The Lockhorns, 9/24/04
Shame on you, The Lockhorns! You know I depend on you for your savage merry-go-round of marital misanthropy, for the Platonic ideal of a doomed marriage that you embody so well. To that end, you ought to stick with what you do best: the same restricted set of concerns (Leroy’s paycheck, Loretta’s shopping, Leroy’s drinking, Loretta’s cooking, etc.), hashed out over and over again until they’re honed to stiletto sharpness and wielded with cruelty and precision. It’s all as abstract and as repetitively structured as a Beckett play, and when there’s suddenly some attempt to pretend that the Lockhorns live in 2004 and watch popular TV shows, it’s unfortunate.
This panel has great potential, too. There’s the bizarre fact that Loretta is just singing loudly at what appears to be a cocktail party: Why? The internal logic of the strip requires no more reason than that it offers Leroy a chance to make fun of her. I also love the fact that the people in the background are just disembodied floating heads (well, disembodied floating heads wearing dickies, apparently). It adds to the timeless quality of the fight: it’s like Leroy and Loretta are in their own private circle of hell, doomed to fight it out for all eternity, with the ghostly shades of the damned watching them in stony silence. I’m not sure how the guy standing next to Leroy figures into it, but he sure doesn’t look happy to be there.