A lot of people have asked me, in so many words, “Josh, man, what’s your deal with Pluggers? Do you hate Real America?” Not at all! What I do have a problem with, though, is an attitude that I think that Pluggers has slowly over the years shifted into showcasing, which is that many people who consider themselves residents of Real America (which is, it goes without saying, a cultural and psychological attitude rather than a geographical location) are just better at everything than other people. I say this because the strip less often depicts cultural folkways or life’s little foibles and more just basic life skills. Like today’s panel! Pluggers: they sure now how to manage their urinary processes! Speaking as a big-city liberal and resident of godless Hollyweird, let me assure you: we too know how to go pee-pee in a toilet. So do terrorists! I’m willing to guess that at some point in a terrorist’s training program, they get advice on always making sure to go to the bathroom before embarking on a mission that ends in an act of horrific violence, so they don’t get distracted. What I’m trying to say, pluggers, is that you should either focus on what really sets you apart, or maybe just acknowledge that non-pluggers are in fact humans like you, who breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and, yes, go to bathroom in advance.
Mary Worth, 7/6/16
Thank goodness for health care market innovations like urgent care clinics, which have created grades of service that can work around anybody’s irrational phobias! “No hospital!” “His father died in the hospital. Most people die in hospitals, because most people die after getting sick or being injured, and hospitals are where people go when they’re sick or injured. Tommy’s scared of them.” “Tommy, would you like to go to a health care facility for sick or injured people that has a different name?” “Sure, sounds great!”
Mary Worth, 7/1/16
This Mary Worth story isn’t just going to be about Wilbur forcing the Japanese to express emotions or Mary ghostwriting Wilbur’s column or Mary managing the help; it’s also about Wilbur’s girlfriend Iris and her ex-con son Tommy moving from one apartment to another! You might remember Tommy as an an aspiring meth entrepreneur (that panel’s from four years before Breaking Bad came out, people: Mary Worth is once again an innovator) who had cool hair; later, after he got paroled, he sold out and got a haircut so he could get a job as a janitor and a sandwich emporium. It’s nice to see that gainful employment hasn’t prevented him from growing it out again, although from the look of things maybe he’s just trying to match his mom’s hairstyle, presumably because they’ve joined some kind of cult together.
Gasoline Alley, 7/1/16
Since this coin is supposedly nearly 2,000 years old, you think Skeezik would want it examined by … I dunno, maybe an academic of some kind, rather than a pawn shop? I bet he regrets voting “Yes” in the referendum on the Expel All Intellectual Eggheads From Gasoline Alley Act now!
Judge Parker, 7/1/16
“Or maybe she just doesn’t like you! Have you considered that she might not like you? Often the most obvious explanations are also the correct ones.”
[at the Tribune Company, 1993]
“…and we’ll illustrate the reader ideas with whimsical half-person, half-animal creatures.”
“That sounds great. One thing that occurs to me, though: won’t a lot of these reader ideas involve pets? The ordinary folks we’re targeting with this strip love their pets! Won’t that be extremely unsettling, as we’ll be implying a world where the division between humans and beasts isn’t a bright line, a world where there’s a muddled continuum of sapience?”
“No, I don’t think that’ll be a problem at all.”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 6/28/16
Haha, whoops! It looks like Sarah isn’t an uncanny little child-genius best-selling author after all! Nope, it seems her mob patron is just buying up all her books, for some inscrutable but no doubt extremely sinister purpose. My bet is “one component in a large money laundering scheme” but “a way to forever tie Sarah to her criminal enterprise through a web of unsought obligations” is a solid possibility too, and heck, who says it can’t be both!
Six Chix, 6/28/16
Hello, comics reader! Have you ever eaten food that you purchased in a restaurant? Well, Six Chix would like you to know that it was full of the grossest stuff you can think of.
Pluggers are just really dirty, really just covered with all sorts of nasty stains. Pluggers!