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Pluggers, 4/15/10

Let us pause here for a moment to talk about Mr. James Todd Smith, aka LL Cool J! Do you know when Radio, LL Cool J’s first full-length album, was released? 1985! For you pluggers who are bad at math, this was 25 years ago. (His first single, “I Need A Beat,” came out a year before that! It sold more than 100,000 copies!) To put that in perspective, in 1985, the year Radio was released, Joan Baez celebrated the 25th anniversary of the release of her first album. Can you imagine some Reagan-era plugger saying “Wait, Joan Baez is some kind of protest singer? I thought she was your aunt’s hairdresser!” They would be laughed at! They would not parade their lack of pop-cultural literacy in a newspaper comic feature!

And don’t try to say that “Oh, it’s OK for someone to have literally never heard of LL Cool J, because he’s one of those hippity-hop artists, with the baggy pants and disrespectful attitudes.” You know, I’m not an aficionado of, for instance, contemporary country music, and could not identify by name or tune a single song by the band Rascal Flatts (a band whose career is a mere 11 years old at this point). But if in the course of casual television watching I happened to encounter the name of this band, I would not say, “Rascal Flats? Isn’t that the salt desert in Utah where they test the rocket cars?” And if I did, I certainly wouldn’t smugly send this anecdote into some sort of Bizarro-world elitist version of Pluggers; instead, I would be reasonably embarrassed about it.

In conclusion: LL Cool J is a 42-year-old man with a fairly high-profile career that is a generation old. He is so integrated into the entertainment mainstream that he now stars in America’s second-highest-rated broadcast TV crime scene investigation franchise (the ultimate origin of this strip, I suppose). You have in fact heard of him. His name is not the name of a ranch in Montana.

As a side note, this is the same plugger couple we saw yesterday in happier times. Clearly the garage cleaning and/or the post-garage cleaning mealtime and/or “garage cleaning” didn’t go so well, and now we find them in their usual position: bear-husband wedged into his recliner, drunk and belligerent, and kangaroo-wife sticking her snout into a magazine, desperately trying to pretend she can’t hear him.

Apartment 3-G, 4/15/10

Disappointed as I am that this Apartment 3-G storyline seems determined to not end in a hail of bullets (as certain other plots we could mention did), I do have to admit to being intrigued by this twist, in which an exasperated Margo has now been tasked with hiding a major piece of evidence from a crime scene, getting her sexy fingerprints all over it in the process. All indications really do point to the idea that Martin and Margo are so long accustomed to Bobbie’s actual diagnosable insanity that they have just learned to accommodate it and no longer see it as unusual or shocking. Threatening us at gunpoint? Ha ha, that’s our Roberta! No, we don’t want the cops nosing around, because they might start asking questions about all the people that she actually shot, whose bodies we helped to hide.

Blondie, 4/15/10

It’s well known that Mr. Dithers runs his company like an Orwellian police state, where employees are encouraged to constantly monitor one another for disloyalty. Thus, we shouldn’t be surprised that he’s installed spycams in every room of his headquarters. Dagwood’s co-worker, who fears even mentioning the existence of the omnipresent cameras that haunt his every moment, has been reduced to the state of quivering terror expected by his sinister overlord; Dagwood, in contrast, has adopted an air of open defiance, like the true hero of liberty and freedom that he is. We will never forget you, Dagwood, even after you’ve been dragged out back for summary execution!