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Blondie, 10/10/23

I once saw an interview with John Singleton and Stephanie Allain, the producers of the movie Hustle and Flow, about a scene where the characters kick a woman out of the house they’re living in, and how physical to make that confrontation, and they settled on using as a model Fred Flintstone gently yet firmly dropping Dino on the front stoop in the opening credits of The Flintstones. Fred’s act in turn has a context in the time not so long ago when people’s pets freely roamed outside much of the time and in particular were not expected to stay indoors at night, though dogs at least usually got their own little house in the yard for shelter. This was an arrangement that might still hold in rural areas of the U.S. today but has been unheard of in cities and suburbs long enough that I found it puzzling when I watched decades-old Flintstones reruns in the early ’80s; but legacy newspaper comics are the most ossified form of cultural production known to science, and so Blondie was still sticking with it as late as 2007. Today, finally, in the futuristic year 2023, we have confirmation that Daisy lives inside full-time with the Bumsteads (though frankly we knew even back then she slept indoors some nights). Honestly the most unrealistic thing happening here is that Elmo knows what a “doghouse” is.

Gasoline Alley, 10/10/23

I don’t want to sound like a killjoy but, talking bears aside, the moral of this Gasoline Alley plot seems to be “if you find a child and don’t know where their parents are, and the child seems to like you, you can use trickery and force to stop the evil government from attempting to reunite the child with said parents,” which seems, uh, not great? Obviously it would be worse if anyone read Gasoline Alley and it had any chance of influencing any opinions about anything, but still.

Dennis the Menace, 10/10/23

Setting whatever menace Dennis thinks he’s perpetrating here aside, we need to acknowledge his “dentist” is clearly just Mr. Wilson, who has “disguised” himself by shaving his mustache. As a retired postal carrier, Mr. Wilson lacks any of the skills necessary to be a safe dental practitioner, but I fear that’s exactly the point.

Hi and Lois, 10/10/23

Sure, working as cartoonist for a legacy newspaper comic is probably not that creatively fulfilling and doesn’t pay very well either. But when it comes to turning an annoying experience you had into a “joke” that you can be sure literally hundreds of people will read, it simply can’t be beat.