Middle child syndrome
Family Circus, 1/20/05
Normally, I try to avoid directly discussing the writers and artists of comics in this blog, on the logic that they’re real people whose feelings would be hurt after being on the receiving end of cruel mockery from yours truly. Today, however, I’m making an exception on the part of Bil and Jeff Keane, since I figure that they have the love of millions of children and parents around the world, along with their enormous piles of money, to emotionally sustain them. Anyway, it’s fairly well known that the Family Circus family is not-so-loosely based on the family of artist Bil Keane. Now that Bil’s son Jeff, who apparently has enough clout to not be known professionally as “Jeffy,” has taken over most of the creative duties, I’ve been keenly interested in how young Jeffy is treated in the strip. And, as near as I can tell, he is almost always treated badly. If Jeffy is ever featured in the daily panel, he’s almost always being yelled at (as he is here), being shot at, saying something stupid, or otherwise being crapped on. He’s not the oldest, he’s not the baby, he’s not the girl: he’s just Jeffy, and he has a lot of anger to work out. One wonders if he goes out of the way to make the art as crude and talentless as possible (and the jokes as stupid as possible) when “Billy” takes over in a pathetic attempt to get back at his parent-favored older brother.