Archive: Hi and Lois

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Spider-Man, 2/11/17

Oh, goodie, you guys: the current Spider-Man plot has advanced to the point where we at last are getting to enjoy some super-powered combat! By which I mean yesterday Ronan, the Accuser, smacked Spidey and Rocket around a little and now everyone’s just standing there jabbering at each other. Anyway, today we learn that our web-headed hero has a distinctive odor, at least to Rocket’s fine-tuned snout! What do you think Spider-Man smells like? Probably some combination of “I invented this high-performance, tight-fitting superhero costume but didn’t really think about making it machine washable and I don’t really get around to hand-washing it very often and also usually I wad it up into a little case immediately after engaging in strenuous superheroics” and failure, right?

Hi and Lois, 2/11/17

Sorry, Ditto! Your dad’s gonna be eating all the ice cream, lying on the couch for months on end, staying home from work on long-term disability because he tried to lift that enormously heavy generator by himself without bending his knees.

Mary Worth, 2/11/17

That vigorously spewing fountain thrusting upwards in the background as Zak and Iris press their bodies close for the last time? It represents their tears, y’all. Their tears. Get your minds out of the gutter.

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Dennis the Menace, 2/8/17

My friend Ruth Graham recently wrote a fascinating story about the fact that huge swaths of Americans reached adulthood thinking that Eli Whitney was black. She goes into some of the reasons why. For one thing, the cotton gin helped make cotton a more lucrative crop, which increased demand for slave labor in the American south, and so it’s an invention often discussed in schools during Black History Month, around the same time that other actual black inventors are also introduced. The irony that a black person might’ve set the chain of events that ramped up cotton cultivation in motion seems to make the idea hard to resist (in many versions of the story, this alternate history black Eli Whitney gets screwed out of the profits from his invention, natch). I think this Dennis the Menace illustrates the process by which these kinds of mistakes can be made, since a lot of the way we’re taught history in elementary and high school involves rote memorization of isolated bits of data, leaving our minds free to fill in the substantial blanks around them.

In other news, one of Dennis’s neighbors is a big drunk! But, you know, not a day drunk. That’s how you know he’s not talking about Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson’s retired and can drink whenever he wants!

Hi and Lois, 2/8/17

It’s Trixie’s thought balloon that really makes clear the profound strangeness here: Lois, mother of a teenager and thus presumably on at least the verge of middle age, is expected in this suburban gender-normative milieu to worry about wrinkles, so we accept her use of “4 Ever Young” face cream without much thought. But Trixie’s burning desire to advance past infancy — a desire that we know can never be fulfilled — really hammers home the Flagstons’ nightmarish endless-now existence. Just as Trixie eagerly anticipates milestones she’ll never reach — walking, speech, autonomy — so too does Lois experience eternal youth that she cannot enjoy, instead living in constant terror of the crow’s feet that never quite appear at the corners of her eyes.

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Hi and Lois and Blondie, 2/5/17

Is there anything more embarrassing than making a big, public gesture of your affection for someone else and having it not just rebuffed, but completely ignored? For their Super Bowl party, Hi and Lois have failed to invite any of their fellow damned souls from the Walker-Browne universe; Beetle Bailey, lest you forget, is actually Lois’s brother, and the Hagar the Horrible gang is probably … the Flagstons’ distant ancestors? Anyway, the point is, if it’s possible to bring the Bumsteads, a family from an entirely different intellectual property spacetime continuum, in for the Super Bowl, they easily could’ve done it with Sarge and Lucky Eddy or whoever. But nope, screw their actual family, the Flagstons would rather social climb with Blondie and Dagwood and … Mr. Dithers? Jesus, they invited Mr. Dithers to their party. Probably because he’s rich. Maybe this is like when Tom Cruise pretended to befriend his fellow Scientologist Leah Remini just so he could invite Remini’s pal J-Lo to his wedding in Italy and … where was I? Oh, right, the Flagstons are a bunch of phonies. Meanwhile, in his own actual universe, Dagwood is watching TV with his dog. Enjoy the game, everybody!