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Mary Worth, 12/6/09

Every once in a while an installment of one of the soap strips comes along that in my mind wholly justifies the lavish attention I expend upon them. Just the throwaway panel dialogue here would be enough to make this strip an instant classic; “Now on to explore new worlds … in online social networking!” should be the mission statement of some terribly misguided Web consultancy that shows businesses how to set up Twitter accounts that they don’t need. And yet this is just the opening gambit. We feel that we are right there with Wilbur as he makes his perilous roller-coaster ride of Facebook insanity. First, he clenches his stubby fingers into unaccustomed shapes as he prepares for a vigorous social-networking session. Then, upon receiving this mysterious missive, he’s so in awe of it that he reaches his fingertips half-consciously towards the screen, as if he could feel the human connections being created by intangible electrons. Next, he becomes pensive, then slips into anxiety as he contemplates the implication of this anonymous message. (“Someone” warned you about these social networks, Wilbur? I think we all know who among your acquaintances spreads fear about all things newfangled and enjoyable. It’s OK, you can name her, in the safety of your thought balloons!) Then his face brightens a little. Maybe something interesting will be crawling out of the woodwork!

But in the final panel, we tumble headlong into madness. The existence of Dawn has forced us all to acknowledge, at least to ourselves, that Wilbur has had sex at least once. But now we are confronted with the possibility of Wilbur’s wild, swinging past, and while it may enrage and disgust us, I for one plan to get over my initial hesitation and embrace the lunacy. I dearly hope we are treated to flashbacks to Wilbur’s unprotected sexcapades, possibly involving him wearing a leisure suit and having as many as a dozen hairs to comb over his bald spot.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/6/09

Well, now that Becka’s runaway oldster adventure has ended incredibly awkwardly, it looks like it’s time for Rex and June to reclaim their comic strip! It appears that their house has been trashed by squatters, which makes sense as they’ve been away for, what, a year and a half now? It would be fun drama if Rex’s beloved ward Nikki were responsible, having turned Chez Morgan into a party pad for his low-life friends (or, worse, his low-life mother), but it’s also possible that Abbey, having been left alone with no one delegated to take her on walks, was the culprit.

This strip offers further confirmation that all cab drivers in Rex Morgan, M.D., are required to wear ludicrously exaggerated ethnic headgear.

Family Circus, 12/6/09

There might be something among this world’s possibilities more horrifying than three smirking Keane Kids thrusting their no doubt filthy feet at you expectantly, but I’d be hard pressed to name it.