Tag Archives: The Family Circus

The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 19

Because we’ve shamefully, woefully neglected our look at what’s funny in the funny pages for too long. So here goes!

“Classic Peanuts” finds Lucy railing at Charlie Brown and telling him to put up his dukes and fight. Chuck raises one hand and hits Lucy in the nose. He feels so guilty he goes to his psychiatrist – Lucy, of course – and when she punches him, he happily announces, “I don’t feel guilty any more. Psychiatry has cured me!” There are so many levels to this comic – criticism of psychiatry, the male/female dynamic, etc – but I think my favorite element is the simple little “BOP!” when Charlie Brown’s fist comes into contact with Lucy’s nose. That and the little stars that shoot out.

“Baby Blues” made me laugh. One of the kids reports to mom that Wren, the baby, is crying. The mom asks if she seems hungry or needs a diaper change or other issues. When those are discounted, mom asks the kid to go to the baby and “give her some encouraging words.” Those words? “Man up, Wren.”

“Garfield” offers proof the strip isn’t reprinting old strips like “Classic Peanuts.” Garfield and Odie are sitting at a table, taking turns buzzing and vibrating. “Stop texting each other,” Jon orders.

Finally, in “The Family Circus,” the kids are watching TV and mom is putting food on the table. “Yeah, okay, Mommy. We’ll be there as soon as we finish watching this commercial.” And the joke is?





The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 18

Here’s our regular look at what’s funny (or not) in the funny pages. Because Cathy left us wanting more chocolate and redundant lists of things.

“Classic Peanuts” shows Lucy walking past Linus, in I’ve-got-my-blanket-and-I’ve-tuned-out-the-world mode, and hearing music. She whips the blanket away and finds … Linus listening to what’s probably a transistor radio. We remember those, right? Okay, just tell your kids it’s a Walkman. What? Okay, tell your kids it’s a Discman. What? Okay …

“Pickles” made me laugh. Grampa’s head yields a lifetime of bumps and scars and stories, like when he fell down a flight of stairs, fell out of a shopping cart and got hit in the head with a monkey wrench. “That might explain a lot about Grampa,” the kid says to the dog.

My standards must be low today. “The Wizard of Id” made me laugh. The prisoner asks for “fresh” food and the guard brings him a cooked organic chicken. The chicken came from the farm of a friend, where “it spent its days running around in the sunshine.” The prison sobs. “I just realized I’m jealous of a dead chicken,” the prisoner says from his dank cell.

Often, “Lio” is weird. Sometimes funny too. Today an old man gets a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream. Excited, he runs outside, only to see Lio, remote control in hand, setting off a nuclear explosion with resulting mushroom cloud. Hmmm.

Great “Speed Bump” today. On stage is a rock band, thrashing and shouting lyrics, with an excited crowd watching. At the back of the crowd, an older man and woman. “I hear the morning church service is less contemporary,” he says.

And finally, “The Family Circus” gives us another reason to love the Keane kids. Mom is looking exhausted as she ushers the kids out of the room. “How come when Mommy gets tired WE have to go to bed!” one of the boys complains. “It’s not even that dark outside yet,” Dolly (that’s the girl, right?) says. You know what would make this panel 100 percent better? Eliminating that second line of dialogue. The first was punchline enough.





The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 17

Here’s our regular look at what’s funny in today’s newspaper comics pages. Because nobody wants to hear Charlie Brown scream “AAUGH!” again.

“Classic Peanuts” has one for anyone old enough to remember the kind of skates you strapped onto the bottom of your street shoes. Sally Brown straps them on and then watches as Linus, Snoopy and others whiz by on skateboards. “I feel old-fashioned!” Sally says. I think mild chagrin music would be appropriate here.

Wait, it’s Father’s Day! “Zits” starts things off with the teen son emphasizing that he bought a present for his dad with his own money. “It’s not the gift, it’s the context that counts,” he says.

Ants Go Marching One By One in “Garfield,” and they’re all carrying birthday candles. Garfield thinks he’s hallucinating. Good stuff.

From the “tell me about it” department: In “The Wizard of Id,” a serf kid tells his teacher that his dad helped with his homework. The kid goes home and tells Dad that the teacher said he should be in a remedial class.

Funny “Curtis.” Curtis brings his dad a pizza for Father’s Day and slowly works his way up to asking, “Dad, is mom the only woman you’ve ever loved?” “Think I’ll finish my slice in my bedroom,” Dad says from outside the final panel. It’s the slow build that makes this work.

In “Blondie,” the family gives Dagwood a black velvet painting of Giada DeLaurentiis, Emeril Lagasse and other chefs playing poker. Brought to you by Food Network.

“Beetle Bailey’s” life flashes before his eyes, and this time it’s not because Sarge is beating him to a bloody pulp. I always appreciate the “Beetle” strips that show Beetle in that cool cat college hat he used to wear.

Okay, “Dennis the Menace” made me laugh. Dad tells Dennis that the best Father’s Day present he can give is for Dennis to obey his mother, keep his room clean, mind his manners and stay out of Mr. Wilson’s hair. “Sorry Dad, you’re too late,” Dennis says. “I already got you a tie.”

You just know we couldn’t wrap up Father’s Day without a visit to “The Family Circus.” The kids and pets give Dad ties and other traditional gifts and ask which he liked best. Dad pictures hugging all the kids. But what about the pets, Barfy and Sam and Kittycat? WHAT ABOUT THEM?


The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 16

Hey kids! It’s our recurring look at what’s funny (or not) in today’s funny pages. Cause “Tarzan and the Fire Gods” certainly wasn’t the high point of the newspaper comic reading experience, was it?

“Classic Peanuts” looks, at first glance, to be some kind of cruel joke about the visually impaired. Lucy walks around wearing dark, dark sunglasses, bumping into a fence, tree and finally Charlie Brown on the pitcher’s mound. “Take off those stupid glasses!” He yells. “But I just had an eye exam and my pupils are still dilated!” Lucy shoots back. Not really.

“Zits” has another of those odd ones in which the online activities of teen Jeremy are seemingly manifested in real life. The phrase “mind-groping” is used. This one is a PG-13 strip.

In “Baby Blues,” Dad has to take the kids to the pool. “Why can’t we just get clean in the bathtub like other kids?” Zoe asks. The whole thing makes me wonder: Who is misunderstanding the nature of public pools, Zoe or Dad?

Okay, “Pickles” made me laugh. The old guys are standing in the yard, looking at a tree. “It doesn’t look like I’m going to get any apples off this tree again this year.” They talk about how five years have passed without apples and how “the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.” The frost might have killed early blossoms. Also: “Plus, we think it might be a plum tree.” Good stuff.

In “The Wizard of Id,” the Wizard’s wife is trimming a tree that’s saying things like “Ouch.” It’s a tree with a face! It talks! Like those trees in “The Wizard of Oz!” Is there a vegetable-rights equivalent of PETA?

“Speed Bump” shows two eight balls talking. “Magic? No, I prefer the term ‘consultant,'” one says.

“Curtis” is excited about the new crop of summer movies and his Dad seems to be too. Then Dad wanders off to bed. “I didn’t catch on to the sarcasm until it was too late,” Curtis says.

And finally, “The Family Circus” settles in to watch TV. But everybody is talking, talking, talking. “Turn up the volume, Daddy — there’s too much talkin’ going on ’round here.” Out of the mouths of couch potatoes!



The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 14

Our regular look at newspaper comic strips. Because surely modern-day comics can top “Superman” building a guy a house!

“Classic Peanuts” shows Snoopy rooting for his “bird tenants” to learn to fly. Once again, Snoopy is surrounded by little blue birds. I just have no memory of any birds, besides little yellow Woodstock, in the strip.

In “Baby Blues,” the kids are jumping on the furniture and calling it “parkour.” Until mom puts a stop to it, that is. Boo, mom!

“The Wizard of Id” finds the king talking about debt. Another political commentary? No. After talking about the kind of debt we can never repay, the king places a wreath on a war memorial. Nice.

After Memorial Day tributes to vets in “Doonesbury” and “Mallard Fillmore,” the military-set “Beetle Bailey” is about … golf.

“Crankshaft” is about that other Memorial Day tradition, the cookout. “It looks like Crankshaft is about to light his grill! Quick! Into the cookout shelter!”

And … OMG you guys! “The Family Circus” brings us another “Billy taking a circuitous path someplace that’s shown to readers as a dotted line!” His mom tells him to hurry to put some letters into the mailbox.

So he hurries out of the room …….. goes through the kitchen and stops at the sink …. hops over his sister on the couch ….. circles around the dinner table …. wanders through the family room …… hops into the baby’s playpen and then hops out ….. goes out the front door …… circles through the front yard a few times … before he gets to the mailbox and calls back to mom, “Too late, mommy! We just missed him!”

I have one comment for the mother: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

For what it’s worth.

The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 13

Our regular look at what’s funny in the funny pages. Because surely “Rex Morgan, MD,” didn’t take the prescription for fun with him when he left?

In “Zits,” the mom tells the teenage son to bring all the dirty dishes from his room and he comes back with a towering stack. “Zits,” the first documentary comic strip.

In “Baby Blues,” the parents watch while their daughter fails at soccer. A nation of Saturday-morning soccer parents winces.

“Speed Bump” shows us two Grim Reapers talking about another, who is wearing one of those annoying “Life is Good” T-shirts over his robe. “I worry about that guy,” one of the reapers says. Amen, brother!

“Dilbert” and “Blondie and Dagwood” address those people at work who drive us crazy: The sociopaths in disguise and the people who don’t give us recognition for our good work. Sometimes they’re one in the same. Sometimes they’re us. (Is that too meta?)

In “The Family Circus,” Mom drills one of the little tykes to say “May I watch TV please, Mommy” panel after panel, then says, “No. You need to get your homework done.” And people wonder why grown children don’t visit their parents in retirement homes.


The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 11

It’s time for our weekly look at newspaper comics. Because surely the funnies didn’t stop being funny when ads for Camels ran alongside “Blondie and Dagwood.” Hey kids! Cigarettes!

“Classic Peanuts” finds Charlie Brown walking along after the little red-haired girl. Chuck is walking seven blocks behind her, fantasizing about what it would be like to walk along with her, go into her house with her, talk with her. Oh, Chuck. You’re cute and pathetic even when you’re being a stalker!

In “Baby Blues,” each parent wakes up with alarm in the middle of the night, accusing the other of scratching with nails. Turns out its Hammie down under the covers, hiding out from a monster in his room. “How did he get past your deadly toenails?” Dad asks. Too true!

Furthering understanding between couples everywhere, “The Wizard of Id” features the wizard’s wife complaining that he never listens to her. The wizard zaps her, freezing her in place, and goes out drinking with friends. He returns and zaps her back into motion again, where she continues her rant. “I love being a wizard,” he thinks. I think: This strip is going to be clipped and put on the billboards of couples counselors everywhere.

“Lio” and “Speed Bump” feature good sight gags. It’s book report day at school and Lio gets thrown out of class for choosing “The Exorcist” over “Winnie the Pooh” or “Goodnight Moon.” And in “Speed Bump,” it’s a road kill truck, rather than an ice cream truck, that draws all the vultures along a stretch of desert road.

“Hi and Lois” shows Lois beating her rugs with a broom because things “get so dusty over the winter.” Neighbor Thirsty’s wife borrows the broom and heads toward Thirsty, a murderous gleam in her eye. Too late for couples counseling here — call 911!

“Hagar the Horrible” tells us doctors play golf.

In “The Family Circus,” one of the kids takes Barfy for a walk. We’ve talked about this before, I’m sure, but Barfy? Really? Did they name the cat Spray Urine on Furniture?