Thursday, August 31, 2006

License to SNATCH


Panel One: A classic Garfield last-panel-reveal joke. These usually sustain our interest because of a character's inexplicable, strange behavior, or an out of place, unfamiliar element. Today we join the action midstream, and all the reader wonders is "what is Garfield taunting Jon about this time?"

Once we find out the answer and reevaluate the story, a new question is provoked: did Jon come home from the DMV and ask his cat's opinion of his new photo? Well of course he did.

Panel Two: Jon's arc through these three panels is not the simple embarrassment of a bad driver's license photo, but the dual-motivated surprise and hurt of ego deflation and betrayal by a confidant. Jon obviously thought the picture was either flattering, requested damage-assessment, or had handed over the card for unrelated inspection, and reacts as if not expecting this jarring outburst from Garfield. As Tweetie once said, "he don't know me very well, do he?"

Panel Three: Garfield's ironic appreciation of the photo because it embarrasses Jon has further weight than simple insult, because Garfield makes no effort to improve his personal appearance. Though the cat is outrageously vain, the quality is baseless pride, entirely delusional and narcissistic. When Garfield teases Jon about the photo, the taunt carries the implicit message that since he could not be wounded in the same way, Garfield is laughing at. Not with.

Also Garfield seems to inflate in size for no reason.

7 comments:

Nik said...

Jon obviously has issues. He relies on his cat for self-esteem, and is perpetually abused and belittled. Now that he's dating Liz, will she bolster him enough so that he finally rids himself of the demon in the orange fur suit? Or will she end up siding with Garfield and belittle Jon too?

The most irritating aspect of the strip is that will take approximately six years to answer these questions.

Allen said...

Actually, "He don't know me very well, do he?" was spoken by Bugs Bunny, not Tweety. I'm almost as ashamed of knowing this as I am of my drivers license photo.

Nik said...

Allen: I believe Bugs Bunny AND Tweety Bird have spoken that particular line before.

Anonymous said...

I think panel three is a zoom-in, not a expanded 'field.

Look at the table.

Chris Stangl said...

Allen: You're right. But: we're both right. I just think it's funnier in Tweety Pie's voice. Luckily, I keep my feathers numbered for just such an emergency.

Annonymo: Yeah. I guess sometimes I'm just "kidding".

Anonymous said...

I love Garfield for his depreciating sense of humor. The thing is it is frustrating. None of hte comics move very fast. And, if your like me, and Sunday is the only time you get a paper, you really get lost! I didn't know Jon and Liz were dating till yesterday!

Chris Stangl said...

Luckily for Sunday-only subscribers, Garfield is available for free on the internet every day. Also available: amazing, insightful commentary, made possible with support from readers like you.