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Funny Paper

The Problem With Stupid People

Oct. 14-20, 2002

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 10/23/2002

SNIPER WATCH DEP'T: Monday, Doonesbury's Roland Burton Hedley quizzes Ari Fleischer on the Administration's "one bullet" theory of regime change. Also Monday, in the Sun crossword: 45 down, "Brady bill foe, briefly." Still Monday, in the New York Times crossword: 8 down, "Gunners grp"; 9 down, "Fortuneteller's card"; 64 down, "Something to take, carefully."

YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN! DEP'T.: Sunday's Cathy, in which Cathy goes shopping for fashionable leather goods, is the same strip that ran the previous Sunday.

YOU CAN FEAR THAT AGAIN! DEP'T.: Saturday in Hi & Lois, Hi confronts Chip about the yardwork. "You're afraid of raking leaves?" Hi says. "That's ridiculous!" "It's a psychological disorder, Dad!" Chip replies. "'Fall phobiage.'" Sunday in Classic Peanuts, Woodstock is terrified when a leaf lands on his head. "'Fear of falling leaves' . . . " Snoopy muses. "When we get home, I'll have to look that one up . . . "

BETTER NEVER THAN LATE DEP'T: Tuesday in Non Sequitur, it's a double behind-the-Zeitgeist entry from Wiley E. Crapolee: ". . . I heard the Homeland Security alert went from vermillion* to pastel peach" leads into "The terrorists have won!!" Twice as unfunny, twice as stale as the usual Wiley. In the Boondocks, Huey sits in front of the TV, watching "some white girl trying to be Mariah Carey. 'Kelly' somebody . . . " Kelly who? Oh, Kelly from American Idol. Yeah, we remember that. Come on, Aaron MacGruder, you're not pooting out Beetle Baileys here. You gotta stay topical.

* [sic] One vermillion = 1,000,000 vers.

BEHOLD THE MIGHT OF THE COMBINED SUN AND NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD SNICKERS DEP'T: Sun: SHUTTLECOCK, HOLE, WISECRACK, DEBRIEF, ASSORT, POLE, TITO. Times: ANALOG, MEMBER, RAM, ASS, WEENESS, TITULAR.

DUCT TAPE BINDS THE WORLD TOGETHER AGAIN! DEP'T: "Remember the time we dropped the turkey on the floor?" Willy asks Ethel Monday. Ethel: "We learned an important lesson that day!" Willy: "There are some things in the world that even duct tape can't fix!" So Billy, of the Circus Family, is no turkey. "We're out of Band-Aids," he announces Wednesday, "so I put duct tape on my cut."

COMICS CLICHES DEP'T.: Monday, Ziggy's paperboy parks his bike and comes to the door to read Ziggy the headlines. Who has a bike-riding paperboy anymore?

COMICS CLICHES DEP'T., CONT'D: Tuesday, Mother Goose & Grimm presenta "The Three Sopranos," replete with fedoras and Tommy-gun-style hot-lead dispensers. What, Tony Soprano is a bootlegger?

MARY WORTH: Monday, Silas Smedlap attempts to quote Al Jolson. "I think it was a comedian named Jolson who said. . . 'You ain't seen nuthin' yet!' . . . Just remember those words folks!" All due respect to Mary Worth in the codger-trivia department, but that's not Al Jolson. That's Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Strange slip-up for a character who's a devout fan of bygone comics. Maybe Silas isn't a codger after all. Maybe he's a crafty young psychology major with a minor in drama, going around in old-person's makeup to fool people. Nah, that would be stupid.

APARTMENT 3-G: Out at a bar, Margo makes a play for a man named Jay, and vice versa. "Thanks for the glass of wine, Jay," she says Monday. "My pleasure," he says. "It's also my business." Jay is in the business of getting gals drunk. Lu Ann, meanwhile, entertains Cousin Blaze while nursing her agoraphobia. "Aren't your roommates here, Lu Ann?" the urban cowpoke asks Wednesday. "They're dancing the night away," she says, clutching a pint of ice cream. "Let's join them," Blaze says. "I can't," she says. "I mean, I'd rather stay in." Friday, Bolle + Trusiani cut back to the bar, where Margo is dancing for Jay. Margo appears to be vogue-ing. Sunday, Lu Ann thrashes around the apartment in a hot-pink knit top, berating herself for being agoraphobic. The agoraphobe is an angoraphile.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Holly tries to get rude and menacing with June. "I think you should talk to my boyfriend after all!" Holly says Wednesday, after having tried to drive her visitor away. Then comes a knock at the door. "Step back, Honey . . . That's him now!" June is so unfazed the next day, she has the wit to step out of the story and challenge Wilson & Nolan on the whole plot point: "Your boyfriend knocks on the door to his own apartment?" No, no, the creators concede: It's actually the cops! Poor Holly, suddenly unable to understand her own motivations, steps meekly back to let them in.

MARK TRAIL: A trip to the vet confirms Mark's suspicions about the cat switcheroo.

Sunday's featured animals: the delicious squid family, 10-armed and 250 species strong! More valuable than salmon! Special attention to the reclusive giant squid! Mortal enemy: the sperm whale!

PRINCE VALIANT: Val and Aleta ride a medieval bathysphere into the heart of the city of Icthyopolis, home of the Icthyopolis 500.

THE PHANTOM: The Ghost Who Buses Drinks to Kill Time Between Socking Bad Men in the Jaw sheds his wait-staff tuxedo, which appears to be a tear-off model, and skulks around the museum after the reception to spy on the archaeologists. "Ten long years undercover in this godforsaken country," one says Wednesday. "It was worth it . . . and it ends tonight!" the other replies. Ooh--the archaeologists who retrieved the sacred weapons of the evil knights of the Fourth Crusade are secretly working on behalf of the secret society descended from the evil knights of the Fourth Crusade. In thriller-plotting terms, Funny Paper believes this is what's known as a "single cross." "Knights of the Livonian and Teutonic Orders!" an archaeologist intones into the speaker phone. "Greetings from Bangalla!" He has to talk in boldface because they're on the speaker. Saturday, the Phantom broods over what he's heard. "In many nations, secret clans of latter-day knights rejoice," his out-of-body thought caption reads, next to a twinkling Eiffel Tower. Many nations, but mostly fucking France. Fuckers.

Sunday, "Chaos in Boomsby Prison!": ""Raz' Rakowski has escaped!." Catch him, quick, before the Polack is at the border!

HERB & JAMAAL: "I think I've just discovered the missing link between noise and music," Eula thinks, overhearing Ezekiel's stereo selections on Wednesday. Cool! Ezekiel is a Masonnna fan!

GARFIELD: Jim Davis flunks 10th-grade English Sunday, as Garfield recites "Nature's first green is gold . . . " to herald the coming of autumn. Nature's first green, dipwad. "Her early leaf . . . leaf subsides to leaf . . . dawn goes down to day . . . " Do we have to spell this out for you, Jimrod?

CURTIS: Curtis confronts Michelle about her trashy performance on cable-access. "Oh, you mean 'Shequieda,'" she says Tuesday. "My dishin'-th'-dirt talk show character! How do you like her?" "Like a ROOT CANAL!!" Curtis says. What does a 10-year-old boy know from a root canal? So, Michelle has a gig like Black Entertainment Television's Cita's World. Only Cita is a computer-animated cartoon and funny, whereas Michelle is . . . oh, crap, Funny Paper almost walked over the suspension-of-disbelief cliff: It's a real-life cartoon character being spoofed by a cartoon real-life character. Whoa. Hats off to Ray Billingsley, Master of Meta. But Michelle is still not funny.

ONE BIG HAPPY: It's One Big Saucy this week. Thursday, a woman named Raymona, wearing a halter top and tight leopard-print pants, greets Joe. "She certainly has a pretty smile!" Grandpa says after she sashays off. "Smile?" Joe says. "I missed her face completely." Looks like Joe's recovered from getting kicked in Florida last week. Little feller's eyes are roving toward the Rio Grande now. On Sunday, Ruthie tells her babysitting Grandma that "Mommy and Daddy have fun all the time! . . . . Here at home. . . . They keep the door locked!" Rick Detorie is trying to make a naughty joke through the mouth of his cartoon child. Sick, Detorie. Boundaries, man. Gotta have some boundaries.

SHOE: "I went to a very exclusive school," a woman tells Shoe in a bar Saturday. "So did I," he counters. "You had to be sent there by a judge." Cassatt & Brookins, give that gag writer a contract. Sunday, Shoe says he can remember the names of all his wives: "Plaintiff." Cassatt & Brookins, put a contract out on that gag writer.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Don O'Briant and Art by Vernon Carney take a whack at the late Sam Snead. Sadly, the featured quote is not "I got it off the ground."

GASOLINE ALLEY: The mystifying saga of Slim Van Winkle continues. Wednesday, a withered old Clovia shows up. "I'm in keeping with Gasoline Alley's aging process," she says. "I think I'm dreaming!" Slim says Saturday. Gee, you think? Wink. Wink. Nod. Nod . . . zzzzzz.

CLASSIC PEANUTS: Franklin!

B.C.: Why does the anthill "Skool"-house fly an American flag, again? Can't Johnny Hart make the tiniest effort not to be anachronistic? Friday, Fat Broad announces she's impersonating Sally Rand for amateur night. Now that's some real prehistory. Sally Rand died in 1979--who the fuck is even alive to read this gag to? What next, an Al Jolson quote? Funny Paper smells blatant pandering to the all-important 65-plus demographic in the readership surveys.

ZIPPY: Tuesday, a completely original comic by Bill Griffith, featuring the beloved, hateful Mr. Toad. A tip o' th' pin to Bill Griffith!

BOONDOCKS: Friday, Aaron McGruder refuses to dot his "india.arie." Right on! You get a career like Prince's, girl, and then you can screw around with the punctuation. Till then, use the space bar. When Funny Paper sees shit with a gratuitous dot in it, all we think is, "2 cents a share." Saturday, Caesar tries to get Huey to worry about the possibility of the Baha Men recording another hit. Never mind that. Here's something to worry about.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Friday: "Unlike Edward, his reclusive cousin, Larry Rakehands always found work during the fall." Hey, that's a crazy idea--what if there was a guy who had tools instead of hands, just like Edward Scissorhands, only he used his tool-tipped appendages to do yardwork? Where has Funny Paper seen that idea before? Oh, right--the topiary scene in Edward Scissorhands. Nice goin', Mike Peters. Next week: "Unlike Spider-Man, Fly-Man was able to walk up walls."

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Saturday, Maw and Paw sit on a log with the family, counting their blessings. Maw and Paw know they got it good.

ZIGGY: Wednesday, Ziggy and his plumber stare at a sagging, melting toilet. "Offhand, I'd say the problem is in your water softener," the plumber says. Almost funny! Change "water" to "stool," and it's a winner. Friday, Ziggy takes his fish to the deli. "One small pizza with everything . . . and a submarine sandwich!" Fully funny! See, Mike Peters? It's OK to do stupid gags, if you construct 'em right.

SALLY FORTH: Created by Greg Howard presents an entire week of the refrigerator-ready "Good Husband Points System."

JUMP START: Jojo's preschool teacher opens an ethics probe into the disappearance of all the play money from the games closet.

DOONESBURY: Q: "Ari, given the return of huge deficits, how does Mr. Bush propose paying for a projected $200 billion foreign adventure in Iraq?" A: "With more tax cuts for the rich, obviously." Trudeau's not back to Nixon Era form yet, but he's squarely in Reagan Era form.

JUMBLE:A "BANNER" YEAR, THE "ODD-ITORIUM," A COURT "ORDER," A "SANCTUARY," "SEES" PATIENTS, "SMART MOVE." Another perfect "all quotes" week in JUMBLE-land.

MARMADUKE: Tuesday, Marmaduke lies on the sofa.

CATHY: Thursday, Cathy lies on the sofa.

FUNNY PAPER: Marmaduke lies on Cathy.

BEETLE BAILEY: Wednesday, Miss Buxley tricks Beetle into asking her on a date. Killer immediately forfeits his nickname. Friday, Gen. Halftrack defenestrates Lt. Fuzz a la Charles Barkley--that is, without opening the window.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Last week's visible umbilical cord leads into lots more plain truths about bodily functions--starting Monday and Tuesday with Deanna suffering from painful postpartum "swollen tissue." The landlady prescribes Tucks pads. "They're for something else, but don't ask," she says. Because an inflamed anus is so much more unsettling than an inflamed vagina. Thursday, Deanna gives suck. "What does nursing a baby feel like?" Michael asks. "Mooo," she says. Hey! Funny Paper has heard different. ] Sunday, the baby vomits on its grandpa. For better!

LUANN: Hijinks galore as Luann tries to avoid an out-loud reading of her essay about unrequited longing for Aaron Hill. Thursday, in the capper, Luann assaults Tiffany. Saturday, she's left with "an 'uncooperative slip'" for her parents to sign. "Weird . . . " the cow-eyed Mr. Hill says. "I'm feeling like we've done this before." "That's 'cuz we never do anything new," Luann says. Yes! YES!

NON SEQUITUR: "The problem with stupid people," Danae announces Friday, "is that they don't think they're one of them." Yes, Wiley, YES. Yes yes yes yes yes. Yes.

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