Sure, we make fun of Marvin for the poop jokes a lot around here, but definitely worse than the poop jokes are the jokes about how Marvin and his fellow babies have romantic lives. At least pooping is a normal and healthy thing babies really do! Gross, but normal and healthy! This week’s storyline has involved a weird inverse evil Cyrano de Bergerac scenario where Marvin’s “girlfriend” (ugh) wants to watch musicals with him, and Marvin doesn’t enjoy them and can’t bring himself to perform even this incredibly basic bit of emotional labor, so he’s brought in some kind of lookalike ringer to take his place. But it turns out that if someone does all the work of a relationship on Marvin’s behalf, Marvin isn’t necessary … at all? This is definitely the worst thing you’ll read in the comics today, and will make you glad next week when all the jokes are about Marvin stewing in his own feces.
Judge Parker, 3/18/16
Sure, we make fun of Judge Parker for always having every story end with someone handing the protagonists money, but definitely worse than someone handing the protagonists money is someone literally abusing their position of state-sanctioned power to help the protagonists, because they’re good and/or rich and thus deserve to have the law bent on their behalf. Like, remember when Rocky Ledge assaulted a photographer, then felt bad about it, and Sam had the local constabulary run the guy out of town? (The guy who had been beaten up, not the guy who had done the beating.) Anyway, definitely a good use of some highway patrolman’s time and tax-funded paycheck will be driving around looking for a rental car and then informing some random private citizen about said rental car’s location. But why stop there, really? Why not just send a special ops team to “extract” Rocky from his romantic getaway with his secretary, eliminating any potential witnesses to his infidelity in the process?
You know you’re a plugger when you choose to live someplace so unrelentingly hostile to pedestrians that, to stave off that coronary for another month or two via the sort of “exercise” that used to be a basic reality of the human condition, you have to drive your polluting automobile onto a vast expanse of asphalt so you can walk dully in circles through a gently decaying indoor mall.
Therapy is always, always terribly misrepresented in fiction, because why do any research on various treatment modalities currently in use when you just want someone to have a plot-advancing revelation and/or a sexy affair with a therapist? Still, even by those standards this is pretty dire. “Instead of just bluntly asking you what you think of Jeff’s mother, we’re going to play a ‘word association’ game to tease out attitudes buried deep within your subconscious, attitudes that you might keep hidden even from yourself. OK, here’s the first word I want you to give me your associations for: ‘Jeff’s mother.'”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/12/16
A fun way to think about Rex Morgan, M.D., plots is that many of them are about people’s petty personal problems that Rex gets dragged into, mostly against his will. Like when an ugly family squabble broke out a funeral, and Rex made this face about it! This week, Rex just wanted somebody to sell him a house full of valuable antiques at below market value, and all of the sudden he has to hear about the bitter fallout from some neighborhood elder love affair. At any rate, this certainly puts Franco’s claims that when it comes to the house he “knows every nail” and “the basement fills with water” in a new light, especially if you’re the sort of person who likes to look for double entendres in soap opera comic strips, which I very much am!
Gil Thorp, 3/12/16
This Gil Thorp basketball season storyline continues to be snoozeville. There is definitely an interesting plot to be wrung from “straight but not-entirely-gender-conforming female student athlete navigates teen romance” but this one 100% isn’t it! Today’s strip at least promises some sort of off-court fracas to liven things up. “I think that was the Milford kid we were hollering at the other night. Did you guys bring some throat lozenges? Because we should holler at him … some more.”
Beetle Bailey, 3/7/16
So after a minute or so I gave up on trying to parse Sarge’s dialogue here as a joke, and then maybe 45 seconds after that stopped trying to parse it as actual sincere advice, and finally settled on just trying to figure the contexts — geographic, professional, social, whatever — in which today’s strip is taking place. Like we know from previous strips that Sarge has an office, though this one is looking more Endless Void-y than usual. But has Beetle just kind of … wandered in? To get weird, incomprehensible platitudes? From his commanding officer, who is reading them off a piece of paper, or possibly just holding up a blank piece of paper? I’m really going to have to grapple with the content of this joke to figure out what’s happening, aren’t I?
Mary Worth, 3/7/16
Aww, isn’t this sweet! Mary and Jeff are going to the Bum Boat … their place! And after that, they’ll be crashing every funeral they can, or at least I assume so based on Mary’s outfit. (In Santa Royale, crashing funerals is the closest you can get to hitting all the hottest goth clubs.)
Marvin’s usual M.O. is to mine laffs out of the title character’s constant pooping and peeing, which is gross but has a shred of respectability because, after all, he’s a baby! Pooping and peeing in a diaper is like a huge part of babies’ whole deal! But now we see the slippery slope we’ve been on all this time: if it’s OK to joke about Marvin and his butthole and what comes out of it, why not joke about his dad’s butthole now too, huh? Why not? Can you give me one good reason why not? Basic human decency, you say? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA