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Beetle Bailey, 8/1/04

A reviewer of Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks said that Woody’s character, a poor schmuck who came by a load of money, dressed like “a poor person’s fantasy of what a rich person would look like.” In today’s Beetle Bailey, we have a person with bad taste’s fantasy of what sophistication would look like, to wit:

  • a barracks dominated by crystal chandeliers, ill-matching patterned throw pillows, purple drapes, and fuzzy area rugs;
  • a mess hall serving non-existent but vaguely fru-fru sounding items such as “Mongolian baby peas”;
  • and, in the pièce de résistance, Beetle Bailey dressed as a pimp.

That last item definitely pushes the whole affair into the realm of surreal dreamscape. Any member of the Queer Eye crew recommending such a suit would surely be sent to the lowest level of aesthetic hell, which probably involves doing interior decorating for Donald Trump.

Still, this strip may be more complex than it first seems on the surface. Since the final panel reveals that the whole thing is Sarge’s nightmare, does the author intend for us to laugh Sarge’s uneducated attempts to imagine high style? Or is this Mort Walker’s own nightmarish vision of a demasculinized military? There’s something to think about for thirty seconds or so before you move on to the Junior Jumble.