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Funny Paper

"Snoog-a-Boo" Hates Tap Water

Jan. 28-Feb. 3

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 2/6/2002

CENSORSHIP WATCH DEP'T.: Aaron McGruder throws down a challenge to twitchy editors, opening Wednesday's The Boondocks with a quote from George Orwell: "If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." Then Huey, standing on a snowy hilltop, clears his throat. "Pretzel schmetzel--the guy was drunk!!"

The Sun sat back and let McGruder and Orwell have their say. But not so its high and mighty neighbor to the south. The Washington Post yanked the strip and replaced it with a rerun. Way to upset the powers that be, you gutless toadies. What, was Sally Quinn afraid she wouldn't get invited to White House parties anymore? The Washington Post: We Took Down One President, and By God We're Not Gonna Take Down Any More.

HOLIDAY WATCH INDEX DEP'T.:

Number of strips celebrating Groundhog Day: 3 (B.C., Hi & Lois, last week's Sunday Mark Trail.

Number of strips celebrating Black History Month: 2 (Curtis, twice). But there's still three weeks to catch up. Hear that, Bunny Hoest?

GROUNDHOG* DAY REDUX DEP'T.: On Feb. 2, the Phantom emerges from a cave, casting a well-defined, cross-hatched shadow on the rocks. Six more weeks of winter in the jungle!

(* If Punxsutawney Phil were a nutria instead of a groundhog, and it was Nutria Day, we could celebrate with a nice, warm nutria stew. Or whole roasted stuffed nutria. Did we mention nutria "accepts seasoning very well"?

YOU CAN HEAR THAT AGAIN! DEP'T.: Friday brings two super-hearing gags, as Momma, in Momma, eavesdrops on Thomas and Tina in their bedroom from hundreds of yards off, and Marmaduke, in Marmaduke, does the old hear-the-refrigerator-door-open-a-block-away routine.

OUT-OF-CONTEXT DIALOGUE OF THE MONTH DEP'T.: "Don't you 'baby' me, dad! This marriage is an embarrassment!"

NON-SEQUITUR: On Monday, a generic business guy points to a generic diving-line chart and says, ". . . which brings us to the time of year that had absolutely nothing to do with me." Oh, Sept. 11? Hey, it worked for Tina Brown. Oh, wait, it didn't work for Tina Brown.

The rest of the week is taken up by Wiley's newly discovered trove of Mars-and-Venus "What He/She Heard" and "What She/He Said" gags. Which come down, on Saturday, to this: "What He Heard: "Your right to independent thought and ability to form an opinion has been revoked.' What She Said: "I do.'" Why do you hate women so much, Wiley? Did your wife say "I do" to another man? Do you have a wife?

CATHY: Monday: Cathy is so overweight, she cannot fit comfortably into her blue jeans. Tuesday: Cathy celebrates the fact that drawstring-waist pants, elastic-waistband pants, and relaxed-fit pants, while unfashionable, free her to eat giant bagels, jumbo fries, and 32-ounce sodas in comfort. Wednesday: Cathy blames "Business Casual" and "Dress-Down Friday" for the loss of her svelte executive look. Thursday: Cathy procrastinates and fails to exercise. Friday: Despite buying all kinds of jock-inspired clothing, Cathy proudly continues to be a lazy fat-ass. Saturday: Instead of rising early to exercise, Cathy hits the snooze button and sleeps in.

HI & LOIS: Lois can still slide into her hip-huggers from the '70s, but she frowns in the mirror and says her body has "gone out of style." Why is the ever-slim Lois' self-image so bad? Big Pimpin' Hi! Way to keep that bitch down!

MOMMA: Tuesday, Momma tells Francis to stop seeing floozies. Francis tells Momma his date tonight is a floozy--"but she knows a lot of high-class girls." Big Pimpin' Francis!

Friday, in showing Momma's long-distance eavesdropping, Mell Lazarus executes a rare splash panel of a moonlit night.

THE MIDDLETONS: Morris Middleton battles his gut.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Elly wonders if she should get liposuction. "Definitely," John says. Then he plants a big slurping kiss on her mouth. Get it? Lip . . . o . . . suction? A gag, but a character-driven gag. It's only Monday, and it's already for better!

Sunday, Grandpa doesn't know why he's down in the basement. For even better!

MARMADUKE: Monday, the Greatest Dane grinds his hindquarters into the lap of a guest. "That's his way of telling you he wants his back scratched," Barbara says. Oh. Then Funny Paper's gonna take back that $20 we tucked in his collar.

THE PHANTOM: "The Phantom, wounded . . . left for dead . . ." is carried to safety by his faithful cave-monster companion Hz. Hz to the izzo! Diana languishes on the beach, striking soft-core bondage-porn poses, as the prisoner of exotic-animal thief and Phantom-shooter Noah von Belen, who is using her as bait to lure the unicorn. As the jungle queen struggles, kicks her bare legs, and cries in warning, the legendary beast draws nearer and nearer, its horn curving--jutting--upward. Why is the unicorn going for the kink? Unicorns are supposed to be attracted to virgins.

Meanwhile, the Phantom is shaking off the effects of a point-blank gunshot to the face. "Uhhh . . ." he explains to Hz, "bullet didn't quite miss . . . kicked me in the head as it went by . . . hard as a mule!" That's not a mule--that's a unicorn!

Sunday, the Ghost Who Walks starts following the jeep tracks of the warmongering diamond thieves. In one panel, Graham Nolan's colorizing instructions seem to have been botched up, so that the Phantom, astride Hero, sports a royal-blue leotard. This happens to the Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings all the time, actually. Something about purple and color photography. But a royal-blue leotard? Why, that makes the Phantom look ridiculous!

MARK TRAIL: The goose egg, rescued from the nest of the fox-slain goose, has hatched. "The goose egg has hatched!" Rusty says. Oh boy, the goose egg has hatched! No wonder Mark keeps leaving home on "assignments." The gosling--dubbed "Lucky"--is remanded to the henhouse, where, on Thursday, a hungry weasel--and a huge one; it looks more like an otter--comes a-huntin'. The ruckus in the henhouse disturbs Mark and Cherry in bed. What? Mark and Cherry share a bed? And Cherry has a dreamy smile on her face. What? Hungry weasel indeed. Jack Elrod has carefully drawn a bit of puckered undies waistband peeking out where Mark's bare, smooth-muscled torso emerges from the blankets (a boxers man, Mark Trail). Cripes, why not just draw a fig leaf? We're not fooled one bit. Hungry weasel! Big Pimpin' Cherry!

Saturday, the hen and "Lucky" are both missing. "Lucky." Maybe they were a little premature with the name, huh? Cherry's the only one who got lucky this week.

Sunday's featured physical characteristic of the planet Earth: Bodies of salt water, down to and including the notorious fjord. "Lately, because of the war, we have heard or read a lot about the Arabian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman!"

APARTMENT 3-G: Cuban refugee Marcella says she wants to play baseball in the States: "I am not just a girl! I am the second baseman for Cuba!" What, she's like the beisbol Yentl? Funny Paper has been in the bowels of Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana. You can barely take a pee in private there, let alone conceal a set of breasts. Or does she just mean that Fidel got to second base with her before she fled the island?

Cap'n Greg agrees to stay with the dismasted, no-longer-Bahamas-bound boat and hide the gender-bending infielder from the Coast Guard. "I'm going to refuse the Coast Guard's help," Greg tells Lu Ann. "And I'm going to ask you to marry me, Lu Ann." OK, ask her!

JUMBLE: ON THEIR TOES, PREDICTABLE, "PAST" THEM, SAVES DOUGH, A "LOANER," SLEEP MODE

PRINCE VALIANT: As they retrieve the wayward Sir Gawain, Prince Valiant and his men are beset by wolves.

FAMILY CIRCUS: "Why does Billy keep salutin' me?" asks a flag-shirted Jeffy on Monday. Because you're as dumb as a flagpole, kid. Tuesday, Billy--wearing a Holden Caulfield hat--wonders "how we go about transferrin' to Hogwarts school." "Know which group I like listenin' to?" Dolly says Thursday, holding her toothbrush over a running tap. "'In Sink.'" And Sunday, Jeffy dreams of licensed characters from Pixar's Monsters, Inc. Two entertainment-industry product placements in one week!

LOCKHORNS: Monday, Leroy plants a chaste kiss on Loretta. "The world is a better place when Leroy's team wins." This was after the conference title games, so Leroy either had the Rams or the Patriots. And who could be jazzed about having the Rams? Leroy had the Pats! If he lets it ride till the Super Bowl, some of those big-jugged cocktail-party girls he's always slobbering over will end up chasing him. The next kiss Mrs. Lockhorn gets is a kiss goodbye! Big Pimpin' Leroy is movin' to Vegas! See you in the funny papers, Loretta!

LUANN: Bernice dithers about working with hunky cripple Zane at her new bookstore job. "I though you kinda maybe semi-sorta liked him," Luann says. "I was in control then!" Bernice says. "I could see him or not. Now I have to face him every day!" So Bernice has to be in control. Friday, Bernice's too-smiley supervisor Miss Eiffel reminds her of the intra-company socializing policy, leading Bernice to jabber about how "I'd never, y'know, with . . . um . . . Zane.""Good," Miss Eiffel smiles, with an arched eyebrow, in a special narrow things-that-make-you-go-hmm panel. Ah, the perils of life for a wheelchair-bound teen--all the ladies just throwing themselves at you. Big Pimpin' Zane!

Saturday, Bernice tries to tell Luann about it, but Luann is too busy admiring her bellybutton in the mirror to care. Narcissism? So what? About time somebody in the paper had a little positive body image.

Sunday, Greg Evans follows Wiley Miller into John Gray/Carol Gilligan territory, comparing the speaking habits of "Men Working Together" with "Women Working Together." Get this--the women jabber at each other. Who knew? Mrs. DeGroot's jabber includes yet more saucy details of her courtship with that stallion husband of hers: "It was July and I wore a summer dress cut low in the back . . ." Man, how'd they ever manage to stop at two kids?

BOONDOCKS: Wednesday's pretzel gag falls in the midst of a string of G.W. Bush gags. Funny Paper is all for tearing down the chief executive, but Huey should have just stood pat with the Single Bottle Theory. When you hit the home run, who wants to see you bunt? Oh, The Washington Post wants to see you bunt.

Friday, Huey sings "My Beautiful Balloon" to himself, then claps a hand over his mouth. "Nothing against the Fifth Dimension," he says to the third wall, "but--nobody heard that." Sunday, Caesar tries out his new political comedy: "Your mother is so dumb, she works for airport security."

GASOLINE ALLEY: Slim is officially off his diet. One of his fellow grease monkeys tells him the best way to reduce one's food intake is to "Put a photo of Osama bin Laden on your refrigerator!" We don't care about Gasoline Alley, but we care enough not to want to see Osama bin Laden references in it.

Thursday, in yet more jarring current-events business, young Amanda Lynn mangles the president's dictums--much in the way the president himself might. Is Gasoline Alley mocking the W? Look out, Aaron McGruder!

As the teacher keeps talking about our present troubles Friday and Saturday, Ada Clock volunteers to form a detachment of Red Guard-style youth to monitor the elders for suspicious activity. Ada has absolutely no distinguishing physical characteristics, which Jim Scancarelli pretty much concedes by dressing her in a sweatshirt that says ADA. At first we thought it was a sorority. Or maybe she's just a big fan of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Heads up, Zane! Here comes another one!

BEETLE BAILEY: Beetle tries to sell off his cot, canteen, uniform, and other gear. The men build a portrait of the brass in a mound of snow and label it "MT. LUSHMORE."

DILBERT: Dilbert's flirtation with unemployment and sales-department work ended last week, though we were too bored to mention it. This week, the boys at the office have to answer to a new troll-woman "man-hating supervisor." Which is how Scott Adams captions the first panel of each strip from Wednesday on: "Man-hating supervisor." This has the feel of one of Adams' Whose Line Is It Anyway? riffs, where the readers have tipped the multimillionaire business-book author and Xerox pitchman to some real-life office tribulations. We picture some bitter 45-year-old man stuck in a cubicle in Northern Virginia, choking on his failure, who scrawled "man-hating supervisor" on a Post-It, stuffed it in an envelope, and mailed it off to United Feature Syndicate, with the Pitney-Bowes machine covering the postage.

Adams, to his credit, gets bored enough with it all to make the troll-woman quit on Saturday. Office work, he concludes, has already left his characters completely unmanned.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Mike Peters takes the ever-unpopular pro-mutt stand, as Grimm is enrolled in a dog-walking group with snooty purebreeds. "I'm Barrett, a registered standard poodle," says one on Wednesday. "I'm Charlotte, a champion Shih Tzu," the other chimes in. "I'm Grimm, a menace to society," Grimm smirks, making those slitty-lidded bug eyes that Peters likes to rip off from Ren & Stimpy. They should have sued Mike Peters' ass long ago, Ren & Stimpy. Copyright infringement and defamation of character. And how is Grimm a "menace to society," besides by virtue of being so fucking lame? Or is it a "menace to Society," meaning he's going to overthrow those upper-crust canines? We can't tell, because it's in all caps.

Grimm continues to wax reverse-snobbish on Thursday, as the purebreds compare designer labels on their collars. "Hartz, flea and tick," he product-places with another big smirk.

Saturday, the usual fire-hydrant scat humor hits a new level, with the poodle using the hydrant as a bidet. And it's The Boondocks that gets banned.

DOONESBURY: Sunday, Mark Slackmeyer's dad prepares to shuffle off this mortal coil--then shuffles back to ask for a pizza. Turn away from the light, Mr. S.! We need you to keep Doonesbury funny.

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Tuesday, TAIT FER SHERIFF posters adorn all the trees, as last week's recurring election theme carries over into a whole new week. This is a serious and portentous development. Things are changing in Hootin' Holler. Strange breezes stir the leaves. Someday soon, a lone horseman will come riding over the ridge--a lone horseman in a derby hat, astride a horse called Spark Plug.

Thursday, Tater takes Loweezy's bottle marked "nail polish" and shines up a bunch of 10d nails with it. This is funny. This makes Funny Paper smile. But hey--Tater can read?

ZIGGY: Wednesday, Ziggy reads an ominous historical marker: "No great battles have been fought here yet, but you never know." Why is Ziggy trying to creep us out? You can't put that one on a coffee mug!

JUMP START: Crusty denies having a dog, despite having huge sack of Alpo and a trunk full of dog gear riding around in his prowl car. Finally, he admits it. "One day I came home and this filthy stray was doing something gross on my porch!" he says. Just in time for Valentine's Day. The crotchety cop, it turns out, feeds the dog London broil, and has named it "Snoog-a-Boo." With quotes around it: "Make sure he has spring water. 'Snoog-a-Boo' hates tap water."

CURTIS: Leafing through a magazine together, Curtis and Barry wonder why black models are always bald. Hey, Tyson Beckford has hair sometimes. But what magazine are they looking at, anyway?

Friday, Curtis' teacher kicks off Black History Month with the promise that "we'll have lots of fun learning about the contributions African-Americans have made in all fields." Mysteriously unable, despite their inner-city public-school education, to connect "learning" and "fun," the kids slump in their seats and ignore her. "If I were Mariah Carey standin' up here in my underwear," the teacher fumes, "I bet I'd have your full attention!" Well, yeah. Mariah Carey, standing by the blackboard wearing the teacher's underwear? The kids would be locked in. They wouldn't dare miss Mariah Carey! That chick's crazy!

Sunday, the Black History Month enrichment continues with a performance by the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe. Curtis is unimpressed.

MARY WORTH: Piqued by "Woodrow 'Don't Call Me by My Real Name' Pine III"'s claim that he's a "confirmed bachelor," Liz Hoag appears ready to grab the bait. "Sonny, in my book, the word 'confirmed' doesn't exist!," she thinks. What was Liberace, then? Maybe that's why she's been through so many husbands. And why's she thinking of him as "sonny"? Has she unconsciously seen through his older-man disguise? Or have Saunders & Giella unconsciously forgotten about it? On Saturday, feeling the attraction, she offers to drive Mr. So-Called Pine III to his hotel. In the Sunday color supplement, she suggests that they stop off and "get stinkin' from drinkin'." Hey, this gal's a lot more fun than that tight-ass Dawn Weston!

SHOE: Friday, a random female customer complains to Roz about the ways of men. "My husband can bench-press 250 pounds . . ." she says, "but he can't pick up his dirty underwear." Might have something to do with all that bench-pressing, lady.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Melissa models her wedding dress for June. "Not bad for an old bag!" the bride-to-be says Wednesday, admiring herself in the mirror. Stuart and Helen, meanwhile, prepare an "iron-clad" pre-nup for Merle and Melissa. "The bimbo won't know what hit her," Stuart gloats. And, Helen assures him, "they'll both sign it."

HERB & JAMAAL: Wednesday, Stephen Bentley deploys an all-but-forgotten cartoonic device: Jamaal opens his wallet looking for money, and a swarm of moths comes out. To show he's so cheap, he never opens it. Get it? The younger half of Funny Paper didn't get it either. The older half of Funny Paper opened his wallet to demonstrate.

Saturday, in an internal monologue, Jamaal calls Yolanda "the love of my life" and says she makes him "as excited as a little puppy." Wasn't he wishing he could throw her over for his college girlfriend two weeks ago?

WILLY 'N ETHEL: Willy contemplates Nirvana. "A clam has no eyes, no ears, no legs or arms," he says, "all it can do is sit there and eat. . . . The rest of us can just dream about it."

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Dec. 22-28, 2003

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