Friday, September 15, 2006

The G and Cake


I frequently point out how Garfield uses pride in his own shortcomings to cope with the world depicted in the strip. Which is not to say he doesn't receive the same punishments or suffer the same miseries as the rest of the characters (or the rest of humanity). He takes comfort in lack of adventure or any basic activity including movement by scoffing at its value, associates negativity with happiness, and boasts about things others would not even speak of, etc. Extending the tendency to its logical conclusion, Garfield often takes masochistic pleasure in misery itself, even when as experienced by himself; this doesn't relieve him from the circumstance of his existence, and other characters deal with the Garfield world in their own ways, but Garfield's defense mechanisms allows him to face it with less agony than Jon and more integrity than Odie.

So lest we think Garfield gets his comeuppance for his gluttony, when the expansion of soft baked goods fracture his skull into a perfect cylinder, think again. Part of the joke is the improbable ability of partially chewed cake to suddenly regain its shape, and several layers to spontaneously stack themselves with such force as to shatter cranial bone from the inside while powerful jaw-muscle pressure is being exerted on it. The other part of the gag, the real biting edge, has to do with Garfield refusing culpability for his gluttony and thievery. No, it is not Garfield's fault that he ate hot cake batter which he stole from the oven: not even bothering to twist logic, but leapfrog it entirely, this is Jon's fault.

5 comments:

Ryan Ferneau said...

I didn't even know enough about cooking to know that chewing would affect the rising. I'm so dumb.

Loren said...

---
Extending the tendency to its logical conclusion, Garfield often takes masochistic pleasure in misery itself, even when as experienced by himself
---
(I don't know how to blockquote in a comment.) Not to nitpick, but -- hell with it, to nitpick, but with apologies -- if he's taking masochistic pleasure in misery itself, that more or less implies the misery is being experienced by him. (Taking pleasure in other's misery isn't masochism; it's schadenfreude.)

Anonymous said...

I never thought chewing raw cake batter would make a munch munch noise.
I associate that more with crunchy things.

Nik said...

Thank you for making me imagine Garfield's skull shattering from the inside -- thanks to a cake suddenly expanding. Once again, you have added depth, sophistication, insanity, and violence to what appears (on the surface) to be a cute little comic strip.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Loren, for the schadenfreude definition. I always wondered what that meant.