Going way too deep with legacy strips
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/10/17
Snuffy Smith and Pluggers might, broadly speaking, both be lumped together as depicting non-coastal, lower-to-lower-middle-class “real American” experiences that most media neglects. However, there are big differences between the two projects that reveal this categorization to be superficial. The most obvious is that Pluggers is inhabited by chimeric beast-people, while Snuffy Smith presents us with human beings, albeit lumpy, potato-nosed ones. But more importantly, Pluggers is created based on suggestions actually from the ordinary non-elite folk it depicts, whereas Snuffy Smith has always been an exercise in rural poverty caricature, ever since the day the Barney Google creative team decided to get in on the Depression-era vogue for hillbilly jokes and never look back.
Anyway, the strip’s essentially inauthentic origin story, combined with its trapped-in-amber quality, results in characters that didn’t showcase rural poor people with much fidelity in the ’30s and certainly doesn’t depict anything even vaguely resembling their lives today. I realize that, as a coastal elitist living a mere 10-minute drive (without traffic) from Hollywood itself (8 minutes, if you count East Hollywood), I may not be the person most equipped to make that judgement, but I’m pretty sure it’s spot on. I do think I’m the right person to comment on what I guess is supposed to be some smug city slicker who’s wandered into Hootin’ Holler and can’t understand why sushi isn’t sold in every store, as it is in his beloved metropolis. Here’s my take on this chinbearded, cuff-jeaned (?), “G”-hat-wearing (???) Japanese cuisine aficionado: he’s bad. Finally, equal time in this strip for unrecognizable urban stereotypes!
There is probably no sadder person in the world than Guy Who Corrects Current Writers Of A Longrunning Legacy Strip About Their Strip’s Own Continuity, and yet I am compelled to say: it is well known that Dagwood sleeps every weekday morning until the last possible minute, dashing out to the door and barely making his carpool, often trampling his poor mailman in the process. It therefore makes no sense that he has time for a leisurely and apparently daily breakfast at Lou’s! He’s barely making it to work as it is! Although I guess it adds a meta-layer to this strip: like Lou, the Blondie creative team been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to tell this joke, and will jump at any chance to do so.
Six Chix, 5/10/17
Ha ha, it’s funny because normally a horse would be giving you a ride, not the other way around! Also, horses are incredibly bad planners. How did you think you were getting home when you left for work this morning, horse? How did you get here in the first place? Just wearing glasses doesn’t make you smart!
Hi and Lois, 5/10/17
Trixie, of course, hasn’t grown at all since this strip debuted 63 years ago. This is one of the saddest punchlines I’ve ever seen!