For someone who’s as long established a figure in the office social scene as Dagwood, he sure has a sad, desperate need to be liked.
I haven’t bothered to talk about Zits in years, but now that 2016 heralds an edgy reboot for the strip, in which an involuntarily emancipated Jeremy is forced to live in his rickety Volkswagen Bus, I admit I’m intrigued.
Gasoline Alley, 1/7/16
Boog’s reign of saccharine, pro-scrapbooking terror is finally about to end, as his parents start making out and barely even notice when he’s eaten by a bear.
Here’s a fun physiology fact: you don’t taste your own saliva because the chemical senses adapt quickly and thoroughly unless the stimuli change. (If you wanted to taste your own saliva, you could, um, “save” some, rinse your tongue with distilled water for five minutes or so, reintroduce the saved saliva, and then sit down and wonder what kind of person does that, and how you became that kind of person).
Anyway, Jeremy and Sara got so close this summer that even long-time androgyne uniteen RichandAmy started calling them by one name. But in parting after months of liplock, Jeremy isn’t tasting all of his own saliva, only the saliva components that are unique to him. He can’t taste the components (like salt) that he shares with Sara — unless their concentration has changed, he’s still adapted.
What will Jeremy experience, tasting his unique “Jeremy flavor” for the first time (unless he did that spit experiment, ew)? Will his tasteworld be an intoxicating Red Bull and Dorito-tinged nirvana that lures him away from Sara toward an independent bliss? Or a fetid, caustic slick of industrial food additives that drives him back between Sara’s lips, there to purge the evidence of his personal corruption? Your future lies ahead, Jeremy — let your tongue point the way!
Curtis gets a lot of mileage repeating story arcs about the First Day of School, Derek and “Onion,” Magical Gunk, and in days gone sadly by, Insane Kwanzaa Folkways. Over the past couple years, it’s introduced Curtis’s Summer Job: Curtis works at nonprofits where he Learns Valuable Lessons but Earns No Money. The stories are sanctimonious and flat, so what humor there is comes from eccentric one-off characters. Last summer we got Dr. Chang of the Improbable Pants, and this summer it’s Miss Dot from the Charles Street Disaster Relief Coalition. Miss Dot is gap-toothed, says “awesome,” “like,” and “totally” to excess, and congratulates Curtis for jokes not in evidence.
I think this year’s Valuable Lesson is “bring back Dr. Chang.”
Judge Parker, 7/22/15
On Sunday Sophie told Sam and Abby that Neddy and Mark had spent a late night together, that they’d been writing to one another ever since, and that she, Sophie, could read between the lines.
The sex lines.
But sex lines have never been written that our Sam can read: “Something happened to give him confidence! What’s your theory — Tony Robbins DVD, energy drink, ginseng? New Testament readings? Motivational poster, winning lottery ticket, found a penny? Rhinoceros horn, visualization exercises, call from Mom? Sunday Mary Worth quote? “Participant” trophy? Think, Abby!”
Abby stares mute as Sam double-knots his robe; she will dream of Mark tonight, his soft words and rough hands.
– Uncle Lumpy
Judge Parker, 3/16/14
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable are all the uses of this world? Just ask Judge Emeritus Alan Parker! In the years since he returned to his strip, we’ve heard of the growing marital discontent he shares with his wife. He told us he feels old and useless, and we’ve watched helplessly as his compulsive risk-taking escalated from recreational B.A.S.E. jumping to jungle snake-handling.
The story ends, as all such tales must, atop a forbidden cliff in the Mexican jungle with the frenzied Judge turning his wife out to “rock the joystick” of some buzzing monstrosity in the hopes that something — anything — will let him feel again. Oh Judge, Judge — in all those years on the bench, did no one tell you about heroin?
Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/16/14
“All right, Becka, I suppose it won’t hurt to go over this again. As we’ve discussed, Dr. Morgan and I allow you to banter with us on a first-name basis because it suits our image of ourselves as friendly, egalitarian people. This is our little indulgence, Becka, not yours — and there is a line. Now, when I tell you that Paula John is an incompetent emotional wreck, that is not an invitation for you to defend her, or spew vicious gossip about the Dean — my peer — from below stairs or wherever it is you and your little friends hang out. Especially when you’re not meeting your most elementary responsibilities around the clinic. Well then, I hope you’ve enjoyed our little talk. Now get me those results. And let’s go back to calling me ‘Ma’am’ for now, shall we? There’s a good girl.”
Mary Jane manipulates her doofus husband without looking up from her crossword: “Hey, Tiger, what’s a six-letter word for ‘eight-legged parasite’?”
This strip finally makes sense to me: Connie is Princess Leia, and Jeremy is Jabba the Hutt.
– Uncle Lumpy