Archive: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith

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Six Chix, 7/23/19

Look, folks: I make fun of Six Chix quite a bit here, but the truth is, not everything is for everyone, you know? These strips aren’t really written with me in mind, and that’s OK! They’re for people who are maybe a little older, who maybe have little less “edgy” sensibility than I do. Suburban moms who just want to open the paper and laugh at life’s little foibles, to see a joke then can relate to. Who among us hasn’t run into a few problems with short-term memory as they age, right? Who among us hasn’t had long stretches of the day that they can’t remember, that they can’t account for, but feel a gnawing sense that something horrible happened in those missing hours? Haven’t we all had “one of those days,” where you come to, not sure whether it’s “wine o’clock” or even what day or time of year it is, covered in blood, so much blood, you’d think there’d be a body here with all this blood, but it’s nowhere to be found? Maybe the body’s in the closet. Is there more blood around the closet? It’s so hard to tell. The blood is everywhere.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/23/19

You might think it cruel that Snuffy is laughing at his nephew for trying and failing spectacularly to bake himself a tasty dessert. In fact, he’s laughing that anyone — especially anyone who lives with him — would assume he owns anything as useful and potentially economically productive as a hammer and chisel.

Sam and Silo, 7/23/19

Wow, I have to admit that I haven’t been keeping up with the latest currents in Roman Catholic theology, but I’m pretty surprised they’ve gone from Vatican II to “humanity is an infestation of vermin too powerful for even God to kill” in less than sixty years.

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Gil Thorp, 7/2/19

Now let’s just hold on a darn minute here! I may not have the photographic recall of soap opera plots that I used to, due to me being old and/or having like 15 years of them to remember at this point, but I am reasonably sure that this Gil Thorp strip gets multiple facts wrong about the backstory of these characters?

  1. Jaquan made what I thought was his first appearance in the strip a couple of years ago, accompanied by Trey Davis, who was a heavily recruited Mudlark college basketball prospect back in 2006. By 2017, he was an “an absurdly high-priced personal coach and trainer” and Jaquan was his client, not a Milford alum, and just tagging along?
  2. Meanwhile, Hadley V. Baxendale definitely hasn’t reappeared in the strip since 2005, which I know because she was one of my favs and I would’ve remembered her return! I got extremely excited about her ex Steve Luhm’s 2009-2010 reappearance, but alas, no Hadley.
  3. The one who helped Jaquan “defect” from the NBA, in the sense that she put the terrible idea of going to grad school in his head, was Heather Burns, who you might remember as the girl who quit the soccer team to very briefly become a third-string tight end and play an extremely few downs back in 2016.

So what’s all this “reconnect” business? I’m genuinely wondering if whoever’s in charge of continuity over at Gil Thorp HQ was like “enh, didn’t Jaquan have a thing with, what’s her face, the feminist,” and then we got this? Because it would make me very sad if I suddenly became more up on Gil Thorp continuity than the actual creators of Gil Thorp. I mean, it doesn’t even look like Gil is paying very much attention to this backstory, to be honest. He’s just slurping down a giant glass of Long Island iced tea and trying to not let his eyes glaze over too much. “All great schools, congratulations!” he blurts out, once he’s been given a list of proper nouns he can recognize.

Mary Worth, 7/2/19

Meanwhile, we’ve had exactly one (1) strip not about Wilbur before coming back to the subject of Wilbur. Don’t forget, in addition to the hacky advice column that he sends Dawn to fob off onto Mary whenever he’s busy, Wilbur also writes “Survivor Stories,” in which he demands that poor people in developing countries perform their trauma for an American audience. You might think it’d be kind of strange for Wilbur to jet off overseas so early in his relationship with Estelle, but I guess even Wilbur realizes that a little bit of Wilbur goes a long way.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/2/19

Speaking of forcing poor people to perform their trauma, Snuffy Smith has “ha ha, all these characters live in one of America’s most deprived and forgotten communities” lurking in the background of literally every strip, but it’s rare that this bubbles up to the surface level of a punchline like “ha ha, the Smif house consists of a single room, with living and sleeping spaces only divided by a worn, patched curtain.”

Dustin, 7/2/19

I was about to make some smug joke about “what sort of fascist police state does Dustin live in where chalking a sidewalk is considered a crime” but then I did a little research and it turns out it’s, uh, America? (Although the cops are apparently much more likely to enforce rules against sidewalk chalking when you use sidewalk chalk to protest police brutality, who could’ve guessed!) Anyhoo, I’m pretty torn here, because I’m strongly against pointless overpolicing of public spaces but also I’d definitely like to see Dustin go to jail.

Dennis the Menace, 7/2/19

Dennis, that’s a … dog? That’s clearly a dog. There’s absolutely no circumstances where anyone would mistake that dog for a cat or for [extremely heavy sigh] a Pokemon. This isn’t so much “menacing” as “profoundly concerning.”

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Funky Winkerbean, 6/25/19

I got some feedback on my joke about Sunday’s Funky Winkerbean and was about to write something whiny along the lines of “Ugh, Funky Winkerbean made me learn things,” but honestly? I love learning things, and telling other people about those things! So here we go: the most famous version of the Buster Keaton house-falling gag is from 1928’s Steamboat Bill, Jr., but Keaton had done an earlier version in 1920’s One Week — and, more relevant to this storyline, Fatty Arbuckle, for whom Butter Brinkel is pretty transparently a stand-in, did the original version of it 1919’s Back Stage, which Buster Keaton also appeared in. As the name implies, Back Stage was a comedy that took place behind the scenes of a play, and so the house-falling stunt was much smaller scale and actually involved a small facade used as part of the play’s set dressing, rather than an actual house as in the Steamboat Bill version; the depiction of Brinkel’s stunt (which you can see better in Sunday’s strip) more closely matches what happened in Back Stage.

There’s one big difference, of course: Arbuckle’s Back Stage stunt, like both of Keaton’s, went off safely; but Brinkel is an inhabitant of the Funkyverse, so his version was botched and left him in agony for years afterwards. That’s the special twist on history we’ve come to expect from this feature, folks!

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 6/25/19

I sort of assumed I pretty much knew the lay of the land in the small, insular world of Hootin’ Holler, but apparently not? Apparently there’s a high-stakes card game in town that Snuffy has decided he’s ready for? Or maybe Snuffy, unfamiliar with the geography of the flatland world, assumes that “Las Vegas,” a city he’s heard about occasionally from Parson Tuttle’s television, is only a few more hours’ walk past whatever economically imploding mining town of 25,000 people or so is the closest metropolis to Hootin’ Holler. Anyway, we shouldn’t let this speculation distract us from the important point here, which is that Snuffy has gambled away his family’s meager resources and now they’re starving to death.