I’ve decided that my new gimmick will be to run down the News & Observer’s
comics one by one. I’ll do one a post. The N&O
has 2 facing pages of comics. I’ll start with the top comic of the first column of the first page, and go in order. This will be a 33 day project. Well, I should say a 33 post project – since I do get lazy from time to time.
And, yippee! The first comic of the first column of the first page is my favorite comic! (coincidence?)
Can you guess what it is? I rail and rail against all the sickly sweet “family” comics, so it’s probably not one of them. And I complain about comics not being funny, so you would expect me to pick a side-splittingly funny one. You may guess my favorite comic is Dilbert
, but no. . . (Dilbert
’s waaay up on the list of favorites, though – probably 2nd). My favorite comic is none other than the non-side-splittingly funny family comic, Lynn Johnston's For Better or For Worse
Look, I never said I was counterculture, and let's face it FBOFW
is not exactly edgy. Edgy makes the Boondocks funny. Edgy makes Larry David funny. But, is edgy necessary for humor? No it is not. I just happen to love FBOFW
, so sue me.
is, to me at least, is real. I think that's partly because the characters age. So that what started out as a strip about a mom, dad, and their two small children, is now a strip about a mom, dad, their two adult children, and their teenage daughter. The family obviously loves and cares for each other. In a recent story line, the older daughter (Elizabeth) has a sprained ankle, and is getting ready to leave her parents' home for the long journey back to her house. The trip will involve buses, trains, walking . . . The mom (Ellie) drops everything so that she can drive her daughter home. AWWWWWW... but, well, it doesn't make me want to throw up. That's just being a good mom.
Besides, these people aren't always so sweet to each other. They drive each other crazy. The mom has hot flashes, the teenaged daughter dresses inappropriately, the dad is late for an event because he spends too much time with his trains, the grown son is driven banannas by his two young children. Isn't that life? Don't we love and care for (and about) the people who enrich our lives? And don't they sometimes drive us absolutely bonkers? All the other comics I complain about have it one way (too sweet Family Circus
) or the other (the terrible marriages
), but real life is both ways.
Another thing I enjoy about FBOFW
is its variety. The strip jumps around in setting and viewpoint so that from week to week a different character is featured. Ellie has just dropped Elizabeth off at her home. Now, the strip is focusing on April (the teenager) and her teenage angst. The strip presents life as a whole – the workplace, a young family, and older family, an elderly couple, single life, teenage life. Yes, Dilbert
does workplace humor much better. Zits
probably does a better job of capturing the teenage angst of well-off suburbanites. Baby Blues
gets better digs in at the problems of raising children. But as much as I enjoy those strips, they are all one-note affairs. Yeah, Dilbert goes on the odd (usually extremely odd) date, and talks to his mother from time to time, but the strip is workplace humor. Zits
is only about a teenager. Baby Blues
is only about raising young children. Only FBOFW
presents life as it truly is – frustrating, varied, challenging, and, in the end, all completely worth it. Although I've started to pay closer attention to Funky Winkerbean;
it's very similar in this regard.
Ah, it’s so difficult to be mean about something I like. Yeah, sometimes the FBOFW
jokes fall flat, but I just can’t bring myself to rail on them. Here is some meanness, just in case that happens to be why you tune in here:
I’ve mentioned the really hick woman who is a secretary at my office? Yes, I have. She though al Qaeda was a place, and she thought Katie Couric worked in our office (it’s not, and she doesn’t). Good god, she is the dumbest person I have ever met (the secretary, not Katie Couric -- she seems right intelligent, and I've not met her). I called her Doris before, but that’s not her real name, and I’ll call her by her initial. This is from today:
H is on the phone with "Maw Maw." (I am guessing this is her grandmother that dips snuff). Obviously the grandmother is hard of hearing, because H just asked "Did Shirley call you?" about 5 times. Of course, she never said it any louder, just slower. But I think the problem is that Maw Maw is “hard of hearing” not “slow of hearing.”
Anyway, H said, "Maw Maw I'm on long distance, and if you can't hear me, it's not worth talking." I didn't know how Maw Maw was supposed to hear THAT but not hear "Did Shirley call you?"
And all I want to shout is “Shut up shut up shut up!!!” Her hick accent and ignorance drive me up the wall!! Her accent is hideous and her grammar is worse. I write this as someone who, except for a 6 month stay in Rhode Island, has never lived farther north than Washington, D.C. Why does my cubicle have to be so near her desk???
If it takes so much time to post tomorrow (something is reaaaaaally realllly slow), I will have to give up the ghost, or come up with some sort of hobby to do while the pages are loading. Tomorrow's comic? You'll have to wait and see. Unless you happen to get the Raleigh News & Observer
, and then you can just look!