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Dullness rising

Crock, 9/2/09

My maternal grandmother grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, and after a brief but exciting (and husband-netting) stint working in Los Angeles during World War II, moved to a very small town in Ohio where she would live for the rest of her life. She was never an early adopter when it came to gadgetry and was in fact pretty technophobic — I’ll always remember when, as a teenager, I tried for the third or fourth time to explain to her what the buttons on her VCR did, and said “It’s just like on a cassette player!” and she admitted that she had never figured out how to work her cassette player either. That said, one futuristic appliance that she did buy before anyone else I knew was a microwave oven. I literally cannot remember a time when her beloved “micro” wasn’t on its little stand next to her kitchen table, which means that she must have bought it by 1982 or so at the latest. And it kept right on working, as near as I can remember, until she passed away in 1998, an awful good run for an appliance (and a marked contrast with my current microwave, which we got as wedding present less than four years ago and which is already flaking out, though that’s a rant for a different time and place, the place presumably being a long, detailed diatribe to be sent registered mail to the Panasonic Corporation). Perhaps one of the reasons that my grandmother, who was born in 1922, was able to easily integrate this modern wonder into her workflow was that all of its features were controlled by knobs, like the conventional oven that she was already familiar with, but unlike, say, every microwave sold anywhere for the last fifteen to twenty years.

In case you’re wondering what the point of all this is, I’m trying to say that the creators of Crock are unfathomably old.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/2/09

Rex Morgan didn’t waste any time taking story elements that should be interesting — the plight of our seniors, a marriage troubled by adulterous yearnings — and making them incredibly boring, so boring that these ladies eating out at some midscale Italian place actually means that things are looking up. I’m sure that I’m going to get dozens of irate letters defending the genius of various Italian grandmothers for this, but alfredo sauce, satisfying as it almost always is, doesn’t really leave tons of room for subtle, secert variations, in my experience. It’s pretty much just cheese, cream, garlic, and butter, right? Still, deceased Yugoslav President for Life Tito’s recipe must have been pretty good to get Berna free restaurant meals out of it; or, alternately, it may have been actively poisonous, which would explain why Berna looks like a deranged serial killer in panel two, and why Becka calls it “wicked.”

Apartment 3-G, 9/2/09

Speaking of rapid descents into boring, it’s taken only 48 hours for the Professor to botch his potentially interesting prescription drug abuse storyline by maundering off into a bunch of snoozeville blah blah about Greek surnames. That knocking at the door is an Apartment 3-G producer, come to tell the Professor that his tryout as a central character is now concluded, and to remove him with an enormous vaudeville-style hook if he doesn’t come quietly.

Dennis the Menace, 9/2/09

Either that or he’s decided to skip “menacing” and head straight on into “troubling paranoia.”

Hi and Lois, 9/2/09

While I don’t condone property destruction to prove a point, it is worth noting that Trixie has been the same height since this strip debuted in 1954. She’s probably not getting any taller, and it’s about time the family recognized that and added some accommodations in their home for her condition.

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