Sunday, October 15, 2006

Video-Watching Dog


Title Panel: In the spirit of radical, twisted Garfield self-referentiality, investigate the obnoxious/ funny Bean Me! non-game on the official website. Yours truly chugs enough coffee every day to kill a tabby several times over, and few graphical representations of the queasy ecstasy of caffeine jitters have achieved the subjective accuracy as Garfield.

Since You Asked: A lot of readers left comments or e-mailed, specifically asking for either explanation of the joke or... well, mostly people are just baffled by the joke. Not to boast (as I regularly misread or can't figure out Garfield gags), but I thought it was pretty clear, though that is bolstered by familiarity with Garfield gag techniques. It's a patented Inexplicable Behavior Explained by Last Panel Reveal strip.

The Plot: Jon and Garfield look increasingly anxious. Eventually their frenzy peaks, and they run screaming from the room. Odie sleeps calmly through the outburst, and in the end, reveals the TV remote control, secreted under his body. It seems Jon and Garfield were driven to the brink of madness because they could not find the remote. With his newfound power to choose stations, Odie selects a program about a dog waving at the camera.

The question of when a mini-TV was put on The Table remains unanswered.

Man and His Machines: Odie dupes his intellectual superiors by striking at their cultural Achilles heel. The readership may find it fair or unfair, but television in Garfield is always depicted as idiotic and intellectually corrupting. Today, being deprived of this commodity of idiocy causes panic and eventual degeneration into helpless, preverbal animalistic frenzy. There are any number of icons of sustenance Odie could withhold from the Garfield cast, to cause such a meltdown. Garfield without coffee, Pooky or lasagna or Jon with a locked sock drawer might react the same way, but it is telling that the stupidest character achieves power over the others by mastery over their stupidest addiction.

So pervasive is Odie's conquest that he summons programs that do not seem to otherwise exist, and he has made Jon and Garfield forget that the main, full-size television is still available for use in the living room, and probably uses an entirely different remote control.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had thought, for some reason, that they were freaking out because Odie was lying down, apparently asleep, which is out of character, with the apparent intent of controlling the remote for once in his life. Your explanation makes more sense, thgough
-The G-Man

Anonymous said...

I also assumed that they were freaking out because of Odie's uncharacteristic calmness and lack of idiotic enthusiasm. But, in addition, I surmised that their anxiety was also caused by caffeine, based on the suggestion in the first frame that a 'crazy-jiggling-head' means 'caffeine overdose', as opposed to 'looking for something'. But yes, the remote trick makes more sense.
-JD

Anonymous said...

I agree. The title frame ruins the strip. The blurry head is established there as being jittery nervousness brought on by caffeine. In comics, iconography is everything and once that visual joke is established, you immediately make the connection when you see it again.

NightRaven said...

It still doesn't make any sense, the next to last panel shows two "people" running AWAY from "something" in horror. What are they running from? If they can't turn on the TV, there's nothing to get away from in the first place.
And, as you mention, they never watch TV there anyway. It seems more like they want to change the channel, but if Odie is watching something so horrible they can't even show it in the strip, why is he pretending to be asleep (thus being unable to watch) ?

Jason said...

What I like about this one is how Jon and Garfield's actions mirror each other. As much as the strip in general attempts to show their differences, what THIS strip shows is that, beneath it all, they're both simple creatures with the same simple drives.

luke said...

Nightraven, they're not running away from anything, they're just running in an aimless panic. It would have been way less confusing if there was no TV in the last panel and it just showed Odie with the remote.

What I'm wondering is how Garfield did not run smack into that TV, as it's about 4 inches in front of him.

Jordan said...

yeah exactly, at first i thought they were shaking cause they drank too much coffee...


Jordan

Chris Stangl said...

It helps to remember that the Sunday title logo panel rarely has any connection with the strip.

NightRaven said...

I still contend that this is not how you illustrate "running in an aimless panic" but rather "running away".
If they were just generally panicing, it would've made more sense to have them run in opposite directions or in circles, but they not only run in the same direction, they run out of the room.
It doesn't make any sense either way though, as neither interpretations fit what's shown.

joeypants said...

Wouldn't this comic have made more sense if they were in the living room? Then as they root around the couch the reader might even guess what the hell was going on without having to read through twice.

Garfield is like work sometimes.

Bebedora said...

Maybe they have a universal remote that works with both TVs.

On a side note, is anyone else but me disturbed by how long Odie's front teeth are?

Anonymous said...

I thought John & Garfield were impersonating monsters from B-movies, to alleviate the stress from not having the remote.

Sean said...

I can't believe you have to go down the list of coffees from top to bottom in "Bean Me." I can't believe I actually clicked on all of them.

Anonymous said...

How do Odie's teeth fit in his mouth when it's closed?

Michelle said...

After having read the whole strip it almost appears that in the second the last panel that Odie has secretly turned on the TV with the hidden remote. Jon and Garfield are so excited by the TV finally being on the they don't care how it's happened they just need to get to watching it as soon as possible.

PermanentScowl said...

Maybe the TV is on, and Courage the Cowardly dog is on! Odie has his eyes closed during the really scary parts and G and J run away.