Saturday, July 22, 2006

Still Life with Bosc Pear

Panel 1: Woah, Jon, settle down, big guy. Yesterday (a few minutes in strip-time) Jon was despairing of the moral bear-trap he'd stepped into. Today he's enraged.

Panel 2: Proof that Garfield actually does have some investment (even if it's only personal stakes) in Jon's love life is all in his facial expression. That's genuine shock, folks... and that's a genuine rubbery cat arm, able to stretch from one inch to the length of a grown man's arm. Would you have understood that Garfy's tapping Jon's shoulders without motion lines?

Panel 3:

Thank. God. Nobody likes Ellen. Not really. I like Ellen as an off-stage joke template device. But I love Liz. Liz is beautiful as a woman gets in the Garfield world, she's mean and sarcastic, but kind to animals. She seems to like Garfield, and she's never entirely cruel to Jon. So that this storyline ended up veering away from an ill-advised, immoral Ellen-and-Jon hookup and into using Ellen as a deus ex Garfield to make Liz jealous of Jon? A sheer lasagna-pan of bliss.

So Liz is on a date with Gene Vincent. Liz tastefully orders the glass of blue water, while her hooknosed date sucks down a classy glass of ... Tang? Well. It's a big nose by Garfield standards.

The deep-focus shock reveal is one of the finest and most dynamic I've seen in the strip. Also it reveals the restaurant's dramatic giant waffle motif. At the same time, it disrupts the Garfield vibe. Which is more important? I figure there's 27 years in which the biggest continuity shocker is the debut of Nermal or Stretch the rubber chicken. Besides, I'm not convinced the events of Amnesia Date Week are going to forever alter the daily thoughts of a cat laying on Jon's kitchen table.

Jon's Horoscope: Day Five
When the dirt hits the fan, the wise run around to the back of the fan and unplug it. Wipe that dirt off your face and fan the flames of love for once! Today's lucky number: 95

The "dirt", eh? The horoscope is obviously advising Jon to yank the plug on his hopes for success with Ellen ("unplug it") but not to abandon the date itself: he can use it as leverage with Liz. It's kind of underhanded, using one woman as bait for another, especially when one is damaged and one thinks you're a weirdo. But who can say they have not lived it? And most of us didn't have an anthropomorphized cat sidekick as a wingman.

Will it be so bad if the strip subtly transforms into a story about Jon as a loser with a girlfriend he has to desperately try to appease? And Garfield has to deal with a woman who sticks needles in his body being around Casa Arbuckle from time to time. Ultimately, I could probably relate to that Garfield just as easily.

At least it'll bring Garfield the strip more in line with the continuity of the blockbuster motion pictures. Now all Jim D. has to do is make Nermal a cross-eyed Siamese.


Murgatroid said...

There is a shocking amount of detail in the third panel. As a matter of fact, I was so distracted by the fact that there were more than three characters on the page at one time that I hardly had time to notice the important stuff going on in the foreground.
Also, don't you just love it when restaurants put up folding table-sized portraits of fruit? Very chic.

catastrophile said...

I've never thought of Liz as cruel to Jon, really . . . the problem is that he makes himself such an idiot whenever she's around that it's impossible to treat him as a, whaddya call it, grown-up. On the last vet visit, it almost seemed like Jon had a shot with her, except he, y'know, made himself such an idiot.

Anyway, still hoping to see Jon get pulped by Smarmy.

Nickmaniac said...

It's funny, I've been thinking for a long time now that a) Jim Davis ought to return to the continuous storylines that made Garfield so much more interesting in the 80s; and that b) he should shake things up a bit by finally letting Jon have a girlfriend. Looks like it just might happen!! Love your blog, by the way. Some people might think you've got nothing else to do, but I for one appreciate all your time, effort and in-depth analyses!! Will keep checking in!

Zach C. said...

I wonder if Jon will "unplug" his hopes for Liz and try settling for Ellen even though her head is currently broken. But if things really do go somewhere...

Nah, I still think he'll end the night with Ellen in hand.

I wonder who he'll wake up to in the morning? Besides Garfield, I mean.

Anonymous said...

Will they approach her? Does anyone else think it is weird that a man has his cat looking bored at a date??? I wonder how Liz met her dreamy guy-is he a vet? Is this a date or relationship? She seems quite pleased with the dude from Army of Darkness. Awwww, Garfield really had hopes for Jon hookin up with Dr. Liz after all!

Anonymous said...

Chris, you have cost me the last hour of my workday.

I love you. This is genius. Seriously.


Mark Jake said...

I noticed the portrait of the fruit... and there's a banana. Wasn't Jon's lucky number the day before supposed to BE "banana"? Not as abstract as we were led to believe!

Is Ellen even going to come back from "powdering her nose" (she remembers THAT old line well enough!)