Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Happy Holidays!

Unless something changes, no more crappy comics until 2005. I'm going on a 10 day trip to the Caribbean!! But first -- visiting in laws, finishing up holiday stuff around here, getting work lined up for the long vacation, etc. etc. etc. So a reprieve for all of us -- no more over-analyzing the comics until the new year. Suggestions on comics that need analyzing are always welcome.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Funk Of Forty Thousand Years

Monk: "Did you tell Lucky Eddie you'd fire him if he didn't start to pull his own weight?" Hagar: "Yes. Why do you ask?"

See, Eddie is such a dumbass that he takes Hagar's commands literally, and thus, is LITERALLY PULLING HIS OWN WEIGHT! Ha ha ha! Or whatever.

The monk must have a really good insight into Eddie's behavior, or, more likely, human behavior in general (from all his meditation and study). I mean, what lead him to believe Eddie was trying to pull his own weight? It looks to me like Eddie is trying to pull his arm off. So, if I were the monk (which I'm not), I'd ask Hagar, "Did you tell Lucky Eddie the next Viking task would cost him an arm and a leg?" The "humor" would still work the same. See, Eddie is such a dumbass that he takes Hagar's commands literally, and thus, is LITERALLY PULLING OFF HIS ARM! Again: Whatever.

There are all those motion lines around Eddie, so I am guessing that the monk has better insight into the human condition (and that's likely). Or, it would really help if this strip were animated. If you could actually SEE Eddie trying to "pull his own weight," you'd be more likely to agree that he isn't trying to pull off his own arm.

But, really he reminds me of those zombies in the Thriller video. They all sort of had that pulling off their arm thing going for them:

And Though You Fight To Stay Alive
Your Body Isn't Ready
For No Mere Mortal Can Resist
The Dumbass that is Eddie
BWAH HA HA HA HA!

Monday, December 13, 2004

Oh! So, Hagar *is* Horrible! I get it!

"Huge waterfall ahead, Hagar! What should we do?!" Hagar: "I suggest we crack open that bottle of rum we've been saving."

Normally I would explain to you why this is supposed to be funny, but not today. Why? Because it's not funny. It never is, but I'm getting sick and tired of having to explain lame-o humor. Instead a couple of observations:

1) Hagar is not a very good Viking warrior. Last we saw him in action, he was getting ready to ram a castle door under very bad circumstances. Now, he's leading his crew over a waterfall, and all he can do is "suggest" they drink rum?? SUGGEST??? What kind of hard-ass Viking warrior suggests anything to his crew??? A Viking warrior ORDERS his crew around; he doesn't make helpful "suggestions" in times of dire need. He is a HORRIBLE Viking ... oh, wait ... I get it! Does "Hagar the Horrible" refer to his skilz as a Viking? I always assumed that Hagar the Horrible meant that he was a mean, bearded, hard-ass, drunken, uncouth, violent lout. Which he is, but he's also a horrible Viking. So, it has a double meaning! Ooooh. Did the rest of you know this all along? Am I that slow?

2) Why is the water here black? What the hell? Is is coated in oil? Has there been an oil spill? Are they off the coast of Alaska?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

From Zook to Atkins: Dieting Through the Ages

Helga says, "Congratulations Hagar! You've been on a starvation diet for a whole week! Now the best part - Dr. Zook said you can have a treat." Hagar asks, "What kind of treat?" And Helga replies, "A delicious grape!"

Ha ha ha ha! A grape! Get it? A grape is so little that to think of it as a treat -- that's funny! Because you would have expected Helga to say that Hagar's treat was a sandwich or a cookie, but a grape! One lousy grape -- ha ha ha!

Now this strip has "humor" on two levels. The first is what I just mentioned: The unexpected labeling of a single grape as a "treat." As I've said already in this post -- ha ha ha! But, the second level of humor is that he is a Viking warrior and he's on a diet. Just like you or I could be (well, not me, I have never been on a diet, bleagh!). But you know, we can all relate to what Hagar's going through. And, let's face it, the fact that we can relate to a Viking warrior? Say it with me --- "Ha ha ha!"

Plus, I like how Helga calls it "the best part." Like, other parts of the starvation diet have been pretty good, but this! "Well, the not eating for the past 7 days, I know you've thought that's been good, but wait til you hear what else you get! A grape!" Ha ha ha!

Now, I'm not sure how historically accurate this is. It's entirely possible that when Vikings needed to lose a few pounds that their doctors put them on a starvation diet, then let them have one grape at the end of it. So, this strip also teaches us a little something about the evolution of the study of nutrition and dieting. Over the past 10+ centuries, we've learned that starvation diets are NOT a good way to lose weight. While you may drop a lot of pounds quickly, your body goes into "starvation" mode, and stores fat while using muscle for energy. So, you lose muscle, not fat. Plus, when the diet is over your metabolism is out of wack, and you gain it all back rather quickly. Although it's entirely possible that Hagar did want to drop some pounds really quickly. Maybe he had a high school reunion to attend. Wouldn't that be funny! A Viking warrior at a high school reunion! Ha ha ha!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Because I Don't Have a Funny Pages Marriage

No, my marriage doesn't suck. Unlike some of the more irritating comic couples, my husband and I actually get along, and since today is our anniversary, that means celebrating! And that means no time to comment on the crappy stuff in the funny pages. Yay!

More Hagar tomorrow . . .

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

WWHTHD?

Now let's turn our attention to Hagar the Horrible. We've already noted that Hagar and his wife, Helga, have a bad marriage. And, they apparently sleep in separate beds. The other main character in Hagar is Hagar's friend and fellow viking, Lucky Eddie. Eddie's dumb and pretty naive. Every comedy has to have this guy -- Andy Griffith had Barney Fife; The Hooneymooners had Ed Norton; Mary Tyler Moore had Ted Baxter. Oh my, listen to me. The most recent of those shows (MTM) ended in 1977! Yeah, check me out with my hip, up-to-date references! (FYI, I was FOUR when MTM went off the air, so I'm not quite sure what's up with my old-time TV references. Remember when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan? Yeah, me neither, but I DO remember when Sinead O'Connor tore up that picture of the Pope on SNL. That was ceeeee-razy!

Woah! Way off topic! Point: these sort of dopey guys are a comedy staple. Friends had Joey. See, it still happens. So, anyway, Lucky Eddie is the doofus guy here. I find it funny that some of the dopiest -- Norton, Barney Fife, Lucky Eddie, Beetle Bailey -- all sort of look alike. Well, I guess it's not "funny" in the sense that it would make you laugh. I mean "funny" like interesting. And not "interesting" like you will remember that observation and pass it along to friends. Hmmm. I guess it's not funny or interesting.


See here Hagar and Eddie and other unnamed Vikings (they are extras in the Hagar cast, and so, not important) are storming a castle and Eddie asks if it's too soon to call in reinforcements. Hagar is looking at him like "Duh -- we're getting ready to ram in the door!" This is sort of like Grady Little asking "Is it too soon to take out Pedro?" AFTER the Yankees tied the score. Oh look! Another dated reference! OK, it's like Bud Selig saying "Is it too soon to have stricter steroid rules?"

For both Eddie and Bud, the most obvious answer is, "Is it too soon? More like, is it too late?? You should have [called in the reinforcements/made stricter steroid rules] before you got yourself into such a mess in the first place!" But, the correct answer is probably, "No, it's never too soon. You're in a mess now, but [calling in reinforcments/making stricter rules] will probably help you get out of this situation."

Obviously, Hagar is a big mean fighter guy and didn't need no stinkin' wimpy reinforcements. It's kind of gotten him in a jam for now, but he'll probably get out of it. He always does. Because he knows what he's doing. I think it may be a good idea to imagine what Hagar would do in any situation, and do the same. I know you probably aren't a Viking warrior. I'm not, but the mentality sure helps out sometimes.


Monday, December 06, 2004

Ah, Sweet Youth ... I Mean, "Troll"

Irwin says, "Woops! Ice ahead!" Then after he slips and slides on the ice, he gets a lecture from Broom Hilda, "You could've been maimed, mutilated, or decapitated!" And he says, "Yeah! Hold this. I'm going back!"

OK, the "joke" here is that, like any young creature, Irwin enjoys danger and "living on the edge." As if living with a witch and a buzzard weren't edgy enough, but whatever. See, here again, the joke is funny because we are supposed to think "Hey, they are just like us! Irwin reminds me of a normal teenager." But, he's not. He's a troll. And Broom Hilda is a witch. And the joke isn't any funnier because of it. Lame humor is lame humor, and it doesn't matter if it's a witch or a viking warrior or a big dog providing the humor. Take any Family Circus. Replace the mom with Broom Hilda. Replace the dad with Gaylord (the buzzard). Replace any of the kids with Irwin (the troll). Funnier? No. Wierder? Yes.

And "decapitated?" What? How? How is his head going to be cut off in this escapade? Broken arms, legs, sprains, bruises, yes, yes, yes, yes. A chopped off head? Whuh? What is Broom Hilda's deal with decapitation? First she is going to be executed by guillotine (which I guess didn't happen, seeing as how she is still around to annoy me), now she threatens Irwin with decapitation by skateboard? As usual, I DON'T GET IT.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Update: Dolly Still a Bitch. Family Circus Still Not Funny.

"Of course it is. You ate a part of yours."

And, you know, it's not what she says that's so bitchy, but how she says it. Look how mad she looks! Why is she so mad? He's not asking for an exchange. Besides, it looks like hers may be bigger (even before Jeffy's bite). Anyway, it's very close. She just seems to be blowing this all out of proportion.

Why does she have to be such a bitch about EVERY DAMN THING? As John S. points out, the one time I thought she wasn't being a bitch, the strip can be interpreted in such a way as to increase Dolly's bitchitude.

Besides, where's the humor here? Which comment is supposed to make us laugh or chuckle? Is it funny when Jeffy says Dolly's cookie is larger? Or are we supposed to laugh when Dolly gets so mad at him and points out the bite Jeffy has already taken? Are both supposed to be funny? Cute? What?

OK, I just wanted to revisit Family Circus. Just to see if things had changed in the few weeks I devoted my attention to other strips. It hasn't. Dolly's still a bitch. Kids still say the darndest things. Family Circus still isn't funny. Arafat is still dead. Osama is still at large. Iraq is still dangerous. The Eagles are still in first place. Lenny Briscoe is still the best Law & Order cop to date. Seinfeld's still funny. Trump's hair is still ridiculous. I guess I shouldn't expect F.C. to change in a few short weeks.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

And the Oscar for Lamest Cartoon Goes to ...

Last post for a few days, going away on business. Yes, they have the Internet where I'm going (D.C.), but no time for me to post.

Oh, no. It looks like we may have a Broom Hilda "theme week" on our hands, this week's theme being Broom Hilda's beauty routine. Yesterday with the teeth brushing, today with the eyebrow plucking. I think the "joke" is supposed to be that she's an ugly witch, so why bother with all this beauty routine?

Indeed, I'd imagine that the beauty routine of a witch would be rather limited. I know there are lots of real-life witches out there, and I'm sure some are quite lovely. But, at least in the stereotypical view, witches have big noses, ugly faces, and ratty hair. Big noses, ugly faces, and ratty hair are prerequisites to being a cartoon witch. Also, they help actresses win Oscars. Ask Nicole Kidman. Or Charlize Theron. Or Renee Zellwegger.