Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Cookie, The Thief, His Stripes & the Poster


A good comedy rule of thumb is that passive aggressive behavior is usually funnier than confrontation. Admittedly, Garfield frequently disproves or at least flaunts its disregard for this rule. Today we see it fully embraced, however. At first a normal person would wonder why a man would avoid direct confrontation with his own cat. The stakes are low. The offense of having eaten the last cookie is petty, and probably not even punishable. There is no mystery about the offender: Jon knows perfectly well that Garfield is guilty.

The lengths Jon goes to in forcing Garfield's confession may not seem as excessive as Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2, but relative to the crime, maybe they are. And Garfield reacts with glaring rage, but doesn't apologize. What else could Jon have expected or wanted? And yes, that last poster likely says "REWARD," and Jon is taping it up in his own home, as if anyone were there to see it and collect such a reward besides Garfield or possibly Liz. Well, sometimes our desire for small, meaningless vindication is enough motivation.

Q: It is impossible to tell in the context of Garfield artwork, but has Jon done an artist's rendering of the lost cookie? ... Or had he for some reason taken a photograph of the cookie before its disappearance, in anticipation of just this situation? One hopes for the latter, as it indicates a sad acceptance by Jon of Garfield's ability to shape his life.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why does Garfield look so surprised in Panel 2?

Gabe said...

Well, Jon is supposedly a cartoonist, even though they haven't mentioned it in, say, 23 years.

Loren said...

Is it just me, or is Garfield's face disturbingly distorted in panel 3?

jacey said...

I'm kind of glad, too. Jim Davis almost fell into that Stephen King trap of making yourself a character, but not really, because the name's a little bit different and they have different haircuts, I mean come on they're really different people, and so on.

And I suppose it could be argued that this is a cartoonist drawing comic strips about himself and his cat, but come on. It all started in the same realm as realistic and slowly mutated into... something else.

Anonymous said...

This all begs the question: why would anyone be annoyed? Someone has to have the last cookie, or maybe the point of this strip is that the author thinks the last cookie should never be eaten. Perhaps this particular Garfield strip is being subtly used as to nudge the human race towards the thought that the last cookie should always be exchanged for another, not necessarily of the same type. Yes, thats it.