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This One Is Not a Sweetheart

February 2-8, 2004

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 2/11/2004

SIGNS OF THE APOCALYPSE DEP'T.: Cathy moves closer to her impending, heavily advance-publicized Valentine's Day engagement this week, as she heaves Irving's abandoned gym bag in the air and sees a ring box pop out. The sight is so arresting, she pivots her head 90 degrees to stare at it--thereby displaying her profile. Forget the matrimonial PR stunt--this is the real shocker: Cathy's got a nose. What body part is Cathy Guisewite going to show us next? And will she draw it with one line or three?

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD OREO WATCH DEP'T.: Tuesday, 14 Across: "Black-and-white cookie."

SALLY FORTH OREO WATCH DEP'T.: Monday, Hilary suggests playing checkers with Oreos, so "we can eat the pieces we jump." Is Hilary gonna balloon up like her real-world doppelganger Tina Yothers? Maybe the youngster is angling for Cathy's job. Or Willy's.

TOKEN WATCH DEP'T.: In honor of Black History Month, Franklin shows up in Classic Peanuts and an Afro-American child (Morrie?) helps Jeffy build a snowman in Family Circus.

FAMILY CIRCUS: Monday, Billy yearns for Daddy to run for President, so he can use the White House swimming pool, bowling alley, and movie theater. Actually, Nixon closed the pool. But you can play with the newly installed antiaircraft battery. Tuesday, Uncle Tom comes to visit. Wednesday, Dolly declares that "PJ has happy all over his face." In Japan, they have a word for that.

Sunday, Billy leaves his dotted line all around a development called "Award Winning Sherlock Homes," where a deerstalkered, cocaine-addled detective peers at it through a magnifying glass. "And I can even identify his school!" the detective declares. "It's elementary, my dear Watson." See, the gag takes forever to get where it's going and leaves an obvious trail all the way there--just like Billy himself. This is actually very sophisticated. Pointless, but sophisticated.

CURTIS: Tuesday, Curtis offers a racialist anthropological argument that Black History Month should happen in the hot season.

Sunday, Ray Billingsley goofs on Black History Month with the story of one "Romus Blues," whose harmonica got recorded on Edison's phonograph, allowing him to become "the first black musician ever to be cheated out of his royalties."

JUMP START: Robb Armstrong goofs on Black History Month by having Jojo misunderstand the scheduled "special readings based on the contributions of your people." "It's 'kindergarteners' history month'!" he exults.

YOU CAN WITH BEAKMAN & JAX: "Dear Beakman: What makes your ears have a ringing sound after you listen to headphones?" asks Aleane Kleckley of Cleveland, Ohio. Ah, that would be the motherfucking rock and motherfucking roll, motherfucker. Like in your motherfucking Hall of Fame, Miss Cleveland, Ohio. Only hopefully not so much the James fucking Taylor. James Taylor, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. We've seen fire, we've seen rain, and we smell bullshit.

THE COLL-EGG-TIBLE EGGERS FAMILY: The winning "Real-egg-state Agent," drawn by an 8-year-old, features large, round breasts.

APARTMENT 3-G: Monday, Lu Ann turns the fire extinguisher on Sara's crazed, gun-wielding, stalker ex-husband. "My eyes! My eyes!" he howls Tuesday, dropping his weapon. Wednesday, Luann fishes the revolver out of the suds and levels it at the G's tormentor. "Maybe I want the gun to go off," she muses Thursday. Friday, a cop arrives on the scene and commandeers the gun. Sunday, Alex Kotzky wraps up the episode with a multi-layered tour de force of dialogue, as elderly neighbor Mrs. Adams simultaneously gives police her version of events--"I was in the hallway and I heard that man screaming"--and tries to set them up with the G's: "Nice girls . . . They don't have loud parties . . . Are you married, officer?" "I promise I'll never complain about you again, Mrs. Adams," Margo tells her. "Ask out one of her roommates . . . " Mrs. Adams whispers to the policeman. "This one is not a sweetheart."

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Wilson & Nolan interrupt Elwood's plunge into the kidnapper's den so June can deliver a public-service announcement about the history of the Amber Alert system. "[T]he acronym stands for 'America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response'!" she explains Wednesday. Friday, we get back to the plot; by Sunday, Elwood is down in the basement, talking to the little girl through a padlocked door.

MARY WORTH: Beverly "Bev" Hills continues telling Dawn the tale of how Forrest "Woody" Hills went off his nut and beat up the help. Hence, she explains, she needs to take her brother back home to the Hills Mills Estate. Dawn presses the back of her hand to her forehead in dismay.

JUMBLE: GET THE "HANG" OF IT, "PONY" UP, A "GRAND" JURY, A "GREEN" THUMB, "CREW" CUTS, "DAMPEN" THEM. Six for six on the quotes! Nice "work," Arnold & Argirion.

LUANN: Clay Aiken sends Puddles a dog leash so he won't run out into traffic anymore. Luann interprets this as a gesture of undying love from the pop superstar. Everyone makes fun of Luann for being unrealistic. Cameo by a pop superstar: realistic. Successful relationship for Luann: unrealistic. Why didn't Greg Evans explain the new terms of unreality to his heroine? Is Luann on the way to becoming Kudzu, a spectator in her own strip? Time for more Brad!

BEETLE BAILEY VS. OTTO THE ARMY DOG: "Let's hear it for Otto! RAH! RAH!" the dog offers Friday. "Let's hear it for Otto! RAH! RAH! RAH!" Nobody joins the cheers. Beetle wins the week, 3 to 2.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: April and friends psychoanalyze bully Jeremy Jones behind his back. He's just mean because he has family problems, they conclude. Jesus, Canadians really are pussies. For worse!

ZIGGY: Saturday, Ziggy lets his infatuation with postmodernism crimp his core business. "It's hard to prioritize when you live in a single-panel cartoon," he declares. Where's the relatable in that one, little man? How you gonna sell that on a mug? What, the Lockhorns will buy it?

MARK TRAIL: As Rusty and Joey hide under a rock to evade the backwoods terrorists, Joey gets an incoming cell call from his mother: "RRRING." "Did you hear that?" one villain asks. "Yeah, it sounded like a phone ringing!" the other exclaims. No shit--none of that DEEDLE DEEDLE stuff or "In Da Club" for Joey. By not knowing what a cell phone sounds like, Jack Elrod has hooked his young hero up with the most up-to-date ring tone in the business. Uncool is the new cool!

Sunday's featured animal: the steadfastly nonmigratory "poor-will." Not to be confused with the "whippoorwill." Elrod is not into the whips. Nosir.

THE PHANTOM: The Mesoamerican mummy claims another victim.

Sunday, the Phantom tells the prisoners to stay put, then drags the unconscious guard away. "Phantom is silent as a jungle cat--Old Jungle Saying"

DENNIS THE MENACE: Mr. Wilson strums his ukulele and regales Dennis with tales of his own slingshot-wielding youth.

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT BY JOHN CULLEN MURPHY: Stateless terrorist mastermind Horridus "has discovered a taste for the succulent snails of Gaul."

OPUS: Once again, a tropical fantasy sequence starts with Opus romancing a slender hottie and then turns sour. In week one, the hottie turned out to be a smelly penguin. This time she turns out to be Michael Jackson. We can hardly wait to see this joke again in another three months.

MARMADUKE: Wednesday, Marmaduke wants Dottie to put peanut butter and jelly on his bone.

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What Am I? A Freakin' TV Guide?! (2/18/2004)
February 9-15, 2004

Haiku for the Holidays (12/31/2003)
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Hey, It's a Start. (12/24/2003)
Dec. 15-21, 2003

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