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Beetle Bailey, 10/11/09

This is a pretty sad demonstration of how Beetle’s half-century stuck in the timeless limbo of Camp Swampy will make it impossible for him to reintegrate into normal society upon his release. Like the hero of Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, Private Bailey will leave the military and find a civilian world with mores and values outside of his understanding. For instance, he’ll find his clothes to be laughably out of date, and discover that the whimsical pastimes of his native 1950s, such as tree-sitting and breath-holding contests, are no longer relevant in the age of reality TV and Internet pornography. However, he will be pleased to find that the competitive eating scene is still alive and well, and moreover that revolutionary new technologies allow hot dogs to be cooked without being blackened to a crisp.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/11/09

Remember the classic narrative switcheroo at the climax of Silence of the Lambs, when the scene edits make you think that the FBI team is assembling outside the serial killer’s house, but it turns out that they’re in the wrong place and Jodie Foster is ringing his doorbell instead? Well, that’s sort of what happened here, without the tension or excitement. Becka and Tim have been heroically driving through a sodden golf course looking for his runaway mom, whom we’ve been led to believe is holed up in the pro shop there — when in fact they’ve broken and entered into some punk rocker’s trailer, perhaps miles away! Everything about this punk rocker — his piercings, his shaved head, his use of “street” slang like “crib” — is supposed to be terrifying and menacing to us, the solid middle-American comic-reading audience, but I feel obliged to point out that it is, in fact, his crib, and he has a right to protest random old people breaking in and attempting to hold golf lessons there.

Sally Forth, 10/11/09

Oooh, contest — what terrible habit is causing Ted to drain the Forth family finances? Keep in mind that Ted is pure of heart, so all the sleazy things you sickos are thinking of (cocaine, roulette, 15-year-old Thai male prostitutes) are out. I’m thinking that the basement shelves are groaning under the weight of his collection of first-edition GoBots, or that every time he PayPals someone on Craigslist who claims to have a copy of the Star Wars Christmas Special, he’s convinced that this is the time he won’t be disappointed.