Willy ‘n Ethel, 8/5/04
Several times on any given day, the compulsive comics reader will think to him or herself, That’s not funny. What’s more rare, and therefore more precious and intriguing, are those moments where we think, I don’t even understand why that’s supposed to be funny.
But today, ladies and gentlemen, we have a pair, a two-fer, a bifecta of incomprehensible comics. Take the scene of turmoil at Casa Ziggy. Ziggy is angry (and when’s the last time you saw Ziggy angry?); his little dog is confused, or surprised, or possibly sad (you can only express so much emotional nuance through eyebrows). But why is the parrot’s statement eliciting these reactions? Is the dog upset and disillusioned that Lassie has stooped so low as to pose in the nude? Since they’re all watching TV (and presumably watching Lassie), does Ziggy’s dog realize that they’re watching a nude scene and suddenly feel uncomfortable and weird?
This all might make more sense if I could remember whether Lassie (or Ziggy’s dog, for that matter) was male or female. But then again, it probably wouldn’t.
At least in Ziggy I have a sense of what’s going on, if not the motivations behind the characters’ reactions. Meanwhile, Willy ‘n Ethel, a strip that is not traditionally difficult to parse (Willy is lazy! Ethel doesn’t like it! Ethel’s sister is fat! Willy is lazy!) is on a whole different plane of baffling today. All I’m getting out of it is that Willy got hit in the head, possibly by a T-Ball bat. Other than that, it’s completely opaque. “She”? “T-Ball”? “Master”? Buh?
Anyway, I’m posting these to lend assurance to anyone who’s ever said “I don’t get it”: you are not alone! And if there’s some comics guru out there who does have a notion as to what the hell these two strips are about, please post your explanation in the comments. Your fame shall be everlasting, and I’ll post the best explanations in the blog.