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Funny Paper

We Be the Nuts They Gettin'!

May 21-27

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 5/30/2001

Product Placement Dep't: Zippy and Beetle Bailey both name-check Krispy Kreme. Saturday, Zippy reads about KK in the business section. ("It isn't th' bull market or th' bear market we need to watch--it's th' donut market.") Sunday, Beetle discovers a new Krispy Kreme counter ("kounter"?) at the PX and alerts Sarge to his discovery, causing Sarge to drool uncontrollably. We understand why it's in Zippy, as part of Bill Griffith's fixation on consumer culture. But the reference seems off-key in Camp Swampy, where the only regularly appearing brand entity is the U.S. Army--the circa-1955, potato-peeling, floor-scrubbing Army, not the more recent Be All You Can Be model, let alone the current black-beret-wearing Army of One version. And it has nothing to do with the gag.

Here Be Giants Dep't.: Zippy also gets a piece of the week's other trend: oversized something-or-others. Friday, Griffy confronts a "grotesque . . . yet strangely alluring" La-Z-Boy® recliner (yes, complete with registered-trademark logo), which assumes monumental proportions when he sinks into it. On Sunday, Garfield converses with, then pounces on, a huge hamburger. And throughout the week in Jump Start, Clarence Jr. is haunted by a gargantuan, gender-indeterminate vision of the impending New Baby.

LUANN: Luann has been so busy getting her driver's license and nearly wrecking the car, she hasn't fixated on a guy in weeks! So now that she can drive, it's time to set up a date with the dangerously overage Stuart, the 21-year-old lifeguard who rescued her last year. We can't help noticing that Greg Evans is a lot better at drawing hot guys than he is at drawing hot girls.

DOONESBURY: George W. Bush gets an honorary degree from Yale, weathering put-downs from the university president and the student body. Funny Paper couldn't find a photo of Yale President Richard Charles Levin, B.A., B.Litt., Ph.D., at www.yale.edu, but as rendered by Garry Trudeau he looks an awful lot like the president of Doonesbury's fictitious Walden College, who appears in the Sunday strip.

Here we have a budding cartoon-existential problem of Crisis on Infinite Earths proportions: "Walden College" was invented some years back when the cartoonist decided to retroactively transplant his characters from their (and his) original alma mater, Yale. When he invented Walden, though, Trudeau kept on drawing the same college president, modeled on Kingman Brewster, the former Yale prexy he'd been drawing since the '60s. So now Doonesbury features two similar-looking Yale presidents, one of whom is the actual president of Yale and the other of whom is the president of not-Yale. Plus the President of the United States, who twangs around pretending that he's not a Yale product. Is George W. Bush going to start claiming he went to Walden College too? What is it with you Yalies? All of you--Trudeau, Dubya, Kingman Brewster, Mike Doonesbury, Zonker Harris--quit slumming. Fess up. You're New Haven-living, blue-sweater-wearing, skull-kissing Elis. Boola boola.

ONE BIG HAPPY: Ruthie lives out America's love-hate relationship with thug life, first making fun of someone's "baggy britches," then taking part in a "drive-by raspberryin'."

MARK TRAIL: Having passed up his chance at winning a conservation award in order to be with the ailing Andy, Mark settles in with his friends to watch the awards program on TV. The conservation awards are on TV?, we thought. Then Funny Paper checked the real-life listings. Medical Mysteries: Conjoined Twins . . . Robot Wars UK . . . The Competition: Texas Child Beauty Pageant . . . PGA Seniors Championship. So, sure, the conservation awards are on TV.

And who do you suppose wins the prize? "The awards committee has reconsidered the rules. . . . Kindness to animals is one of our main interests and qualifications. . . . The committee voted unanimously that this year's winner is MARK TRAIL." Oh, and on Saturday the boss offers him a big raise. Let's recap: Andy gets gravely injured by feral dogs; Mark, to be with Andy in his time of need, skips the all-important awards ceremony and effectively quits his job. But Andy gets better instantly, and Mark gets the award--and keeps his job--anyway. So the crisis turns out to be bogus, and the sacrifice turns out to be bogus. Ah, well. At least Jack Elrod works in two more gratuitous beaver shots, one a double-beaver shot, the other a dripping-wet beaver.

Sunday's featured animal: the torpid sloth. "So slow is this lethargic creature that moss grows on its back . . . . The sloth's two main enemies, the jaguar and the harpy eagle, often mistake it for a termite nest."

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: Beetle Bailey gets a reference: "Uncle Snuffy said he's play army with us!! I'm gonna be Gen'rul Patton!!" "I'm gonna be G. I. Joe!!" "I'm gonna be Beetle Bailey!!" says Snuffy, dozing off under a tree. Where does John Rose get off, dragging Beetle into this? Loweezy should be so lucky, to have Beetle for a husband. At least Pfc. Bailey gets a freakin' paycheck. And he doesn't steal chickens or end up in the drunk tank, like some people we could name.

APARTMENT 3G: After dithering about the subject in a rowboat for several days, the gals decide to offer one of their surplus apartments to Cousin Blaze. "Hot dog!" Blaze exclaims, sweeping off his cowboy hat. But then fuchsia-shirted cowpoke reconsiders: "No offense, but uptown is too uptight for me."

MARY WORTH: Gamely, Liz keeps scheming to romance the bald and dumpy Wilbur Weston, even after seeing him in person. "What ho, group!" he cries, making his entrance at the community party. "Anyone fall in the pool yet?" Liz's attempts to chat Wibur up are derailed by the arrival of his daughter, Wendy, who combines irresponsible drinking habits with an esoteric ethnic slur, telling her dad she needs "a little 'Dutch courage'" to tell him she wants to get an apartment of her own. Maybe she can move into the one the Cousin Blaze doesn't want.

JUMBLE: A "CRAM" SESSION, DOWNHILL, SHE WON THE "DRAW", "PLUNGED" INTO IT, TOO PEDESTRIAN, THE UPPER CRUST.

B.C.: "The world is getting nuts," Peter says. "We be the nuts they gettin'!" Curls replies. Huh?

DILBERT: A fat, balding vendor gets Alice drunk to initiate romance with her; she ends up domineering him into working out and getting a new wardrobe. Men are from Mars; women are from Venus; Scott Adams is from the planet of Not Gettin' Even a Little Bit.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: June meets her next patient, Wendi Carol, an artist of Amazonian proportions and uncertain but dusky ethnicity. Wendi cuts out paper dolls as she waits, then asks if she can keep June's scissors. Her problem: headaches "like . . . EARTHQUAKES." Another sick artist--is this related to Tito's butt-rash?

THE PHANTOM: The intruding ruffians venture closer to the Phantom's home turf, watched suspiciously by the natives. "And soon--the sound of jungle drums fill the air . . ." Sic, baby, sic. (Substitute "it" for the sound of jungle drums and you don't get what Funny Paper mean.) "'The Ghost has a thousand eyes and a thousand ears'*," a ruffian says. "*Old jungle saying," a trademark Falk footnote explains.

Finally, the ruffs get close enough for the Ghost Who Walks to pay them a visit. "Trespassing . . . minor offense . . . must not mark the guard," the Phantom muses, fingering his skull-ring as he lurks in the bushes. FP had no idea that the purple-leotarded vigilante had a schedule of felonies and misdemeanors. So instead of skull-marking the guard, he just decks him ("The sandman, friend . . . you sleep now") and burns a threatening skull-pattern in the grass.

In the Sunday plot line, Prince Rex arrives at a monastery where a group of "lions head tamarines [sic]" live. One of the "tamarines" (whose chest spot indicates he's "the tool of the gods") will pick the nation's next prince. Righto. Lee Falk, Sy Barry, Graham Nolan, whoever--let's get a few primatological facts settled. There is no such thing as a "lion's head tamarine." It's the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia), which has no E at the end of its name, and which lives, like all its fellow marmosets classified as tamarins, in South America. Not in the Indian subcontinent-cum- post-colonial-Africa Third World jungles of Phantomland. Sheesh, do we have to send Mark Trail over there to make sure you get things straight?

CURTIS: Sunday's strip takes the old Jeff Spicoli gag to a new level, and then to a level beyond that. First, some classroom prankster with a cell phone orders $84.77 worth of pies from Antonio's Pizzeria. Then comes a man from Orient Dragon with $56.85 in takeout. But Ray Billingsley isn't done--crowning the procession comes a man clutching a long pink box. "Erotic Bakery," he announces. "That'll be $50.75."

DENNIS THE MENACE: Margaret loses a school election by one vote, leaving Funny Paper wondering whether Hank Ketcham is giving a nod to Al Gore or to Tracy Flick.

MARMADUKE: "News extra! A vacuum cleaner has been sighted orbiting the Earth," says the television, as Marmaduke barks at . . . a vacuum cleaner orbiting the Earth. There it is, blazing across the night sky, making the Great Dane look tiny: a vacuum cleaner orbiting the Earth. We have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

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