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Serious Terminator Beaver Teeth

May 7-13

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 5/16/2001

You Can Say That Again! Dep't.: This week, primal food riddles: "What do you suppose prompted the first caveman to eat a chicken?"--B.C., Monday.

"The very first guy t' eat a lobster must've been really HUNGRY."--Curtis, Wednesday.

"Did th' first guy to see a cow say, 'What a big creature, think I'll grind it up and eat it."--Curtis, Saturday.

Funny Paper is perplexed to see this setup used in B.C.. Can't Fat Broad just go ask the first caveman why he ate a chicken?

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: It's not a caveman gag, it's just the oldest food joke in the world. Grimm, treating a kennel stay as prison: 1) "Hey . . . This prison food is terrible!" 2) "Munch. Munch. Munch . . ." 3) ". . . And the portions are too small!" How can you cash your syndication check, Mike Peters? How do you sleep at night?

GASOLINE ALLEY: Rover, dumped by Delicia Farina, gets fired from his job with her father Ugo's taxi company, U-GO FAR-IN-A TAXI. Heh. Funny Paper cringes whenever Gasoline Alley essays anything resembling joke-style humor--the gags are thin, feeble, and awful, like the screams of dying astronauts in the airless void.

"Whatsamatta? Can't you understand good English?" Ugo blusters into the phone. "It sounds like we've got a bad disconnection!" No, it sounds like Jim Scancarelli has a bad case of auto-Italo-America-phobia. And people get worked up over The Sopranos.

And why does Rover have to be so stupid? "I lost my girl and I lost my job in one swell foop!" he cries. ("Swell foop" . . . Punny Faper upchuck now.) "What else bad can happen?" "There's a wrecker outside hauling off your cab!" his roommate replies, sending Rover into a freakout. Uh, right. Because he lost his job. With the cab company. What was he planning on doing with the cab? Why does Rover have to be so stupid?

WILLY 'N ETHEL: The finest gag strip in The Sun demonstrates its greatness in head-to-head combat this week. Tuesday, the late Bill Hoest's Lockhorns fires off a moth-eaten bad-food-pun panel. "This meat is tough enough to be the actual food chain," Leroy snarls at Loretta. It's one note, played on a cowbell: Husband and wife hate each other.

Meanwhile, on the facing page, Joe Martin tackles the exact same theme. "There are steaks you can cut with a fork . . . and there are steaks you need a hammer and chisel for," Willy tells Ethel, poising a hammer and chisel over his plate. "And then there are steaks like this one that just want to be left alone," he concludes, bouncing the chisel off the steak with an ineffectual, wobbly-lettered cloing.

There is no hatred here, no domestic anger. The unyielding steak is not the product of the wife's incompetence or the husband's surly imagination (for all we know, in fact, Willy cooked it himself). It is simply--cloing--a fact, something to be contemplated in the beatific glow of Willy's slob Zen.

Thursday, the most powerful brand-marketing campaign in creation is no match for Willy, as he dons a Nike-swoosh baseball cap. "I haven't got the heart to tell him it's not a hammock," Ethel says. And who says it isn't a hammock?

BEETLE BAILEY: Tuesday, Mort Walker appeals to our racialized understanding of coolness, as Lt. Flap explains to Sarge that whatever Lt. Fuzz likes is automatically "out"--e.g., white-boy Fuzz's obliging "Wassup?" greeting. Oh, hey, Lt. Fuzz is trying to get jiggy. Good thing Lt. Soul Brother No. 1--who clung to a blowout Mod Squad Afro through the whole Reagan administration--is there to hip Camp Swampy to the real hep jive.

On Friday Gen. Halftrack drinks alone, declaring it the high point of his day.

HERB & JAMAAL: Yolanda, now in possession of Jamaal's new "Frisky," drives along, churning through waves of gold-digging glee, guilt, and social shame at taking an automobile as a present from a man. By week's end, she gives it back. "Besides," she tells Herb, "who wants a car with a girlie name like 'Frisky'?" Maybe she would prefer a Dodge Ram, or a Ford Probe?

LUANN: Luann takes Bernice for an unauthorized drive (in the family sedan, of unknown brand) and nearly gets in a wreck. Not her fault.

MARY WORTH: Two panels showcase Ian's huge, hairy belly, as he learns that Toby's ne'er-do-well sister plans to stay with them indefinitely. "Great Caesar's ghost!" Ian ejaculates.

APARTMENT 3G: Margo learns that her PR clients have abandoned her--sick, like the rest of us, of waiting for her to finish waging her crusade against the nefarious Dratman. Her sleep-in-the-office plan, moreover, has left her with wildly disheveled hair. Come on, Alex Kotsky--Margo doesn't know how to pull it together after waking up in a strange place?

MARK TRAIL: With his presence demanded at the Conservation Writer of the Year Awards, Mark is forced to choose between keeping his job at Woods and Wildlife or staying home to be with the ailing Andy. "There's NO DOG on Earth worth the sacrifice you are making--DON'T BE STUPID!" thunders magazine owner J.R. Williams into the phone. "Right now ANDY MEANS MORE TO ME THAN MY JOB--GOOD DAY, SIR!" Trail thunders back. Sheesh, you can collect an Oscar in absentia, but not Conservation Writer of the Year?

Sunday's featured animal: the surprisingly rugged standard poodle.

CURTIS:On a shopping trip, Curtis freaks Barry out by telling him tall tales about the source of groceries--"The government injects different foods with chemicals so they'll grow bigger than normal," he says on Tuesday, claiming a turkey is a hummingbird--and offering the aforementioned speculations about prehistoric dining habits. "Does [lobster] LOOK like somethin' you'd want to put in your MOUTH?" he asks. The first lobster-eater, he declares, must have had "serious Terminator beaver teeth."


MOMMA: Marylou writes a fan letter to Leonardo DiCaprio. Who's that?

SALLY FORTH: More layoffs.

CATHY: Every day is Mother's Day when you're a lonesome, self-hating neurotic.

PRINCE VALIANT: Prince Valiant takes a bath and muses on the geopolitics of the divided Roman Empire.

NON SEQUITUR: In the Sunday color supplement, Wiley revives his agonizingly unfunny "in the time before Man" bit. Now the modern stone-age animals are having an . . . energy crisis! How fucking trenchant, Wiley.

DOONESBURY: Here we go--actual character-driven energy-crisis political comedy! Zonker and his parents defy local law to string up an electricity-saving clothesline in their California neighborhood.

JUMP START: An XFL gag arrives after the XFL has departed. Dang those early deadlines.

SHOE: The anthromorphized birds start making puns about being birds. Jaywalking. To mock a killing bird. If we had babies, this would make us regurgitate into their mouths.

DENNIS THE MENACE: Dennis purports to be 5 years old.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Tito has a "slight rash" on his posterior, which he attributes to carpet burn from doing sit-ups in the basement of his warehouse-district building--which, he mentions offhandedly (cue ominous music), used to be a munitions-storage facility during the Second World War.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Menopausal Elly has a lengthy hot flash. No reported rashes.

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