March 20th, 2005

Monday, March 21

Unnecessary dashes: One, in panel 1. NO 15 y/o, special needs or not, wants to be fussed over in public that way. And it looks like the force of Mrs. Lake's hug makes April's tongue stick out. At least Shannon was able to deflect some of her humiliation in the last panel. Speaking of which, what is up with her lower body in that last panel? She has camel toe, and her right leg appears to end below the knee!

But, I mean, what was the POINT of all this? Again, another non-dramatic conflict, and another simple, almost instantaneous resolution. So they stood together for one panel. Then mom came running back. Wow.

Let's compare this with another comic strip, whose creator had the sense to quit before he got stale. Calvin went to the zoo with his parents, and Hobbes, and somehow managed to lose all three. Over the course of a week, IIRC, we saw the progression of the parents noticing his absence, Calvin grumbling about his having mistaken another woman for his mom, his futile attempt to ask the zoo's tigers if they'd seen Hobbes, Dad realizing that's where he must be, and panicking, and finally everyone being reunited.

See, that had some dynamic. We saw the process by which he got lost and was found*, and we got a particularly good gag (Calvin leaning over tiger pit: "His name is Hobbes, and he's---Hey, I'm talking to you!") and no Very Special Lesson. I think Mom saying, "Next time you should ask a person for help," was meant more to show that she was a sensible person, rather than to send a message.

Granted, Calvin and Hobbes was never meant to be as true-to-life as FOOB. But it just seems that, lately, the only way to excuse FOOB's unfunniness is to say that it IS meant to be true to life, and therefore more subtle. Still, I don't think "true-to-life" means "can't tell a compelling story".

*Although I'm not sure why the mistaken-for-Mom woman didn't escort Calvin to the lost children room, but maybe he ran off before she could offer.