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Mary Worth, 10/21/21

You ever get a terrifying moment of clarity and insight into a situation that you wish you really knew no details about whatsoever? That was me, reading today’s Mary Worth, realizing that Wilbur is absolutely planning to follow up his first long, languorous tongue-kiss with Carol by shyly saying “See, we do both love ‘Frenchies,’ don’t we?” Just typing this makes me die inside, but I cannot expel this knowledge from my mind! Anyway, I want everyone to note that Carol looks like she’s about to shatter that glass in her hand in panel two.

Mark Trail, 10/21/21

Oh look, it’s our first corporate mastermind villain in nu-look Mark Trail! And he’s wearing a [squints] tuxedo? Lounging around his cliffside mansion/lair? Like you do? Presumably he’s taken off the jacket to better enjoy the cliffside breezes? I do enjoy the fact that his assistant must stay 10 feet away from him at all times, showing him important photos and documents on an iPad with its font size pumped all the way up so he can read it.

Blondie, 10/21/21

Big news, everyone! The team behind the longtime syndicated newspaper strip Blondie has finally learned about QR codes! Tune in here for further developments, like whether or not they ever figure out they’re called “QR codes.”

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The Lockhorns, 10/20/21

If you’re reading this blog, I assume you’ve dedicated at least a little bit of your brain space to the question of why Leroy and Loretta, who demonstrably do not love each other, or like each other, or derive any pleasure from each other’s company, continue to stay married in this era of relatively easy-to-obtain no-fault divorce. They have no children that they’re staying together for, Loretta’s mother hates Leroy, Leroy has no family to speak of, they don’t seem to have any social circle that would be disrupted by a separation, so what are we missing? Presumably the depth of their dysfunction is so great that that they feel psychologically bound to one another, each of them profoundly unhappy but also unable to conceive of life without the other and the pain they receive and dish out by turns. Today, we see a key part of this dynamic: each Lockhorn must occasionally offer the other the free choice to leave or stay, the opportunity to head out the door and never return. Or to come back, if they want, and walk into the future together, hand in unlovable hand.

Mary Worth, 10/20/21

I’m extremely unsettled by the frankly erotic way that Wilbur is eyeing the discolored piece of meat (?) at the end of his fork in panel two. Wilbur can’t deal with salsa dancing, and we all know why, but if there are limits to his digestive system’s ability to process garbage, he hasn’t found them yet.

Funky Winkerbean, 10/20/21

It’s genuinely weird that Mason’s Lisa’s Story production had a wrap party but not even an extremely modest premiere party for the cast and crew, and even weirder that Les and Cayla didn’t even get a copy of the movie to watch. It’s also pretty weird that the Valentine Theater simultaneously was on the verge of failure in 2017 when Max was in his late 30s and then subsequently closed in 2021 when Max was in his late 20s, but let’s not dwell on Funkyverse chronology and think instead about how Les casually adds “or something” at the end of his last sentence here while cringing away from Cayla, as if he doesn’t know exactly where this strip club is and what its hours are. Now, a lot of Funkyverse characters would go to this strip club and talk loudly while getting a lap dance about how you used to be able to see classic serials like Radio Ranch there, but Les I’m sure approaches things with more dignity (he sits silently and contemplates the fact that the Valentine failed and took its owners’ dreams with it, just like everything else good in the world, because that’s what sex is, to him).

Shoe, 10/20/21

In the world of Shoe, birds hold down various human-style jobs, like publishing a newspaper, running a diner, working in a mortuary, running a dating service, and so on. Today we learn that fish in this universe have jobs too, or at least one job: to go to a lake and get murdered.

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Gil Thorp, 10/19/21

Much as I make fun of Gil Thorp, I do think it puts in slightly more of an effort at keeping up with trends young people might be into than you’d expect for a long running soap opera strip. And sure, sometimes it results in strips where the Milford principal sternly intones that “sexting” is a hot new craze that’s been in Time and Newsweek, but in general our dumb teens do some recognizable dumb teen things. And that means that strip also takes account of the ways those dumb teen things evolve over time! For instance, back in 2009 when the strip did a YouTube storyline, it was about teen boys uploading videos of wacky plays and going viral, whereas 2021’s YouTube storyline is about teen boys getting redpilled into some weird scammy bullshit. Looking forward to the playdowns getting thrown into chaos when the kids all become obsessed with the idea that the Federal Reserve is run by “lizard men.”

Hi and Lois, 10/19/21

What really sells this to me how bummed out Hi looks by the reception to his dinner. “But … I made overboiled buttery noodles! Kids love this crap!”

Mary Worth, 10/19/21

How is Wilbur’s date with Carol going? Well, he starts this portion of the conversation with “As a someone with a column in a newspaper that nobody reads, I sometimes go to cities I don’t live in!” and yet manages to get even more insufferable after that.