursday, Billy declares that Treasure Island must have been based "on that 'Treasure Planet' movie." Not so fast, kid. Robert Louis Stevenson made back his production costs. Sunday, Grandma tells Billy to stay on the straight and narrow, as Billy guiltily imagines one of his meandering dotted-line jaunts through the park. Is Bil Keane saying that youthful exuberance is a ticket to Hell? Or is Keane poking fun at the moral teachings of one's elders? It hardly makes a difference. Either this cartoon is an enticement to Sin, or all the previous Billy-on-a-ramble cartoons have been. Family Circus is a corrupter of youth.

REX MORGAN, M.D: Rex has the hotel's night manager open up the ailing John's room. "We should get him to the hospital!" June declares Tuesday, checking his pulse. Is there a doctor in the house? Har! Isn't this a medical convention, come to think of it? You could probably give somebody a full course of chemotherapy without leaving the building, just by getting free samples from all the pharmaceutical-company reps skulking around the lobby. But instead, it's time to go the hospital route, despite a freak snowstorm that's paralyzing Philadelphia. Sunday, the bellman hails a cab.

APARTMENT 3-G: Margo tries to convince Tommie that Lu Ann is the real scheming wench among the G's Three. "Lu Ann didn't make you kiss someone else," Tommie protests Saturday. "No," Margo says, "but she made sure Pete was there to see it!" Great, now Margo's got clinical paranoia, to match Lu Ann's agoraphobia: It's Apartment 3-G, Interrupted. Sunday, Margo meditates on her bosoms.

SALLY FORTH: Sally attempts to start a book club with Hilary.

GASOLINE ALLEY: Santa sets Joel and Rufus to work in his toy shop. How are we supposed to tell Santa from Rufus, again?

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Phillip McGraw, aka no-nonsense simple- advicemeister Dr Phil. As presented by Vernon Carne, he looks more like beloved veteran character actor Jeffrey Tambor. Hey now! Should the kids be reading about Dr. Phil?

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