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Comic mockery takes character — the mental toughness to cackle at metastasis and ridicule heartbreak. That’s why we reserve special scorn for characters who surrender to mawkish sentimentality — as in today’s shameful display.

Mark Trail, 9/1/07

The more this Homer hangs around Shirley the Duck, the softer and balder he gets. On track toward the Omega Point of hairless virtue, he can face Mark without fear.

Mary Worth, 9/1/07

Introducing Playa Drew Corey’s Love Philosophy: “Let it Slide” — or, in his own taxonomy, “Let it Die.” Tell us how that works out for you, Drew, baby — we’ll be . . . waaaaaay over there. Oh, and Clambake called. He wants his hand back.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/1/07

Peter, you lame-ass. Make the evil-eye all you want, you are making coffee for your boss’s nanny. Got it? The Shocker would be ashamed — and that’s a looooong way down, pal!

Apartment 3G, 9/1/07

Who’s that gal muffin-toasting her new beau? Noooooooooo. . . .!

— Uncle Lumpy